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. Joe

    Thank you Sen. Obama! Let's stop all these non-issues and campaign tactics.

    September 10, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Patricia Weller, Westminster, Maryland

    Of course Obama didn't mean it in a sexist way!!! That is the most ridiculous thing the McCain camp could ever have done!! Phony outrage is right! First they attempt to steal the "Change" mantle, then they accuse him of something he didn't even do.

    SHE (Palin) is the one who compared herself to a pit bull, with lipstick. But hey, pigs are just as cute.

    I guess the Repubs message is – she is the one we picked to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. But don't vet her, no interviews, don't criticize her, stay off her family. She is now "The One" about which we dare not speak. . . . a "celebrity" if you will. Sound familiar?

    Does McCain not have a campaign to call his own?

    September 10, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Mark in Illinois

    We're electing the President of the United States, yet we're treating this like an 8th Grade Student Council election. Get a grip!

    September 10, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. Jesse Smith

    Good for Obama....the Repugs NEED a good slap on the face!

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. BJ

    "A noble peace prize winner supports Obama.
    95% White Iowa votes for Obama.
    95% African americans vote for Obama
    95% Young vote for Obama
    95% Latinos vote for Obama
    95% Educated vote for Obama
    95%Veterans vote for Obama
    95%Business vote for Obama
    95% First time voters vote for Obama
    95% vote because his VP is better"

    Where do you people come up with these numbers? I have done an informal poll of my friends and coworkers, and the result is 98% McCain, 2% Obama.

    Anyone can make numbers do what the want...

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  6. leapfrog

    I'm not sure what is more soul-draining sad, that a candidate for the presidency (McCain) chauvinistically ignores campaigning on the pressing issues of the day in favor or trash talking opponents, or that a majority of Americans apparently agrees. We are truly in the age of trash TV, where superficiality trumps substance. Sad. So sad. Our forefathers would be ashamed.

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. Never let them see you sweat....



    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Shirlette

    I want to see some outrage about McCain's new attack ad on tv stating that Obama supports teaching children in kindegarten about sex education before teaching them how to read. I think this is offensive knowing this man has two little daughters of his own. The Republicans can be so nasty. Before I never looked at the parties even though I am democrat but since Bush has been in office this administration has opened my eyes. Obama keep up the good work stay with the issues and continue attacking McCain.

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. elle

    And watching McCain/Palin , they are still going on about earmarks. Hypocrites!

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. Tony in L.A.

    Obama should call a press conference demanding to know why Sarah Palin is in hiding. Can't she speak for herself? Only a single interview to ABC's Charlie Gibson nearly two weeks after McCain announced her as his running mate – now that's a scandal! All this nonsense about sexism against her is total BS noise to distract from the fact that when it comes to the issues, Republicans got nothing. BRING SARAH PALIN OUT OF THE CLOSET AND SEE IF SHE CAN STAND HER OWN!

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  11. warren - detroit

    It's all in the context. What McCain said was in context to Hillary's healthcare plan. What Obama said was in context to McCain's "change" image, which began with Governor Palin. Palin made it a foul when she referred to herself (satirically) as a pit bull in lipstick. While the debate is still out on which is better, a pig of a pit bull, the phrase is off limits in that context.

    Just because a black person can call his pal a "n***a" doesn't mean a white person can. Same thing goes in this scenario. Under the context Obama was wrong; speech writers get your apology ready.

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. ibjg

    I'm thinking Obama intentionally used the phrase knowing that a) McCain had used it before, and b) that McCain would whine about Obama using it – it gives Obama a great opportunity to drive home how hypocritical McCain is. He can also mention how McCain jumped to the conclusion that "pig" was a reference to Palin, when in fact he had never mentioned her at that point. Now we just have to hope that the right-wing biased media will allow him the opportunity to present his response.

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. Independent Veteran

    I see nothing wrong with's an old analogy that most have use and not called a sexist. I have to admit though that it's good to see Obama fighting fire with fire. He attacked twice in one sentence referencing John McSame as an old smelly fish and his running mate as something other than the pit bull she's claiming to be. BTW did you see some of her old pictures...she wasn't that small.

    Also, why haven't we heard a lot about the Palin gaff, you know, the one where she thought Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has always been under government control. This is basic economics knowledge, which she (having a "basket weaving" degree) obviously doesn't have.

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. Kelly

    Let's revisit the phrase lipstick on a pig, shall we. To cite, the common idiom has nothing to do with sexism. Nor does it have anything to do with Palin, unless you want to scrutinize her use of "change" that is nothing more than political stagnation that promotes war, oil, and corporate greed over advocating for the average tax paying American, then I would be more than happy to discuss the use of lipstick on a politcal pig. Because that is exactly what we are talking about, retooling the same-old Beltway spin that the Republicans call policy. You can put lipstick on that pig called Trickle Down Economics, but it is still the same retread that Ronald Reagan pushed forth twenty-eight years ago.

    So back to the definition of the following per the above link:

    PUT LIPSTICK ON A PIG: If people put lipstick on a pig, they make superficial or cosmetic changes, hoping that it will make the product attractive.

    Please stop claiming sexism where it does't exist. Working women have fought long before Palin grabbed the public spotlight to be considered peers with their male counterparts, a crying wolf in this way is an insult to women like myself.

    We have fought true sexual discrimination and continue to fight for equal pay for an equal days's work. Stop whining (and that includes John McSame) and crying wolf any time you don't like what you hear. If you keep up these false accusations, no one is going to take women seriously when there is real sexism at play.

    Let's talk about real issues. Or better yet, let's talk about real sexism that happens every day in this country or rights for women such as reproductive choice, equal pay for equal work and all of those quaint ideas Palin refused to believe in .

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Hatred fails

    I am following the lead set by Michelle Obama.

    Michelle said on TV that she would not vote for HRC, if Hillary were the nominee of the party.

    Well... now that Obama stole the nomination of the party, I will not vote for Obama.

    If Michelle can break with her party- and she is the wife of one of the candidates- certainly little old dumb, ignorant, backwoods, me can exercise the same right.

    FOOLS- intra-party vitriol and Hillary hatred and bashing democratic white women- that did Obama in.

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. viny

    Obama was trying to get cute with his remarks and he got caught with his pants down. Events from yesterday have put the "ism"(Obama) and children(Biden) into play. The same folks are saying no big deal now will be outraged when the right goes after the other "ism" and "children"

    Both candidates have absolutely nothing new to offer than their party, Mccain with GOP and Bush and Obama with Democrats and the current congressional leadership.

    So I would be surprised if these campaigns keep to personal level and 50000 feet level change rhetoric. Nobody has a clue how to solve the countries problems.

    Surge was bad , but is working, so let us prescribe for Afghanistan

    Stimulus was bad, but helped, so let us do it all over again

    Intelligence failed, got us in a wrong war, nobody is asking questions what are we doing to fix it

    Politicians are using a one size fits all solution for every problem and reporters/interviewers are more interested in knowing, is Palin gaining white women, is Obama sexist, no wonder politicians get away with this much of low approval ratings, the "media elite" seems to be in a brain cramp here, someone page Sanjay Gupta maybe he can help

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Everyone is Biased

    Let me see.... Obama makes the "lipstick on a pig" and "old fish" comments together and they had NOTHING to do with Gov. Palin or Senator McCain?? If you believe that, your blinders need an adjustment. Also, if these comments were not about Obama's opponents, why did the crowd find them to be so funny?

    Who's lying now??

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. Oh Boy!!!???

    Mr McBurns, it's time to release the HOUND!!!!


    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  19. KATHY


    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  20. raj

    I will move to CANADA if republican wins the election,,,,i don't want to leave my family in poverty

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Ajay Gupta

    Obama's comments are sexist, targeted against VP Palin and those who will vote for her – and that's why he said that.

    He would never say something like that about Hillary Clinton – whose economic, health care, and other plans are truly bad.

    September 10, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. Renee

    We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.
    We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check.
    We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.
    But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. – Barack Obama

    September 10, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. tchanta

    John McCain has no honor. He called his wife a c**nt, joked that Chelsea Clinton was ugly and fathered by Janet Reno, laughed when one of his supporters called Hillary a b**ch.
    In High school they used to call him McNasty and The Punk. He still is.
    He can hide behind his POW status all he wants and the media can shield him. He is still a punk. He has no honor.

    September 10, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. SPQR753

    Considering that the STRAIGHT TALK BUS was a cover up for all the flip-flops of McCain, considering that a THRUTH SQUAD is needed to cover up all the exaggerations uttered non stop by Sarah Palin, considering that Todd Palin is now depicted by McCain as a man with "cojones" winning a race under very low temperatures and all that BLA-BLA-BLA, I wish McCain would FINALLY dedicate some of his PRECIOUS time to speak about the REAL ISSUES that confront us and describe in details (p-l-e-a-s-e n-o m-o-r-e: MY FRIENDS I KNOW HOW TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS ON A BY-PARTISAN WAY) exactly (read in detail) how he plans to solve them.

    September 10, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. Love My USA

    BO knew exactly what he ws saying. And as a women I resent it. He alluded with the word LIPSTICK. Sorry this time BO we are not buying it.
    CHANGE??????? BO – null null – otherwise known as Dr. NO!
    "Change" is fleeting! Positive and Negative – Good and Bad. Obama's self-serving "change" born from contempt and controversy, is like a wrecker destroying in a day or two, what it took noble builders – our founding fathers – years to construct.

    The tale of the sinister scorpion, mirrors BO's blueprint of deceit.

    The scorpion, a poor swimmer, asked the turtle to carry him across the river. "Are you mad?" exclaimed the turtle. "While swimming, you'll sting me and I'll drown."
    Laughed the scorpion, "If I sting you, you would drown and I would go down with you. Where is the logic in that?"
    "You're right. Hop on!" said the turtle.
    Halfway across the river, the scorpion gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle resignedly asked, "You said there'd be no logic in stinging me. Why did you do it?"
    "It has nothing to do with logic," the drowning scorpion replied. "IT'S JUST MY CHARACTER."



    September 10, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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