September 5th, 2008
04:45 PM ET
11 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. Colorado chick

    Pitbulls are outlawed in Colorado.....OBAMA IN 2008!

    September 5, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. Shadow

    Michael, why aren't you running. Is it may be you know nothing. As for John McSame He believes that America owe him the presidency just becuase he was once a POW. You tell me what proven leadership John McCain has. The man has been in congress for 26 years and has done nothing to improve people's lives, All he does is blow hot air. I was a prisoner of war, I was totured. I am sorry he was totured but people need jobs, people need their homes, people need to be able to support their kids; people need to be able to afford to send their kids to school and take care of their loved ones when they are sick. If you are so touched about John McCain's life history send him a card. The guy is a proven flip-flopper, and he is the one to accuse others. Republicans are such hypocrites. Two-faced bums.

    September 5, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  3. Sandy - PA

    And why won't Palin debate anyone or speak to the media on her own?? All she can do is read prepared statements and speeches written for her by Bush's speechwriters. Because she knows she will come off like the clown she is if she tries to speak intelligently in public.

    Let's have a debate – Palin vs Biden. See who wins that!

    September 5, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. DanFango

    The Repugs have always done this. Remember Nixon? How about Lee Atwater.? Jack Abramoff?
    The facts, the scandals, the economy, the sorry history of the Bush adminstration leave them no choice but to reach fror the Slime Bucket.
    I guess since Bush slimed him in 2000, McCain feels that it's only right (!).
    It HIS turn
    The Repugs want this all to be about personality. That's where inuendo lives. Remember, in a melting pot, the slime rises to the top.

    September 5, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. Rottweillers Hump Pit Bulls

    I'd love to see an argument by the Republicans to earn my vote.

    Instead, I'm suppose to vote for John McCain because he was a Prisoner 40 years ago. We apparently owe him the presidency in return.

    I'm suppose to vote for Sarah Palin because she didn't have an abortion and raised her unwed teenage daughter to get pregnant ("Don't use birth control honey") and keep the baby. It's their perogative to CHOOSE ' life'.

    Sorry GOP, since you haven't given me an intellectual reason to vote for you, I'm going to the other side.

    Rolling something out in the last few weeks doesn't give me a whole lot of confidence.

    September 5, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    One more reason not to vote for the Republicans. THEY made the statement - and are hoping enough of the people are dumb enough to agree with them.

    George Bush was voted in on personality, too, and look where that got us.

    I'll stand on issues any dayl

    September 5, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. elb

    To "Pope on a Pogo Stick"–
    Perhaps the Democrats (those who "refuse to learn economics") also refuse to accept the GOP idea that elections and people can be bought. Or that life is only about what we can pay for. No one–not even the Democrats–disputes the efficiency of market economics. But lots of people do dispute the notion that the value of a life, a community, or a nation can be valued in dollars.

    September 5, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  8. ginger

    I was listening and what I heard was half-truths and lies.

    "My friends" I am not going to raise taxes. Obama said he would only raise taxes on people who earn $250,000.00 or more. Now if McCain is not raising taxes this means the same Bush tax cuts. This means the rich get richer and the poorer get poorer.

    Everyday working people (myself included) exactly how is McCains plan going to help you? Have you visted his website and read his plan for America.? Oh, and last night did you catch he wants to end federal unemployment. His plan is crap. It sounds nice but its crap.

    September 5, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. Kevin - Jonesboro, GA

    “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. “

    I don't know what speech Conant was listening to but all I heard was a lot of vague rhetoric, POW, pitbull, and POW. Did I mention that they also talked about McCain being a POW? Still waiting to hear some specifics from McCain and Palin. Almost forgot, they did say that McCain was a POW.

    And for the record, I am a Army veteran and West Point grad, so by no means am I bashing his service but that does not make him the best person for the White House!

    September 5, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. June

    good comment about Palin's "Dude" Apparently he was a member of a group that wanted Alaska to secede. Direct from a Alaskan, Palin raised taxes while mayor of her little town and left a hugh debt from a sports facility she had built there. As far as lowering taxes in Alaska, that is because of the influx of "oil money". No wonder she wants to Drill, Drill, Drill.

    September 5, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Cecil

    would only raise taxes and eliminate jobs.

    Get Real GOP

    Try Something Else

    September 5, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Marie Simmons

    This is the political air that has come to exist and is tolerated by the press especially the conservative press. But it is praises and accolades when it's done by conservative candidates. McCain/Palin needs to clean their act up and be more civil. She likes being called an attack dog and barracuda but it could carry over into her private life and there isn't going to be a praising press for her then

    September 5, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  13. Pretjene

    McCain loves this COUNTRY


    Obama is an ELITIST, he is party of the exclusive Hollyweird crowd and OPRAH NEVER was interested in politics until an AFRICAN AMERICAN ran for office!


    McCain said more in a 45 minute speech than Obama said the entire campaign, he is a speech giver nothing more, he is not in love with the process of this country! HE WANTS to make us SOCIALISTS!

    McCain has the history, Obama picked Biden because he has no experience, Biden is INSIDER WASHINGTON good ole boys status quo!

    THE last thing we want! Obama ran on the African American vote, and the Liberal Media this will never do anything but further destroy this country!

    McCain and Palin are the PARTY to cross all lines to be bi-partisan and to GET the will of the voters HEARD in WASHINGTON! I can not wait for OBAMA to take his ZOMBIES and return to the slums of Chicago with his anti American wife!

    America is getting smart and seeing for Obama this is NOTHING more than an attempt to make history! HE uses change to promote his career, rather than using his career (because he has none) to PROMOTE CHANGE! McCain is honest, Obama lies and says what you want to hear at the time and it changes from audience to audience!

    McCain and Palin for the REAL VALUE of AMERICA!


    September 5, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. Mikey

    dennis from chicago September 5th, 2008 5:49 pm ET
    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///
    I wansn't able to track this one down in a few minutes. However, this looks like yet aonther in the long list of fake charges against Obama that illustrates his comments above. I would say that if it exists, then someone has a copy. If it cannot be produced, then it's a lie. Just like the birth certificate story and the various fake quotes from his book.

    Thank you, Dennis from Chicago, for providing a prime example of the slimey lies and being an example of the slimey liars.

    September 5, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. Anna

    and who cares if other nations hate us anyway?

    To thine own self be true.

    My problem with McCain is his adamant pro-life stand.

    My problem with Obama is his lackluster service in the Senate.

    My true self knows not what to do.

    September 5, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  16. Karrie

    I caught the tail end of an interview with Obama and Biden last Sunday. The interviewer asked Obama a question, and I’ll have to give you the gist of it because it’s been a few days to remember the exact words. Basically he asked Obama why he didn’t mention anything about being African-American in his acceptance speech at the convention.

    Obama paused, smiled, and said “Isn’t it obvious?”

    I thought that was THE best answer! This bi-racial man has had the unique opportunity to see life from both sides, or as he said, it’s in his DNA. He’s a black man who was raised in a white culture. I think he just sees himself as a man trying to make a difference.

    September 5, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  17. Susan

    I wore the John McCain POW bracelet in high school for the years he was a POW and even with a star on it for several more years indicating he came home. I wanted to hear his platform last night because I respected the man. He was MY soldier! But last night and through this entire convention, I was ashamed.

    I listened to both Palin and McCain even though I have pledged to fight with all of my body and soul to get Obama elected. I listened with hope for our country that maybe, just maybe we could have two candidates for president with plans for change. I kept hearing the word change but never heard a plan out of McCain. All I heard from Palin was MEAN insults. I fear our country's future. I did not sleep the past two nights for fear that these people will get in office.

    September 5, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  18. Are you Kidding me?

    Thats funny Barack that you keep bringing up your connections with Muslims and are now trying to blame the Republicans for it.

    It was your fellow Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign that brought that issue up. So leave that blame with your own disfunctional party.

    What they are saying with you having a pretty good personality is that you are well liked but that is all. You have no substance beyond that. Stop trying to be a mind reader and tell us how to think and what people really mean.

    And please stop playing the victim card Barack everytime you hear something you don't like. It's getting to be pathetic. What's next? Are you going to cry false tears like Hillary.

    September 5, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  19. Warren

    Please someone Gag Sarah Palin!
    I am so tired of dishonest campaigns. Tell the truth for once. Palin told america many non truths in her speech and everytime she opens her mouth.

    September 5, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. EX -Democrat now for McCain

    Why is CNN not reporting about Michelle Obama's unwillness to do anything meanful with her life?? The Fact is that Mrs. Obama has not done nothing to help others and she would not make a good frist Lady! CNN New is not reporting anything about How much Mrs. McCain life and speech has put Michelle Obama speech to shame!

    September 5, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  21. RB (LA)

    For Pope on a Pogo Stick...let's see. We need to find $600B to fund programs. Where do we get it? Hmmm. Well, if we are spending 150B in Iraq per year, seems like there's $600B over four years waiting for the picking. That's one place to find that $600B. Of course, closing corporate loopholes and requiring folks making more than $250K/year to pay a little more into the system that made them rich isn't a bad place to start either. Not to mention cutting welfare to the oil companies.

    If companies want to move overseas, fine. But, if they want to do business in the US they should have to pay for welfare, medical, and dental for each AMERICAN employee they force out of a job. Why should YOU AND I pay for those things while companies rake in profits hand over fists??? Hmmm. Aren't you smart enough to know that YOU AND I are paying for those things?

    September 5, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. jason

    mccain is done thats all i can say

    September 5, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Dianne

    Mccain is kind running on the bottom of the ticket instead of the top of the ticket.. The public watched mostly because they wanted to Palin instead of McCain. People !! This is not a popularity contest this a really run for fpr the Presidency...She does not have the experience. Now the McCain is trying to sheild her away from the Media who will ask her some hard questions. They are afraid she will screw up on the issues that will hurt them. and you know what? She just might.

    September 5, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. John

    McCain claims to be patriotic because he servered in the military and so on. So what? He is still a crook. Bush servered too, but he hates this country. Also, when McCains was captured, this tool told everything to the Vietnamese, all about the bomber routes and so on. And that was the turning point in the war and that's when we lost. Because he told him what time and where.

    September 5, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. Irma in North Carolina

    These two canidates are a discrace to their party, and to the amercan people, how can the american people vote to to put these two in the white house and get us four more years of Bush, and lets talk about the morals they have, Take John he committed adultry once, what is to stop him from doing it again, he is going to be along side this beautiful woman for 60 days, all I got to say Cindy keep a tight reign on John here.

    September 5, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
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