Obama says he’s not ‘obsessing’ over setbacks

May 2, 2008

Barack Obama says his campaign for U.S. president clearly has suffered damage from a series of controversies over the past few weeks, but he is trying to move forward without “obsessing” over the setbacks.rtr203y4.jpg

Obama says public comments by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, calling the Sept. 11 attacks retribution for U.S. policy and blaming the U.S. government for the spread of AIDS would no doubt be a factor in some voters minds.

But he said he would leave it to pollsters to analyze the extent of the impact.

“We’ve had a rough couple of weeks. I won’t deny that,” Obama told reporters. “I don’t think that what happened with Rev. Wright was helpful,” said the Illinois senator who forcefully denounced the minister’s rhetoric earlier this week.

The Wright flap is something that voters will “factor into the mix. How it plays itself out I can’t tell,” he said.

Obama has been honing his message on the economy and emphasizing a folksier, more personal campaigning style as he courts voters ahead of Tuesday’s contests in Indiana and North Carolina.

“What I don’t spend a lot of time doing is obsessing about what ifs and should’ve beens. We’ll see what happens on Tuesday and then we’re going to keep on going to the next contests.”

The Illinois senator is vying with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and the right to run against Republican Sen. John McCain in the November election.

He has been trying especially hard lately to court working class voters who have backed Clinton more heavily in recent contests in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In addition to the Wright controversy, Obama was hit by criticism from Clinton and McCain last month who seized on his comments about “bitter” small-town” voters to label him an elitist.

“I do think that one of the ironies of the last two or three weeks was this idea that somehow Michelle and I were elitist, pointy-headed intellectual types,” Obama said. “We didn’t recognize the caricature I think that has being painted of us over the last couple of weeks and we want to make sure that that’s pushed aside.” 
Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Frank Polich (Obama greets Indiana supporters on Thursday)


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Obama has suprised me with how well he is handling this constant bombardment from Hillary Clinton and the Conservative Talk Show Hosts. His resilence is something that deserves to be applauded. Obama has completely buried almost every suspicion having to do with him and his former pastor. It’s all uphill from here folks; jump on the Obama bandwagon and let us trample anyone who dare to stop us!

Posted by AndreinFl | Report as abusive

I have been a lifelong Democrat, proud of the values and ideals the party stands for. Now, I am disappointed, disenfranchised (yea, I am one of the “no vote counts” Floridians) and really ticked off at the debacle our party has made of the whole primary season. Had we done it like Republicans, there would be a clear winner already (actually, long ago) and we would not have had this long battle. On the good side, it allows all of us to see what each candidate is made of, good and bad, and how they respond to stress, scrutiny and missteps. So play it out.
I am really, REALLY ticked off at the media for their lack of journalistic oversight early on in this campaign to expose all the skeletons in Obama’s closet so we would know what to expect, BEFORE we voted. What a concept. WE all know, ad nauseaum, about Hillary’s issues and at least can see her for her strengths and weaknesses and make an informed decision. Just NOW “realizing” that Obama has some serious judgement issues and associations that the Republicans are sure to exploit, is annoying and down right scary. Shame on you.
Let the voters all vote (yea, even FL and MI), let the info be out there for all to see, and let the system the DNC so “carefully” put in place 20+ years ago actually play out. Otherwise, what was the point? Note to Joe Andrews: do NOT tell us we should “end this now”, and do NOT assume just because YOU have decided to back Obama, that we should all just fall in line (Sounds Republican to me) behind you. Hypocrisy and arrogance. Two things I am starting to see more and more of from Obama’s camp and supporters. Ugh

Posted by sunny florida | Report as abusive

The media is obsessing on Barack Obama…..but I don’t think the voters or candidates are…….but then again what is obsessing? Is it saying the same things over and over and over to millions of people to try to get the message out? I don’ know how these people do it…..I heard Barack say he’s been on the road for 18 months…? Whew….that’s not for me……..

Hillary supported NAFTA, the war in Iraq, and now she wants to cut gas tax for a few months even after economist say it won’t help most Americans.

Hillary might talk a good game but she makes the wrong decisions….I want a really, really smart person in the White House……so Obama is who I support. I hope Obama wins in Indy and in NC, then we can put this mess to rest and get on with what matters like the war in Iraq and our energy problems…..also I like Obama’s deportment…and I think that it is important for bringing people together….which is what America needs right now….

It doesn’t matter WHAT Barack Obama does……..Hillary will make sure the media frames Obama as some kind of extremist. No one can overcome the cursory US media, which time and time again starves the public of facts and pumps them up with sensationalism.

My hopes and dreams of a united country are with Barack Obama.

Posted by ApostasyUSA | Report as abusive

I am an Obama supporter. However, this is a time to rise up out of negativity wherever it exists and replace it with unconditional love. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, but it does matter how you treat another human being. Treat others as you would like to be treated. This race is about humanity and world peace, and world hunger, including the United States.

Posted by marymarshall | Report as abusive

He has come under unfair media scrutiny and attacks about issues that HRC has not. His patriotism, his name, his religion, flag pins etc., and still he stands. You know he is probably getting death threats and still he stands. Not only stands but is firmly in the lead with new superdelegates signing on daily. He has not taken the low road in his campaign and hit Clinton hard with a never ending list of issues (Paul v Clinton). Only counter punched. He is tough, he has to be. He will fight for all of us. He will make a great president.

Posted by NotSuprised | Report as abusive

I was pretty happy a few months ago, thinking the nation had two great candidates. Imagine. An intelligent president. There was no way for us to lose. Hillary or Obama. I didn’t really care much. But now, like Michael Moore, I’ve been sickened by Hillary’s denunciations and flames. And I’m sick of the news media, which are a bunch of jackals. They create headlines, and people believe those headlines. It is not in the journalistic interest for Obama to be a hero. And so, in their quest for ratings and advertising money, they try to tear him down. How many Catholic priests have assaulted young boys? Do I judge you for going to a Catholic church? No. But I will if Obama loses this election on the account of hyprocritic Americans who think they are better than Obama, and me.

Posted by FDR | Report as abusive

A definition of greatness is courage under fire. Few candidates in recent history have endured “incoming” as intense and mean-spirited as the bombshells aimed at Barack Obama.

Yet Obama persists, demonstrating grace, thoughtfulness, integrity, fortitude – and even forgiveness.

Has anyone else in the race displayed any of those traits?

Are those traits important to you? Are they important to America? To the world?

They ARE important to me, and that’s why I just voted for Barack Obama on Oregon mail-in primary ballot.

Posted by Dennis Berry | Report as abusive

Obama isn’t worried about his campaign because the DNC already promised the nomination to him. To ensure that he gets it, the DNC refuses to count the votes of two other states! Good grief – it was Obama who took himself off of the ballot in Wisconsin – as if he knew then it wouldn’t matter who they voted for, anyway.

There will be millions of democrats who sit out the general election if the DNC insists on handing the nomination over to him. The DNC cannot heal divisions that Obama himself has generated by his own words and actions.

Posted by Shan | Report as abusive

The truth is, the Clintons were responsible for NAFTA, and while Hill can say “I was secretly against it back then,” the reality is, it was the signature of the Clinton years. And it was her own campaign head, Harold Ickes, who as part of the DNC rules committee, stripped FL and MI of their seats. She agreed with him until she started losing. Now, she’s trying to spin the fact that she wouldn’t allow people who had voted GOP in the first MI vote to vote Dem in the revote as promoting a legitimate revote, when it’s not – clearly, a lot of people knowing the original wouldn’t count had switched over. And when people talk baggage, it’s funny- Bill was almost impeached, Hill is being arraigned in a few months (not someone she knows but she herself)in the Paul v Clinton case, objects were stolen by the Clintons from the White House when they left, documents went missing, Hill obtained a criminal pardon for her brother’s criminal friends, Vince Foster was murdered, Monica, Jennifer- the list goes on.
It’s just that Obama wanted to keep it clean so he didn’t mention any of these, but the reality is nobody has more baggage and shadiness than the Clintons. The Clintons had even bombed Iraq, if anybody cares to remember. It was not a rainbow and unicorns peaceful time. Even Hill’s claim to be active in the administration was proven false by the records; she started out strong, but when her health care efforts failed, she became another tea and tourist first lady. People even forget her outrageous lies and her constant smearing with the absurd excuse of preparing Obama for Republicans, as if that were her job. A former governor’s wife and then the president’s wife, Hill has 100 million dollars in her pocket and grew up well-off, to become a member of the head board of anti-Union Walmart- yet she pretends now to have any semblance of connection to grassroots America. From moving to NY, a state she never lived in, to take advantage of an easy election that would put a big state in her hand come 08, to her episodes of tears, to her whining about speaking first in debates and her willingness to put McCain above Obama, Hill has shown that she has been planning a long time for the throne that was her birthright.
The only reason that the 90s was prosperous was because there was a computer, internet and technology boom which is now over. Even the concept of a president’s wife now becoming president is inherently ridiculous- it smacks of royalty. Now, her campaign, badly managed, is in debt, and she’s had to fire 3 top campaign strategists. She didn’t even bother to read the Iraq intelligence reports when she voted to send our boys to war. There is simply, absolutely nothing that would make her qualified.

Posted by Sally | Report as abusive

Obama is the true hero. He has survived plenty of attacks

Posted by Miguel | Report as abusive

Obama has persisted and fought an inspiring battle the last couple weeks considering Wright’s resurfacing and timing. I’m a white democrat and I don’t buy for a minute that Obama shares the same ideologies with Rev. Wright. You can’t be responsible for what another person says. Maybe Wright has lost his mind, can you prove that? Irrespecitve of race people will have their own take on Wright.

At this critical point in the race he has been cool under pressure and refrained from employing inferior tactics that Hillary has used to tarnish Obama. The media has also played a big part in the whole scheme especially after buying the idea from Clinton that they favoured Barack back in Feb. The broke contestant has been so nasty in her bid for the oval office, her face makes me cringe!

I will keep backing Obama coz the people will decide and not the media. Hillary has used fear in her ads to promote her campaign, but hey: Americans are not stupid! These silly tactics have no place in our future. Its time for change and a fresh brand of politics. We need a passionate and charismatic leader who can unite the country and restore our image in the world standing. We’re almost there, join the movement, Obama ’08!

Posted by YesWeCan | Report as abusive

If Hillary is voted for nomination, it will prove that american electorate is uneducated, immature and racist, proving that they accept what the US media says of Obama. US media just focuses to destroy Obama candidacy by non-stop barrage on minor issues like Pastor Wright and ‘bitter comments’, while they do not touch on major issues like unaccounted 15 million in Clinton income, Hillary’s vote for Iraq war, Colombian trade deal, etc.

Posted by Bernard D’Lima | Report as abusive

It is downright silly on the part of any Democrat to think that Obama is going to win all those ‘red’ states (that he has won during the primaries) in the coming Nov. General Election. All those will definitely vote Republican come the General Election. It should be obvious for any body who is democratic leaning that the person capable of carrying the big states such as California, Newyork, New Jersey and atleast two of the three crucial swing states of Florida, Pennsilvania and Ohio should be their party’s nominee. At this time it looks definite that person is Hillary Clinton and NOT Obama. It is time that the so called Super Delegates see the writing on the wall and cast their preference for Hillary. That is the only way the Democrats can hope to win the White House in Nov. 2008. Also is it not the primary purpose behind the institution of ‘Super Delegates’ that they excercise their voting purely in the interest of the party and not based on indecisive numerical superiority in pledged delegates. It is high time the Super Delegates rise to the occasion.

Posted by Krishna | Report as abusive

Obama has handled himself well during multiple media and one self-inflicted controversies. I still support him and hope he does well in Indiana and NC.

Posted by Jack Goldenberg | Report as abusive

Obama’s idea of new politics is hypocrisy, deception, and dishonesty. Anyone who doesn’t see through his phony front is a fool:
(1) Exactly six weeks to the day after the much-praised Philadelphia speech, in which Obama invoked his grandmother as an example of his rationale for sticking with Wright, he now all of a sudden has an epiphany and drops Wright like a lead balloon. Does he mean to say that he was involved as a member of this church for 20 years and did not know that this pastor is a race baiter, hater and propagator of unproven accusations about the government and white people?
(2) Tony Rezko: Obama first said he had donated only $15,000 to Obama campaign and few weeks ago Chicago Tribune reported that amount as $250,000.
(3) Obama said to Ohio people that he will eradicate NAFTA and then told upset Canadian Government not to worry it’s just a political game.
4) In the Philadelphia debate, Obama said that his campaign addressed Hillary’s misstatements on Bosnia only when asked to by reporters. In fact, Obama’s campaign organized several conference calls on the topic, including one in which the featured speaker said that Clinton lacks “the moral authority to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day”.
Now that’s the new politics!

Posted by jonathan | Report as abusive