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. sick and tired

    I am so tired of dufus McCain and now hillbillie Palin. If I hear McCain tell his POW story one more time, I am going to puke. Everybody and their dead dog know that you were a POW. While I thank you for that you are not the only POW that ever existed. That is all you can talk about because maybe demencia has set in. As far as Palin is concern she needs to learn how to be a mother before she can be a vice president. What loving mother do you know will leave her special needs baby and put her seventeen yeaar daughter up for scrutiny because of her own sefish gain? McCain and Palin call talk until they are blue but action speaks louder than words. McCain and Palin your actions stink.

    September 5, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. Goodson

    Tom Ridge rightly refered McCain as "JOHN BUSH", He's refurbished, remodelled, repainted and reintroduced, what an extreme makeover, he sure looks good.
    Honestly I aspire to be a POW, can there be a better place to have foreign policy experience?

    September 5, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. Marc PDX

    There he goes again, making up Republican accusations. First "Oh, by the way, I'm black". Now it's "There going to tell you I'm Muslim". No one from the Republican party or the McCain campaign has said that or insuated that. Everyone (even Republicans!) know he is a Christian. Enough with the fear mongering about Republicans. We disagree with his lightweight, ever changing plans for the problems we face. That is the basis of what we oppose. Not his faith, his color, his age, or his gender.

    September 5, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. Barbara Campbell

    I love Senator Obama's honest, authentic, down-to-earth style.

    McCain/Palin's "reformer" image is skin deep. They're trying to steal Obama's change message because Americans desperately want Washington to represent We The People.

    Bush's speechwriters write McCain's and Palin's speeches. Bush's strategists run McCain/Palin's campaign. McCain/Palin use the same old divisive, dishonest smear tactics as Bush/Cheney/Rove.

    They support God and guns as a smokescreen for their servitude to corporate CEOs, especially within the Oil industry.

    It may be that McCain used to be his own man, but that changed when he joined the Bush campaign back in 2000.

    September 5, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. NC

    this woman going on the attack already,and no one can beleive what she say,really US come on-I SOLD THAT PLANE ON EBAY,yeah right you sold that plane to a private buying and got much less for it than the state paid for it."i TOLD CONGRESS TO KEEP THEIR MONEY FOR THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE" yeah right you took that pork barrel money and spent it,now they are building the bridge,lies already Sarah how can we believe you, you really are BUSHED

    September 5, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Frank-Ca

    It surprises me that the people doing so much complaining about bashing and name calling, are themselves doing all the name calling and bashing. Wake up and stop letting your selves be led like blind sheep.

    Democrat voting for McCain and Palin

    September 5, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. GOP for OBAMA

    No Way,
    No How,
    NO McSame!!

    September 5, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. Celine , Canada

    The scrutiny that has been applied to Sarah Palin in just a few days is more than Obama had in 2 years.
    As for some of these comments here , you seem to be quite happy to repeat untruthful things as long as it favours your candidate or goes aginst the opponent , never mind checking the facts first.
    Somebody should remind you that this is an election for the leadership of your country and if you expect honesty and integrity from your candidate , then it would be a good start , for you to hold yourselves to the same standards.

    September 5, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. J.L.

    McCain circa 2000 = maverick

    McCain circa 2008 = Bush 2.0

    The fact is only way McCain was able to get the nomination in 2008 was because he pandered to the Republican "base," something he didn't do in 2000... which is part of the reason he didn't get the nomination back then (and also the cheap, dirty campaign ran by Bush/Rove). And since he's started down the road of pandering to the "agents of intolerance"... there's no turning back for him. I mean, just looks at his VP pick. Jerry Falwell must be clapping and cheering from heaven... So maverick McCain is no more...

    September 5, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  10. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    I'm wondering if all those people now saying that we must elect McCain because he was a war hero in Viet Nam voted for John Kerry in 2004? What do you think........?

    September 5, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  11. Franky

    "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!"

    I gotta say, that's too much. Don't be upset with someone who you fantasized to be...

    September 5, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. Clinton/McCain

    Here we go again accusing the Republicans of saying things they haven't said. You noticed he's no longer mentioned the color of his skin. McCain hit him hard on that one. Oh and you want to talk about substance? Hmm. Not too much substance from your convention. Get a life Obama.

    September 5, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  13. Kevin - Jonesboro, GA

    Celine, Canada "The scrutiny that has been applied to Sarah Palin in just a few days is more than Obama had in 2 years."


    Her scrutiny hasn't even begun!! A lot of the current noise is just that noise that is serving as a smoke screen for her issues and actions. When her issues and actions as mayor and governor are objectively scrutinized, the convention bump is going to turn into a convention black hole!!!

    September 5, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. P O Dubya

    Charlotte September 5th, 2008 6:46 pm ET

    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?

    Perhaps you can answer the same question about McCain?

    September 5, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  15. Breck

    Celine, little but the truth has been repeated here, the scrutiny given to Palin is no different than that given to Obama, except that it actually turned up something.

    September 5, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. mycountryisawesome

    Well, you just keep on keepen on. No one is listing to you anymore. Keep up the whining and the trashing, it shows your ture colors. No Substance no experience and no leadership. Just a bunch of bull over and over again about nothing. On Nov 4th the true AMERICANS will come in force and do what is right for this country. Electing John McCain and Shara Palin and maybe they will be able to rid us of this kind of un-American and attack politics. Why don't you take a minute and watch some real news. Then maybe you will be better informed on how and why you are loosing.

    Have a great day

    September 5, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  17. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA

    WHAT NOT ABOUT THE ISSUES???????????????????????????? BUT ABOUT THE PERSONAS????????? KIDDING RIGHT?????????


    1. Almost $10 TRILLION IN NATIONAL DEBT, owe to the Saudis, to China and Dubai to name a few of the BIG names!

    2. 4100 of our brave & precious soldiers killed ..........for a war about OIL! Bush/Cheney LIED TO US, WHY IS THIS OKAY?

    3. We are SPENDING $1.38 BILLION.........A...........DAY.........STILL IN IRAQ!

    4. Since Bush/Cheney took office in 2001, Americans ARE TAKING LESS MONEY HOME! WE WERE EARNING AN AVERAGE........$61,500 NOW ITS ...........$60,000!

    5. Let's not even get into the torture and the mockery of our Constitution AND the Geneva Convention!

    6. Since the beginning of '08 we have LOST........$460 THOUSAND JOBS!

    7. When BUSH/CHENEY/MCCAIN TOOK OVER..........OUR NATION HAD A SURPLUS! NOW IN FISCAL 2009..........WE ..........WILL ........BEGIN THE YEAR WITH .........A........DEFICIT..........OF ............$490 BILLION..........


    September 5, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. Glen

    John McCain only talked about himself in his speech. He then took
    the Democrats change theme and used it as his idea. Not to mention the self described "barracuda" Sara Palin. She reaked. Who would vote for a predator fish to watch over them for 4 years.

    No WAY No how no republicans.

    September 5, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. Vic

    Hit the republicans hard! We have been captives of a bad economy, high gas prices, housing mess, and by the failed policies of John McCain's republicans for far too long. We nee a change for the better.

    Republic voting for Obama/Biden 08

    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  20. BJ


    Way to try and inject words not spoken! Just like when you said "they're going to try and scare you because I don't look like the other presidential candidates, OR my name sounds different".

    Obama is running scared and now he needs to use some kind of "race" card... not gonna work Obami, we are wise to you AFTER you tried that tactic with Hillary and Bill. We know your game!

    September 5, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  21. Brian M

    If no one else has offered to have a beer with you Obama, I will. I think you should buy because I do have this vote and all. In fact all four VP's and P's ( is that right or Pee's )anyway if everyone took turns buying beer ( just you 4) maybe we can get this settled and agree on how to help the country instead of chosing up sides. So far it sounds like both sides only see what they have already decided, nothing right on the other side, nothing wrong on theirs. Without that beer I think we all have a rough two months ahead.
    Let me know about the drink

    September 5, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  22. Tom from Hawaii

    What is Palin going to do if McCain dies while in office, is she going to sell Air Force One on Ebay? This is not the type of record I am looking for in a president. Do the republicans think that by having her in the ticket, we, women are going to vote for her just becuase she is a woman? How do they dare to consider us that stupid and shallow minded.

    Country first? What are they talking about? McCain campaing has been only me, me, me... It also goes to Palin. Who are you? Talk to the media!!! The pit bull lipstick joke sounded to me like Cheney's radicalism but in a skirt.

    September 5, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  23. Ms. Devil (Sarah Palin) In A Blue Dress:

    Franky September 5th, 2008 6:57 pm ET

    "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!"

    I gotta say, that's too much. Don't be upset with someone who you fantasized to be…

    First of all, Mrs. Obama (the only Mrs. Obama let me add) was doing something. She was out there working to support her family just as you probably are when you are not on crack. She does not and has not had the luxury of private jets and millions of dollars just sitting in the bank to fall back on. She had to get out there and make her's which is more than I can say for the "the other woman" Cindy McCain. I wonder just how compelling her story would have been had she told the whole truth last night. "It was love at first sight." I guess her eyes are bad and she didn't see "John" had a wife not to mention three children. Why don't you just admit you are a racist. There is no other explanation for it. Mrs. Obama will always be better off than you because she "earned" her living unlike you. Go back to your hot trailer and rented computer.

    September 5, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. Joe

    McCain and Palin have actually put into practice what they are preaching. Obama on the other hand votes PRESENT.

    September 5, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  25. Axe2Grind

    Look folks...this is really basic. We are hiring the best leader available for President of the United States. If you are sitting behind the hiring desk and looking at both candidates resume' on earth could you decide that Obama would be the best candidate? Its a no-brainer...which really concerns me considering millions of Americans are falling for this farce! Look at their resume's will you?

    For any of you Obama need to have your head checked. The man has many...I repeat ....many ties to Islam. So you people that want to dismiss that...go ahead and elect him. I bet the CNN poll will change and the economy will no longer be your number one issue once bombs start falling in your neighborhood!

    Lets use some logic folks...Security is number one..then economy and all the rest. I bet you won't care about the price of gas when your friends and family get blown up in a local mall or festival!!! Wake up America!!!!

    September 5, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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