September 5th, 2008
04:45 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama: 'Not about the issues' comment means making stuff up

DURYEA, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Barack Obama continued to hammer the McCain campaign on Friday for manager Rick Davis’s comments that the election would be more about the candidates’ personas, not the issues. The Illinois senator said he’s not running for president for his “pretty good personality” and that it’s a sign Republicans intend to scare voters away from him with false accusations of Muslim and radical connections.

Watch: "They're trying to run me down," Obama says

“When [the Republicans] say this isn’t about issues it’s about personalities what they’re really saying is “we’re going to try to scare people about Barack”,” he told a small gathering at a glass factory near Scranton. “'We’re going to say that you know, maybe he’s got Muslim connections or we’re going to say that, you know, he hangs out with radicals or he’s not patriotic.' Just making stuff up.”

“I mean I think I’ve got a pretty good personality! But that’s not why I am running for president,” Obama said, later adding, “If you want it to be about personalities, you know, we’ll go out for a beer sometime and we’ll talk but you know you don’t have time, you’d rather spend it with your family.”

Obama has repeatedly hit Republicans this week of for lacking substance at their convention in St. Paul and consistently brands the G0P as out of touch.

“If you’ve got the kind of record they’ve got over the last eight years then, of course, you don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about the issues,” said Obama. He blasted McCain on the economy, called his energy plan “made for TV” and accused the Arizona senator of having no education plan.

“Apparently Barack Obama was not listening when John McCain and Sarah Palin offered their plans to keep taxes low and create new jobs,” responded RNC spokesman Alex Conant. “On the other hand, Barack Obama’s economic policies would only raise taxes and eliminate jobs.”

Obama gave a lengthy defense during the Q&A portion of the event when a woman asked about rumors that he was going to take away their guns, an issue that has gotten him in some hot water in the past.

“I think this is a great question so I just want to clear it up,” he started. “The 2nd amendment is an individual right and it means something: that people have a right to bear arms. What I also believe is that there’s nothing wrong with some common sense gun safety measures.”

“The bottom line is this: if you’ve got a rifle, you’ve got a shotgun, you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it away,” he said, adding that even if he wanted to, he couldn’t get it through Congress.

“I hope I made that clear,” he wrapped up, “Is everybody clear back there in the back? ‘Cause I see a couple sportsmen back there. All right? Spread the word with your friends. I’m not going to take away your guns.”

soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    The mccain camp is in a 'mental recession' Everyone who reads and pays attention knows that mccain is keeping bushes taxcut s for the wealthy. Obama is lowering taxes for the middle and low income families. I listened very close to the issues, Dems talked about issues, mccain talked about being a pow with those god awful background scenes

    CNN I hope you post this

    September 5, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. Malcolm Berry

    The Dem platform is robust with hype as well as the Reps. I'm having DEJA-MOO, 'I've heard all this BS before'.

    Taxes : no matter which way it is presented the 95% of American workers will either pay higher prices for everyday necessary goods when Barack hits the high income, big businesses because these folk won't take the hit and not raise their prices, OR the McCain strategy will insert higher hidden tax hikes.

    The 'WE the People' will pay no matter who's in office.

    September 5, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. dennis from chicago

    barack needs to read his first grade records where he is listed as an INDONESIAN and his name is BARRY SOETORO the name he forgot to mention on his bar exam 12 17 1991[ at his first grade listing he is listed as a] MUSLIM] not that it matters it is just the fact \THE ONE \ DENIES IT///

    September 5, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |

    Last month it was the race card:
    "I don't look like pictures of other presidents"
    "he's got a funny name";
    "did you know he is black"

    Now it's:
    'he's got Muslim connections"
    "he hangs out with radicals"
    "he's not patriotic"

    These aren't words of McCain or Palin

    September 5, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. BKOI

    How these Republicans can show their faces in public, is beyond me ! The Country is broke , thousands of people h ave lost their homes , thousands more are going to , thousands of people are out of work , two wars are being fought , young women and men are dying in foreign lands almost every day , hundreds more are wounded ! Do you see anything positive here ?? Who the hell is responsible for this?? Bush and all his supporters, the most vocal one being John McCain ! They have the AUDACITY to ask the American people to give them another chance to do more harm ? Sarah Palin is only the next person to beat the drum of War , and practice the old scare tactics and raise the spector EVIL . Who are these fools to judge the rest of us? Sorry The voters are Awake this time!!!!!!

    September 5, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Jenny from Chicago

    Obama is lowering taxes for over 90% of Americans. I guess the republican politicians are stressing higher taxes because a majority of them are the only ones who will see tax hikes.

    As much as they denounce Democrats' tax and spend, their idea of borrow from China and spend is far worse.

    September 5, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  7. Charles

    Where does John McCain and Palin stand on the issues because they sure haven't talked about any yet ??

    September 5, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. Cupper

    No Questions for Palin?

    According to Nicole Wallace of the McCain campaign, the American people don't care whether Sarah Palin can answer specific questions about foreign and domestic policy. According to Wallace - in an appearance Joe Scarborough's show - the American people will learn all they need to know (and all they deserve to know) from Palin's scripted speeches and choreographed appearances on the campaign trail and in campaign ads.

    I thought she was applying for the job as VP?

    Why can't we ask her any questions?

    Why anyone over there asking this question?

    September 5, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  9. Rick K

    We were all listening. What we did not hear is any difference in the substance of what J-Mac said and what Bush is doing right now – except he'll spend less.

    That requires an explanation.

    Nice try to get Sarah into the news, but she offered absolutely nothing except petty, immature insults. She motivated me to donate and volunteer to travel to a swing state and work for Obama, though.

    September 5, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. ChicagoJosh

    Good job Barack! I don't care how uppity they say you are, I'd make time to go for a beer or latte with you anytime.

    You treat all Americans the same. You don't give special treatment to the small towns, or the big cities.

    I got to shake your hand in Iowa, but what I remember most is how you went out of your way to personally thank the police officers who were just doing thier jobs. I saw you in Chicago outside of some random building. A crowd gathered and waited for 2 hours because they knew you were inside. When you came out, you spent 15 minutes shaking hands and thanking people for their support.

    You know this campaign is about all Americans, not just the far right wing base.

    September 5, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. Earl

    ARE WE THAT STUPID?.....McWar puts McPain out there as an

    opening act for him to spout his mouth off.

    When will McPain ( I think that's her name) get out there and answer

    questions.....You know that won't happen in your lifetime.

    McWar has used her to strengthen his base and now he'll put her

    back in the closet like a good woman, until he needs her again.

    September 5, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Liza in CT

    Change is Coming.
    For the first time in my adult life…I donated $ to a presidential ticket…Obama/Biden '08.

    Now I have to figure out the best way for me to get more involved.

    September 5, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |

    People will believe anything they hear and run with it. Try and research issues for yourself. The internet is a great tool, trying and log off McCain's and Limbaugh site for a few hours and broden you knowledge of Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin.

    September 5, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. Dready1rasta

    The Republican party is a joke. No platform, no plans, a VP nominee that doesn't give interviews to the media, hidden can anyone capable of independent thought support them? Wait a minute, I just answered my own question.

    September 5, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. mk

    I was listening. And I didn't hear anything about McCain's policies on the economy, mortgage crisis, or the current jobless rates.
    I did hear him tell us he was a POW but that isn't news is it?
    I am amazed that McCain could spend 56 minutes talking about change and today his new "apprentice" runs around practicing the same old politics. No change happening in the McCain campaign.

    September 5, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. Former Dem

    I am sooooooo sick of Obama turning and thinking EVERYTHING IS ABOUT HIM.
    This is why he will never win in Nov. His ego is incredible.

    September 5, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Becky

    Give the "Pitbull" a dog treat and she'll do anything for you. Give me break, Palin was the worst choice McCain could have made. She' "barking" around making a complete fool out of herself and the Republican ticket.

    September 5, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Pam

    Speaking of not being patriotic...Palin's husband belongs to a group that wants Alaska to secede from the United States. Why isn't anyone bashing his patriotism the way they did Michelle Obama?

    September 5, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. Ric from NM

    True, it is not about the complex issues that Obama likes to discuss (health care, global warming, erosion of Contitution and freedoms, US standing in the world, etc). It is about the simple issues: country and national pride, taxes (who likes taxes?), and security. These are so simple and universal that are common between both candidates. It then becomes a personallity and trust contest on who can handle these simple issues. The folk wisdom, regardless of true merit, says that Republicans are better at all of them (country, taxes and security).

    September 5, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  20. truth-in-media

    RNC spokesman Alex Conant. “On the other hand, Barack Obama’s economic policies would only raise taxes and eliminate jobs.” Ah, right, the post-factual political campaign.... Obama's gonna lower taxes for more than 90% of folks. Those, in other words, who are hurting. He's not gonna extend tax cuts for the rich - sounds like a good idea to me.

    September 5, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  21. Jean

    We are not a Military state. We need a leader that can and will deal with present issues and future issue!!!!!!!!

    September 5, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  22. GO SARAH!

    Boy, PAM you prove with your posts how you drink kool-aid....

    September 5, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. Merredith

    Wasn't it Obama who was the "change" candidate in the first place? Why is it that now a whole "19 months later", here comes John McCain talking about the exact same thing? That doesn't sound like a "maverick" to me. I agree with Obama and it's time that McCain get the facts straight and stop making stuff up.

    September 5, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  24. democrat in mich

    As a democrat and a Hillary supportor I am glad to see Palin running. There are many of us dems supporting McCain and since seeing Palin alot more of us Hillary supportors are backing McCain....Palin has more experience then Obama and thats what I want. Maybe next time Hillary will run again and I as others will back her...But for now we are going with McCains experience......

    September 5, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |

    Vote against yourselves and your family. Vote McCain Palin.
    McCain will prime her to be the next President.

    September 5, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
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