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. Milly, MN

    Even though i am voting for Obama now, I highly respect Hillary for what she stood for and how tough she is–compared to this Palin woman. Hillary stood the test of a tough campaign and fought back hard–like a man!! Palin is a wimp. Being use as a shield by the Republicans to fend off attacks from the Democrats crying "sexism, sexism" everytime she is attacked. What a shame!! I as a woman am appalled by this disgraceful tactic and all women should be ashamed of this as well.

    Advice for Palin- if you think you deserve to be VP then come out from under the covers and stand up for yourself, face the press and the critics–just like all the other real men–and Hillary.

    Obama, tell them like it is. You are on the right track. I'm listening to the issues. Mccain has nothing to say except hide behind a woman instead of talking about real issues.

    Obama/Biden "08

    September 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Frank

    FINALLY! Obama replaces Obambi.

    It has been incredible to listen to Obama express shock over the fact that Republican's are unapologetic liars. Who did he think he was dealing with, decent human beings?

    September 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    McSame used the same line on Hillary! The Minister of Propaganda, Herr Karl Josef Goebbels Rove's spin machine will continue to churn out many distractions until election day.

    The economy is the biggest problem we face and we don't hear much from McSame or The Church Lady because the fix we're in is the direct result of the policies an asleep-at -the -wheel Republican president and his rubber-stamp Republican congress foisted on us, including an unnecessary war in Iraq and letting the dollar freefall for eight years.

    September 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    McCain would rather win an election, than tell you the truth.

    September 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. Jeff

    Number 1 do I think Obama meant Palin when he said lipstick on a pig...NO!!! but how stupid was his speech writer even to put that in there and doesnt Obama read his speeches one time before giving them. It was a BIG mistake to put that in there. With accusations of sexism i the Obama campaign going back to the primaries to give any kind of ammo is just plain STUPID!!
    Number 2 it is quite obvious that Obama is RATTLED, if he does not right the ship now it has the chances of being a Republican Landslide. The media and the Obama people once again misjudged the size of the base of the Republican Party and do not understand the Country on a whole is Center-Right not Left. The base of the Republican Party is larger and than the base of the Democrats. The Obama people may be finally realizing thise. .Why now Obama says the Surge was been a success beyond his wildest dreams, he now things Charter School Idea is a good one, and he may have to delay repealing the Bush Tax Cuts. People he is is trouble he knows it and his people know it, but 7 weeks in politics is a long time this can switch in a new york second

    September 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  6. Joshua College Station Texas

    I don't see Palin as a viable, capable President of the United States, should McCain experience health difficulties while in term. Palin would be a complete puppet to the NeoConservative decision-makers in her party should she have to accept that responsibility. Her inexperience and extreme right-wing views and judgment will become apparent, I think, when she sits before a panel or reporters and doesn't only take questions from a single interviewer.

    Little has been said by the McCain campaign that compares their policy platform to Obama's. A direct comparison shows that Obama's plans and ideas are far superior (more detailed, more well thought out, more in line with the views of a majority of Americans) on every front: the housing/mortgage crisis; fiscal responsibility; tax reform; energy issues; environmental policy; health care; the role of science in the decision-making process; ethics reform; the war in Iraq; the war in Afghanistan; veterans' benefits; women's issues (equal work for equal pay); and so on.

    McCain talks about breaking gridlock in Washington, but he said the same things decades ago and hasn't appeared to have much success. The current gridlock is a result of the Republican minority in the Senate voting party-line against every initiative brought forth by the Democrats. The Democrats do not have a clear majority so as to prevent Republicans from filibustering and killing bills. And of course, President Bush has vetoed nearly every Democrat-sponsored bill. This is why nothing seems to get done.

    To end gridlock and improve our lives on so many levels, electing another Republican right now is not the answer.

    One last thing: people who do not follow politics much may not understand that there are people behind the scenes that we never see or hear about who make most of the political decisions that actually affect our lives. A few have been brought to light shamefully, Karl Rove and Jack Abramoff being a few of the most infamous (more should be exposed if Obama is elected president). If we want the most immediate and long-lasting change in this country this election, it will not come by electing a Republican. This is because the real political decision-makers will not magically go away if McCain is elected. They will still be in place, and will have the strongest influence on what McCain does as president. The only way to take away their power is to remove their access to top leadership. I want real change, and so I am putting my money on Obama.

    September 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. laura

    Hmmm....looks like the democrats are finally calling out those phony outbursts:)

    September 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. David, Silver Spring MD

    Obama is absolutely right. Phone outrage is all it is, designed to stir the emotions of people like "anonymous" who get stories out of context from talkers who have an ax to grind and an agenda to meet.

    McCain is not putting the country first when he promotes a blatantly false interpretation of a comment in favor of a real discussion of the issues. That's not change, that's the same old lame, pathetic, disgusting politics of people like Dick Cheney leading us into Iraq or Karl Rove smearing the same John McCain in 2000.

    McCain is blind with ambition. So blind that he would rather lie than lose. And if he would rather lie to get into office, what will he be willing to do to stay in office?

    September 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. Rick K

    He should say it every day.

    The comment was regarding dressing up old policies, used in exactly the same context McCain used it (which was also fair at the time).

    The outrage is feigned, and one great defense against feigned outrage is to turn it into a din – keep them outraged and they'll drown out their own message, which is BS anyway.

    Make them scream so loud and so much that it becomes obvious to more casual observers that they are playing "the outrage game."

    September 10, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. LB

    Who votes for the President of the US because his VP is cute. Look at the issues and what they represent for the people, men, women, and children. Educations, college tuitions, healthcare, economy, global warming, peace in the world not war. Now McCain is talking about Russia. The only way he can have the manpower for all these wars is to reinstate the draft for both boys and girls. Is this what you want for your child??

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. Dustin

    This is the Barack Obama I have been waiting for! At a time when the media was trying to steer the conversation to sensationalism and non-issues he stood his ground and talked about a plan to help keep us competitive in the 21st century, something I have yet to hear from John McCain. We need a president who wont get caught up in the moment and focus on the real problems at hand.

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  12. Atlanta

    How come you didnt refute the comment Obama and defend yourself? How are you going to handle Putin, beg him to stop by saying enough is enough. Obama is weak....

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  13. evan

    CNN- please post this.

    Dear John McCain,

    You have to focus on the ISSUES!!!!!!

    What are you going to do for me?

    Barack Obama has elaborated and we all know the direction he will take our country...

    All your campaign can do is whine whine whine........
    its sad really.

    OBAMA > McCain

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. Illinois Blue Dog

    love the hypocricy coming out of the McCain campaign. This morning, Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough gave Obama the best advise he could get on this issue. Get in front of the camera, and say (paraphrasing) "John McCain, if you really think I'm sexist, get out in front of the cameras and microphones and call me sexist. Don't hide behind your campaign or your surrogates to do your dirty work. Come right out and say it if you believe it. Otherwise, spare me your fake contempt." Obama needs to challenge him man to man, after which point he should AGAIN remind the voters what this election is about – ISSUES not personalities

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. woz

    What a baby.

    He cries about what the other side is "GONNA SAY". Like the "presidents on the dollar bill" comment.

    Then he takes some heat for yet another gaffe and CRIES AGAIN.

    What a puss.

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. RDS

    @Anonymous....Now I know why Bush was elected TWICE! Grow up...all this fake outrage is ridiculous. If that was enough to persuade you to change your vote then bye! Obviously you don't care about issues like healthcare, war, economy, energy independence. Stop acting like a 6 year old with hurt feeling and pay attention to the real issues facing this nation. You wIn the award today for "Most Likely to Be Distracted By a Shiny Object"....CONGRATS!

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Bridget

    Obama, KEEP STANDING UP to this ridiculousness and misdirection of the McCain/Palin campaign. You and Joe Biden have to fight back.

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Tom

    Good for Obama. The very idea of McCain's campaign and the GOP in general calling someone else sexist is outright ludicrous. This is the party that has been the standard bearer of sexism for decades and nothing has changed. McCain just found a female VP pick who pursues sexist policies in her own right. Women, do you want to have choice over your bodies? Do you want your daughters to have choice over theirs? Palin doesn't. Obama and Biden do.

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. Maggie

    Enough is enough is so right. I have heard and seen enough of you. Time for you move on.

    Its refreshing to see someone like Palin in the race now so we don't have to hear and see so much of you now. When you started out you kept saying that you represent change but the only change I have seen from you is that I am seeing a black man. Your politics are no different from what's been happening in Washington so there is no change coming from you. Now, there is a change when McCain brought in Palin into the race. That is real change to see a refreshing face in this race and I hope your disrespectful supporters will leave her alone and not try to do the same thing to her as they and also your campaign did to Hillary Clinton. Well, I know the republicans will not allow that to happen anyway so stay clear from her with your vicious lies and accusations.
    AGAIN, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND THAT GOES TO YOU OBAMA.

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Frank

    Indeed! The media has a responsibility in a Democracy ! Report the fact, focus on the issues and expose hate speeches and distortions as such.

    Well, in a perfect world – not ours. The fact is, a large part of the American People is rather simple minded and troll behind the candidate who tells the most obvious lies.

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. Louise

    The stock market is tumbling. Fannie Mae is not good news but it's even worse when the Republican ticket obviously doesn't understand the situation. (Tax payers didn't own it – they're bailing it out!)

    Watch the money move. And it's not going to Alaska.

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. mzgemini

    If the mud fits ... wear it!!!

    I am so sick of the poor me do-and-say anything to win Republicans who think of nobody but themselves and their own interests. As for experience and qualifications... I don't care how you spin it, Palin is no more qualified to run this country than Donald Duck and the only reason they put her on the ticket was to appeal to "Evangelicals" and the uneducated.

    Any body who is not looking for an excuse to vote against the black guy can see right through this BS.

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Brenda of Saginaw ,Michigan

    NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD MEN AND WOMEN TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR COUNTRY.
    "VOTE OBAMA 08"

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. FLforObama

    As a future educator in Florida, I agree with Senator Obama 100%. Living in Florida, I know the effects of politics in education. Our teachers are one of the lowest paid in the country and our students must face meaningless weeks of preparation for the FCAT when they should be preparing for their future!
    I am so tired of the political parties trying to politicize issues like education. This is not what our children need. They deserve a better future. Education should be bi-partisan, politicians should be working hard to ensure that our children get the best education possible as our country is the land of opportunity. I am voting for Barack Obama because I think that he is the candidate that can bring us that opportunity. John McCain's latest ad accusing Obama of promoting sex education in kindergarten is disgusting and offensive. The McCain campaign is just all talk and no substance. This is not what America needs right now. Enough is enough! Obama/Biden '08!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. PUMA PALIN

    Obama is falling like a stone... and it's getting to him.

    It was clear the comment was aimed a Palin... the crowed knew it too...

    His vile attacking and negative tactics are backfiring in his face... he says issues and then attacks on anything but...

    Obama's a tool... he's done... put a fork in him....

    September 10, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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