September 10th, 2008
11:25 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama says 'enough is enough'

Obama speaking in Virginia Wednesday.

Watch: Obama speaking in Virginia Wednesday.

(CNN) — Barack Obama accused the McCain campaign of "lies" and "Swift boat" politics Wednesday, after nearly a day of claims his 'lipstick on a pig' comment was a sexist attack leveled at GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin.

"Spare me the phony outrage. Spare me the phony talk about change," Obama said at the start of an education event in Virginia. "We have real problems in this country right now. The American people are looking to us for answers, not distractions, not diversions, not manipulations. They want real answers to the real problems we are facing.

Watch: 'Spare me,' Obama says

"I don't care what they say about me. But I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift boat politics," he also said. "Enough is enough."

Obama's heated response came after the McCain campaign said the Illinois senator owes Palin an apology for invoking an old adage on the campaign trail Tuesday: "That's not change," Obama said, saying John McCain’s policy views were similar to President Bush’s. "That's just calling something the same thing something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."

McCain's campaign said Obama's remarks were offensive and a slap at Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin - despite the fact that the Arizona senator himself used the phrase last year to describe a policy proposal of Hillary Clinton's.

Within minutes, the McCain campaign announced a conference call focused on the remark, which they said was a deliberate reference to Palin's line: "You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."

UPDATE: Responding to Obama's comments, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said, "Barack Obama can’t campaign with schoolyard insults and then try to claim outrage at the tone of the campaign."

"His talk of new politics is as empty as his campaign trail promises, and his record of bucking his party and reaching across the aisle simply doesn’t exist," Rogers also said.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (809 Responses)
  1. David Orbach, New York, NY

    How could it be sexist when Obama says it, but acceptable when McCain says it about Hillary? Who would have thought we would see the day when the Republicans would resort to playing the "poor me" card?

    September 10, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. GeorgeWashington

    Please fellow Americans, keep your campaign to issues, policies, and plan of action. Campaign and act like adults planning to serve this great nation.

    September 10, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. larry

    I agree hush up and talk about issues only, just tring to take focus off what's important .

    September 10, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Barack Is Speaking Now

    I'm listening, and he sounds great. I'm so proud of him for getting this campaign back on track, and talking about the real issues.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 10, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. D N DC

    this is a serious election!!!! Let have a serious debate!!!! Enough distractions!!!!! Can we get to the issues!!!!!

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 10, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  6. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    Way to go,BO!

    September 10, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. Will

    Hallejah! Its about time he got off talking about Palin and addressed how the McCain camp is taking the low road and making something out of nothing and promising to debate the actual issues unlike McCain. He needs to keep going after McCain and not Palin and I hope he keeps it up.

    September 10, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  8. Ken in Dallas

    I agree with Obama.

    McCain cuts and runs when confronted with facts. If he refuses to face facts, then he should be confronted with what running from issues expresses about his character.

    McCain campaigns like a coward.

    September 10, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |

    You can send an "idiot" to Harvard – but he's still an idiot. have become a joke. Please sit down or better still, go back to Chicago where you belong.

    September 10, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. LS

    CNN, this is way too important of an issue to just turn the other cheek so quickly?

    How is the media so quickly to attack the comment on LIPSTICK, and fail to attack McCain on his decision to approve his disgusting ad??

    McCain crossed the line with his ad yesterday. People I know are outraged and are sickened by his attempt to betray the protection of innocent children.

    After this, what people in their Right-Mind would vote for McCain? You read that McCain supporters – what state-of-mind are you people in?

    This election is not about only electing Obama, but MOST IMPORTANTLY – protecting our children from McCain. McCain was Very WRONG to use this topic for his DISTORTED advantage, Very WRONG.

    Anyone who crosses this barrier doesn't deserve anything. And I hope this subject comes out in the debates and SLAPS MCCain right in the face.

    September 10, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. Marie in Ohio

    I say keep using the line, over and over and over again!

    John McCain is doing exactly what he has suggested....He's trying to make his ideas look fresh, when all they really are, are George Bush's failed plans.

    September 10, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. FreeNLovIt

    This is America. IF you can say it earlier in the year, I can say it now too..

    September 10, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. Robyn

    There are so many important issues to talk about, why is lipstick getting so much attention. Enough is enough.

    September 10, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. Rodham Democrat

    Sen Obama should say:

    "I will not let Republicans swiftboat me.
    I will not let Republicans lie about me.
    I will not let John McCain, Gov. Palin, and their campaign twist my words and make people think I said something that I didn't.
    I know these are Republicans and they will say anything to win, including lying and smearing, but this has hit a new level."

    September 10, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. John in Ohio

    Obama and Obama's campaign are not 2004 Kerry. When the swiftboaters and smearers and Republican strategists attack, Obama is ready. He doesn't ignore it or let it slide, he calls them out, calls them to the mat, and pokes holes in the lies.

    Be cool guys, he's got this.

    Obama-Biden 08

    September 10, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. Roy P

    Way to go Ubama. I know have this perverted urge to grunt and oink everytime I see a women with lipstick. Harrvard must really be proud.
    This is not what I voted for in the primaries DNC.

    September 10, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. PA voter

    Thank you, Senator. They are attempting to turn everything anyone says into an attack against Palin. It's called A DISTRACTION! He has made the lipstick comment before, you have made it before and many others have too! This is about the reality that they aren't changing anything, no matter how they try to dress it up.

    Keep pressing on, Sen. Obama! We're behind you!

    September 10, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. Cynthia

    Senator Obama is 100% on point about what Senator McCain is trying to do. The McCain camp doesn't want to discuss the issues because they know that they will lose on that discussion. They however, want to put out nonsense about lipstick on a pig. Back in the primaries when asked about Hilliary Clinton's health care plan – McCain said that the same thing about the pig on a lipstick & no one said that he was talking directly about Senator Clinton. People need to wake up and realize what Senator McCain is doing before the slip into to office and we see an increase of bad things happening in this country.

    September 10, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. Chris

    I'd like to applaud John McCain for thinking that Sarah Palin is a pig.

    September 10, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Obama Supporter from FL

    Have people never heard that metaphor? He was referring to the fact that the McCain camp is selling the same plan George Bush has been giving us for eight years. The concept was that their plan was the pig – putting lipstick on it by saying it was something different can't hide the fact that it is still the same "pig" or plan.

    My goodness this sexism trash from the McCain camp is really getting ridiculous.

    September 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. Sally a Proud Republican for Palin

    We ALL know that even though McCain made the same statement referring to Hillary Clinton in May, 2008, it was okay. Kind of like if Brittney Spears is pregnant at 17 and getting married the Family Research Council says the parents are sinners and sleep at the switch. But if Palin the P wearing lipstick has a daughter who has boozed it up and gets pregnant, then married.....what a good mother she is.

    It is called the Republican double standard.



    September 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. James F., New Orleans, LA

    If you heard all of Obama's remarks it is clear he was referring to the new McCain "Change" mantra and not to his VP running mate. The McCain campaign has manipulated the story to suggest Obama was slighting Ms. Palin when it is very clear he was not.

    September 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. TONY

    Enough has been enough for 8 long years.

    Unfortunately since so many ignorant, apathetic women all across American, predominantly white women, who vote republican, don't get it, McCain and Palin could very well win.



    September 10, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. CC

    The McCane group of cronies have reached a new low, nitpicking on non substantive words rather than telling anyone how they are going to deal with real issues.
    Smacks of desperation!

    September 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. Former Repub

    Is there ANYTHING the republicans will not try to use as ammo?

    I can honestly say I have never seen so many far shot accusations in a presidential campaign.

    September 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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