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. Sue

    McCain and Palin will win.

    America isn't ready yet to elect a black President, there are too many who won't vote for Obama simply because of his race, regardless of his other qualifications.

    As long as McCain doesn't make any huge mistakes, we can expect President McCain next year, and more than likely President Palin at some point after that...

    September 5, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  2. RGG

    The McCain speech was empty. Where are the policies? What is his position on Health, Education, Trade, Jobs, Economy etc...
    This election is not a referendum on abortion or the existence of god.
    It looked that McCain is for a third Bush term ie: steal from the poor and give to the rich.

    September 5, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  3. Diane

    Franky – I guess being a wife and mother counts as nothing. Perhaps you should ask women if being a wife and mother constitutes doing nothing with your life. And, since you didn't know, Michelle was executive director of the Chicago office of Public Allies which helps young people prepare for a life of public service. She also attended Princeton and Harvard and currently works at the University of Chicago. So Franky, I think Michelle Obama has done plenty in her life, can you say the same?

    September 5, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  4. America

    Obama will win by landslide, just watch.

    September 5, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  5. God

    OK I've scanned some of these comments, and you know what? Some of y'all are completely delusional. May I have mercy on your ignorant souls.


    PS: Shake those haters off, Barack

    September 5, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. Dready1rasta

    Instead of the waving American flag and Liberty Bell in the background at the Republican convention wouldn"t a cemetery with 4000+ crosses been more appropiate for the soldiers who have died in Mr McCain and Mr. Bush's war.

    September 5, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Axe2Grind

    And if the McCain is the same as Bush...why isn't Condi Rice his running mate?

    There is no replacement or nothing better than experience. All you youngsters relying on your degree to "set you free" better learn that quick.

    OBAMA has little to none when it comes to governing. McCain has proven his leadership abilities over and over....and I am not necessarily a McCain fan....but its clear who is our best bet!

    September 5, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  8. LOU

    still loving obama...................

    September 5, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  9. Miz

    All I can see is Obama keeps showing his poor jugdement, now McCain has the upper hand with Sarah Palin, now Obama is bagging Hillary to help him, but he showed poor jugdement when he didn't get her for VP. Bad Move Obama, to bad you can't Get Hillary Now, but your poor jugdement has hurt the Dem. Party.

    September 5, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  10. Independent, white female !

    It's obvious that John Mccain is willing to sacrifice his country just to win. He hires a woman we have never heard of, he didn't even know her and interviewed her once for the most important job he'll be offering . How can he do that weeks before elections without giving us enough time to decide if we agree with his choice. And to lie about Obama is really a great way to lose more votes as far as this independent is concerned.

    September 5, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. Gary

    I have one thing to say...Middle America and Southern States.. you people are idiots. Thats it...we as a country have just gone through 8 years with the worst President in History ( check approval numbers) then you fawn all over this Govenor Palin who read a speach that was written by a Bush insider? All she did was read off a teleprompter....why is she not being interviewd by the press? Why are they keeping her away? I will tell you why, because she is being coached on what to say and how to act. Are you people that stupid?

    This is not a democrat/republican issue..if she were a democrat I would say the same thing....McCain did this country a big injustice to win this for selfish reasons....why will they not answer the questions? Why are they trying to steal Obama's ideas?

    September 5, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. David Stinson

    Do Republicans do anything but LIE? I just heard on CNN that Palin, "the special needs mom" CUT support for special needs programs in her state from about 8 million to 3.5 million..I mean what a saint she is!!!

    September 5, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  13. Paris

    CNN why my comments are not being posted?

    CNN stop the biased reporting.

    CNN shame on you.

    September 5, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. Mrs. Texas Teacher

    McCain insults all of us by bringing his PIT BULL DOG with lipstick onto his ticket.

    I trust Obama to bring back the Clinton years and better. But first he has to clean up the Bush Mess! McCain just wants to make things worse. The Republican party is selling this country down the tubes to China and any other source who will loan them money.

    Quite obviously these Cristian Fudamentalist Radicals believe that we are in the end days. So what does it matter if we owe a national debt the size the planet to pay for all they are doing and promising to do? They think we are almost ready for the call of the Trumpets.

    I can't handle much more of this nonsense. I have children and grandchildren. I have a special needs nephew. It's criminal how they are playing loose with the truth just to win. I want them all to grow up to a future they can look forward to! What the Republican party is doing and wants to continue to do to this country is insane.

    September 5, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. Jen830

    Palin can only read speeches written for her. I could rehearse her speech and perform it better. Please step down.


    September 5, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  16. RD

    mycountryisawesome you are alone

    September 5, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  17. Sam Benegal

    Fellow Amercians,

    Day by day, I am getting dissatisfied with Obama. Looks like another Dukakis/Gore/Kerry. Obama is getting money from ordinary citizen like me but he is too slow to respond in Republicans attack like in 1988/2000/2004. Sorry fellow democrats, Obama is getting all the money from ordinary people but why he is waiting for counter-attack???? Or will be another Howard dean like no go where Internet campaign.

    Probably he will and realize like 1988/2000/2004 when it was too late to turn the Table around... I am not sending any dime to Obama campaign until he shows he can counter punch. If not I need to accept 6.1% unemployment rate, 1.2 million foreclosure just in Auigust.

    September 5, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  18. Arizona Demo

    For all of you that are enthralled with Sarah Palin, I would tell you to read the article about her in the Wall Street Journal today. Now, the WSJ is by no means a liberal newspaper so you all that yell about liberal bias can't do that with this newspaper. Just a couple of highlights......after she became mayor, she approached the town librarian and asked how she felt about taking some books off the shelves that Palin thought should be removed and the libararian basically said no way and Palin basically said just asking. This is what McCain wants for a running mate. Oh my!!!I I am an Arizonian and a long standing Democrat and 20 something years ago h
    e was a different kind of cat, now he has the standard Repubg stripes and even though I am a loyal Hillary supporter, NO MCCAIN/PALIN NO WAY 8 IS ENOUGH BTW, field dressing a moose is not my idea of experience needed to run this country when you are a heartbeat away from the Presidency and as Paris said he is a wrinkly old guy.

    September 5, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  19. Brenda of Saginaw ,Michigan

    Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their "COUNTRY".

    September 5, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. justobserve

    Didn't McCain hate celebrities? Suddently, being a celebrity like Palin or draw a large audience is in vogue again, in fact, a point for Republicans to boast about! Listen to all the Repub swooned about Palin and you would think McCain and all others, senators', big state governors', community organizers' works are all worthless! Only Palin's records are worth the prize. Only women with 5 children, with a Down syndrome son and a pregnant teen daughter are "one of us" who are better to be VP and president. From now on, every four years, we only need celebrity contest to elect our presidents. Republicans' lies are breaktaking. They stand for lofty people but when they need votes, they use women as strophy as usual.

    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  21. Marian

    Mc Cain said he is a Maverick and he doesn't agree with Republican politics in Washington. He's been in Washington for 26 years why hasn't he fixed any of our many problems. How can he say he is for change when he has voted for Bush's policies 90 % of the time. When I see Mc Cain I see four more years of the same. Do you think our country can afford four more years. I don't think so. Obama is our man for change.

    September 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  22. Erik

    Democrats need to start airing prime time attack ads or they will LOSE THIS ELECTION. How about a shot of Palin's wee little Wasilla town hall with a caption stating "Here's where the Republican VP nominee gained most of her leadership experience. Sarah Palin: Not ready to stand ready." Or a montage of a few of McCain's most absurd blunders under an "Entirely lacking in judgement" banner. Or "a How many houses can YOU afford?" ad. Democrats must stop playing softball. American politics are and always have been negative, attack-oriented and cynical. This is what wins, because we like our leaders to be tough.

    September 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  23. Celine , Canada

    Kevin ,
    Jonesboro ,GA
    so you are saying that you don't know anything about her , yet you stand in judgement of her already , what does that say about you..??

    September 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. Benoist

    What is really surprising is that the whole "We Republicans are the only patriotic people in this nation", the "this world is a dangerous place. You need to think about the next nuclear holocaust!" and -let's not forget- the "Liberal! Liberal! Evil! They'll take your children and immolate them in front of you for the pleasure of their marxist masters!" cards have been played over, and over again by the Republicans to avoid talking about the issues.

    Get the government out of the way but by your side, they say. HOW?
    Defend the country? HOW? By bullying other nations until their insane and desperate children blow up more buildings in the United States?
    Oil independence? By giving more tax cuts to Oil Companies and drilling for yet more Oil?
    Achieve a victory in Irak? HOW? Define "Victory", please?

    The surge worked? Really? Is it by sending more troops there, or by getting the militia to be on the payroll of the United States army? Doesn't that spell out di-plo-ma-cy to you?

    I mean. Talking about lipstick, funny names and war stories is all fine and dandy, but outside of soundbites, I don't see much matter coming out of the Republican Convention.

    September 5, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  25. lore satt

    I just want to say this: This is not about if is a woman, a man, a African- American, or an old ex POW. This is about our country and the best set of PEOPLE that will put this country back on top. Experienced and new blood, young energy that will make us exited to do our part on the process. The republican party has only one objective: The rich be as rich as they can be in this life time, doesn't matter who or what it hurts, and it is hurting for the past eight years. It's hurting the economy, sending jobs over seas; it's hurting the environment, companies are not held responsible ( remember EXON, oil spilling on the S. Francisco bay?); war against anyone because it's a industry they still have a lot invested on... People, wake up! Go Obama, I am with you!

    September 5, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
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