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. RH

    Let me just say that the saying in the south which is rarely understood in other parts of the country goes as follows: "You can put lipstick on a pig and it is still a pig". . . .what that folk phrase means actually "You can try to make someone into something else but when all is said and done, they are what they are". This is not a sexist reference at all. It applies to men and women. Perhaps the media and others need to research TRUE southern culture instead of trying to interpret thus misconstruing and often taking things so far out of context that it is not at all what it refers to. This if anything shows ignorance.

    September 10, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. Tim

    Excellent, excellent, our diabolical plan is going exactly as planned.

    September 10, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. Chris in Atlanta

    The Republicans are getting ridiculous. They haven't really talked about the issues, other than admitting that some of them exist. Then they jump on the "Change" and "Troop Withdrawal" idea that Obama has talked about for over a year and make it their own. Imitation is usually a form of flattery, but this is just getting out of hand. Alot of Republicans have some serious "soul-searching" to do.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 10, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Jeremy

    Obama is sounding more stupid everyday. Somebody needs to remind him he is running for president and as such, needs to act presidential.

    September 10, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. Running on empty AND scared too

    Obama got nasty with Hillary and the media was gleeful about it. The DNC turned the other way. Obama played dirty and his supporters engaged in a constant barrage of hatred and insults and vulgarity against Hillary, fellow democrats and Americans who disagreed with them.

    Women were horrified at being so disrespected and dismissed and attacked in such blatant sexist ways.

    Now Obama is doing the same thing to Palin- that pig and lipstick remark was over the top. I put Obama out of my list of potential presidents.

    These nasty name-calling attacks on Americans is not the way to unite and to demonstrate hope and to argue for change.

    If Obama does not get that he does not deserve to be in the White House.

    He declared himself the uniter and then gut and tore the party and the nation apart with his vitriolic hateful demeaning attacks on those who are different then him. Antipathy towards people who are different?

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. TIM

    It is really getting comical these days how Obama's response to anything is just...."It's a lie"...."stop making fun of me"....."my feelings are hurt".

    Doesn't he have any response to the issues?

    This man is as desperate as they come....he sees his whole "fantasyland" collapsing before his eyes.

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Jim

    They can only shelter Palin for so long.

    McCain's policies, the same old tired stuff Bush has pushed on us, is the pig in a poke Obama is referring to. What kind of intellectual hoops does one have to jump through to make a common phrase into some kind of personal affront to a politician regarded by those around her as "practically perfect in every way"?

    Give the press access to her for a few weeks and we'll see the real Sarah Palin. Either she's ready to be President or she's not. I hope she can take it as well as her party can dish it out.

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Drew

    Senator Obama does have a point. The McCain campaign has been responding to the Obama campaign either by mimicking Obama's messages ("Change") or by acting outraged. It seems to be one or the other. If Senator Obama is so outrageous, then why copy his "Change" campaign?

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. joel halpern

    Thank goodness. Someone finally said it. The whole reason Mccain picked Palin was for the very reason of distracting people from the issues and this pathetic attempt to victimize Palin is just one in a string of ridiculous distractions. I just hope and pray that the American people see these tactics as the exact same Rove tactics that ruined us 8 years ago. Lets talk about something pertinent like health care and the economy and the environment because I could care less if Palin got teased the playground.

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. peter

    First of all, it was Gov't Palin who liken her self to a DOG, when she stated that the difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull (LIPSTICK)so lets make that very clear. Second the phase Obama use is a common phase, McCain used it also, that like the pot calling the kettle black. McCain ENOUGH IS ENOUGH you did not vet this woman and now its coming back to hunt you. You gamble and you lost. To CNN and the media we the VOTERS ask you to PLEASE

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. Chipster

    Palin says she's a Pit Bull so, what is it? Does she think she's a Pit Bull or has she decided she's a Pig? Otherwise, the cliche doesn't have anything to do with her. Maybe by now she think she's some other animal. This woman is really off her rocker in more ways than one.

    McCain, you're not fooling anyone because it's the POLICIES, stupid, not age or snappy snide remarks. The economic disaster, war based on lies, constitutional violations – things like that – that you have supported are the problem. Window dressing doesn't hide the ugly truth.

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. McCain = Bush

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! 8 years of living under an administration that lies to the people they were paid to work for. 8 years of an adminstration that has robbed its economy blind with war debt and favors given for the criminal profit of US oil industry. 8 years is enough of people suffering without accessible healthcare. McCain – Enough is Enough!

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Dennis

    Senator Obama is right. There is a double standard. Bring up experience, and Senator McCain's camp cries foul and that Senator Obama is being sexist for bringing up Governor Palin's experience. Never mind that they have been attacking Senator Obama's experience for months.

    Bring up flip flopping on an issue (e.g. "the Bridge to No Where"), and again they cry foul. There is concrete evidence that Governor Palin drastically changed her position, and she is misrepresenting her stance to voters. Never mind that the GOP is attacking Senator Obama for his positions on Iraq.

    And finally, it is okay for Senator McCain to use the "lipstick" line when talking about Senator Clinton's health care plan, but just because Governor Palin used the word lipstick in describing herself as a pitbull, the use of that word is off limits to the Democrats? Come on.

    The hypocrisy of the GOP is insulting.

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  14. DP

    Yes. way to go BO. Enough of this faux outrage.

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  15. Joe, from NY

    Keep at it Obama...keep talking about the issues and let the McBush ticket spin lies and character attacks...they will be exposed by the election. Surprisingly, people haven't figured this out yet...but I have faith

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. Jeanne

    Finally, yes !!!!! This is how you beat the Republicans. Do not play their games, stick to the issues, DO NOT talk about Palin and act presidential. This is what the American people want.

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Debbie Joyner

    Words Matter

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  18. Matt


    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. obama for potus!!! si se puede!!!

    um, uh, well um, enough uh is um enough, um uh we arent sticking um to uh the um issues uh. This is the great orator without a written speach to read off of. just watch the stephonopolis, and Orielly interviews if you want to doubt me. This guy is a fake just like mcamnesty we need to flush everything about washington, period, change includes getting rid of obama too. btw dems how do you feel about having a prowar candidate just one heartbeat away from the presidency, change you can believe in right.

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. K

    Ah...the messiah has spoken again! Since Mr. O loves his old sayings,here's one for him...'you can dish it out, but you can't take it, can you?' I say let the McCain say when it's over since you started it, you wanna be playground bully!

    Let the moderation begin...

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. dawgdoc

    I have resolved myself to the fact that the media is scared of the republican party and will not allow Obama to win. McCain puts out a commercial denegrating Obama's attempt to protect children against predators and the media decides to talk about a ridiculous story with absolutely NOTHING to it. Why didn't they spend this much time and energy discussing the fact that the only off the script comment Palin has given showed a TOTAL lack of knowledge about the housing situation (Freddie and Fanny hasn't cost taxpayers a dime). Why are they not holding the McCain campaign accountable for it's ludacris comments at ALL. Oh well, I guess they like stories about job loss and foreclosure so they are trying to ensure another 4 years of it.

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  22. Obama's words

    "just words"
    "I don't know who I'm running against"
    "they will say"

    You are experiencing a backlash of the arrogance you and your left leaning poiticaL PUNDITS so willingly expressed for the Clintons during the primary campaign.

    How do you like it now?

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. VanLear

    Question – has anyone seen McCain lately. It seems he has become second banana to this VP choice. Doesnt he have something to say, I mean he is running for president.

    Like that old commerical use to say "where is the beef?'

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. Alyssa

    I've been to the South Side of Chicago.

    If you want America to look like that, vote for Obama.

    Myself, I don't think so, I want better.

    I'll vote for McCain/ Palin '08!!!

    September 10, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  25. Lissa in Montreal

    Awesome! It's obvious who the adult is in the presidential race.

    The McCain campaign is obviously making this about personalities, as they promised, and that's REALLY gonna help the American people a whole lot. Unlike the Miss Alaska pageant, this is NOT about congeniality, it's about issues and the McCain/Palin ticket has avoided anything about the issues and has thrown every violin concerto up in defense of REAL talk that might hold them accountable.

    Keeping Palin from reporters is WAY fishy – what are they afraid she'll reveal? That she can only read and not speak for herself? I'm so tired of the Sarah Palin reruns it's laughable. But it's obvious that the McCain campaign is only nitpicking on Senators Obama/Biden's words and not addressing real concerns.

    THAT'S shameful.

    September 10, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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