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. Shannon

    I thought Mr Obama was above all this, isn't he for hope and change. Isn't he going to unite the country by running a different kind of campaign. LOL, really what a fraud this man is. He has not stood by one thing he has said, this doesn't surprise me in the least, anything to get a vote Obama, flip flops again!

    September 13, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Kathy, Andover

    I used to like McCain, on a personal level - but he really has turned into a real sleaze, with his overconfident sidekick, Palin.

    September 13, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Republicans Hate America

    Keep the republicans on the whiny defense Obama dont let up on their sleaze because thats what they are Jerry Springer trailer trash.

    September 13, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. Karl R

    How many American casualties since it became clear there are no WMDs in Iraq?
    How many more American casualties before Obama ends the war in Iraq?
    Who will be the last casualty in the Iraq war. Sure hope it's not the child of Palin or McCain ... or anyone? Why does McCain want to extend this war INDEFINITELY? I thought he said he HATES WAR.
    OH YEAH .... HE WAS LYING ABOUT THAT TOO. Good thing Americans have short memories.

    September 13, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. cjg

    It sounds like the Obama campaign has gone from scared to desperate and finally, to this new low – bitter.

    September 13, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Kaye- Jacksonville FL

    Eventually – even a toy poodle will bite its attacker!! Obama has tried to take the high road, focus on the issues – but the McCain campaign, led by those trained in Karl Rove tactics, insist on the same old approach...Bomb your voters with outright lies and fake outrage over stuff you've initiated. Stay away from issues – we have no fresh ideas.


    September 13, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Jim

    Where are all the Republicans running around saying that they 'need to send a message that they're concerned' about Gustav? Oh, right, they're not in the middle of a convention where people are paying attention to them. Not that they were actually ever concerned, mind you, but they were 'sending the message'.

    September 13, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. David Peter

    McCain really has sunk to the lowest of scum.

    September 13, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Tony

    It is so pathetic and sad to see a man like John McCain willing to sell his own integrity, morals and values to win the election.

    Once, McCain was a man to be respected, honored, and someone who was a role model.

    Now he is a sad, bitter, angry old man who lies as easily as he breathes. His ads are not only misrepresentations, or distorted, but bold face LIES. He seems to have no conscience, no heart or soul any longer. He is now all about money, power and position to the detrim,ent of his humanness and character.

    If he wins in November, I hope it is worth the price.

    September 13, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. kay

    The stakes are too high for America and the rest of the world.

    The country is going down the tubes and all the GOP wants is to keep holding on to power.

    Palin is just another distraction like britney and paris, to be used and dumped. Its all a game to them, they dont care about you or your issues.
    McCain will do and say anything to get elected, he's no longer his own man, he is now just a tool of the power hungry cabal running the GOP.

    September 13, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. WOW-WOW..!

    Thanks to Sen Obama that we now know that Sen McCain

    does not know his way around computers...! Good, because

    we now know for sure that Pres McCain will be too busy to play

    Video-games in the Oval-Office....

    ::::::::::::::::::go-go-go MCCAIN/PALIN::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    September 13, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |


    September 13, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Irene

    BRING ON THOSE DEBATES !!!!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA / BIDEN 08

    September 13, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. mike

    thats better obama you tell im its the truth and its what were all thinking obama . you go get mcain obama and the republicans i was crying during your exceptance speech obama when you ripped into the republicans . obama we are the little people of this country and when you go after the gop its like your giveing them a swipe for us for the pain they have caused us . twice ive lost my job under the gop . when bill clinton was president i was never once out of a job .PEOPLE IF YOU ELECT TERRIBLE TEMPER MCAIN YOU ARE ELECTING ALL THE SAME REPUBLICANS AND BUSH RUBBER STAMPERS THAT ARE THERE NOW . OBAMA/BIDEN ......becouse i beleave in low debt and a conservitive fiscal policy weve only had that from the democrats in recent history . the republicans wars have out spent the biggest spending democrat ever , and the neocons arnt concerned with fiscal responsibility , they beleave in big govenment , actualy this recent news regarding new laws so the cia can spy on you with no warrent at all proves the neocons beleave in a police state . AND CNN SAY NOTHING THAT OUR RIGHTS AND CONSTITUTION CONTINUE TO BE ERODED UNDER THE REPUBLICANS.

    September 13, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Barbara

    Which man do you want to model the morals, ethics, and integrity you teach your children and grandchildren?

    NYT today - Senator McCain would rather lose his integrity than lose an election.

    Obama/Biden '08 – education, integrity, honesty

    September 13, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Bottom line: Obama has NO resume, even for change!!

    Try to distort your record??? Please, tell us what it is first!! Obama is a trash-talking blowhard and nothing less, who keeps saying the same thing. Lucky for him, there is no record to attack, unless you count voting "present".

    September 13, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Dylan

    McCain's turned into a giant slimeball, how can anyone support this garbage?

    September 13, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. ML

    Dear Senator Obama:

    Do not fear! What I see as a volunteer of your campaign is that all of these DISTRACTIONS are pulling people together as true supporters of yours, more than ever!

    Most intelligent people in the area where I live see the truth!! They see clearly through what the "current adminstration's supposed replacements" are tryting to do–and will not let the "distractions" keep us from working hard for you! ("MORE OF THE SAME - BRING SHAME TO AMERICA")

    I was just in the Democratic headquarters in my area, and found out that there are more people coming in than ever–asking to be a part of your historic movement to return America to TRUE DEMOCRACY and not to the era of the lying, cheating, and manipulating by the opposite party!

    I was so glad that people are coming into the Obama "change" headquarters and donating, offering to help, helping others, etc. Also, I was more glad to see that many of them are Republicans and independents who have said "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH" - and do not want four more years of hatred, lack of concern for our citizens, and more job losses than we can handle!

    We have lost our biggest employer in our small city, not to mention more companies who have pulled and and are planning to pull out. Every day, more "for sale" signs go up on houses, and people are applyhing for unemployment, food stamps for their children. They cannot afford health care, and are literally begging for any canned food, gas money, etc. that they can get to try to find a job!

    This used to be a great state, and now it is at the bottom rung of the job and economic ladder! I myself am working over 80 hours a week to try to feed my family. (And not long ago, I was considered an executive whose very living has been taken away when all the companies pulled out!) I am staying here because of elderly relatives and the fact that I am not a quitter. I fight for what I believe in!! And I believe in OBAMA/BIDEN IN 08!! Only they have the concern and ability to bring about CHANGE in this country. Only they are really telling the truth!!

    And, don't be fooled that these disasters cannot happen to you!! I have been the hardest worker, student, and over-achiever all my life, and it certainly has happened to me. I have lost just about everything that I have worked for all my life. It is not easy to start over again at my age. Having lost all my retirement is a killer, but it is also an incentive to work hard so others do not lose theirs!

    My republican ancestors are crying out from their graves NOT TO BE FOOLED by this shambles of a republican party now brought down by greed and corruption! They would not be shocked by my becoming a DEMOCRAT! I feel they are standing right behind me, saying to fight for what I believe in.

    Well, dear Senator Obama, Senators Biden and Clinton, and former President Clinton, we once saw the world with hope and encouragement. Here in our area, we saw more jobs than people to fill them when President Clinton was in office–eight years of prosperity to the point we thought the "gravy train" would never end. Then the republicans got into office. It was nothing but a downward spiral after that!

    Please people, if you love your country, READ and OPEN your minds!! We need great leaders now, if at any time in our country!

    DO NOT BE FOOLED by "wolves in sheeps" clothing!


    September 13, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Independent from FL

    I feel Obama is stuck between a rock a hard place. If you don't attack back at McCain,you will seem weak but in the other if he does attack back then it doesn' look to me like he's running the new kind of
    politics & in some people's eyes, he could come off as an angry black men.
    I say attack back but be careful of the tone you attack McCain with.

    September 13, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. BV

    John McCain and our fine Christian Sarah Palin are running the worst and meanest campaign possible. It has been noted by many including the outside world. It is beyond belief. So many lies and distortions. His way of getting into office. He has shown me that lying comes easy for him and that I can't believe a thing he and Palin are promising to all of us.
    The only reason McCain isn't out campaigning today is that it's Saturday and he doesn't work on weekends. It's not because he cares that much about the people of Texas. He doesn't care about anything other than what ever it takes to accomplish his personal goal of becoming President.
    A vote for McCain is a vote for a lying POW.

    September 13, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  21. mad

    Please, Mccain and his group lies about how many people have been showing up for the duo rally. The lastest one held in VA they claimed that 20,000 came out. They also attributed that number to the fire marshall. However, the marshall said that he did not give that 20,00 0 quote and the crowd was no where near that large.
    What happened to mccain. palin remarks are Hillary are an attempt to gain hillar's supporters.
    I think they should conduct DNA on the new baby to see if he is the first dude's son. palin does not believe in abortion if after incest. I dont think anyone truly believe that the baby belongs to her.

    September 13, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. thomas

    What is this CHANGE you want to bring about

    September 13, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. Rosa, b'ham al

    I don't think that counts as blasting McCain, he is just pointing a legitimate policy difference. He is going to have to get more negative and personal than that. Anyone who has not made up their mind yet does not vote on policy issues. I am sick of Dems taking the high road and in the end the whole country suffers when they lose to the liars.

    September 13, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. MD

    Give me a break McCain. I bet you're still running slimy ads acoss the country.

    September 13, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. BJGT

    Millions of Americans continue to lose their homes, thousands lose jobs, millions continue to exist in a life without health insurance for their children, as hundreds of thousands struggle with their existence living in sub-human conditions of poverty amidst terrors of everyday violence in their communities, while thousands of American families mourn the loss of thousands of murdered loved ones in Afghanistan and Iraq – families still trying to find answers to questions over why their children had to give their lives for what apparently appears to be lies told America about WMD that never existed, as hundreds of thousands of American children continue to drop out of high school each year with no hope for a better life here in America.

    Obama/Biden 08
    Chane We Can Believe In

    September 13, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15