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. DebM, Allentown, PA

    McCain has lost any honor and integrity he may have had as little as 4 years ago. He has sold his soul to the devil, in the person of Karl Rove, in his last ditch effort to attain the presidency.

    For McCain's camp to suggest that BO is low is pathetic, and almost laughable.

    September 13, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. holyman

    As we can see Mccain will lie and do anything to win . He cannot be trusted with our future.


    September 13, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. 4Obama

    McCain team has no moral standing to voice their opinon about anything that Obama says. Obama has a donate section up on his site for texas.

    September 13, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. Rob

    McCain will say do anything to win an election even forgetting the people that he is hoping to lead. what happened to honor John? His excuse for running this sleazy noise filled campaign is because Obama wouldn't do townhalls? If anyone believes that he wouldn't have gone Karl Rove anyway I've got a bridge to no-where – cheap... check ebay.

    September 13, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. Breck

    As usual, McCain whines about issues actually being addressed.

    September 13, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Rob R

    You know, I think everyone certainlly is hoping for the best down in Texas. But the country cannot come to a complete stand still because a storm is affecting 1 state. I think everyone is so sensitive given Katrina that now every hurricane has to be treated as a day when the world stops. The govermnemt seems to have learned its lesson and is better prepared for these storms, so let FEMA and the local first reponsders do their jobs. It shouldn't affect Obama campaigning in New Hampshire.

    I mean what is John McCain going to do about the hurricane anyway?

    September 13, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. kn

    I for one am so sick of the Slime McCain is throwing, Now his running mate is also throwing it. I hope Obama wipes the floor with McCain and Palin.

    September 13, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. cecil

    John McCain of “cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history.”

    Amen Sen.

    No Shame In There Game, They'll Do And Say Anything!

    September 13, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Independent Dave

    Go get em!

    Focus on issues and McCains continuation of Bush policies!

    September 13, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Sue, NY

    McCain is so dishonorable and has lost all integrity...he will do anything to win....not the kind of president I want.

    September 13, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. Felines for Freedom

    So if Obama has reached "a new low "for attacking McCain the day after Ike, how does McCain's campaign stating Obama reached a new low compute? Come on McCain....we aren't morons. If you counter-attack, you place yourself at the same level. Didn't your mommy teach you that basic stuff? Or can you not remember the dark ages?

    On another note, as a South Floridian and News Orleans resident, I am intimately familiar with the devastation of hurricanes and my thoughts are with everyone in Texas and the surrounding affected areas. Good luck....stay strong.

    September 13, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Brian

    It is appearing that McCain's only claim to honor is being a POW for five years ... everything else is just sleaze

    September 13, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. mb--texas

    The future of our country usimg positive thinking(until some mudslinging by McCain gang) our country will benefit when Obam-Biden are elected in Nov.Obama camp keep hitting back when

    September 13, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. Why McCain

    McCain does not want to discuss the issues. He want to attack, be negative and destract.

    What are you going to do as President Mr Mcain?

    Why should I vote for you?

    Are you going to bring my brother home from an unjustified war?
    Are you going to establish a healthcare system the gives healthcare to ALL people. Why is healthcare only a privilege and not a right?
    Are you going to fix the public school systems so that my children can go to school in our neighborhood, instead of across town to a neighborhood in which they are not welcomed?
    Are you going to protect womans rights? What about civil rights?
    Are our gay brothers and sisters going to be treated fairly under your adminstration?

    What are you going to do to decrease violence in the inner cities, where I live?

    You nor Palin speak to me. It seems that you will uphold the same system that has lead us down this road.

    September 13, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. davo

    Vice-President candidate Sarah Palin was a Mayor and is the Govenor of Alaska. What are the duties and responsibilities of those offices? Her Duties include getting grants and ear marks if BARAK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN KEEP VOTING FOR THEM . As a candidate for govenor she was for the bridge to no where; what candidate would turn down 225million dollars that BARAK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN VOTED TO GIVE THEM. When it turned into a joke Govenor Palin said, “we don’t want the bridge,” BARAK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN TOOK BACK THE MONEY.


    The U.S. Senate voted to give the State of Alaska 225million dollars in addition to their regular highway funds, BARAK OBAMA and JOE BIDEN VOTED FOR THIS.

    The question is what kind of change are BARAK OBAMA and JOE BIDEN going bring to America; what they say they will do, or what they have done in the past?

    September 13, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. MW

    Yep – Sleazy pretty much sums it up.

    September 13, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. Dexter

    Good for Obama!

    September 13, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  18. David Virginia

    We're not flakes Axelrod, we'll stay and endure just like Barack has done the last year in this election. But, we do have strong concern for this country and the FUTURE which must be in order to keep it from falling to pieces.

    Obamiden 08 ... It's time to slam McCain to the floor for his wrongdoing.

    September 13, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. Republican Turned Democrat

    Are you kidding me??? The McSame campaign is running the lowest, dirtiest campaign I have seen in years. Therefore, I have no choice but to go with the person who has talked about helping me with the worst economy in my time...

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 13, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Obama needs to start lying like John McCain

    John McCain and President Bush threw a Birthday party during Katrina for John McCain. Bush failed to show up for days along with lack of responds for the Federal Goverment. Bush and McCain should be indicted for allowing hunderds of people to die after a storm in New Orleans-A major American City. They have No right to say Obama is on a New low because he is holding Campaign meetings about the storm that have been planed. John McCain and his campaign released an ad today attacking and lying about Obama's recorded on Immigration in the battle ground states.........I wish John McCain would just stop lying...

    Obama needs to start lying it works sometimes.

    September 13, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Erica

    McCain did the View AND Rachael Ray and he has the nerve to criticize Obama for doing a rally in New Hampshire? He's just mad that he can't pull supporters without his puppet Palin by his side and knows he never intended to rally without her in the first place.
    He is desperate and afraid that since the polls are evening out to a dead heat again that he has a real chance at losing the election. Play fair McCain. And don't be a sore loser when they announce the new President and its not you.

    September 13, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. jim

    right on abama .give them straight talk

    September 13, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Bill Tampa

    Yes, that's what I'm talking about, way to fight back Barack!!!!!..Let'em have both barrels..give'em a taste of their own medicine.!!!!!!

    September 13, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Elizabeth

    I am so proud of Obama. He is not being negative, Obama is being honest and we know it. McCain has one of the worst most dishonorable campaigns I've seen in a long time. As a woman, it was a slap in the fact to pick Palin because it was a gimmick. I felt bad for Palin on the interview with Gibson, because she is clearly not ready. They throw Palin out there for bait knowing that she is unprepared.

    Obama/Biden from Texas!

    September 13, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Independent

    Unfortunately, America has to choose one of these two. They both don't deserve it.

    September 13, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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