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. Same old ploys

    Obama is no longer able to maintain that nice guy fascade.

    Remember how Obama did the exactly the same thing to Hillary towards the end of the primary?

    It was clear Obama's momentum was in decline and Hillary's momentum was climbing. So he turned vicious and nasty.

    Obama got scared and he started to taunt, mock and jeer Hillary. And Hillary was a member of his OWN party. Remember the Annie Oakley mimicing act? Remember his macho, cocky brushing Hillary off his shoulder?

    It worked against Obama then and this relentless personal attacks, sarcasm and mocking of Palin will also work against him.

    The democrats have been the hateful, vitriolic ones in this election. Obama inspired an army of vile, vulgar, filthy, nasty, abusive NEW democrats.

    That is when the democrats LOST this election. So much for Obama's ability to unite. So much for his new way of politics, so much for hope and for change.

    Millions of democrats were shocked and appalled when Obama tore into Hillary with derision, and sarcastic putdowns. We were put off when his supporters hated on her and spewed vitriol and hate. It was sexist and it was misogynist and seemed so out of place from the man preaching unity and change.

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Nick

    Bologna.
    Obama is wrong. This is not Hillary campaign to apologize for everything.
    McCain 2008
    Hillary 2012

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. We're NOT "your friends"!!!

    I'm actually very impressed with the swift, stern and simplicity of this. Very straight-forward...STOP THE BS McCAIN! We the people do care about issues, your campaign think's it's about personality. It couldn't be further from thr truth. ISSUES ISSUES ISSUES!!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Corey Martin

    Anybody stupid enough to fall for the McCain campaign's silly tricks are being "Punk'd". The worst part is that the McCain campaign KNOWS that Obama was not talking about Pallin. They are probably wetting their own pants with laughter that ANYBODY even fell for this!! John McCain's own former press secretary wrote a book called "Lipstick on a Pig: Winning in the No Spin Era". Buy a clue people!!

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Republican in mourning

    This is why I'm a depressed Republican. My party has nominated a party traitor who has consistently voted against tax cuts (until recently when he wanted to become the nominee), has been anything but a deficit hawk, and has sided with democrats on issues such as campaign finance and amnesty for illegal immigrants. Now, he makes a cynical VP choice to appease the evangelical nut cases who have taken over our party, and who is anything but a reformer and "maverick"-she's a hack for the evangelicals. We don't talk about issues, because we can't talk about issues. McCain's campaign is a noun, a verb and POW. He has NO new ideas. We're the party of pragmatism and solutions, and we've become the party of idealogues and evangelicals. Well, this Republican is not voting for McCain, instead, I say let the new guy (Obama) have a shot and see if he can turn things around. If he can't, we'll kick him out in 4 years and put a real Republican in his place.

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Rey

    I say - KEEP USING THIS LINE OVER AND OVER!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Patiently waiting for debates

    Man I can't wait for the debates!!! OH BY THE WAY, has anyone noticed that Palin has not campaigned alone yet!!!!?!?!?!? The day that she does, she will get barbecued!!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    Enough is enough. Well! Sen Obama you started it. Gov Palin was talking about herself when she said, the soccer Mom thing. YOU were really talking about her. And if you wern't, then you need to appolize and move on. Both parties need to stick to the issues at hand. Thats what Americans want to know. Your main jobs are to protect and servic the US of America. That also means to close the borders to the radicals, Illegals, etc if possible. The economy, and all the rest. Still waiting for Obama to have a one on one with McCain without teleprompters. McCain has asked mulitple times to do this and Obama refuses. Guess he doesn't have all together as yet.

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Moonie, NYC

    It was about time Obama stand up to the McCain camp. Enough is Enough. I want to hear about real issues.

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. BSmith for Obama

    I'll incorporate an even better simile or adage of the local color variety to describe Macain now that he has a running mate. When Sarah Palin is speaking, Macain is prancing around on the platform like a "monkey in a dress shirt." Is he trying to rev up the crowd or is he staying close to slap a hand over her mouth? He definitely hasn't allowed her freedom of speech. What's he afraid of?

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Mel

    Obama is doing EXACTLY what McCain wants him to do...lose his temper. Losing your temper never makes anyone look good, including Obama. All it shows is his insecurity. It is very unbecoming of him and very unpresidental. Yes, McCain attacks Obama as well, but he does it in a far different way with out losing it on national TV. Obama can not handle the fact that his popularity is slipping and he does not know what to do at this point. He better figure it out or he will lose this election. He looks to me nothing more than a whinning little baby at this point and certainly not someone I would ever vote for AND this is coming from a democrat. This will be the first republican vote that I have made. I will not vote for someone just because they have a knack of using the word "change" in a speech over 100 times or because they make promises to me that they know they can not keep.

    September 10, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. Mikey

    Promise: “I will run a clean campaign”
    Reality: McCain has been attacking Senator Obama and smearing his character for months. His latest ad takes a program designed to protect children from predators and disgustingly portrays it as “teaching sex education to five year olds.” The ultimate evidence of his abandonment of honorable campaign tactics is employing Karl Rove to develop political strategy for the McCain campaign.

    Promise: “I will run a high minded campaign based on issues”
    Reality: His campaign is promoting McCain and Palin as patriots and mavericks and largely avoiding discussions about the issues facing the American people. His campaign manager actually said that the campaign is about personalities, not issues.

    Promise: “I will put country first”
    Reality: VP pick was completely driving by politics, not by what is best to govern. He has recklessly put a 20 month governor of an isolated small state, who has few qualifications, no foreign policy expertise or experience, and almost no expertise in economics or national domestic policy in a position to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. The divisive, negative campaign spawned by his relentless attacks and the spectacle at the GOP convention is further dividing Americans and harming the very fabric of our country.

    Promise: “I will run a transparent campaign”
    Reality: McCain has reduced his availability to the press and no has few candid question and answer periods. Palin has been almost completely sequestered, does not take questions from either reporters or voters and is basically rehashing her acceptance speech at campaign stops. Now we find that KARL ROVE, the man who’s gift to American is eight years of George Bush, has been one of the architects of McCain’s camp for several months now – a fact they have been hiding from the American people.

    Once, John McCain was worthy of both the title “maverick” and the respect of the American people. That is no longer true. By his own actins, he has forfeited any claim to either. It is very disheartening to see that the victim of a disgusting Bush/Rove smear campaign in 2000 would hire Karl Rove to do the same to Barack Obama and Joe Biden just eight years later – disheartening and disgusting. You would think he would know better.

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. Jarda

    Republicans took it as an offense because they are PIGS.
    Anyway their BS is beyond imagination and I hope people show them in November what they think about Karl Rove and his nasty campaign which now he is running from behind.

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. JLP

    The context of the remark about lipstick on a pig is after Palin's now famous line of lipstick on hockey moms and not on pit bulls. Obama is a very smart man and HE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING when he said it. He was goading John McCain, and McCain's CAMPAIGN took the bait. Obama just wants to CONTROL the game because he doesn't like being out of control as he has been since the day Palin's candidacy was announced.

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. CNN IS NOT BEING HARD ON MCCAIN AND SARA

    CNN AND THE REST OF THE MEDIA IS NOT BEING HARD ON MCCAIN AND HIS VP SARA.

    OBAMA IS RIGHT WE HAVE NOT HEARD ANYTHING FROM MCCAIN AND HIS VP THAT HELPS SOLVE THE PROBLEM PEOPLE ARE HAVING.
    SEN. HILLARY WAS CALLED ALL KIND OF NAMES WHY ARE THEY PROECTING THIS WOMAN.

    IF SHE IS GOING TO RUN FOR THE HIGHEST OFFICE OF THE LAND THAN SHE NEEDS TO STAND ON HER OWN TWO FEET LIKE HILLARY DID.
    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. I'm Listening

    Will the real Barack Obama please stand up... Oh there he is! The one crumbling from going down a few points. If he can' handle the campaign how could he be expected to handle the Presidency? He's already losing it.

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  17. karrie

    Obama should make that slogan because Enough IS Enough! I want to hear about the issues. If that's the only way McCain thinks he can win, hiding behind a woman, then that doesn't say much for him or his politics. I'd like to see what his crowds look like after Sarah Palin goes home, because without her, he just looks like a doddering old man. I look forward to the debates.

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  18. Tony

    It is apparent that John McCain is depending on Gov Palin's popularity and ability to whip a crowd into a frenzy to carry him into the White House. Otherwise, he has NOTHING! No, solutions to the worsening economy, job loss, housing decline, continued energy dependence, healthcare, and education decline. He is even at a loss of how to deal diplomatically with other nations. Look at how well his and Bush's "forceful" responses to the Georgian crisis worked out....Russia snubbed its nose at the U.S. and began withdrawal from NATO. Toughness is okay, but needs to be combined with smartness as well! McCain for "Figure-Head President"...NOT!

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  19. McCain = Mr. 90%

    Anybody that is claiming to be a "former Democrat" now voting for the Republicans can give me a call at 1-800-YEAH-RIGHT!

    It is really sad that the Republicans have had to stoop to trying to fool voters by getting on blogs and acting like they are disaffected Democrats. It is sad, just sad.

    NOBODY that has ever voted Democrat will vote for McCain/Palin!

    Obama/Biden '08!

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. the heart of the matter

    maybe mccain could grow a backbone and tell that "sexist" comment to Obama's face instead of clouding the issues as a result of having nothing more to offer–how can mccain even look at the public and clm hes "change" when u voted with bush 90% of the time!!! i have lost respect totally for mccain-he and palin both just lie!

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Boston

    You're behind in the polls and running scared. I love all these nasty comments. Way to show your true colors Dems.

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. San Francisco Values

    It is so sad that the media is jumping all over these "issues." It's exactly what the McCain camp wants and exactly why "they" chose Palin in the first place.
    Obama and McCain can talk issues day in and day out, but once someone supposedly insults the other person, calls them a pig, or questions ANYTHING about them other than issues, the media will jump all over it.
    It's complete smut. It's junk news and for some reason, the media loves to put that front and center. McCain's lobbyists are smart enough to know this and this is why they, no McCain, THEY decided to choose Sarah Palin and play the victim card against everything Obama and Biden say.
    It's time for us, and you CNN, to wake up and start delivering news and putting the issues front and center.

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. ANGIE

    I agree ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! the mccain campaign has done nothing but tell lie after lie KARL ROVE POLITICTS we the american people deserve better then that AFTER 8 YEARS OF A PRESIDENT THAT LIED TO US TIME AND TIME AGAIN enough is enough its time FOR A REAL CHANGE MCCAIN AND PALIN ONLY BRING MORE OF THE SAME (LYING KARL ROVE POLITICTS!) ITS TIME FOR BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OBAMA/BIDEN08

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. KMAN

    Senator McCain ... please take heart in knowing that a PIG is MUCH SMARTER than a PITBULL with or without lipstick ... so, your warped mind should accept it as a compliment! You and your running-mate are absolute frauds who rely only on the most ignorant in our society to even give you a chance in November!

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. P Carter

    I am soooooo glad Obama FINALLY said this! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! Let's talk about issues, because it does not matter what color, gender, or religion you are we ALL still face the same problems: Gas prices, Taxes, healthcare, education, etc.

    September 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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