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Republicans Ramp Up Attacks on Obama's Character

By Jonathan Weisman
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Republicans, seeking a new line of attack against Sen. Barack Obama, have begun to portray him as an arrogant elitist who is letting the hype about his historic candidacy go to his head.

A new advertisement mocks Obama's celebrity. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) tried to revive his "bitter" comments about guns and religion in a conference call with reporters sponsored by the Missouri Republican Party today. The GOP leaped on a quote, given to The Post by an attendee of a closed-door meeting of House members, in which Obama said, according to the source, that he had "become a symbol of the possibility of America." And the Republican National Committee has begun handing out quotes from pundits fretting over Obama's alleged hubris.

McCain campaign director Rick Davis called Obama's effort "unlike any other campaign we've seen in modern political history, a campaign that is focused on the development of an enormous image of celebrity status."

Democrats and Obama allies have pushed back just as hard, blasting McCain's negative campaign and blasting The Post for taking the quote out of context.

"Nobody here thinks John McCain has a real new idea about how to solve our country's problems," Obama told an audience here. "All they've been doing for the past two months is blaming me."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) joined the chorus in denying Obama had displayed any hubris in his meeting with House Democrats Tuesday evening.

The comment "has been construed to imply some arrogance that was totally absent," he told reporters this morning. "Matter of fact, the irony is it was a self-effacing statement in which, talking about his European trip and Middle Eastern trip, which all of us believe was extraordinarily successful, he talked about the 200,000-plus people who came to see him speak or hear him speak in Berlin. And he said, essentially, of course, I do not attribute that 200,000 to me. I attribute it to the fact that they are yearning to see a partnership with the United States, a re-establishment of a close, cooperative relationship."

Democrats who disseminated the initial quote snippet in a written e-mail are now leading the charge arguing that it was taken out of context, although no context was provided in the first place.

But clearly, some Democrats are growing concerned that the incident is being used to underscore existing questions about Obama.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 30, 2008; 3:39 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Most WAPO readers are liberal cattle, falling over themselves to lap up the latest pie-in-the-sky chatter. HOPE DON'T FILL MY GAS TANK (OR YOURS)!!!


What have you been smoking? You want to blame Obama for the price of gas? Take a good long look back again, and see how long the republicans have been in the pocket of big oil.

I am still looking for something that is a positive message to come out of the McCain campaign. Nothing but negative smears. How typical.

Posted by: biggirl | July 31, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The sudden dramatic ramping up of the camp McCain attacks on Obama rather come across as a sign of great alarm and even desperation- an attempt to stem the Obama tide.Obama will emerge triumphant and even less bruised than was the case with the Clinton encounter.His opponent will simply fade into political obscurity.

Posted by: Brian Musah | July 30, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Millionaire political opponents call Obama elitist.

Arrogant talk show host call Obama arrogant.

When you hear the talking heads criticize Obama consider the source.

Posted by: MrUniteUs | July 30, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse


This does not bode well.


Posted by: PacificGatePost | July 30, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

All Republicans can do is attack, lie and smear. I guess none of them got the memo that America needs solutions to its problems. If you want this country to go down the drain, you'll vote for McCain. If you want the United States' position as a world leader restored, you'll vote for Obama. It's that simple.

Posted by: Russell4America | July 30, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please list Obama's character flaws for me? I've read both of his books and everything out there about him--and I see a stand up guy.

As far as being "arrogant"--any candidate who puts himself out there as a candidate for the highest office in the country has to think highly of themselves. Who do we want for president--some wimp with no self confidence?

And by the way--someone who constantly puts others down --i.e. John McCain--obviuosly has some confidence issues. He has to constantly beat the other guy down to lift himself up.

Posted by: judyc | July 30, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

McCain = FEAR & LIES
Obama = HOPE

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Its sad to see McCain and his team going negative with their latest ads-

It would be like us say


Come to think of it isn't it Bush's team running McCain's Campaign now?

Issues We care About!

The Republicans and the Bush administration should be held accountable not only for the cost of the Iraq War but the 492 billion dollar deficit.

- Part of the cost are the 30,000 USA Troops wounded.

-Start laying the groundwork to move the the US away from oil dependency.

As soon as the 2008 election is over The Republicans will start running for the next elections in 2010 and 2012. This is the reason gridlock doesn't help this country.

The Republicans as a group should "pay a price" for the Gridlock.

Obama '08

Posted by: Bobby | July 30, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

The big question is who to vote for in November, we need a 3rd choice. Obama has already forgot his roots & acts & talks like Bush. McCain is lost in the long shadows of the Republican party. America deserves lots better ..... Maybe the Press will give us a new face before the elections. ? After all, the Press gave us Obama, Im sure they can dig someone else up ? Call CNN

Posted by: SadAmerican | July 30, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

McCain's "celebrity" ad helps us better understand the difference between a silverspoon baby who terminated 894th on 899 at the Naval Academy and a single mom's young man who graduated at the top of his class at Harvard University. Unfortunately, Mc Cain whom many of us respected and liked has become a whiner. The closer I look at his story, the less I see evidence that he can properly address the issues we face. The more I learned about BO, the mere convinced I get that if anybody can help this country move forward, he is the man.

Posted by: john ferry | July 30, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

McCain and his croonies are attacking Obama any way they can. However, whatever attacks they throw, no weapon formed against Obama will prosper because God has divinly appointed Obama for this time and He will be President. God bless you Obama.

Posted by: lclon | July 30, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Yea!!!! Go McCain. The honeymoon with Obama is over.

Posted by: Billw | July 30, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

The politics of fear and personal destruction is all what the Republican Party has left to run on. The issues don't matter. After 8 years of Bush, Obama and his campaign as well as surrogates should be bashing McCain and the Republicans on their refusal to address issues important to the American people.

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | July 30, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Kim...Even though I don't approve of all of Ludacris' lyrics, why must Obama always apologize for someone else comments.

I betcha Bill Clinton as called Hillary and other women the "B-word" on numerous occassions.

Posted by: Ask Bill Clinton | July 30, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse


"Don't Give Up the Ship!"

Posted by: JakeD | July 30, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, you're complaining about McCain's ads while Obama called Ludacris a "talent". And this is his talent:

Have you heard the lyrics. ANYone who has any morals and decency of a human would cringe at this talent's words.

Yikes... Hollywood craving Obama for you. Obama calls this guy talented, Obama appears to be a good father, I wonder if he would now approve is "talent's" lyrics. And this is the so call liberal's compasion? that is a laugh. Absolutely no respect!! so sad.

Posted by: Kim | July 30, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"If those in this country are to afraid to vote for a black man, we deserve to not have him, and slowly decay to make way for the truly progressive countries." -- Joey Rocko

Yes, it's truly "enlightened" of you to vote for him BECAUSE he's a black man. I could care less about the race or gender of our elected officials, as long as they aren't shifty con-artists like Obama.

I love a lot of the things Obama talks about, it's just when you compare and contrast what he says in speeches vs. what he says in more off-the-cuff interviews vs. his ACTUAL accomplishments and voting record... it just doesn't gel.

My concerns about electing Obama as the leader of the only remaining global superpower is best summed up in the following quote I read... citing a Munich's "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" newspaper article, following the speech he delivered in Germany...
"Obama proved himself to be a clever tactician, capable of shifting positions to suit his audience. [...] And there's one other thing one shouldn't forget when talking about Obama: He easily reworks even positions that have been written in stone and adjusts to new requirements."

I don't know about you, but I want to know where people stand. I want to know what they believe in, and that they will defend those beliefs in the face of opposition. I want to know that I can count on them to be sound in their judgement, and reliable in their decision making. I demand these things of the people that I call my friends... and certainly expect them of my elected leaders.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Everyone should Google Song Bird Mccain. Since the media won't bring it to light lets inform everyone about this so called war hero. Do you research my fellow citizens.

Posted by: Bird Watcher | July 30, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

perhaps all of those certain about the outcome of the election should actually READ the polls. I don't see any ships going down. If anything, McCain is picking up steam in swing states. I forget that liberals have trouble understanding actual numbers (hence their spending problem). ;)

Posted by: read the polls?? | July 30, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Jay Man:

When will you people learn that being an Elitist has little to do with money. Elitism is about Attitude!

An elitist believes they are elected to political positions to exercise power OVER you, because they are smarter and better looking than you. People should just leave these tough very complex issues to people who are smarter than they are...

Like Us here in Congress!

Posted by: karl | July 30, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

$520 shoes do not make you an elitist. Pointing out how much better you are than everyone else BECAUSE you have $520 shoes does. Obama is an elitist because he is continuously telling the rest of us how to live, how to behave, and how we should be raising our kids. You go live your life and let me live mine, and everything will be just fine. Start telling me what to do, how to live, and how to think and you'll quickly find my boot jammed up your fascist butt.

Posted by: NObama08 | July 30, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Look, even McCain has said that "our government has grown 60% over the last 7 1/2 years under the bush administration" and that its "totally unacceptable"

but now he is stepping up his attacks on Obama using the same man who helped get Bush/Cheney re-elected (Steve Schmidt)

This is the man who deamonized Cindy Mccain as a drug addict and now is a paid staffer at the McCain camp.....thats disgusting.....McCain will do anything, even hire the guy who publicy embarassed him and his wife to get elected...

Steve Schmidt has been referred to as "karl rove's deciple" These ads are not only negative, they are an act of cowardice.....Attack Obama's policies not his personality, the latest headlines and out-of-context news, values and policies that can be twisted in anyway to devalue your opponent....

You know why NOBODY knows what Mccains message is? Its because if you are confused you cant say no....all the while they deamonize Obama to bring him down and have everyone just accept mccain, not support......Its classic because there will always be someone behind closed doors who wins when everyone else is confused...

Posted by: Oregon4Obama | July 30, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. Obama is campaigning with a new play book, one that doesn't involve slinging mud, and rendering the old school play book useless. The republicans are interested in continuing the old fear politics, much akin to the cold war campaigns that kept the country in fear and shadowy doubts. Well, the cold war is over, and to remain competitive in the new world we do need to branch away from this style of fear mongering. Obama presents this opportunity. If those in this country are to afraid to vote for a black man, we deserve to not have him, and slowly decay to make way for the truly progressive countries. Let's hope this is not what happens; but if so, than so be it.

Posted by: Joey Rocko | July 30, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Do not attribute 200,000-plus people in Berlin to Obama's speach, but rather to free rock-concert, free beer and free food.

Posted by: Nick | July 30, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps a metaphor McCain and his minions can understand: What would you do if you were a battleship captian mired in a conflict and saw the opposing battleship has refueled, rearmed, and blown a gaping hole in your hull causing a rush of water and a sinking feeling? Exactly what John McCain is doing, give the other boat the finger as you go down....

Some people cannot lose with dignity.

Posted by: humblecivilservant | July 30, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

with the patriotic song that McCain sings every day and only talks about Iraq, those who are willing to vote for him should fastened their seatbelts.

He will take us to another unwarrented war like Bush did so he can justify his existence.

He is abusing the word PATRIOTIC and he is beside himself for the way Obama was received during his recent overseas trip.

just like Bush he will have two economic plans, one for the rich and miss managed banking industry & oil companies and one for financially bankrupt Americans that are losing their homes every day.

McCain's ECONOMIC plans sound like social economic for the rich and free market economy for the average American struggling to pay their bills.

Posted by: Ben-K-d | July 30, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

if Obama would keep one position, maybe a "coherent argument against" could be made!

Posted by: flip flopper | July 30, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

McCain is running on fumes. Obama said it best today: "You know, I don't pay attention to John McCain's ads, although I do notice he doesn't seem to have anything to say very positive about himself. He seems to only be talking about me. You need to ask John McCain what he's for and not just what he's against."

Posted by: John M. | July 30, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Mc Cain is now showing all of America just what he'll say or do to be elected. He has pretended for years to be a "maverick". Yet he is now showing us he is the same as all the rest of Washington.

Democrats and Republicans alike realize all they have to do is divide and conquer in front of the camera. This allwos them to ALL keep their jobs.

Sen. Obama may not be long on actual ideas, yet he was astute enough to realize that divide and conquer will no longer work.

He has tapped into "change". He has this lifelong republican willing to vote for the "promise of co-operation" between the two parties.

As for Mc Cain, John Lennon put it best.."one thing you can't hide is when your'e crippled inside"....

Posted by: Scott | July 30, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I guess all the idiots of the US see having a intellegent president as too threatening, they want someone as dumb as they are, hence Bush and now McCain. I have yet to see anyone present a coherent argument against Obama, all they do is bray the same Repub talking points over and over like good little sheep.

Posted by: Michael | July 30, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Most WAPO readers are liberal cattle, falling over themselves to lap up the latest pie-in-the-sky chatter. HOPE DON'T FILL MY GAS TANK (OR YOURS)!!!

Posted by: WAPO is a liberal rag | July 30, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Wearing expensive shoes does not make McCain elitist, it makes him the owner of an expensive pair of shoes.

Posted by: Jose | July 30, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Is there some reason why Post bloggers cannot point out the fact that its not just the Republicans, but the Post itself in the form of Dana Milbank that are spinning this narrative? Milbank grossly distorts a quote and makes a big deal about how Obama holds rallies (gasp: during a CAMPAIGN?), and there's not a peep from anyone else at the post other than to say that its just Republicans playing this game?

Posted by: Bad | July 30, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Just another personal attack on a democrat as another republican is criminally indicted. It's the same old song and dance for the stupid. Is there any intelligent life within the republican party anymore?

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | July 30, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if you can't win on policy positions, then you attack the person.

It's the oldest game in politics. And, frankly, people are sick and tired of the same old same old bs.

Out with the old partisan politics of the past that used the politics of destruction to distract from policy deficiencies.

I don't expect you Republicans to be able to get your mind around the concept - Lord knows we need a better educational system in this country, China and India are going to eat our lunch if we remain ignorant - but can I get an 'yeah man!' from the democrats in the house!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

OCB (ol' Cranky *******) should concentrate on his MAC lessons, History and Geography. His GAFFES are as big as lies that he tells. He is obviously suffering from CRS (Can't Remember Sh**) aka Alzheimer?s He should go lay down somewhere.

Posted by: Not OCB | July 30, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

This is a new line of attack? Where on earth have you been the last few months?

Posted by: Chris | July 30, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

This strikes me as grasping at a few frail straws. The character issue is out there for Obama, but looking silly and flailing your arms about trying to drum up more attention to it won't work .

Posted by: matt | July 30, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The McCain campaign is just highlighting Obama's obsession with himself...he is the one he's been waiting for.

He has made himself very unlikeable and when Paris Hilton did that, she lost much support among her "loyal fans." She ended up in jail with most of the world glad to see her there. When Senator Obama loses the presidential election in November, many of us will be very happy to see him lose, even though we're Democrats. Unfortunately for him, just because we have always been Democrats does not mean that we will stand for someone like him representing us. He had a huge opportunity to succeed but his arrogance and self-love has turned off many of us. He has given us nothing to ensure that he will be an effective we just don't like him. He is one of the spoiled brats we all knew in elementary school who was not too smart but had all the latest toys and didn't want to share with us, just wanted us to give her praise for having such wonderful toys. We didn't like it then and we don't like it now and we certainly won't vote for someone like that for president.

Posted by: hazwalnut | July 30, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

McCain is wearing $520 Italian leather loafers. Isn't this "elitist"?

Posted by: Jay Man | July 30, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The GOP in 2008 offers nothing positive or proactive. Only cheap gossip and hatred towards the other guy.

You may not like Obama, but the GOP in no way deserves to stay anywhere near the White House or a majority in Congress.

Posted by: BB | July 30, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

time to fight back, AIPAC has joined forces with the KKK and the RNC.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 30, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan Weisman,
Maybe instead of blaming everyone one under the sun you should apologize for your lapse in judgement, and retract your original lie. Ohh but I forgot this is your thing, you are a republican hack, you think your opinion belongs in your crap storeis.

Posted by: TexDem | July 30, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

This headline should read "Republcians attack Obama's charecter, and I made up a story to help!"

Posted by: Julian | July 30, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Good to see JakeD still has a hobby. So, despite the fact that our economy and national security are in their current states because of 8 years of unrestrained Republican oversight, there are still people who think continuing that failed leadership is a good idea? The only think I can conclude is that those of you who chose McCain (over Paul) either are sadomasochistic, or stupid -- no bones about it. You'd rather buy into a negative campaign by someone who consistently confuses countries, leaders, facts and history -- instead of at least voting for someone because the media have dubbed him "different." Face it, you don't want to black guy. Things would move a lot smoother if more people admitted what all this disguised language the media use really means. We can't call him "black"; let's call him "different." We can't call him "uppity"; let's call him "arrogant." Why even invent the wheel if our heads have remain stuck up our arses for the past 2000 years?

Posted by: ndo | July 30, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Look at the disgraceful, petty, embarrassing "campaign" McCain is running, and compare it to Obama's. It's very clear who is the more honorable.

Look at their families. McCain cheated on and left his disabled wife and his own children to marry a young gazillionaire heiress (whom he called a "cvnt.")

He has called Asians "Gooks"

He has joked about bombing countries and murdering thousands of innocent people.

He has joked about people dying of cancer.

He once told a hideous rape joke in front of an audience for laughs.

And so on. Some character.

I am proud to support Obama. There is no way any McCain supporter is proud of the campaign he is running.

Posted by: Shawn | July 30, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure you are happy now, Jonathan Weisman. Sit back and watch when they use your PATHETIC, SHODDY journalism!

Go to hell for all I care

Posted by: Ekim | July 30, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Just wait until they "revive" Rev. Wright and Michelle Obama's comments ...

Posted by: JakeD | July 30, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

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