At a fundraiser in Philadelphia where he was flanked by PA governor Ed Rendell, Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, and Sen. Bob Casey, Barack Obama said, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun. Because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.”
John McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said, “Barack Obama’s call for ‘new politics’ is officially over. In just 24 hours, Barack Obama attacked one of America’s pioneering women CEOs, rejected a series of joint bipartisan town halls, and said that if there’s a political knife fight, he’d bring a gun.” The McCain campaign knows that in order to win in November, they have to recast Obama as nothing more than another elite liberal nominee. I think that it is quite a stretch to claim that this Obama comment is evidence that Obama is nothing new.
From a strategic point of view Obama’s campaign has been very conventional. The new politics that Obama speaks of involves changing the priorities in Washington. I am sure that what McCain’s camp doesn’t like about this statement is that reveals a toughness and willingness to fight that goes against their portrayal of Obama as a soft liberal.
He made this comment at a fundraiser where the minimum donation was $1,000, and the maximum was $2,300. All he was trying to do was motivate the 400 people in attendance to give as much money as possible. The people who attend events like these also usually raise money for a campaign beyond their own contributions, so this is an important group of people for Obama to motivate.
I don’t think it was very tasteful to use such violent imagery while speaking in a city with one of the highest murder rates in the country, but I understand the point of his remark, and it had nothing to do with old or new politics. I believe that after such a tough primary there is a natural tendency for many Democrats to think that the race against McCain will be a cake walk, but Obama knows that it won’t be easy in the fall and he was just trying to fire up some donors.
Obama and McCain quotes came from here.