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. Matt

    Keep looking for excuses not to address the issues McCain. Keep looking. It'll catch up to you soon enough.


    September 13, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Darren

    If John McCain wants to complain, he ought call the White House.

    Oops, that's right, they're the ones pulling his strings.

    September 13, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. francee

    As a former Hillary supporter and let me tell you I was not going to vote for Obama, I was going to stay home, but these last few weeks have given me a whole new focus. I will not only vote for Obama, I am sending him cash and I will be making calls at a call center later this week to get the youth out to vote. McCain has to be stopped. He is disgusting. All the respect I had for him is gone and I want nothing else but to see him and his Hillary "want-to-be" go down in flames.
    I advise the rest of you former Hillary supporters to do the same. Enough is enough! Obama may not be perfect, but at least he can hold his head high when this election is over. McCain has become McSlim

    September 13, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Independent

    John McNut, you are the one who has been telling all the lies, you are the one who has been running a nasty campaign....aren't you big enough to own up to it?????....You were the one whining that Obama wouldn't do the hall town meetings with you and ever since you have turned to the spoiled brat child that is saying, if you don't come out and play with me, I'm going to get you back.....You are being nothing more than an attitude of a middle school bully....

    September 13, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Singh

    Several years ago when McCain was opposing Bush for republican nomination, I found that he was a good honest man. But now I am appalled that how dishonest he has become. He has become a serial liar. Bush lied to the nation and we are in a pit now, if another liar in the person of John McCain occupies the white house, our nation will be in such a deep pit that it will take long to come out both morally and financially.

    Sarah Palin boasts her faith every occcasion she gets. Any parent of faith must raise chldren to be resposible and moral. Ms Palin has failed as mother, her unmarried daughter of 16 is pregnant. Together McCain and Palin are setting example of hypocracy and lying. Hope that God will save America from the Calamity of McCain and Palin.

    September 13, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. ken ryan

    In choosing someone who is CLEARLY not ready for the Presidency, John McCain's judgment and his giving over his campaign to George Bush's advisors, INDEPENDENTS and RESPONSIBLE REPUBLICANS should shift their allegiance to BARAK OBAMA.

    September 13, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Paul

    This hurricane doesn't matter to McPalin because they can't use it as an excuse to cancel Bush's in person appearance at the GOP convention or Cheney's appearance entirely.

    September 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. HB

    See how Mcsame running his negative campign and then critisize Obama. this is called hypocrasy period,

    September 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. donjcs1

    Europeans are waiting McCain to speak about their first worry which is American economy wich influence, affect and shake the wolrd economy and ends the growth in Europa.
    There is still no Polocy substance from McCain.
    I think it's time to speak about it.
    No more distraction.

    September 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Sbama

    another new low? Can we start counting howmany times the Repubs use the term "new low"?

    September 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Brian

    Senator Obama should continue to pound away at McCain's sudden claim to be a "candidate of change". Why the media never questioned the McCain campaign's abrupt change in theme 60 days prior to the election is hilarious.

    The tragic events of Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, and Ike are just examples of Global Warming and why America needs to change the failed policies of the last 8 years, and start planning for our country's long-term future. Senator Obama has strongly supported reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and investing in our growing renewable enregy industires here at home. McCain, on the other hand, supports oil corporations (who have made record-breaking profits and pay little income tax), voted against tax-breaks for America's developing Alternative Fuel industries, and has proposed more off-shore drilling in Flordia and California. We need new leadership in Washington, not the old ideology of John Sydney McCain III. Most Americans don't have 7 homes and 7 utility bills to pay......

    September 13, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Sue

    go Barack – you tell 'em!

    September 13, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. Marc PDX

    Obama is saying McCain doesn't want to debate him!? Incredible! Does Obama think we don't remember that HE was the one who didn't want to debate any more than the three debates that are required at a minimum? I'm pretty sure that if Obama wants to increase that number that McCain would be up for it. Obama is a coward. He was even too afraid of Hillary to consider her for a running mate. What a joke!

    September 13, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. Lani in Los Angeles

    People don't care about the tax plan. They're more concerned about image, personality and style even if it means the security of our nation.

    September 13, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. White Mother for Obama!!

    Oh my!!!! McCain just goes lower and lower doesnt he?? Attacks anything he can but issues!!

    September 13, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Kristina, Seattle

    So. Can we talk about how the Wash. Post has revealed that Sarah Palin did NOT actually "visit Iraq" as the McCain campaign has claimed? More LIES. The public should me made aware...

    September 13, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. Debbie, Texas

    Say it louder, Obama you are so right. Tell it just the way it is. Don't let those Republican play that same old game they have been playing for the last 30 years. The truth is the light.

    September 13, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. April in Texas

    I am in Texas and I feel Obama has been doing what he can without interfering with the search and recovery here. McCain just feels he has to be front and center during this time for political pictures and headlines.. A real leader leads by example and that is what Obama is doing unlike McCain who is just more of the same..

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 13, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Rob

    Yes Obama blasts McBush. With the Truth. Not with the slime and Fear mongering Rovian attacks used by Mcbush.

    September 13, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. white woman

    I wonder now IF people will "come together" over this hurricaine, and put PETTY remarks aside ??? a house divided against itself can not stand, nor can a nation..I sure would love to see some sane, reasonable ADULTS blogging on here..not children..other nations watch and read these blogs too, sometimes even post on here..I care about that..we are very vunerable keep acting like squabbling children, saying petty things, does not give a very good impression of us, no matter whose side you are on..republicans, convince me McCaine is worthy of the office he runs for and a "honerable" man...democrats, please do the same..give me FACTS, not lies or petty insinuations..Thanks

    September 13, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Barry In Las Vegas

    If Obama wants to REALLY have a debate all he has to do is take McCain up on his offer to have weekly townhall meetings. Oh – I forgot that is something else he flip flopped on just like his WRITTEN commitment to take federal election money and not private donations.

    The real problem for Obaha is he is lost without a telepromter.

    September 13, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. nobama

    If Obama wants to talk about issues why didn't he accept invitations to townhall meetings with McCain this summer? It must be easier for Obama to whine instead since that's all he does. He's a liability to the Democratic party.

    September 13, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. sidney from NEW YORK

    obama obama

    September 13, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. Clinton Backer Turned Obama

    When anyone from the McCain yells low blow it is another sign of what hypocrits they are. There has been no one lower than the McCain ads that are down right lies. Is this they type president our country wants–another liar like Bush.Look what the Bush lies have done to our country–war with a country we have no business invading-do Osama bin Laden– loss of our civil liberties–high oil prices because he is lining the pockets of his liar cheating buddy Chaney. McCain you should be ashamed of yourself but I'm sure you aren't. Just like you weren't ashamed when you were caught with your hands in the cookie jar with the Keating scandal–I think your doctrine will be if all else fails tell another lie.

    September 13, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Maddie, Hartford, Ct.

    Good for Barack Obama! I love the fact that he can keep his composure, even when angry. John McCain looked like a deer in the headlight on the View.

    September 13, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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