Politics & Policy

Cochran in 2008: ‘I Really Like’ Obama

Mississippi GOP senator had high hopes for ‘charming, engaging, diplomatic’ candidate.

When Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran spoke at an editorial board meeting of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in the middle of the 2008 presidential election, he had some very kind words for candidate Barack Obama. Cochran told the board, “I think I surprised [some students] by saying that I really like both the candidates very much and I thought we would be well served however the election comes out.”

After Cochran praised the Republican candidate, John McCain, and said he would vote for McCain come November, an editor at the Daily Journal asked Cochran, “But you don’t think — there seem to be some who think it will be a disaster for the country if Obama was elected — you don’t feel that way?”

Cochran responded:

Well, no, I just think he has the personal qualities to grow in the job even though he’s hadn’t had all the experiences that some others have. He has been in the United States Senate, he’s proven he gets along well with people. He’s very affable and charming, wonderful personality, very engaging personally, and diplomacy is a real important part of the job of the presidency, and I think he will do an excellent job in that respect.

Contrary to Senator Cochran’s expectations, Republicans have repeatedly said Obama does not listen to them or heed their advice. Far from being engaging, they say, the president acts quite coldly toward the opposition party. 

Jordan Russell, the communications director for Cochran’s reelection campaign in Mississippi, responded to National Review Online’s inquiry about the video with the following:

Senator Cochran voted against Obamacare over 100 times every chance he’s gotten to vote against it. He voted against the TARP bailout, against the stimulus in 2009, he spent 30 minutes on the floor arguing passionately against the stimulus bill. He has voted against gun control in 2013, which, of course, is a huge priority for the president, and he’s voted against amnesty in every chance he’s gotten too. Every priority of Barack Obama in Washington since he’s gotten there, Senator Cochran has been adamantly opposed to it, and I think that record speaks for itself.

— Alec Torres is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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