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. facts are facts

    I don't understand why Obama doesn't call McCain out on the obvious which is his feeble mind. Many people think McCain is simply a liar but it is quite possible he can't remember what's been said or documented days before.

    Hopefully Obama will go for the jugular when they do the debates and McCain will explode as he is very very unstable and a loose cannon ready to explode. Look what the women did to him with a few simple questions and he couldn't handle it.

    September 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Judy from NC

    Keep telling the truth about McCain's campaign and his stand on the issues Senator! The truth may hurt, but it's not an attack.

    "If you don't stop lying about me, I'm going to start telling the truth about you." – Barack Obama

    September 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Michelle

    McCain says that Obama is at a new low for "blasting him" during Ike. So if that is a low McCain...Why did you air your new attack ad on the same day? What you can talk negative about others but they can't talk about you? You can be an immoral liar and a cheater, but then you want to cast stones? You accuse others about being a celebrity, but then you try to transform yourself into (even though you have failed in movies (Wedding Crasher), Saturday Night Live (played the creepy OLD husband), and by far beat ANY candidate in appearing in the most talk shows. You tout yourself as a reformer and you first "presidential" decision was to pick a VP with higher earmark spending per capita in the whole United States! 4 million dollars you approved Sarah Palin for researching sea crabs in a state that only has 660,000! Yeah, that is reform for wasteful spending! You talk about country first but then you chose a VP who has, along with her husband promoted and participated in the AIP? A strong group of people that do not want any government or rules from the US and want to be their own entity! Is this what you mean about smaller government! If McCain dies it will be Alaska first...not country first. God bless AMERICA and not the divisive policies that fostered us in the previous 8 years of being China's.....(you know what I want to say-but I am a Christian woman) mistress!

    September 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. v.ananthan

    Very strange that Obama wants debates now...

    OBAMA managed to win the nomination by avoiding debates with Hillary because he wasn^t good in debates...

    Hillary supporter now for McCain & Palin.

    September 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Lyndon,CA

    America votes in black and white!

    September 13, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. emmanuel



    September 13, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. bruce

    I'm an Obama supporter who thinks it may be time for a shakeup in his campaign leadership. Obama is getting whacked hard on a daily basis, and many of his responses sound like whining complaints. I'm very frustrated about this!! He's not receiving guidance he needs to put his great talents to the front!!

    September 13, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. I'm Listening

    What record?

    September 13, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Marj,Paso Robles, Cal

    You have NO record to distort, uhbama. Your actions speak for themselves. Anger, resentment, tantrums and rascism. That is your claim to fame, uhbama.

    September 13, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. Steve

    Finally hitting back. And with bricks. I love it!

    September 13, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  11. Melissa

    My heart goes out to the victims of Hurricane Ike, but we can't afford to stop talking bout the future of this country every time there is a national disaster. The stakes are too high and the time is too short, and the McCain camp has shown "zero restraint" in their lies. Let's keep it comin', Obama!

    September 13, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Kent, Illinois

    The Republican convention was a sham. They pretended to care about the victims of the storms because they knew how badly Bush treated them after Katrina. I believe Obama actually really cares. When will Americans understand that the GOP isn't about most Americans? And no..........the GOP ticket does not want to debate the Dems. They will be forced to defend the last 8 yrs and why they have pushed this country into the ditch..........and don't care they did it either. If you put all of the social issues that affect most Americans on a paper you would realize that the Democrats were behind all of them. For the help. Independents will go left this year..........

    September 13, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. georgia

    McShame is laughable . He doesn't know the meaning of restraint w /all his lies & spin. McSame-McShame . He should have shown restraint when he dumped his sick wife for money ! Let's talk restraint. He should have shown some when he called Chelsea Clinton ugly !!

    September 13, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. aliou FL

    McBush has no lesson to give to no one in this country. The presidency is one toy he woud never get.

    September 13, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. Ed, Fl

    Go Obama, hit them where it hurt. Take no prisonner.

    September 13, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Molly Weasley

    After the lying shenanigans of the McCain campaign, they can't expect anyone to believe them about "new lows."

    Both campaigns made a pledge to not run any political advertising on Sept. 11. Who broke that pledge? John McCain.

    September 13, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. lou

    Thats the way Barack...You cant be nice with these sleaze bags.They will only lie and distort the facts, taking advantage of the weak and feeble minded hate mongers in the country.Take off the gloves..We will not give in to their fear and hate filled,smear campaign.

    September 13, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Charlotte

    McCain comes out with ads attacking Obama for teaching children how to avoid abuse from pedophiles – ! – and new facts come out each day about his own campaign lies, yet we're supposed to just believe whatever he says; Obama keeps bringing up specific facts and plans for the future, and HE's "sunk to a new low?"

    September 13, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. CM

    You McCain supporters gonna be 'outraged' that he didn't lay off due to the storm? Wouldn't put it past you guys to point out your own flaws on others.

    September 13, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. Phil Newton in Murphy, Oregon

    Speak the truth!

    So refreshing, after weeks of McCain campaign lying and pandering, to hear the plain, unvarnished truth.

    We are proud of you, Senator Obama.

    September 13, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. carlo

    At least Obama is telling the truth, which never fails. The concensus is in from almost every pundit. John McCain is running the sleaziest campaign in history.

    So much for your honor McCain...

    September 13, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. hipatia

    Way to go Senator Obama, let those lying McBush people have It.
    Do you know they are also lying in Spanish?
    As if we Hispanics were ignorant fools who are not paying attention. The worst climate for Hispanics right now is McCain's home State were we are being persecuted just because the way we look. Senator McCbush is trying to have his cake and eat too.
    I hope CNN post this because they never post my comments.

    September 13, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. ronn allen


    September 13, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. joebloe

    You have to call like you see it!!!!

    Since when is calling a lie, a lie, something bad.

    Maybe if John Mc"Bush"Cain would try to tell the truth, Obama wouldn't have to call him out on it.

    ! ! ! ! GO OBAMA ! ! ! !

    September 13, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. june in FL

    Keep talking what the people want and need to know about what a new Democrat government will do for them, Real CHANGE... not the same -O, Same -O Bush/Mcain agenda. Who would ever have believed that the McCain of 2000 would sell his sole to be president!!

    Obama/Biden 2008-2012

    September 13, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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