Barack Obama’s hoppin’ mad over “brew ha ha”

August 31, 2008

beer.jpgST. PAUL – Barack Obama wants the country to know that he’s a regular, beer-drinking guy. But don’t count on him to throw the first punch in a bar brawl.

During an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday, the Democratic presidential nominee bristled when his interviewer implied that he had recently sipped a beer to gain favor with blue-collar voters. CBS’s Steve Kroft added, “I know you don’t particularly like…”

Obama cut off Kroft, saying, “Steve, I had a beer last night. I mean, where do these stories come from man?”

This wasn’t the first time in his presidential campaign that the Harvard-educated Obama has had to fend off suggestions that he might be too erudite for Joe Six Pack.

It’s an impression he’ll want to shake if he hopes to win enough votes in important blue-collar states like Pennsylvania and Ohio this fall.

In support of that effort, Obama went bowling during one campaign appearance and at the beginning of a foreign tour in July he grabbed a basketball and sunk a now-famous “three-pointer.”

Even so, Kroft was compelled to ask Obama whether he lacked a “killer instinct” and if being confrontational was just not in his DNA — something voters might be weighing with so many bad guys lurking out there in the world.

“The fact that I don’t go out of my way to call people names, or try to take cheap shots, and that I try not to throw the first punch,” Obama said, “sometimes leads people to underestimate what I’ve got.” 

The 47-year-old senator from Illinois then issued a warning: Not only can he take a punch, occasionally he throws one.

Otherwise, “I wouldn’t be sittin’ here” as the first black major party presidential nominee, Obama said.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed.  Sen. Barack Obama drinks a beer at the Raleigh Times Bar in Raleigh, North Carolina, May 6, 2008

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

You can not act yourself into being a blue-collar worker. You can tell by the man hands. And the shoes he wears. Some ride a motorcycle, some have pick-ups, and the rest drive whatever gets them to work everyday. They most often live pay check to pay check, putting some away for the future. they raise there kids and love America even if she is a bit broken. We are going to take it back from the liberals who talk of hope and then boil it outta you, then they promise about change but tax you until thats all you have left. That was life under Jimmy Carter and it will be the same under the inexperienced fake President nominee Barack Hussein Obama

Posted by Denise | Report as abusive

The whole idea of presidential nominees acting like blue collar workers is a farce, given that only a wealthy elite are able to be nominees. The millionaire Republican presidential nominees of the past and present — the father and son Bushes, and McCain — are no more ‘blue collar’ than Donald Trump, and their attempts at looking like your ordinary Joe (including clearing brush at lavish ranches) are no less phony than when Democrats do it. As for taking it back from the Liberals, Denise, it is the Republicans that have been in office for the last eight years, and they are the ones responsible for the massive national debt and the mortgage crisis, that real blue collar workers (and their children) will be feeling for years to come. Take an actual look at McCain’s tax plan: taxes for the low and middle income families will be slightly higher than Obama’s plan, and it will be the very rich (some surprise), those who can’t remember how many houses they own, that will be getting the largest tax break. Republicans: always looking out for the little guy.

Posted by Jimmy | Report as abusive

How impressive Barack Obama was in his his interview with Steve Kroft on “60 Minutes” Sunday Evening. Just when I had given up hope that we were going to have an effective, competent Presidency again, Barack Obama and Joe Biden have come onto the National Scene. We have waited a long time for such two good men to come along.

In contrast, the spectre of Sarah Palin standing next to that aging Senator McCain is chilling. She is a zero, and only a very stupid man would have ignored his advisors and chosen such a person. Sarah Palin is under investigation regarding her “Trooper-Gate” firing of the Alaskan Safety Commissioner, and she is being investigated for receiving government campaign gifts from VECO oil company, the same company involved with the indictment of Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens.

Worst of all Sarah has no integrity and honesty evidenced by her devising a charade – covering up her daughter Bristol’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Baby Trig is the child of Bristol, not Sarah. There is an advertising video of Sarah just 13 days before Trig was born in April with Sarah showing no sign of pregnancy. All her pictures have suddenly been deleted from her website.

Posted by lyndel | Report as abusive

Mr. Obama is an educated man. What’s wrong with that? No one paid his way through college and he had to earn it. A white collar man can have a beer for god’s sake. My hubby has a master’s degree and drinks plenty of beer. My god, he can’t make a move without someone reading something into it. I don’t blame him for getting PO’ed.

Posted by connie | Report as abusive

No, Obama may not be a blue-collar worker, but then again, who in Washington is? Obama is just showing that he is not the elitist that the Republicans paint him as (and I’m pretty sure McCain’s shoes are not of the blue-collar type). For a change, I want a hard-working intelligent president who will make intelligent decisions for America, not someone who stumbled upon the presidency because of his connections (i.e. G.W. Bush).

Posted by Julie | Report as abusive

Seems I remember the federal government running a surplus during the Clinton years . You fiscal conservatives could take a lesson there … Reagan , Bush I and Bush II all ran deficits .

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

“You can not act yourself into being a blue-collar worker. You can tell by the man hands. And the shoes he wears. ”

McCain’s $500 Italian loafers: kinson/a-week-in-john-mccains-sh_b_11569 2.html

You’re absolutely right, Denise, that most politicians – Repub or Dem – don’t care about us in the lower/middle class. Most were probably born too darn rich to understand it. And of course, the ones born on 3rd base think they hit a triple.

Part of the reason people like Obama, I think, is that he really did start with nothing and work his way up. Check out his ideas and his positions, and the lessons he took from that.

Posted by Adam | Report as abusive

The children and grandchildren of everyone in the United States of America are going to be paying with money and blood for the past 8 years under George W. Bush. It’s incredible for anyone to be complaining about taxes when we look at the level of debt on which this economy is surviving and take into account that our beloved tax money is being bled out in the billions to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — the Piper will need to be paid eventually. Additionally, while the rest of the world is scrambling to become hyper educated, a lot of people in the US apparently look down on those, such as Barack Obama, who were born with very little but by dint of ambition and hard work, ended up in the elite academic institutions of this country. What is wrong with so many Americans? It’s hard to understand or forgive those who are so shortsighted and misguided in their beliefs that they continue to support people like president Bush — people who will only continue to destroy this country. I admire Obama because he is clearly comfortable in his own skin, because he carries himself in ANY situation with grace, because he is highly intelligent and thoughtful and because he thinks out of the box. For anyone to claim that Obama is a fake is just mindboggling.

Posted by Ann | Report as abusive

No cheap shots? Obama, in his speech AND in commercials, implies McCain thinks anyone making less than $5 million a year is middle class. McCain said that as an obvious joke at the Saddleback forum. He immediately said the Obama camp would abuse that joke. He was right. Obama, himself, is taking McCain’s joke and trying to portray it as McCain’s true belief. No cheap shots? A different kind of politician? SHAME ON YOU, MR. OBAMA.

Posted by Jessica | Report as abusive

We all know that Congress and the Senate create the policies that have broken this country. So who was in charge during the Cliton years and the Bush years.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

‘Blue collar workers.’ A good subject: If anyone understands who they are and what they think.
I’m not a blue collar worker, not in a union, never have been ‘but I hold strong union sentiments because I understand how good they were for the American people.
‘That is, before powerful Republican interests all but destroyed them.
Poor Denise thinks you have to have rough hands to know how the ‘blue collars’ think ‘but is wrong! Barack Obama doesn’t need to have rough hands to undersand how blue collar’d people think and what they need.
‘And what was that about “raise their kids and love America ‘even if she is a bit broken”?
Who broke it then? Look to Raegan, Bush I and Bush II
‘the enemies of the unions, the big spenders and wasters.
And remember… it was Bush II who declared:
‘Outsourcing American business (and your job) was good for America.
By the way… weren’t you better off during the Clinton administration than you have been since?
Wake up Denise. Open your eyes.

Posted by bimbrook | Report as abusive

More bad judgment on Obama’s part. I thought drinking a beer or being shown drinking a beer on tv was illegal. I guess we will see this polictally correct man smoking a cigerette next.

Posted by Allen | Report as abusive

BTW, If he really wanted to look like a blue collar man, he would be drinking that beer from a can or bottle. Drinking beer from a glass with that look on his face just does not get the job done.

Posted by Allen | Report as abusive

“Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.” –Barack Obama

That would describe this article

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

I have never read such appaling rubbish as posted here-with a few exceptions most of you yokels wouldnt know a decent human if you met one. How you can denigrate and insult a thoughtful,intelligent person is beyond me. What has he done to be so villified? What are you to call such a man as Obama into question? I tell you this, I am eternally grateful that none of you aspire to higher office and that includes dogcatcher-BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT WORTHY. Intelligent,objective discourse is beyond the intellectual reach of most bloggers,or so it seems from the trash I read. GROW UP! d. wARD

Posted by doris ward | Report as abusive

Please. Lets vote for our President because he best resembles a blue-collar worker. That’s responsible. Personally, I would prefer my President to be intelligent, an abstract thinker and have a larger world view.

People with this mindset are an embarrassment to this country. I’d say you deserve what you get, but your ignorant votes affect me as well. Get a clue.

Posted by Hansel2 | Report as abusive

Well maybe he looks uncomfortable with the glass because normally he does drink beer from a bottle or can. And maybe the editors who selects the pics that’s chosen. Picked the most uncomfortable looking pic. In any regard, who cares if doesn’t drinks a beer or bowl, or play golf…etc. And by the way how many elitist play basketball?

Posted by SJW | Report as abusive

I love the conservative perception. Everything is so baseless, its always a critique of characteristics you can’t measure… inexperienced (G.W Bush was plenty experienced, JFK wasn’t), not blue collar (SOuthside CHicago says all I need to know), taxes (Obama isn’t raising one penny of taxes and so what if he does… We have the lowest rate in the developed world and in a time of extreme expenditure, i.e. national debt). Keep on supporting that national debt, neocon foreign policy, housing crisis-related deregulation, dependence on foreign oil, NASCAR, etc. But, because it makes so much difference that this guy drinks beer you aren’t voting for him… You want to save on taxes, say that when the once great USA dives into becoming a second-rate nation. If there was ever a party that was NOT blue collar it would be the Republicans. Stop being so simple minded as they drink a beer with you and lower your taxes, but take your job.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

Obama does have a work history. It is hard being a con artist. It is hard trying to remember all the diferrent versions of the same lies he has told. It is hard trying to label everyone who disagrees with him as racists. It is hard trying to imitate a christian while sitting in such a radical church listening to a foul mouthed preacher for 20 years. In short, it must be hard being Obama.

Posted by cpl | Report as abusive

During the US’s first wars one had to own a horse to be an officer(overseer). Now one must own a college degree.

I’ve seen good and bad officers and I’ve seen good and bad enlisteds.

Obama is one of very few, and the only one in this presidential race who stood up to the current administration against the (illegal)occupation of Iraq. That took a lot of courage – and you know it!

Don’t ever judge a book by the cover! Follow the money trail and get your facts straight as you can by cross-referencing.

Obama is the Person! for the job!

Posted by Stanley Roberts | Report as abusive

Obama is not fit to be our commander&chief.his past friends prove that.McCAINS vp is more experinced then obama lukewrm old man of a vp

Posted by robert | Report as abusive

joe biden is not allowed to receive holy Communion in any Catholic church/he is for abortion like obama……………………………… what mccain vp daughter is pregnent//it happens in the best of least she is not haveing a abortion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by robert | Report as abusive

It looks like we may end up with the president elected by Chinese and Saudi money. Please read the fallowing:

Maureen Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, became a columnist on The New York Times Op-Ed page in 1995 after having served as a correspondent in the paper’s Washington bureau since 1986. She has covered four presidential campaigns and served as White House correspondent. She also wrote a column, “On Washington,” for The New York Times Magazine.

Ms. Dowd joined The New York Times as a metropolitan reporter in 1983. She began her career in 1974 as an editorial assistant for The Washington Star, where she later became a sports columnist, metropolitan re porter and feature writer. When the Star closed in 1981, she went to Time magazine.

Born in Washington D.C. , Ms. Dowd received a B.A. degree in English literature from Catholic University ( Washington , D.C. ) in 1973.

Subject: New York Times Editorial
Published: June 29, 2008
Go to Columnist Page

Certainly the most interesting and potentially devastating
Certainly the most interesting and potentially devastating phone call I have received during this election cycle came this week from one of the Obamaâ’s campaign internet geeks. These are the staffers who devised Obama’s internet fund raising campaign which raised in the neighborhood of $200 million so far. That is more then twice the total funds raised by any candidate in history and this was all from the internet campaign.

What I learned from this insider was shocking but I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that when it comes to fund raising there simply are no rules that can’t be broken and no ethics that prevail.

Obama’s internet campaign started out innocently enough with basic e-mail networking , lists saved from previous party campaigns and from supporters who visited any of the Obama campaign web sites.

Small contributions came in from these sources and the internet campaign staff were more than pleased by the results.

Then, about two months into the campaign the daily contribution intake multiplied. Where was it coming from? One of the web site security monitors began to notice the bulk of the contributions were clearly coming in from overseas internet service providers and at the rate and frequency of transmission it was clear these donations were programmed by a very sophisticated user.

While the security people were not able to track most of the sources due to firewalls and other blocking devices put on these contributions they were able to collate the number of contributions that were coming in seemingly from individuals but the funds were from only a few credit card accounts and bank electronic funds transfers. The internet service providers (ISP) they were able to trace were from Saudi Arabia , Iran , and other Middle Eastern countries. One of the banks used for fund transfers was also located in Saudi Arabia .

Another concentrated group of donations was traced to a Chinese ISP with a similar pattern of limited credit card charges.

It became clear that these donations were very likely coming from sources other than American voters. This was discussed at length within the campaign and the decision was made that none of these donations violated campaign financing laws.

It was also decided that it was not the responsibility of the campaign to audit these millions of contributions as to the actual source (specific credit card number or bank transfer account numbers) to insure that none of these internet contributors exceeded the legal maximum donation on a cumulative basis of many small donations. They also found the record keeping was not complete enough to do it anyway.

This is a shocking revelation.

We have been concerned about the legality of bundling contributions after the recent exposure of illegal bundlers but now it appears we may have an even greater problem.

I guess we should have been somewhat suspicious when the numbers started to come out. We were told (no proof offered) that the Obama internet contributions were from $10.00 to $25.00 or so.

If the $200,000,000 is right, and the average contribution was $15.00, that would mean over 13 million individuals made contributions? That would also be 13 million contributions would need to be processed. How did all that happen?

I believe the Obama campaign’s internet fund raising needs a serious, in depth investigation and audit. It also appears the whole question of internet fund raising needs investigation by the legislature and perhaps new laws to insure it complies not only with the letter of these laws but the spirit as well.


The fact that the NY Times allowed this to be printed is amazing in itself

Posted by Isay | Report as abusive

The post above (“WHERE DID OBAMA’S MONEY COME FROM?”) is a lie. Maureen Dowd did not write that article, and the assertions of the piece are false.

Snopes provides more information: ations.asp

In an ideal world, the comment should either be removed, or the poster should acknowledge that it is incorrect. But in this slash-and-burn era of modern politics, I’m sure he’s moved on to post this nonsense on hundreds of other sites.

Posted by Sean | Report as abusive

In your text below, you go out of your way to clear Obama, but never mention the TRASH mentioned about Gov.Palin’s daughter.
Palin has more in her resume than the D’s head of the ticket, daaaaaa.
Can’t help the facts are the facts. The fact that the Dem’s are scared, gives me a warm fuzzy.
By the way aren’t the Dem’s the majority? Think about the current public polls on the job congress is doing? Hasn’t Biden been there longer than McCain?
Speaking of Biden, remember what he said about Obama? His words are true.
I thought Hillary while the first lady had a sour mug. Take a look at Michele, OMG, you can see the BITTERness written on her face.
The post above (”WHERE DID OBAMA’S MONEY COME FROM?”) is a lie. Maureen Dowd did not write that article, and the assertions of the piece are false.

Snopes provides more information: ations.asp

In an ideal world, the comment should either be removed, or the poster should acknowledge that it is incorrect. But in this slash-and-burn era of modern politics, I’m sure he’s moved on to post this nonsense on hundreds of other sites.

– Posted by Sean

Posted by Hap Smith USMC (ret) | Report as abusive

after thought..
The best person to do the job is clear. Please vote for that person in NOV.
If you keep hearing about change, but, not sure what that means. Ask yourself this “Does a person that thinks most of America clings to their religion and guns in trying times are wrong. Is that the person you want in such a serious postition? Do they REALLY care about you, or is bigger government they see in the future?”
Tax, regulate and TAX again. Do we really need another government agency (health care) running like the others?
Do we need the Mom & Pop business to be taxed out of business? Wal-Mart has done enough damage to them, but that is how our system of FREE enterprise works. We don’t need the government bitting at their heels as well.

Posted by Hap Smith USMC (ret) | Report as abusive

Everybody take a long, deep breath. Forget the beer…none of us will ever, ever sit down and have even a glass of water with the next President of this great USA. Think about the last year 8 years, think about the lies uncovered about Iraq and the 4,000+ lives lost. Not to mention the bazillions of dollars this has cost YOU AND I. Think about how WE ALL will be bailing out the real elites running Lehman, AIG, Fannie Mae. We need someone who will NEVER EVER let predatory lenders back in our system of fulfilling the American Dream> Regardless if you’re a CEO, a secretary, a dayccare provider, a stay-at-home parent, blue collar worker/white collar worker-we’re Americans. Don’t we deserve better than this?? Repeat this question to yourself. Make an intelligent, well informed decision. I, personally, can only see one candidate who I feel has a better shot at helping me – GO OBAMA!!!

Posted by Vicki | Report as abusive