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. betsy

    I totally agree. I am tired, too, of the constant nitpicking on stupid stuff, and not focussing on the issues. CNN you are as guilty as the rest of the media. Stop being dragged into this by the spin of either campaign, and report on the truth, the issues like NPR and PBS are doing. You would be distinguishing yourself and make your program more watchable.

    I can't believe the incessant coverage of Sarah Palin, to the detriment of both John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. You need to cover them all!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. Irony

    When McCain says the pig in lipstick line about Hillary it's OK, but if Obama says it, it's not?

    Typical Republican spin...A whirlpool of lies and half truths...

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. David

    Enough of this partisan mind-reading on the part of McCain supporters. Try reading or at least listening. First McCain has a demonstrated and very public record as a sexist – cheating, strippers, sexist jokes, and foul and gender specific insults to his currrent wife. Second, did any of you read or hear the quote. Try it it helps. Just to be helpful. The pig is this case is McCain's and the Republican party's stale and disastrous policies of the lase 8 years that McCain is gleefully feeding on. The lipstick, by the way lipstick is a color called "Change." Incidentally, the dead fish and the fish wrap also refer to McCain's and his party's agenda. That one is probably easier for your guys to understand. To review then, a pig and a dead fish cannot be made attractive with lipstick, a wrapper or a slogan that is used without any meaning.

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  4. ST

    This is ridiculous! We need to get to the issues and leave the rest of this crap alone. Obama was not referring to Palin w/the pig remark. He was referring to a McCain policy. Boy, the GOP is smart. They have chosen a VP candidate that no one can touch. If these two get in office, America is going to go down the tubes.

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    The repubs are playing political theater like there's no tomorrow...
    This is an old line used by many and it just happens to work on a couple of levels here 🙂
    Sarah, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig eh?
    You can throw a political puppet out there to feed us horse***t but only the ignorant will buy it.

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Heather

    Here we go again – since the beginning Obama has said anything he wants and when he is called out on it he tells people to get over it (or rather forget he ever said anything) – there are other things more important in the country to talk about.

    What is going to happen when he says something like this about the leader of another country? Is he going to tell the people of the other country to get over it?

    Its just getting really old. If there are other things to talk about why say things that could be easily misinterpreted in the first place? Sounds to me like Obama wants to make McCain look like he's not paying attention to the importants issues. Sounds like old politics playing to me.

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Charlene, 67, white, retired, Republican for Obama

    Palin brought up the lipstick "joke" and she has to live with it...

    I cringe to think she might make a stupid joke like this to the world leaders should she be VP. My vote switched with Palin on the ticket.

    Wake up America...Obama is IT for our country.

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. Heidi Hemlepp

    I hope that they do start concentrating on the issues that the country is facing instead of being side tracked by things that McCain and party dig up. McCain does this because it distracts us from realizing than he doesn't have any concrete plans on how he is going to help this country. He has distracted us by picking Palin and making the election a sideshow. Palin is undoubtedly a poor choice for many reasons too numerous to name. I hope the American people look at what McCain is doing and understand that he is trying to manipulate each and everyone of us. American people do not be swayed. Do your research and make an intelligent choice. Go Obama/Biden!

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. Richard

    Why is McCain so sensitive about comparisons of Palin and a pig? Democrats haven't said she is, but McCain worries about a possible comparison.

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Tom

    People.....calm down!!! Obama will show his true colors and lack of experience in the debates. Without a teleprompter he'll be completely lost and we'll hear that terrible verbal pause he does when he is trying to think on his feet. He's full of crap and it will be obvious in the debates. Maybe Ellen and Oprah can get him ready.....ha ha ha

    GO McCain.....notice the polls show that Obama is NOT way ahead and after the debates he'll be toast!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. Francheska

    Good for you Obama!!! The Republicans know that Obama was not referring to Palin, making an uproar about it was just a ploy to get Amercians off the topic of REAL CHANGE!!

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. Eyes

    Perhaps McCain is oversensitive to the remark because he is unsure of his VP. She says she is a pit bull but......

    Who knows her well enough to say?????

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. CA Voter

    Women should be utterly disgusted that the arrogant McCain campaign thinks that it can play women like flutes so easily. He thinks you are all a bunch of dumb bimbos who will go all a flutter with their fake charges. It's disgusting and is actually sexist.

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Leslie

    Stay on message. Do not apologize. You have nothing to apologize for! The Republicans are using this for a diversion. Keep up the great job!!

    I love your talk on education. Our country is in an education crisis! You see it. The republicans do not. They understand the rich will get educated and the poor will stay uneducated. This keeps the poor where they want them, making minimum wage at Wal-mart with no health insurance and not knowing the difference.

    Keep fighting for us!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. Sue

    Americans don't care about issues, they care about who looks good on TV and has pithy zinger sound-bite lines and makes them feel safe because they're famiiiar and don't have funny-sounding exotic names that remind them of dead Iraqui dictators.

    That's why McCain is winning now and will win in November.

    The GOP do 'get it' – it's all about presentation, not substance.

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. Joy

    That's right Barack, stand your ground!

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. Chris Banner

    No one esle but Obama would restore the country's poor economy.
    Not with McCain's antics, nor Palin's lies, whatever you call them

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. People make no sense

    Anonymous – here's something you won't have to swift boat me on. You are an idiot!

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. JB

    Obama why don't you accuse McCain of saying you have a funny name, or that you look different?

    That worked against Hillary!

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. Elizabeth

    He’s apparently sick of the “phony outrage” and he wants to “debate the issues.” Apparently his campaign didn’t feel that way during the primary, when the campaign pulled the race card against both Clintons and he turned down opportunities to debate. When John McCain wanted to debate before the conventions, Obama couldn’t fit it in his schedule. That was because he just had to take a vacation in Hawaii and, incidentally, attend fundraisers. What kills me is he is always condemning the old “politics as usual” when his campaign’s tactics have proved to be the same or worse.

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Candice

    WOW! They accuse Barack for using the "Race" card and condem him for using a pharse that's been around for over 50 years!!! The Republicans are really reaching now! It's sad when one party focus heavy on non-issue things! The unemployment rate is HIGH, gas is HIGH, my Tuition Fees and bills are HIGH, and the US is facing a critical time right now! But the Republicans only want to focus on IF Obama was talking about Sarah when he said "A Pig is a Pig". Well if she took offense to the phase I guess she sees herself as a PIG with Lipstick!

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Adrian

    Spare us the phony outrage about the phony outrage, plz. thx!

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. Becky

    WOO HOO!!! You tell 'em Barack!! We are with you! BTW Did Hillary whine when McBush called her a pig?

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. Jerry in Boston

    Republican's don't like the lipstick on a pig analogy? Cry me a river.

    Ok how about this...

    You can't polish a turd.

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. Goddess

    What is the big deal. The woman was pround being called a pitbull. How was his comment lower and sexist. That is just plain asinine.

    Can we focus on the fact that Palin will be one heartbeat away from the presidency and she has NO PLANS for the country. How is she ready from DAY ONE to run this country if need be?

    September 10, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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