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. Franky


    Don't worry, God has a plan...TRUST ME!

    September 5, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  2. Oregon calling

    No wonder I like this guy, he's trying to keep it real for us. I do care about personalities but I REALLY care about JOBS!!!!! Keep it Real O' Man..

    Obama / Biden 08

    September 5, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. len

    I dont think we can take 4 more years of bush.
    Look at unemployment and the many people who are loosing their
    homes do you really think that Mccain care I sure dont and his
    running mate sure dont care. The two of them will do any thing to
    Most people dont care of about taxes they just want a job and seems
    to me most of those jobs have sent overseas to other countries so
    by maccain.

    September 5, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. Patrick, Fairfield, CA

    The fear factor that Republicans have always perpetuated is waning to the point where it is laughable. Palin has joined in on the fray by trying to hammer Obama about his voting down the illegal war in Iraq.

    It's great to see that Obama has not fallen for the tactic by responding to the Republicans – it's about distractions, folks. That's precisely what they love to do and have done for years, distract America from real issues that affect us here at home.

    It is clear the issues that affect the homeland is the economy, healthcare, the war, and education. These are issues that need to be addressed now, not the issue that is permeated by the Republican Party that the terrorist are coming to get us. That saying is as old as John McCain and will fizzle out like Palin whose sudden rise is similar to sparkles that kids light off at a 4th of July party!

    When we peel back that onion that is McCain/Palin or should it be Palin/McCain? We will see that they have no plan for this country but just a plan for carrying on with the same old policies.

    September 5, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. Cal

    Why is it that nobody is talking about McCain's ties to the Mafia. Look it up on wikipedia: Cindy McCain's father is Jim Hensley who was connected to the mob and was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison for falsifying liquor distribution documents. Hensley is also the one who funded McCain's first senate campaign.

    September 5, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. Jamie

    Is it just me or does CNN attract more Obama supporters than anyone? Are these comments sensored to favor Obama?

    September 5, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Denise Seymour

    It's extremely transparent that angry revenge seeking Hilary voters are actually trying to seek revenge rather than seek the best possible president. I, too, wanted to see Hilary in the White House as a president, and if not, at least a V.P. However; revenge will not get her there, so why don't you vote on the issues. It's kinda comical, hearing McCaine last night, reiterate at least three specific phrases Obama has said time and time again. McCaine has stolen Obama's words, and now his theme. Wouldn't and shouldn't that make some Republicans wonder? As far as the speech went , I had to change it to stop myself from falling asleep from boredom. Hold onto your seats Republicans, watching the speech doesn't constitute his popularity, it only says that some of us chose McCain's speech over a drink or sleeping pill. I will make no predictions, because Americans have and may again get tricked by a pretty face rather than the real reasons for voting. Palin cannot even save the polar bears up there, and I doubt she has even tried. Her answer would probably be to kill them all, she will probably have a happy hunters' day up there. Starving bears now, and if she gets into office, starving people. Just think, you can all just sit there and oogle over her pictures while starving to death.

    September 5, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Gail

    What , you don't think McSame plays the victim card when he brings up his POW stuff?

    September 5, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  9. CD

    Nancy September 5th, 2008 5:42 pm ET

    Nancy, you just don't get it!!! You've obviously don't listen to any speeches, or you would GET IT!! What a dimwitted commentary to make...just admit it, you DON'T GET IT!!

    There are too many air-headed people who need to suck it up and get an education instead of making lame, unintelligent and uneducated comments made on these blogs. "O horrible, horrible, there has been too much throwing about of the brain."

    September 5, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. Mary, VA

    I'm a Republican voting for Obama. The choice of Palin is simply insulting to women, and McCain has no policies

    September 5, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  11. TerryDo--

    “I mean I think I’ve got a pretty good personality!

    Isn't that what they use to say about unattractive women, she has a good personality?


    September 5, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. Jay

    The republicans are worse than Islamic least the extremists will shoot you from the front. The republicans will stab you in the back.

    September 5, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  13. JB

    By the way,

    I originally bought into Obama's tax ideas. He touted that anyone making over $150,000 would have a tax increase and under, a tax decrease. That is a lie!!

    A FAMILY OF FOUR making under $150,000 would get a tax decrease.

    If you are single and making more than $75,000, he will INCREASE taxes. Just a heads up Senator Obama: If you make $80,000 and live in Boston, you are living paycheck to paycheck.

    If you make more than $75,000, and don't have two children, get ready for tax increases. Those are the facts!!

    September 5, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. Willa PA

    I am a white 61 yr old woman in PA and what I saw in the GOP convention was stuffed suits with white hair, war stories and talks of future wars, John McCains biography for the millionth time, true, he was a war hero, but that does not make him president and a barracuda turned pitbull with lipstick...and I am VERY turned off by Palin. She will be sorry she is acting like a snake for the benefit of John MCain.

    September 5, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. A Muslim Tax Payer

    Wow, I am deeply offended/concered about the fact that the Republicans are trying to discredit Obama by labeling him a Muslim. So what even if he was a Muslim? Is that a crime? Do Muslims not pay taxes? Hell I pay more taxes than what 94% of Americans do. But no, it's a crime to be a Muslim. They are labeling Obama a Muslim because they want people to think of him as something other than a human? If he were something like a Jew, it wouldn't have been a problem, correct? I mean come on, we got Bush, a war criminal sitting in the white house, but a Muslim, someone of another faith but of same beliefs, can not do it? It explains who the Conservative base is made up of. They probably never went to school to learn that there actually exist people outside of their little village.

    Also, what do you think those Iraqis who "cheered" to Americans troops for freedom would think when they see the reality that the Bush-type Americans actually consider them lower than humans? Do you really think they will stick to the idea that the US troops went there to bring them freedom? LOL.

    Please CNN post this one. You didn't post my other one.

    September 5, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Michael

    Before Obama misstates what was said or not said in McCain's convention speech, he should first consider that a half million more people watched McCain's speech than Obama's own.
    There are an awfull lot of people who now know that Obama is either not telling the truth or is just a fool.
    I bet Obama has no clue why more people cared about what McCain had to say them him.
    I'll give him a clue. Check the polls.

    September 5, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. Guy Legault

    I only wish we had a guy like Obama in Canada.

    September 5, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. Franky


    Mafia?? Senator McCain?? I don't know I never heard of that...gotta check it out.

    September 5, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. Realist

    Mrs. Palin needs to be reminded that Jesus Christ was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor.

    September 5, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. dman27

    Brand New Republican Party for Sale...Great Price!!!

    For sale, New paint job.....I mean umm...Brand spanking new Republican party for sale. look at these exciting FEATURES:

    1. 0 (none, nada) miles, the latest technology and the newest styling.

    2. The MCcain/Palin model is vastly different than what you've seen the last 8 years and handles great.

    3. Money back refund if not completely satisfied....this time.

    4. New interior styling featuring the latest patent leather seats, DIGITAL clock , 8 track player and shag carpeting.

    5. Flame resistant exterior protected by P.O.W certificate.
    Ride in style this time around, after 8 years you deserve the best.

    Call now and we will throw in a NEWLY designed Palin cup holder.

    The MCcain\Palin Model -NOT the same from our previous Bush model.

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    September 5, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. Neka

    Barack HAS A POINT! The Repubs are trying to scare Americans with lies about Obama. Its all over the internet and was scrutinized by the media so don't act like it doesn't exist. I don't think Obama has made the campaign about him, Repubs have. He 'was' mentioned in eighty freakin' percent of the speech by Sarah Palin. So what the media is always covering him! Does he honestly have anything to do with it?Turn the TV off, fold up the newspaper, and get off the net if you don't want to hear about it. Jeez

    Also, I'm unsure, but is it standard form to repeat a speech almost verbatim in Michigan when you've done it in Minnesota. I mean Sarah Palin even told the same jokes. Switch it up a little, say it backwards why don't yah?

    September 5, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. nerakami

    The RNC will keep taxes low for the very wealthy ... and for the billion dollar oil companies.

    That leaves me, single Mum no health insurance fighting day in day out, just to survive.

    1000.00 tax credit from Obama's policy would go a long way in my house. But to McSame whose definition of poor is having 5 million dollars, I'm just a nobody in his very out-of-touch reality.

    September 5, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Stacy

    Can someone explain to me how the republican argument that "an attack hasn't happened since 9/11" is valid.

    Did the republicans somehow forget that we were attacked while republicans were in office. They aren't the great protectors they claim to be. We were attacked on their watch.

    September 5, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  24. Charlotte

    Obama is back to the whinning card. How many times have we heard, " they are going to try and scare you about me." What a joke he is. How will he pay for cutting the majority of our taxes? When 95% of us pay 90% of the taxes? Big oil and big business won't make up for 100% of the taxes. He will do this and pay for college, medical insurance, and give us all $500.00 apiece? Does he think we all have STUPID tattooed on our foreheads?

    September 5, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  25. Dina

    Drill baby, drill? I believe Palin is important to the Repubs not because she is a pistol-packing, book banning, anti-choice, divisive woman. With her in the federal government, it will be easier to exploit Alaska's natural resources.

    September 5, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
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