September 10th, 2008
06:07 PM ET
14 years ago

Graham calls on Obama to denounce 'abortion' comment

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Graham, center, has been one of Sen. McCain's most ardent supporters and outspoken surrogates throughout the election season."]
(CNN) - South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham – a major McCain surrogate – called on Barack Obama to condemn a comment by the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party that suggested Sarah Palin’s decision not to have an abortion led to her selection as the Republican VP nominee.

Earlier in the day, Carol Fowler told a Politico reporter that Palin’s addition to the ticket would not help John McCain attract women voters, and that he had picked a running mate "whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”

Graham told reporters on a campaign conference call organized by the new “Palin Truth Squad” that only “only blinded partisan people” could fail to appreciate Palin’s qualifications, and said Obama needed to denounce Fowler’s remark.

Listen: Graham holds conference call with reporters

"I hope he will take this opportunity to step out and get this campaign back on track and reject this really outrageous, demeaning statement of someone who’s accomplished a lot in her life," said Graham.

The Obama campaign quickly moved to distance itself from Fowler’s comment. "Carol Fowler was speaking for herself. Her comments do not reflect our views in any way," said spokesman Hari Sevugan.

Fowler herself apologized late Wednesday, and said her remark had been misinterpreted. "I personally admire and respect the difficult choices that women make everyday, and I apologize to anyone who finds my comment offensive. I clumsily was making a point about people in South Carolina who may vote based on a single issue. Whether it’s the environment, the economy, the war or a woman’s right to choose, there are people who will cast their vote based on a single issue. That was the only point I was attempting to make."

The conference call was part of a sustained McCain campaign effort to paint Palin as the victim of attacks connected to the Obama campaign. Earlier in the day, they released a Web ad that repeated their claim that Barack Obama’s lipstick comment had been aimed at the Alaska governor, even though he used it in reference to John McCain’s policies, not Palin.

But the campaign was forced to pull the ad from YouTube after CBS objected to its use of a clip of Katie Couric commenting on Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. That distinction was not made in the ad, which implied that Couric was criticizing attacks aimed at Sarah Palin.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (478 Responses)
  1. Russ

    Palin has qualifications? Mayor of a town of 9000? Being mayor of a town of 200,000 didn't impress Karl Rove when Obama was considering Tim Kaine. Governor of Alaska? 18 months. She's been governor of a state with 650,000 residents for less time than Obama has been running his internationally recognized presidential campaign, less time than Obama has been in the Senate – and yet Obama is dangerously unqualified to be President, yet Palin is qualified to be a heartbeat away from it?

    Seriously... what qualifications?

    September 10, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  2. marc

    OBAMA's downward spiral will end Nov 5th

    September 10, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  3. Ly

    As a thinking woman, I agree with Carol Fowler's comments. This is an obvious reason why McCain selected Palin. McCain is obviously not strong on this issue and had support some form of abortion before. He needed to lock down the conservative vote and that include the same issues as it always have been in the past: abortion and gay rights. The question is will we ever get past this to REALLY and HONESTLY talk about the economy, education, healthcare, international affairs and environmental issues. If we look at the root of it all, all of these issues are connected and yet we still dismiss it and vote purely on one issue: abortion and marriage.

    September 10, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  4. sarah

    Why should he denounce something that is obviously true? She spoke for herself, and frankly, she said exactly what a lot of other people think. ENOUGH already. HS nonsense should have been left in HS. I agree with Obama, get OFF the crap non-issues and get on with what YOU will do for this country.

    September 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  5. Don of Fairfax

    Carol who . . . honestly never heard of her.

    Don't expect Obama to stop these tactics. Point in fact, this mornings statement about the lipstick. He knew exactly what he was saying when he drew the comparision. His supporters reacted exactly the way he wanted . . . look at their faces . . . they understood the double meaning.

    I just don't care for Obama and his crew.

    McCain is a much better choice.

    September 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. RyanD.


    The GOP has no platform.

    September 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. Jean

    The republicans are bein nit pickie what a shame. They sound like middle school children on the play ground out of control.

    It's like they want Obama to cry uncle for every yhing. Now it is time to call this what it is Racialism.Would these men make the same demands from a White Male running for president.

    I have been black in America long enough to be Obama's mother, I have been a part of all of the systems trying to prove my belief that we can expect the American Dream on a fair playing field. Why?????

    September 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  8. Sean

    He doesn't need to apologize for others. They didn't say it on his behalf. Get over yourself...

    September 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |

    I call on Lindsey to denounce all of the lies and falsehoods the McCain campaign, John McCain, and Sarah Palin are telling Americans about their records and Barack Obama.

    September 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. Sandra

    Let's see if I've got this correct:
    1.Teaches abstience to teen ages and not birth control..result..a pregnant 17 year old daughter.
    2.Does nor believe in global warming , along with Bush,even though 90% of people schooled in this problem do.
    3.Bush has god speaking to him and Palin sayd God says that the war in Iraq is just.I thought that AlQuada believes that this is a Holy War and I expect better from educated people..guess I shouldn"t.
    4.Palin believes that drilling for oil will solve our energy problems not that burning fossile fule is a problem ...and that it will bring gas prices down.
    5.she thinks that if we continue to give tax breaks to the ones on top and big business all will be well.Isn't that how our economy got into this mess.
    6.She gave back oil revenues to the the people in Alaska ..Bush gave us $1200 and what good did it do...he had to borrow it from China that in case he hasn't noticed is not a democracy.
    7.she has fired anyone that did not agree with her policies as did bush and both surround themselves with yes men..look where that has gotten us.
    I just don't understand how anyone can vote for Mc Cain and Palin. Do you think a 72 year old will change his spots or that an ill equiped person could run the country if necessary?The Rep take no notice or resposibility for the terrible shape that our country is in...I can't imagine how anyone could even think of keeping them in office for 4 more years.

    September 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |

    When an embryo that was created in a petrie dish for couples that are infertile, grows to be a full term baby in said dish, then we can discuss the "embyronic cell research" issue. Until then, they are frozen excess zygotes and the private property of the couple. They can dispose of them or donate them for research to help the living.

    Hopefully, this will clear it up for you religious fascists that wish to impose their will on all of American.

    September 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. Que Quedas

    Thank u rebecca......for at least acknowledging that he commented on Mc Cain's policies before he made the statement about lipstick and pigs.......Palin is not ready......when have we been held away from a candidate that could end up being president......Judgement.......not hindsite....Surge is hindsite( oh we don't have enough troop) opposing the war Judgemant (we should not invade Iraq)

    September 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  13. Douglas Marshall Jr.

    The only person who should be apologizing is Palin for exploiting her innocent minor children for her own personal, petty gain.

    September 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. TRBoston

    This is absolute rubbish. If the Republicans want to hold Obama to everything that EVERY Democrat in the country says, how about they start taking responsibility for Westmoreland calling the Obamas "uppity?" How about John McCain denounces his disgraceful and disgusting education ad? How about they stop playing pathetic games with lipstick and sexism and start actually dealing with the issues? John McCain may have been a war hero, but the behaviour in his campaign over the last few days leads me to believe that he is now a traitor, a coward and a liar.

    September 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  15. LeisureMaster

    “only blinded partisan people” could fail to appreciate Palin’s qualifications??? You've got to be kidding me? If Alaska were a city, it only be the 18th largest in the U.S. San Francisco, Memphis and Austin TX all have larger populations than Alaska. I'm sure it may be a difficult job, but I've NEVER heard anyone say that jumping straight from governing 600,000 people makes a person qualified to be Vice President.

    September 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. cadence

    I hope that Senator Graham will take the necessary steps to get his own campaign back on track!! The Republicans have been completely out of control since Sarah Palin's acceptance speech at the convention!

    September 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  17. Poetic Justice

    I am SO tired of Sarah Palin. I turned off the television this week because every minute her face was stuck on it repeating her convention propoganda. She is no boon to women. She palys the sexism card every time she is asked any question or with any comment that is made about her. McCain is quick to blast anyone who mentions her and wants them fired. Mention stem cell research and you are making fun of her child. Mention Iraq and you are not supporting her son. Mention motherhood and you are making fun of working women. There is basically nothing you can say. I can't wait until the debate and I hope that Biden will let her have it! No more Mr. Nice Guy! Uh-oh, that's sexist, isn't it?

    September 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  18. Matt

    Note to the Obama Campaign:

    Why are you letting the McCain campaign and Sarah Palin sway the majority of women in this country to the McCain bandwagon.

    The republicans have an ABYSMAL record when it comes to issues important to women.

    HERE'S AN IDEA: GET HILLARY CLINTON, MICHELLE OBAMA, and JILL BIDEN to crisscross the country to speak on WOMEN'S issues.

    WHY are you letting PALIN and MCCAIN define what is important to women ???!!!

    September 10, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  19. Mike

    I love these games. Anything a Republican says goes. Anything a Democrat says must be denounced, and it must be denounced by our presidential candidate. I hate Republicans! Anybody who votes Republican is either dumb or rich, there is no other explanation.

    September 10, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  20. Peggy , Minnesota

    Maybe he will apologize for someone elses comment when Mcsame/pitbull apologize for and remove the ad about Obama supporting sex ed for kindergartners, which is totally untrue. He supports teaching the children the things that will keep them from being molested by child predators. There ad was a total farce and is much more disgusting as is there whole campaign. They are a joke.

    September 10, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. Alaska and Arizona POW for Obama/Biden

    Vote smart this November. Vote good judgment. If you say that our economy is good now, you are an elitist and you do not know our struggle to put food on our bellies and gas in our cars. John McCain that elitist think the economy is good and has no plan to help us. He wants more wars, more tax cut for big corporate that ship our jobs oversees. Ohio, Michigan,Pennsylvania I know that your economies are hurting and you must vote smart and vote someone who understand your econoics struggles. It is not time to support someone just for race or gender, it is time to take our country back and get our respect back around the world. Vote Democratic this November if you are a true American who put America first. We need change in Washington and the Democratic party has that change for us this November.

    September 10, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  22. Kris

    I doubt that this will get posted because I have tried so many times.

    OK Sen. Graham, Obama is not responsible for every comment that eminates from a democrat.

    I am sick of the media pandering to the "he said, she said" game. Enough already. I also am sick and tired of the GOP not giving any policy programs.

    Guess what the US Government took over Freddie Mac and Fannie May. Most people think little of this but if Freddie and Sally fail, well we are stuck in the Great Depression for at least a decade. The credit markets would evaporate and this current recession would look like robust growth.

    So as all of you go pointing fingers and gender or race, I ask you to think. We are at the tipping point of economic disaster. You may say goody when Lehman Bros. declare a $4 billion loss, but few of you realize that the only reason major commercial and investment bank not going belly up is that the Federal Reserve is pumping money into the system.

    We have over 1.2 million foreclosures and McCain is saying the government will stand by you. Well if you are losing the house, job and everything this means nothing.

    Many economists are saying that we have not hit bottom on the housing crisis. So where is the economic policies of McCain other than having us give huge tax cuts to the rich, and continuing a war for years.

    We have a $407 billion dollar deficit and this will continue for 2 to 3 years if we do not take a different direction. This is the news out of the Congressional Budget Office.

    So be a PUMA, Sexist or Racist and let this drive your vote. Then when everything is falling apart, look in the mirror and realize you are responsible.

    I want discussions on policies, I do not want a personality contest.

    We let GW lead us down that path and I will tell you that we are way worse of now.

    September 10, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |

    Distraction, distraction, distraction, blah, blah, blah...
    Bush's flunkies ALL OF THEM


    September 10, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  24. D -n-Mo

    Huh. Pitbull? Sounds like her own party thinks she's a lap dog with no teeth. Why are the gloves off everywhere else, but punches are supposed to be pulled where Palin is concerned? I thought she was a strong choice, but I guess this just points to the fatal flaw in my Republican brethern – the need to "protect the little woman" from bad words and deeds. Sheesh, guys-,let the woman defend herself. She's proven that she can run with the big dogs, let her bite a few!!!

    September 10, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  25. Jason

    Oh shut up. This fake "outrage" that you call on someone to "denounce" other people is ridiculous. Does this mean I should "denounce" my neighbor when he says something? This is outrageous. Why is this news? WHY IS THIS NEWS?!?!?!

    Do your job CNN. Maybe we should get McCain to denounce his own racism claims: "I hate gooks."

    Or the claims of those that back him? HMMM!?

    September 10, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
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