International Edition
Search
CNN.com Home Page -
CNN Exchange
Friday, May 11, 2007
Obama publicly scolds staff for scheduling decision

Obama campaigned in Indianola, Iowa Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, told New Hampshire firefighters Friday that he was frustrated his staff did not build into his travel schedule a personal appearance before their union meeting taking place in the coastal city of Portsmouth. Instead, the presidential hopeful had to address the IAFF and Federation of State and Provincial Firefighters Association this morning by telephone.

"I have to tell you, I wish I was there," Obama said over a speakerphone. "My staff had already scheduled some things and they couldn't wiggle out if it. They heard from me a little bit because I wasn't happy I couldn't be there personally."

Obama went on to say that "having a chance to talk to you guys is important. And I'm not going to let a thousand miles between us keep me from saying what I have to say."

Obama has campaign events Friday in the equally important early voting state of Iowa and later this afternoon moves on to St. Louis, Missouri. Several of Obama's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination will address the group in person today including New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will appear before the gathering on Saturday.

Obama told the firefighters that theirs "is a noble calling." But he said "sometimes folks in Washington forget that...they'll honor you as heroes with words, but when it comes to deeds they make it harder for you to do your jobs."

The Illinois senator also criticized the Bush administration for trying to cut funding he said would have gone to buy masks, radios and equipment for fire fighters. Obama also vowed to work to protect firefighters pay and pensions.

-- CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Steve Brusk

CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines