Obama takes on Clinton’s “electability” argument

May 5, 2008

obama3.jpg DURHAM, N.C. – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama took aim on Monday at his rival Hillary Clinton’s argument that he is less electable than her given his recent series of troubles and because he has not been fully “vetted.”

Amid a flap over comments from his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and other controversies, Obama has seen his poll numbers slide lately against both Clinton and the Republican candidate for November’s election, John McCain.

Obama publicly denounced Wright last week after the pastor moved back into the spotlight and repeated his inflammatory charges that the Sept. 11 attacks were in part retribution for U.S. policy and that the government spread AIDS to harm blacks.

Obama has also faced questions about his association with 1960s radical William Ayres and about why he doesn’t wear a U.S. flagpin.

The Illinois senator said those issues had hurt his campaign but did not “knock us off stride.” The fact that the impact from those problems was not greater was a sign that his candidacy was strong, he said.

“Despite all that, if you look at it, we’re still fundamentally tied with John McCain,” Obama said, responding to a question from an undecided voter who asked him about the electability question.

Clinton has pushed the argument that the party elders and officials known as the “superdelegates” should rally around her as the nominee because, as a former first lady, she has been “vetted” and is better able to fend off attacks from Republicans in a general election.

Obama’s counterargument is that the Wright controversy and other issues have that have come up amount to a “vetting” for him. He also challenged Clinton’s contention that Republicans would not try to dredge up old lines of attack against her.

“Sen. Clinton, despite what she says about being vetted, she hasn’t gone through what I’ve been going through over the last couple of months because she’s not the front-runner,” Obama said.

After Obama spoke, the McCain camp weighed in on the electability question, saying that Obama’s opposition to a summer gas tax holiday and his support for an increase in the capital gains tax would leave him vulnerable in the general election if he becomes the nominee.

“Those are Obama’s pledged positions, and they aren’t popular in North Carolina, Indiana or most anywhere else in America,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. 

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

-Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama orders food and coffee in Durham, North Carolina on May 5)
   

34 comments

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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.

“Expert Support For Gas Tax Holiday Appears Nonexistent”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/30  /expert-support-for-gas-ta_n_99474.html

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….

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

Posted by ApostasyUSA | Report as abusive

Boohoo… Obama says that “she hasn’t gone through what I’ve been going through over the last couple of months..”

This just proves Hillary was right…. that if Obama whines during the Democratic primaries, what would he do in the general when he is actually being targeted by the GOP? Obama’s latest problems are his own fault… He has not yet experienced opposition “swiftboating” tactics.

Posted by Nickberry | Report as abusive

Since no one is really running against McCain right now, his poll numbers should be better now than they ever will be again. Yet, he still can’t pull ahead of either Democratic candidate in any substantial way.

Posted by DoTheMath | Report as abusive

I’ve come to the realization that I can’t vote for Hillary even if she does manage to steal the nomination. I can’t vote for her because she’s behaving like a Republican. She’s as phony as any Republican I have ever seen. I wouldn’t vote for a Republican so why should I vote for Hillary?

Posted by nlbknitter | Report as abusive

When will Clinton get vetted? When will we have to hear about months and months of the new Clinton blue dress? When will be have to hear months and months of shady Clinton deals? The GOP are running attack ads against Barack and helping Clinton now. Clinton is not electable now, and if you factor in the slime when the GOP starts to attack her she would get blown out. I look forward to Clinton endorsing Barack.

Posted by dalittle | Report as abusive

Nickberry, your pathetic comment is just plain sad and ridiculous.
It’s a bad excuse for the Clintons’ doing the GOP’s job, while they are bound to lose the nomination. It’s a bad excuse for the lack of a sense of fairness and decency that has obviously defined Hillary Clinton’s course since she lost her lead in the nomination race. It proves nothing but that it’s people like you who have been in the way of those who want to finally unite America, and make it the great nation that she deserves to be.

It is a ridiculous attempt to deny a historical movement that will inevitably take place, and in a couple of years you will hopefully think differently about it. Let Barack Obama convince you as president of the United States.

Posted by KP | Report as abusive

I love how Obama has been saying that she is being negative in this campaign. Can we please look at his latest ad?

The gas tax plan is short term relief for a lot of people. But let’s think about the truckers and those who drive long distances to work? It is really going to help them.

I don’t think I can vote for Obama anymore.

Hillary 08?!

Posted by Jake | Report as abusive

What’s the matter Nickberry? Getting a little upset now, even jealous about how your queenie is going down. Get over it, she’s a hack and the sooner she sent to the curb, the better it will be for all!

Posted by Lori | Report as abusive

why would the republicans try to help hillary? hmm… do they really want her to be the next president? think about it for a moment

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

> Boohoo… Obama says that “she hasn’t gone through what I’ve been going through over the last couple of months..”

Wasn’t it Hillary who cried right before Super Tuesday (and before reinventing herself as a “fighter”)… actually, she cried twice, right? But she gave that up when it didn’t help her over Super Tuesday (which was her second cry, after which she went for the “fighter” image).

Oddly, she hasn’t cried since. Not even after losing all those delegates. And wasn’t it Hillary who complained that the media wasn’t doing this to Obama earlier?

Boohoo, indeed.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

Remind me again, does elite mean “smart” or “rich”?

Both the Clintons and the McCains have more money than the Obamas, so I guess they’re accusing Barack of being smart. Pretty scary idea, having a smart person in the White House. What would happen to this country?

Posted by David | Report as abusive

What is clear is that people are not ready to let go of Rovian tactics.

When a person can denounce someone, like Obama, because of the lame escapades that have happened; those people need to realize that they still have hate screaming to get out.

None of the candidates are perfect and making the campaign a playground is shallow. What is even worse is when people play right into the bs.

Posted by conrruption | Report as abusive

The whole gas tax escapade is a joke. Just like economists have debunked the holiday McBush just does not know anything about economics and he proves it everytime he opens his mouth.

Posted by conrruption | Report as abusive

hillary is a GOP surrogate; and she needs 80% of the undecided supers JUST TO CATCH UP…. ain’t gonna happen

she is positioning for 2012– her personal ambition outweighs the need to prevent a third bush term

also, notice that the only people that support her now are racists who didn’t go to college. sweet, thats exactly who should be in charge

Posted by ash | Report as abusive

I’m a former supporter of Hillary’s, but have grown more and more disgusted each day as her tactics sink lower than I ever thought possible. The oil companies will NEVER pass the gas tax savings along to the consumer!!
It should tell you something when McCain and Hillary are on the same side of an issue, it’s the old “pull the wool over their eyes” politics. Telling people lies just to get votes. They underestimate the intelligence of the American voter, and it’s sad to see people actually fall for it. I thought after W’s many debacles, people would see right through it.
The fact that the Republican party is so focused on attacking Obama and not Clinton shows you who they’re really scared of come November.
Go Obama, let’s unite America and put behind the old politics of fear and manipulation! No red states, no blue states, only these UNITED STATES of America!!

Posted by Ramiro | Report as abusive

If Obama is not being vetted right now than I don’t know what’s going on! What could the Republicans do to match Hill and Bill’s attack machine?

Posted by SJS1 | Report as abusive

HILLARY CLINTON CAN BEST WIN IN NOVEMBER:

It’s time for everyone to face the truth. Barack Obama has no real chance of winning the national election in November at this time. His crushing defeat in Pennsylvania makes that fact crystal clear. His best, and only real chance of winning in November is on a ticket with Hillary Clinton as her VP.

Hillary Clinton seemed almost somber at her Pennsylvania victory speech. As if part of her was hoping Obama could have proved he had some chance of winning against the republican attack machine, and their unlimited money, and resources.

But it is absolutely essential that the democrats take back the Whitehouse in November. America, and the American people are in a very desperate condition now. And the whole World has been doing all that they can to help keep us propped up.

Hillary Clinton say’s that the heat, and decisions in the Whitehouse are much tougher than the ones on the campaign trail. But I think Mr. Obama faces a test of whether he has what it takes to be a commander and chief by facing the difficult facts, and the truth before him. And by doing what is best for the American people by dropping out of the race, and offering his whole hearted assistance to Hillary Clinton to help her take back the Whitehouse for the American people, and the World.

Mr. Obama is a great speaker. And I am confident he can explain to the American people the need, and wisdom of such a personal sacrifice for them. It should be clear to everyone by now that Hillary Clinton is fighting her heart out for the American people. She has known for a long time that Mr. Obama can not win this November. You have to remember that the Clinton’s have won the Whitehouse twice before. They know what it takes.

If Mr. Obama fails his test of commander and chief we can only hope that Hillary Clinton can continue her heroic fight for the American people. And that she prevails. She will need all the continual support and help we can give her. She may fight like a superhuman. But she is only human.

Sen. Hillary Clinton: “You know, more people have now voted for me than have voted for my opponent. In fact, I now have more votes than anybody has ever had in a primary contest for a nomination. And it’s also clear that we’ve got nine more important contests to go.”

Sincerely

Jacksmith… Working Class :-)

Posted by jacksmith | Report as abusive

The question is do the people want to be leveled with. If they want to be deceived they’ll vote for Clinton. If they want to know the truth they’ll choose Obama. Unless there is a big surprise tomorrow it will be Obama in the fall.

The gas tax issue is the essence of the difference between Clinton and Obama. Clinton wants to ignore the overwhelming evidence against her position for political gain.

Clinton would be four more years of politics directed solely towards being re-elected. Clinton-Bush hard to distinguish because a narcissistic presidents will help themselves but not their country. We can’t afford this any more.

Posted by Ron M | Report as abusive

Hillary claims she’s been ‘vetted’. NOT. The media is too busy repeating tape loops of Obama to spend any time on her new scandals, like the fact that she is being sued in CA for fraud, won’t release last year’s tax returns, won’t release shady dealings of Bill’s library donors including shady Khazakhstan oil businessmen, blaming Bush for Magnequench Indiana job loss even though Bill signed the legislation to move the company to China, claims to have been crossing her fingers and toes when helping to get NAFTA passed but now will undo it, but still lets her ‘fired’ campaign manager Mark Penn work for her AND campaign for the next NAFTA – CAFTA. Slimey slimey slimey.

Posted by xtina | Report as abusive

Polls showing hypothetical head-to-head matchups are meaningless at this stage. The Democrats haven’t really started to focus on McCain – they’re still concentrating on deciding the Obama-Clinton race, and all the noise from that campaign is skewing the poll numbers. The fact is, either Obama or Clinton will beat McCain in November – as long as the Democrats eventually unify behind one candidate. And the sooner that happens, the better.

Posted by Mark O | Report as abusive

Obama is the more electable Democratic candidate because
he has what Clinton lacks — integrity.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

I’m always amazed by the fact that Clinton supporters have the gall to say Obama whines, he’s lies, he this he that. Have they no pride? He doesn’t whine, he doesn’t lie, he plays fair. Hillary on the other hand does all those things, and she lacks ethics and smarts, which Obama has plenty of. She goes on and on about her experience, but here the guy tried the gas tax and it failed so all of a sudden experience doesn’t count because it isn’t her experience. Would an honest person try to seat delegates where they were the only ones on the ballot? She makes the milk in my refrigerator curdle when she opens he mouth on TV.

Posted by nancy | Report as abusive

Yes, Hillary is so right. She’s going to extract 8 billion from the oil companies and send OPEC a message, we saw on TV!

Hillary’s Hillaryus retort to Obama’s challenge that the gas tax Holiday is a gimmick. How tall is she anyway? She reminds me of Edward G. Robinson in some smarmy gangster movie from the 40s with her jaw jutting out, she gets on TV, the commentator asks, “Hillary, how are you going to make sure that the gas tax savings end up in the consumers pockets?” Hillary: We’re gonna make the oil companies pick up the tax. We’re going to get them for about 8 million! And, then we’re going to send OPEC a message!” Really, and what kind of message are we going to send them, schweet-haat? Are we going to obliterate them, or just kneecap ‘em? And, also, if we have the ability to Make the oil companies pick up the tab for the gas tax holiday, why don’t ya just make ‘em lower their gas prices, and ferget about it.

Posted by Shannon | Report as abusive

jack smith-dick cheney

Posted by steve s. | Report as abusive

I am from Switzerland, although I am not American hater; but after 2003; after Irak war decided not to visit USA nor buy any US products.
This is not the mind set of one person; try to talk to people out side US.
America is a great country, land of opportunity; and the land which has potential to bring whole world together as a single democratic nation.
Since couple of decades you have presidents who lie for their cause… who were/are selfish… real politicians than humans…
See how bad the US economy is, see how the people are suffering in war zones, see how other people from other nations think about America.
Its really sad; how a nation could fall this much down; because of the politicians and their selfish policies

What makes a good president?? Did you ever had a second thought???

- is your new presindent :
young and energetic to bring the whole world together..
think logically and judge the things in the right way and time..
wise enough to create a dream team around with best people for their job..
is a human than politician..
Change the world Indiana!!

Posted by swissfish | Report as abusive

HE IS UNELECTABLE. I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR THAT MAN!!!! HE’S A NARCISSIST, ARROGANT, ELITIST, RACIST, PANDERER. HE SAYS WHATEVER PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR AND I’M SMART ENOUGH TO SEE THROUGH IT. ARE YOU??

Democratic right gets it about Clinton
May. 6, 2008 12:00 AM

As much as I hate to admit it, the right is right and the left is in a bind.

To my dismay, right-wing analysts are starting to side with Hillary Clinton’s argument since Pennsylvania.

And New York Times columnist William Kristol, in “Hillary gets no respect,” makes the case for Clinton against Barack Obama.

It’s all about electability, the wicked genie that comes out of the box at every presidential election. Nothing is more telling than Pennsylvania, which gave Hillary a significant victory.

If the right can recognize Clinton’s worth, then the left owes her due respect, not insults. Hillary won major Democratic states, essential toward victory vs. caucuses, which are unrepresentative of the states.

The superdelegates should absorb the significance of her win before deciding who is more electable. – Colette Jenkins,Anthem

Posted by Amber | Report as abusive

Voting for obama will spells DISASTER for this country.
Here is just some examples why:
1. Obama will not enforce border patrol.
2. Obama will gives driving licence to ALL illegal immigrants.
3. Obama will sign a bill to give FULL constitution rights to suspected terrorists or enemy combatants currently locked up in Gitmo.
4. Obama will appoint extremely Liberal judges that represents the values and self-interest of the very very far left people or groups like George Soros, Rezko, Wright, Ayers, ACLU, Moveon.org, Codepink.
5. Obama will veto any bills that fights illegal immigration. An obama administration will encourage MORE illegals flooding into this country and create more social problems. More social problems means increasing government spending on law enforcement and social welfare, and more crime and more citizens dissent.
6. Obama is just a VERY VERY INEXPERIENCE version of John Kerry or Ted Kennedy.
7. Obama’s wife Michelle obama is just another “Oprah Winfrey” except that she Oprah is much much richer and prettier than her.
OBAMA = DISASTER.
INDIANA & NORTH CAROLINA -
BE A TRUE AND FULL BLOODED AMERICAN TODAY.
EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS TO REJECT OBAMA NOW!!

Posted by neil1785 | Report as abusive

It’s time to pause to reflect from the past White
House adminstration as to distinguish the likelihood of the most viable choice of heading the 53 states i.e. U.S.A. Do Amercians wish to fall back to the past
adminstration that has left an impint of low morale or rather some new blood that aspire the nations out of
financial, economical and social woes?
On the foreign, it would seems that relationships would be ignited again through new fermentation of bridging the table of negiogations to ne heights with a new man at the helm rather than someone who had past experiences of historical prejuices that henceforth would upset any
diplomatic ties and universal well-being.

What Obama should say:
Q: Why didn’t you just leave?
A: That sounds so Simple, when someone says something that you disagree with do you just walk away? The truth is that the family ties to the people of that church were far greater than the leadership of the moment. When Japanese Americans were released from interment camps did they leave the country, when Slavery ended did black people leave, when the government did not respond to the needs of the people during Katrina, did people leave the country? The reason is that the people and community and their bond is far greater than and far more important than the misguided words and actions of leadership. 75% of Americans do not approve of the way that president bush has lead our country. Are they leaving? No because the ideals of this country is not in it’s words or it’s leaders but in it’s people. We see it all the time, when Katrina hit people came from all over the country to offer their help , not just with words but actions. When the tsunami hit in Indonesia , our people worked together as a country to help, even with the genocides taking place in Darfur, our people mobilized to make a difference. That is why I love this country and support the people of this land. Imagine if the abolitionist just decided to leave. Imagine if Lincoln had said to the south, fine you can secede from the union. You always have that kid that just wants pick up his toys and leave when things don’t go his way. I’m not that kid, nor do I believe that characteristic reflects the American people and nor should it be reflected in the leader of this nation. That is why I am in this election, that is why I haven’t buried my head in the sand when the election hasn’t gotten tough, that is why I said that Wright is legitimate issue , because I won’t just take my toys and leave when times get tough, because the I idea of change That we have walked and talked for the past 16 months is worth it, because 14 million Americans believe in this change for America. Much like the people of Trinty, the greatness of this country is in its people.

Posted by ashanti | Report as abusive

Considering that “illegal immigrants” who need to drive, probably will, regardless of whether or not they have a driver’s license, I would prefer that they have a driver’s license and insurance. And if one’s fear is due to all of the unknown “illegal immigrants” that are out there, then why would one object to documenting them.

As for liberalism:

“Dog-gone it, our folks are liberal. I don’t know about America being ‘fundamentally sound’ and all that after-dinner hooey, but I know that America is ‘fundamentally liberal’.” – Will Rogers

Posted by roncypert | Report as abusive

Dear Fellow Americans,

Our Great-grand Nation, the United States of America
is and will face very critical and substantial
“Challenges” in coming,
months, years, and decades to come.
It is very essential that we pick out our next
President on following criteria in mind.

1. A candidate with “Vision and Mission”.

2. A candidate with ” Stable Character and Integrity”
.

3. A candidate with “Presidential Temperament” and
“stable Judgment”.

4. A candidate with “little “Washington” exposure”
and
“real connectedness with New Voters”.

5. A candidate who “Inspires us up” rather than
“Tears us down”.

6. A candidate not based on sexism, racism, and
ageism.

In my professional and personal opinion, the only
candidate who has the above qualities and
characteristics and is also cool, calm, and collected
is Senator Obama.

As an independent registered voter since 1980. I voted
for Carter, voted for Reagan, voted for First Bush,
and second Bush in 2000 and In the process last
interest in Washington politics as usual and I
stopped voting.Not a good idea under any circumstance
particularly at present.

This time we can not afford to stay on side lines and
let Washington stay the same.We can not afford our
Greatgreat Nation to become less than what we are and
can be.

We need to send clear and candid message to the world
and some 24 hour partisan hateful media. These media
outlets are trying to deprive, dupe, and derail us
from getting it right this time.

They are trying there best to deny us better rather
than bitter future. { Our Greatgrand Nations people
are persistently and constantly subjected to
Psychological terrorism” without their knowledge thru
these hateful partisan media outlets.

We Americans are should not and would not to allow
them
psychologically terrorized, traumatized and silence us
this time.

I am sure that we will get it right this
time and elect Senator Obama our next President. let
us not get dragged down into racism, sexism and
ageism.

Let us remember that our Greatgrand is constituted of
family, friends,fellowships, faith, funds,foundation,
fun, and future with fairness and freedom and without
fear or favor.

We can not afford to lose any of above. Let us stand
up, be counted, save, build our Greatgrand Nation for
centuries to come and regain our world economic, and
power status back.

God Bless our Great grand Nation and its diverse
people.

Our Greatgrand nation needs present and future
stability, security, safety,sustained progress and
restoration of our due status in this perilous Global
World at the all levels.

Yours sincerely,

COL.[retd] A.M.Khajawall
Forensic Psychiatrist.
Disables American Veteran.
Las Vegas Nevada.

Posted by COL[retd]A.M.Khajawall | Report as abusive

neil– there you are spewing your factless screed…Why you would think that posters not of your ilke would read what you have spewed is laughable. Boundless and unfounded rhetoric do not play to any but the mindless and bigots…
Truth will out…

Posted by Docb | Report as abusive

[...] Obama Takes on ‘Electability’ | Receives Tom Hanks Support [...]

Obama IS the ONLY choice.

A vote for Clinton is a vote for more of the past.

Obama is the most important, significant and suitable presidential candidate since WW2.

BUT – the US people MUST see sense and reject what will turn out to be a political disaster that will drag the name of the US through the sewer of political ignomy!

Posted by Keith M Warwick | Report as abusive

The voting trend in European countries and Canada has been strongly leaning towards conservative leaders and policies.
Their economies are fairly stable and yes , they all have access to good healthcare and social programs.
Their main focus is on national security and fight against terrorism , this is a fact and nobody sees it as fearmongering.
In the meantime , America is at war , economy is in bad shape ,too many people have no access to healthcare , mortgage crisis is looming and major job losses have occured.
An election is coming up and Americans have the chance to elect a new leader to help bring their country back on the right track.
This is not the time to cast a vote for an inexperienced candidate who has so far failed to put forth specific plans and vision for the future of your country .
Change is his big word , but doesn’t say what and how he is going to do it.The outrageous part is that nobody is questioning his statements instead they sit zombie like in his audiences chanting ” Yes , we can…, please explain , you can what.??!!
He is going to change Washington.. ,surely people are not that naive to believe that.
Too much empty political rhetoric without substance.
I won’t delve further into the Wright affair , but that 20 year association should have disqualified him on the spot from ever becoming Pesident of the United States.
Hillary Clinton is the better candidate by far but too many people measure electibility by likeability and therefore you will miss out on a candidate that is smart , extremely intelligent and impressive with her knowledge on national and international affairs.
She is the only one that has ever mentioned fiscal restraint and the need to have a balanced budget.
She would make a great President if only given the chance.

Posted by Tara | Report as abusive