September 13th, 2008
12:01 PM ET
15 years ago

Ike winds don't cool tone on the trail, as Obama blasts McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Obama and his camp aimed tough talk at McCain Saturday."]
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) – In a shift from the apolitical tone the presidential candidates took during Hurricane Gustav, Barack Obama did not temper his rhetoric Saturday, as his spokesman accused John McCain of “cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history.”

“John McCain wants to have a debate about national security let’s have that debate. I warned that going into Iraq would distract us from Afghanistan. John McCain cheer-leaded for it. John McCain was wrong and I was right,” Obama told a screaming New Hampshire crowd.

“The McCain-Palin ticket, they don’t want to debate the Obama-Biden ticket on issues because they are running on eight more years of what we’ve just seen. And they know it,” Obama said. “As a consequence what they’re going to spend the next seven, eight weeks doing is trying to distract you.

“They’re going to talk about pigs and they’re going to talk about lipstick, they’re going to talk about Paris Hilton, they’re going to talk about Britney Spears. They will try to distort my record and they will try to undermine your trust in what the Democrats intend to do.”

Watch Obama on Hurricane Ike

Asked why the campaign responded differently than it did around hurricane Gustav, Obama Senior Strategist David Axelrod said,“We have enormous concern for people down there … that’s why we canceled “Saturday Night Live” … but these people also came out because they’re really concerned about the future of the country and he [Obama]wanted to talk about those issues.”

Listen: Obama camp conference call Saturday slams McCain

The McCain campaign criticized Obama for showing “zero restraint” given the storm and said “today’s attacks mark a new low from Barack Obama.”

The Obama camp’s response was even tougher. “We will take no lectures from John McCain who is cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “His discredited ads with disgusting lies are running all over the country today. He runs a campaign not worthy of the office his is seeking.”

At the start of his rally, Obama did put politics aside, encouraging the thousands of voters in attendance to think about those in Texas dealing with the fall out from hurricane Ike.

“I’ve been on the phone with the head of FEMA and mayor of Houston and others who are trying to grapple with this tremendous storm,” he said “I know that one of the things that we’ve seen after Gustav, one of the things that we saw after Katrina and Rita is that during difficult times during moments of tragedy the American people come together. We may argue we may differ but we are all Americans.”

The enormous storm prompted the Obama campaign late Friday night to cancel their candidate’s appearance on the season premiere of “Saturday Night Live” saying that it was “no longer appropriate” given what Gulf residents were facing. Obama’s running-mate Senator Joe Biden also was supposed to attend the Manchester rally but did not.

However, unlike two weeks ago when hurricane Gustav was bearing down on Louisiana,

Obama heads back to Chicago for the weekend before heading out Monday to Colorado.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (354 Responses)
  1. Hockey Mom, St. Louis

    Boy, has Sarah Palin gotten into this guy's head or what? Listen to him rant and rave like a lunatic. He's out of control-total paranoia.

    I think that between Karl Rove and Sarah Palin, Obama will probably check himself into a Hollywood clinic along with Lindsey Lohan.

    This is great. I love it.

    September 13, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. Arkansan 4 Obama

    I'm glad that he is getting tough on the old guy! It's about time.

    Again the McCain campaign is trying to get away from the issues. They are trying to get the attention away from the disastrous Palin interview with Charlie Gibson!

    We do care about the Gulf coast residents. I've been on the phone all morning updating my friends and family in the Houston area because their power is out. But we are always going to have natural disasters and we have to make sure that we get the right people in office to lead our great country.


    September 13, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. WhereismyRepParty

    Wow, this isn't your father's democrat. Obama calling it like it is on the day of a major hurricane isn't really politically correct is it? BRAVO! There may yet be hope for democrats. Predictably the McCain camp resorts to their typical pandering, which is what the government did to our fellow Americans during Katrina. I have to say that I respect the way the Obama campaign quickly put the McCain campaign in their place. Still, no one has been pointing to today's proof that off-shore drilling is NOT the secure cornerstone to energy policy that McCain wants you to believe.

    September 13, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Anita, NY

    Someone please tell Obama not to worry-because it's not paranoia if they are really after you. Karl Rove is Obama's worst nightmare, along with Sarah the Barracuda. Obama looks like he hasn't slept since Palins convention speech. Someone better get him some Ambien and a Valium.

    September 13, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. steve

    Seems like all the obamabots are spending the majority of their time attacking Palin, the VP candidate, than McCain who is actually the one running for President. I think it's because they see their idol on equal footing with Palin while it's obvious he's not eqaul to McCain.

    Notice how the vast majority of comments on these stories are from the Obamabots, Don't confuse that with more support for the "chosen one." It's because these people are mainly young people who are either in college or high school, don't work. and haven't much to do but spew hate at anyone who they disagree with. I would even be willing to bet that, from the "intelligence" exhibited in their statements that a good many are in grammar school.

    Lets ask them if they can name one of the lemming leaders accomplishments. Two to one they can't name any. Saw a segment where they had indpendents in a room who were asked to name accomplishments for Obama. Surprise! None of them could think of any. Oh, I have one. he learned early on how to read off a teleprompter.

    September 13, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Another grumpy old white woman for Obama

    John McCain:
    Sell out
    "Kept" man
    War mongerer
    Sarah Palin:
    "Big woman big mouth
    Little woman ALL mouth."
    Slaughterer of defenseless wild life.
    Likes getting her hands bloody.
    Paid "stand in" for Lieberman. Bet on it.

    September 13, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. Arkansan 4 Obama



    September 13, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. R. Cooper

    What's wrong Old McCain? Getting tired? Need to take your weekend long nap? You can dish it out but you can't take it!

    September 13, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. Ben

    It's funny and sad because Obama is right.

    September 13, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Rebecca - Michigan

    Good, McCain was running attack ads on 9/11 was doesn't even compare.

    September 13, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Robert Corness

    Right On Obama!

    September 13, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Nancy MI

    Nobama is desperate and pathetic.

    ----McCain / Palin 08----

    September 13, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. WOW - Cedar Hill, TX

    No matter Obama does, mccain/palin always has something to say. mccain/palin are low life forks and will do anything to win this election. forget it mccain/palin you are history

    September 13, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. Griff

    He's as, "Bitter" as a, "Sick-Simba".

    September 13, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Jessica

    It is very uncouth of him to attack McCain on this day.

    September 13, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. Does Obama Palin Comparison?

    He must be kidding,,,McCain has been begging to get Obama into a debate or Town Hall discussion, and Obama refuses (doesn't want to look stupid when talking off of his script).

    September 13, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |

    The truth is, it's time for Obama to start fighting back with the truth. He dont need to go negative with a lie, but go negative with the truth. McShame doesn't have a plate form to run on, so what they're tring to is distract the American people from the issues that really matters to the avarage women, man , and future of all our children. Obama please dont take the low road with McCain. Have anyone seen the interview with Gov. Sara Palin with ABC NEWS. It scare the hell out of me. to think that this women being a heart beat away from a 72 year old heart is very scary. It's clear that this women do not have enough foriegn policy. Obama keep pushing the issues. Fight for wha you believe in. donot let the republician take this election with thier lies and scandals. WAKE UP AMERICA IF MCCAIN-PALIN TICKET GETS ELECTED, SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    September 13, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Tony

    How anyone could have any respect for John McCain, after choosing Palin as his VP pick, someone he knows in his heart and soul is not even remotely qualified, is astounding.

    It speaks volumes about Palin as well. She knows she is extremely inexperienced adn unqualified, yet whe will look right into a camera and tell teh country that she is prepared, not only for the position of VP, but possibly the presidency. She has no conscience, no love of country, no interest in what is best for America. Horrific!

    This is a man who says he puts COUNTRY FIRST, claims to want the best for his country and all Americans. Bull!

    John McCain has lost not only his dignity, but his values and respect for this country all for winning.

    How disappointing and sad.

    September 13, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. Tony in Michigan

    In response too Mcains Camp response."Don't do as I Do,Do As I SAY"!WOW The GUTS those folks have.

    September 13, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. carol

    Senator Obama is right to show the McPalin camp up for what they really are, both liars who repeat over and over again.....probably to try and convince themselves!!!!
    The fact is they have no "new truthful message" and are a disgrace to the American people.
    They will do and say absolutely anything to get into the White House
    and you fools who want to vote them in should be ashamed.
    So much for the latest slogan "COUNTRY FIRST", if they want to use that slogan they better start by telling the truth and getting Sarah Palin's background checked out first.
    How dare John McCain stand up before his "flock of sheep" and boast
    how she sold the plane on E Bay and for a profit (all being another lie of course) and acting like a demented school boy!!!!
    Yes, this is a sad day in America when people can't see what is best for the whole country and just voting because you only have tunnel vision as far as the Republicans are concerned.

    September 13, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Aaron from Battleground Ohio

    God help our country if this economical novice McCain is put into office. When Alan Greenspan speaks, you pay attention. Our country can't afford McCain's "experience".

    September 13, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Katy7540

    John McCain will say anything to get elected.

    September 13, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. supporter

    Got to stick to the TRUTH!! But keep reminding the people thatthe LIES are being spread by McCain and PALIN. Everytime you speek detail yhour plans to make a change. Challenge McCain to let the Voters know what his plans are so they can make a choice. CHALLENG HIM on the TRUTH.

    During the debate do not let him get a way with hs little one liners and slogans. If he tries look at him and shake your head and then say I think that the American people deserve more than slogans they need real answers and then explain what you will do to make real change.

    September 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. CindyN--PA

    It's like the Republican base in this country is equated to a "League of Morons".... I cant understand how any informed person could actually consider casting a vote for McCain or Palin when their campaign is nothing but lies. You can debunk the stories, and they will still vote for their idiots, you can pull out their lies, and the people eat it up. How stupid are we as a nation? A "league of morons" that is what I say!!! How can America be stupid enough to let the Religious right rule this country? How could anyone cast a vote for McCain/Palin?

    September 13, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |

    The GOP is going down.
    The people want a better platform.

    We don't care about pigs and hockey moms.

    We care about issues.

    Just wait for the debates! Obama will paste McCain. And Palin probably won't show up.

    September 13, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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