June 26th, 2008
05:52 PM ET

Obama supports death penalty for child rapists

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/26/art.b.obama.ap.jpg caption=]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There was a moment yesterday during his news conference when Barack Obama could have made a huge mistake. But in the end his political instincts proved much keener than those of Michael Dukakis a few years ago.

When asked about the Supreme Court decision on the death penalty for child rapists, Obama came down on the side of the conservative minority. He criticized the high court's 5-4 decision to outlaw the death penalty for people who rape children.

Obama insisted that the death penalty should be applied quote "in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes”, which he says includes the rape of a small child. He believes states should have the right to consider capital punishment in such cases.

The moment when he was asked about it brought back memories of something similar that tripped up Dukakis during his run for president in 1988, and perhaps doomed his candidacy. Dukakis was asked at a debate if the death penalty would be appropriate if his wife was raped and murdered. He answered no, without any emotion or passion. Dukakis was ridiculed, Republicans used it against him and George Bush went on to win in landslide.

Obama has 2 daughters, who are 7 and 9, and he has long supported the death penalty while criticizing the way it's used at times. As a state lawmaker in Illinois, he helped to change the death penalty system in an effort to protect against innocent people being put to death.

Here’s my question to you: Barack Obama condemned the Supreme Court decision outlawing the death penalty for people who rape children. How will this affect his campaign?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Dick writes:
It is important. The types of judges Obama says he will appoint to the court are the ones who supported the verdict. So it seems Barack wants it both ways. This is a legitimate campaign issue that could be a problem for him.

Scott from Minneapolis writes:
If anything, it will help Obama's campaign, especially with some conservatives who are leaning away from McCain. They say that everything a candidate does until November is 100% political, but I don't think that this statement is purely political. This is one of his personal beliefs, and I think that this humanizes him even more.

Sam from North Carolina writes:
And they keep saying that Obama is the most liberal senator. It just goes to show you that whether you call yourself conservative or call yourself liberal doesn't always mean that in every situation you will lean that way. I for one don't want to be labeled into a single way of thinking for all issues. I guess that is why I am an 'Independent'.

JD from North Carolina writes:
It is a small impact, if any. This is an issue that rightfully touches everyone's conscience, but is not part of the national dialogue because of broader issues like the war, economy, or environment.

Joe from St. Louis writes:
Jack, Pedophiles have become commonplace in our society. Furthermore they are released from prison early and allowed to live in neighborhoods full of children. Most people would be shocked if they took the time to get a sexual predators list from their local law enforcement. This is another example of a REAL solution to a REAL problem. His campaign will benefit.

JB from Harrisburg writes:
It only affects the crazy-in-the-brain left wing. You know, Jack, like you. Funny, I thought Obama and I had nothing in common! After expressing his views on the death penalty, I stand corrected.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Supreme Court
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. JAB

    If you have to wait for a candidate with whom you agree on everything, you'll never vote. As horrible as child rape is, I agree with the supreme court. I also plan to vote for Obama.


    June 26, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  2. JT in NYC

    It is a typical politican's attempt to show he's tough on crime, and what better way than to go after a topic guaranteed to get knee-jerk reactions. Sounds like something a Republican would do. It will be interesting to hear how he stands on the hand gun ruling.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  3. Willow, from Iowa

    I think he did good. He's a Father, he took a stand and stated how he felt about it. We all have to abide by the rulings of the Supreme court, but we all can certainly state our opinion. Among people looking for something to criticize him for, it may give them ammunition. Among people wanting to know him as a Potential President, I think it does good that he stands up for what he believes in.

    As with JFK, everybody was concerned that he would follow the Pope instead of the law of the land. Everybody can have their own ideals and morals. But, as President, they have to follow the Constitution and the Supreme court decisions.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  4. Erica from Ga

    Good. So do I. Anyone with children would too. The Supreme Court says it cruel and unusual punishment that should only be used for murder. I say that the act is cruel and unusual and it murders a child's soul. They got this one wrong.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  5. Dori in AZ

    Hey, Jack!

    Well, I guess he'll probably lose votes from the child rapist community. But, we'll have to wait for the national poles to be sure!

    June 26, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  6. Betty - AL

    It won't – most people don't care about children or wars or taxes or jobs staying here or anything else.

    They've all been McBushed to the point that no one cares any longer.

    Sounds cynical like you – doesn't it?

    Truthfully, it makes me respect Barack even more. After all, he does have the education to be a Constitutional Professor – he's of the same calibre as the Justices.


    June 26, 2008 at 2:22 pm |
  7. Mr. Berry Jacksonville Fl

    All child rapists should fry!!! Go Obama!!! He's just thinking about his kids like everyone else...

    June 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  8. Jenny Rome Ga

    Since I was going to vote for the man anyway, it won’t change my vote.
    Rape may not kill physically but what it does to anyone mentally is a fate worse than death. It causes a pain people have to live with every day for the rest of their lives. I can only imagine what it does to small children. Often their rapes and abuse is done over years by the very people that are supposed to protect them. I think that the death penalty is most appropriate in cases of child rape. On the bright side, if a child rape happens in Washington D.C. thanks to the Supreme Court now aparently you can shoot the person who did it legally
    Jenny Rome Ga

    June 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  9. Miko Kansas City

    Ok so kiddie rapists and those with the tendacies won't vote for him. Sure everyone who is accused is not guilty that's why there are trials. I don't think everyone would receive the death penalty, only the most heinous crime. I don't want my president to be an advocate for kiddie rapists. This is a tough one for sure!

    June 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  10. Jon from Austin, TX

    This may actually bolster Obama's campaign by showing some conservatives that he has some similarities with them. A large majority of Americans agree with his position from both sides.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  11. Rosalynd Florida

    I agree with Mr. Obama on this issue and it is not political. This country's laws on rape need to be toughened up. Rape destroys lives especially the life of a child. Let's face it , what kind of person rapes a child and if you think you can rehabilitate them you are fooling yourself. At least let the states have an option to put some of these criminals to death.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  12. mitch martin arkansaw

    no affect

    June 26, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  13. LINDA

    Linda La Place, LA

    If this horrible crime would happen to his child or a family member...How would he feel? Its easy for politicans to pass laws and express their opinions...until something happens to one of their love ones.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  14. AndyZ Fairfax, VA

    He will appeal to a much younger voting block, that is if they are old enough to vote.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  15. Dori in AZ

    Hey, Jack!

    Whoops! I meant "national polls" – not "poles." No disrespect intended to my friends in Poland where there's a country full of national Poles....

    June 26, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  16. Emma, San Jose, CA

    How can a child's soul heal after a brutal sexual attack? I am not sure if I agree with Obama, but I agree that there should be measures for the states to use in considering consequences of special horrific crimes. And how do we keep children safe if we do not take an iron hand?

    June 26, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  17. Shirley-Ohio

    Well Jack, it shouldn't affect his campaign at all. Obama is a father first and a politician second. He has two daughters and believe me his decision was based soley on them and other little girls. Anyone calling him out on this decision is a donkey. One thing that this should show the American people is that he has empathy and we all know that goes a long way.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  18. John Naples FL

    That is the first smart thing I have heard him say now let's talke about his energy gimmics

    June 26, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  19. Jim from BC

    He answered well. Both the positive and negative reactions will cancel each other out.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  20. JC from Georgetown, Texas

    Our "Supreme Court" is as divided as our country and needs to be retired and replaced with people who have lived in our society for a while then maybe they would agree that these type of crimes are ones where these sick people should be eliminated just like murder and not wait 25 years to carry out the sentence. I wish he had said, "in no uncertain terms, they are wrong in their decision as they have never walked in the shoes of a victim for the rest of their life".

    June 26, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  21. Billy G in Las Vegas

    Democrates learned the hard way with Dukakis that IF you are perceived as a "liberal wimp" on crime it's campaign killer. he might make some of the ultra left angry but he did the smart thing with his statement.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  22. Ruthie, GA

    I agree with Obama on this one. Kids and animals are innocent and they can't protect themselves. I have no pity on anyone that do horrible things to kids and now I know Obama feels the same way.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  23. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Destroy the child's innocents but save the life of the rapist, no I don't think so. Anyone who rapes a child should be put to death.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  24. Linda in Virginia

    In a positive light, no child should have to go thru rape by an adult. I agree with Obama.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  25. Fox in Florida

    It will affect his campaign about as much as opting out of public financing will. It's one of those things that people understand and in most cases agree with. What I find incredible is that with each passing day Obama proves himself to be more a man of the people than any President in recent history.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  26. Karen in Fairfax, CA

    Life is full of disappointments, and Obama's support of the death penalty is one of many I expect to face. But he can't stand up and say, 'The death penalty is a primitive act of vengeance which shows our emotional immaturity as a nation'. That's what I suspect he secretly believes in his heart, but he knows if he said it, he'd never get elected. I'm willing to put up with a little hypocrisy to have his brains and vision in the White House.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  27. Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

    Once again, Obama proves that he is an intelligent, thoughtful thinker. Also I like the way he thinks it should be left up to the individual states to make such determinations . It was a brilliant answer! I know that Obama will make great decisions in selecting Supreme Court Justices if he becomes President. From McCain, we can only look forward to far-right wing justices with views similar to James Dobson, Rev. Hagee, etc. A McCain Presidency would be a nightmare in many ways!

    June 26, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  28. Cynthia

    I agree as well. In most cases those who disagree would think different if it were their child.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  29. J.B. - Harrisburg, PA.

    It only affects the Crazy in the brain Left Wing. You know Jack, like you. Funny, I thought Obama and I had nothing in common! After expressing his views on the Death Penalty in, I stand corrected.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  30. Scott, Minneapolis

    If anything it will help Obama's campaign, especially with some conservatives who are leaning away from McCain. They say that everything a candidate does until November is 100% political, but I don't think that this statement is purely political. This is one of his personal beliefs, and I think that this humanizes him even more, so more people can make that connection with him. Many people feel the same way, and many people vote for the candidate that they feel they can relate to the most.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  31. Dick B

    It is important. The types of judges Obama says he will appoint to the court are the ones who supported the verdict. So it seems Barack wants it both ways. This is a legitimate campaign issue that could be a problem for him.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  32. Jackson from Rome, GA

    Until we can somehow devise a system that 100% never convicts innocent people, I cannot in good conscience support the death penalty for any crime.

    Rome, GA

    June 26, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  33. Tony from Torrington

    Well that's the first thing he has said that I agree with. Could it be that Obama is becoming a real person and a true American?

    June 26, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  34. Herb -Texas

    He got this one right.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  35. Nora Corpus Christi Texas

    He is the father of two small children, I would think this would have a lot to do with how he feels about this. He is just a normal person and anyone who has children would feel this way. This is a terrible crime is all I can say.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  36. Tearched Scott CHicago, IL


    I believe that it will help his campaign. He is a great speaker and chooses his words very carefully. He understands that there should not be the thought of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth, for a tooth." Barack deciding that their should be a narrow use, shows that he respects the life of all the people involved and not just one side of any story.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  37. Daniel From Englewood Florida

    I think there will be somthing new next week that will overshadow this news. Then I think there will be somthing new after that...get the point.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  38. Jess, Ohio

    People who are SMART enough shouldn't even bat an eye regarding Obama's decision on this ridiculous ruling in which the Supreme Court has NO right to override any states decision.
    Once again, this is just another slap in our faces. A group of Republicans making the decision on who CAN and CANNOT be executed.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  39. Beau in Fredericksburg Virginia

    Are you kidding? It won't affect his campaign. Look who he is running against. . . . A moron.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  40. Paul

    He is right on this issue. You can not always be afraid to express what you feel on such a horrible crime. I think if this issue was on the Presidental ballot for a national voter approval it would pass in a landslide no matter who you vote for as President.

    June 26, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  41. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    I don't believe in the death penalty but I can understand why someone who does would want the death penalty for someone who rapes a child. His position on this issue won't change the way I feel about him and I respect that he's stood up for what he believes. He's going to be a great president.


    June 26, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  42. Ed North Carolina

    Well that is one issue I agree with him on. Let's see how he addresses the hand gun decision.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  43. Janet, America via Toronto

    This shows the father & parent Senator Obama is, Loving and Caring! I Respect him even more! Rapists actually do murder the most precious thing a child has, their innocence! If a person is found, without a doubt guilty, maybe the death penalty should be in place. Also, a repeat rapists, the death penalty should apply!

    June 26, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  44. JT from TN

    I don't know how to fill on this issue, if it was my child who was raped i wouldn't need the death penalty the person would be already dead.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  45. Sam, North Carolina

    ...and they keep saying that Obama is the most liberal Senator. It just goes to show you that whether you call yourself Conservative or call yourself Liberal doesn't always mean that in every situation you will lean that way.

    I for one don't want to be labeled into a single way of thinking for all issues. I guess that is why I am an 'Independent'. Too bad many other people don't seem to think that way.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  46. Dan, Chantilly VA

    For once, the Supreme Court has gotten it right. The death penalty is too good for these criminals. Let them live out the remainder of their life as the target of all the other prisoners. Even murderers find child rape reprehensible.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  47. Paul, Columbia, SC

    It sounds like another one of his "Present" votes. He is deferring the punishment decision to the states. Like everything else he says; he leaves the back door wide open. His campaign remains wishy-washy.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  48. Hubert Bertrand

    I don't know JACK people are so cold hearted, some times, It scares me. It all depend. Is it mine or not.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  49. Annie, Atlanta

    He spoke from his heart. I'm not a big proponent of the death penalty, but certain types of criminals dont deserve to share our space, and those who rape children are right up there at the top of the list.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  50. Rodney- Stafford,VA

    Jack I'm gonna reveal something personal about my past............ I'm a victim of child molestation and Its a hard thing to get over but it stays with you and it eats at you. Me personally I agree with the death penalty for child rapists because it is something that no child should ever go through its like this poison that is brought on upon a child and it is not right no matter what!!.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  51. Rodney- Stafford,VA

    And oh yea I didn't answer the question.......... It won't affect his campaign at all because as far as im concerned he got this thing LOCKED UP!!

    June 26, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  52. Ray, Florida

    He just secured my vote!!

    June 26, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  53. Jay in Texas

    I doubt it will have any impact on his campaign. Only those voters who know what the Constitution says and know what it means will realize that Obama has once again shown that there really is not significant difference in his positions and those of John McCain. Is this really the man you want choosing future Supreme Court nominees?
    Brownwood, Texas

    June 26, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  54. Constantine

    I am certainly a little scared of this because if the wrong man is convicted he will surely die.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  55. Scott, Wichita

    As one of the conservatives who has been appalled at the Supreme Court decision, I am pleasantly surprised that Senator Obama said this. Maybe he isn't the Anti-Christ after all...

    June 26, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  56. Andrew Gipson

    Raping a child is the most heinous act that could be commited. The perverts who do this should be eliminated from the gene pool.

    Andrew Gipson
    Arnold, Missouri

    June 26, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  57. Carl in South Carolina

    Jack I hope it will wake up the people in the United States to the fact that when a grown man rapes a small child it does the same thing a killing them. There has been men put to death before for rape. Maybe if we send the signal that they will be put to death, it will stop some of it.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  58. Carl

    Obama’s right on with this one!!! Any self respecting parent would feel and want justice. As soon as they’re caught, tried and convicted…run a drop line from the nearest electrical utility pole and hook a pair of jumper cables to their a$$e$. Save the taxpayer the cost of housing, food, etc.

    Houston, TX

    June 26, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  59. Mary - California

    Jack – I agree with Obama – a child rapist should be charged with the Death Penalty. A child who is raped shoud not have to suffer during his or her lifetime and a rapist should pay a stiff price.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  60. Lynn

    Jack I support the death penalty for child raptist. My friend was kidnapped, rape and tortured at 8 years old and left to die. She is now 38 years old. Thank goodness she had the help of family and counseling to get over this horrible ordeal. It is hard for her to let her kids out of her sight for just a minute.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  61. Registered Nurse in Lorton, Virginia

    It will have no effect.......and he was right in condeming the Supreme Court. If it were up to me, I would castrate them first......then assigned the death penalty.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  62. Peter TX

    a child rapist is not a human, killing that person is right thing and i will support Obama on this one.


    June 26, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  63. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Jack, he just showed that he's the wrong one to be appointing Supreme Court justices. It was the liberal justices who voted against the death penalty. Those are exactly the type of judges Obama has said he will appoint.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  64. angie

    thats right i belive they should get the death penalty look at our jails today there like country clubs computer time library time gym please thats no justice just think about the kid that has to live with that rape his or her whole life and how can anyone do that to a defenseless child specially big men i say FRY THE BA TRDS

    June 26, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  65. Kevin in Springfield

    He is a father of two little girls. His position on the decision should reflect that and it did. It puts the conservatives in a bit of a tailspin because how can you now call him a "bleeding heart liberal."

    June 26, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  66. MMN-Milwaukee WI


    This just put a human face to Barack.

    People just look at him as just a Senator running for president and forget that he’s a father to 2 well loved daughters. Clearly he was thinking as a father and not a politician looking for votes.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  67. Kirven Dunham

    I have never been a supporter of the death penalty because too many innocent people have been murdered by the states. However, the rape of a child just turns my stomach to no end. As someone to the left on a lot of issues I find nothing wrong with killing an adult who killed the innocent of a child.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  68. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    Obama One.....Supreme Court Zero
    The people will remember that this man thinks like they do. He said the right thing in more ways than one.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  69. gary saari

    Jack, I don't think it will affect his campaign at all. Most people are biased when it comes to protecting children including the prisoners incarcerated for other crimes. Usually the child rapist has to be protected from the other prisoners because they sometimes try a little street justice. Don't forget about the guy who wanted to be castrated before being released from prison because he knew he couldn't control his sexual urges.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  70. Toni Boutwell, Myrtle Beach SC

    I don't believe in the death penalty for anyone. Look what happened toJesus.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  71. Jay, AR

    Shouldn't really affect his campaign much. Unless the Republicans are feeling moody.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  72. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    I am against the death penalty under any circumstances. Child rape is a horrible thing for anyone to do,but I believe the treatment is incarceration and therapy at a mental institution. The supreme court did the right thing. Obama is just pandering to a faction he doesn't need.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  73. Gerald, Monroe Co. WV

    Perfect- for anyone who want's to get elected president.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  74. Paul, Louisiana

    I think it was a wise choice by Obama. I personally think the death penalty should be used in that scenario.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  75. Pete, Fla.

    Reflecting back to the 2000 election, you don't want to be on the Supreme Court's bad side.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  76. Cliff Dick

    He was so brave to take such a position particulary since the polls show the majority of voters agree.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  77. Buck IL

    Jack he is a lawyer and if he sees it that way he should call it that way. Everyone is entitled to their own decission. wheather he supports or disaooriove of it he will be talked about so it is his discision and only Child Rapers should be offended.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  78. Keith from Irving Texas

    It should help him, Jack. He did the right thing.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  79. Independent in New Mexico

    Senator Obama states that in a very limited number of cases the death penality should be an option. I feel that is a very reasonable statement. There are cases where the crime is so heinous that the death penalty should be an option.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  80. sarah, indiana

    obama's position on anything is just like the weather in Indiana, if you don't like it, wait 5 minutes, it will change.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  81. Shafi Alam

    The effect is that Senator Barack Obama will not loose in the presidential election in November. Some people who may not vote for Obama, may be feeling relaxed by downplaying his about 15%lead over Senator John McCain in the very recent polls. They argue that Michel Dukakis lost in November, 1988 although having double digit lead in earlier polls and similarly Obama may do too. In many senses, Obama is not Dukakis, they forget. Dukakis could not gather so big crowds around him and was no where like Obama who went as far as condemning Supreme Court decision outlawing the death penalty for raping children.

    Shafi Alam
    Austin, Texas
    Now Tokyo, Japan

    June 26, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  82. Stacy from Loudoun County, VA

    Jack, this makes me want to vote for him more. I have no love or sympathy for pedophiles as they are the weakest most hideous element in society that preys on the young and naïve. I understand the Supreme Court’s rationale, but I don’t agree with it at all.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  83. Darlene - Philadelphia

    I support the death penalty for child rapists too and so would anyone who'd had their daughters molested.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  84. Ellen Va, where we are second in executions after TX

    Since both he and McCain agree on the subject, it should be a no brainer and shouldn't effect him at all I personally feel we use the death penalty to much since we have cases where some who have been put to death when they were innocent. Seems to me, putting a person to death gives them an easy way out as opposed to a mandatory life sentance.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  85. Candy - West Virginia

    Barack is a Harvard educated Constitutional Law Scholar, I wouldn't argue with him on this one.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  86. Gene, Florida

    Jack, I'm just ticked to death about it. Look what happened to Jesus.............he saved us all!

    June 26, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  87. Harry

    He wrote a book..... read it. It's when it strays from his ideology that I would become worried.

    I would rather have someone versed in the constitution speaking about it, than someone versed in the latest poll numbers.

    That applies for today's ruling as well.


    June 26, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  88. Mark - Asheville, NC

    It won’t make a lot of difference. Voters know without a doubt that McCain is for the death penalty in extreme cases that are not murder, so why go for a candidate who just now came on board? If this issue is crucial for them, they will go for who they know is The Real Deal.

    It will be interesting to see how Obama responds to the 2nd Amendment ruling today. That is the fault of the DNC nominating the loser Kerry in 2004. We could have had better Justices then Roberts and Alito!!

    June 26, 2008 at 3:46 pm |

    positively. he just supports what most people do. if members of the supreme court ever became directly affected by crimes of this nature, maybe they wouldn't make stupid decisions.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  90. Peter Connecticut

    Concidering the fact that most child rapist are family members, would you really want that child to testify in court then go thru life knowing that her testimony caused her cousin, uncle, brother, father, to be put to death.

    Having said that. I agree with Obama.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  91. J. W. in Germany

    It was a good political move on his part, should keep everyone satisfied.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  92. KC, Nashville TN

    I'm as liberal as they come, but I support the Court's ruling yesterday. I understand that it could put children at risk for more violence (if the monsters thought they'd be put to death anyway), but I believe that ultimately there must be clear message...no tolerance for sexual abuse. As a survivor, I know that this violence is a type of murder that many never recover from. Obama is a daddy–don't assume it is a political calculation.

    June 26, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  93. Peter

    Rape is horrible, but currently i dont believe in the death penalty. Life in prison without parole sounds more horrible so i support that

    June 26, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  94. William Courtland, What is the moons postal code, I can't find realestate listings?

    Will Congress present such a bill for him to sign?

    State prisons, or an international gateway for incarsaration, an entire district of by constitution non voters?

    Does the federation have the reason to facilitate the imprisonment of peoples beyond the Constitution under the true lines of reason.

    The FBI responsible for the death of a federal officer, the protection of assests of the federation and in lawful duty rarely but to often only the respondant, impeachment..?

    The constitution should resemble the complexity of electricity by now?

    June 26, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  95. don in naples, florida

    Charlie Christ also ran on tough penalties for child rapists. It must be a political thing. It sounds good, but if a politician would get as tough on balancing the budget, and bringing down debt- the middle class would be in much better shape, and there wouldn't be a recession. Political rhetoric is getting a little stale.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  96. dave

    I think it will affect his campaign in a very positive way, the rape of a child is, in some ways worst than murder. The child will go through the rest of their life scared by that one terrible act. Who knows what that child could have become if they weren’t burdened with that one horrible moment.

    Dave from NH.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  97. Jamaal Kansas

    No he has girls any father especially one with two daughters would agree with the courst because I know if someone rapes your daughter you want them to Be held accountable for there actions. A Father wants to protect there child from any harm and if there kid if raped that protection goes out the window because they never know what could happed again so it is a Justifable Punishment because Kids are Our Future!!

    June 26, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  98. Rudy NYC

    I agree. Any crime against a child that carries the potential to damage the child for life should be punished with equal force. The guilty party should likewise be damaged for life, even if it means taking it.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  99. L.M.,Arizona

    That's a easy call death penalty for child rapist who would be against that.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  100. sandy in Ohio

    Jack, My grown Republican children often accuse me of being a flamming liberal but I agree with Obama. Some one who commits a robbery is often given a stiffer sentence than someone who commits a crime against a child.Politicians love to rail against abortion but the rights of children to be safe are often ignored. Any crime against a child should be given a harsh penalty. Obama has it right!

    June 26, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  101. Michael Smith, New Orleans

    The death penalty for anything is a joke. The death penalty means you get to wait fifteen or twenty years to be executed. It costs three times as much to litigate the execution of someone as it does to keep them in prison for life. And there is still no evidence that the death penalty deters any crimes, especially to someone on drugs or a crazed child predator.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  102. Jan from Ohio

    Thanks to DNA testing & heightened accuracy these days, distinguishing between innocent and truly guilty murderers have come far. I, myself, have 3 daughters that I would've sought out execution of the perpetrator should any of them been violated.

    I do, however, have a HUGE problem with executing 1st-time offenders and the well-established mentally impaired. But, after "the Shrub's" glee in his state's excessively high rate of exectutions during his governing over Texas, where so MANY innocent men & women were executed, I have MAJOR problems with the death penalty.

    I guess I'm saying that I'm disappointed, yet AGAIN this week, in Obama's siding with murdering a potentially innocent person for "alleged" rape charges. Like I mentioned before, it depends on where that poor fool lives, which leads to concerns over sentencing to execute an individual – that the "facts" are indisputable or are they "circumstantial", as were many during bush's governnorship in Texas.

    Furthermore, since all of those "pro-lifers" are so against premature preganancy "termination", why do they froth at the mouth so much and seem so happily excited when discussing the death penalty issue?

    June 26, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  103. Barry

    I believe he was very honest in his opinion, which I believe the majority of American opinion agrees these types of crimes are uncalled for, and that the perpetrator should be punished by death. Especially when a small defenseless child is the victim. This is no comparison to Dukakis in 1988. A child cannot defend themselves period against a monster.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  104. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    By now we should all know that the Supreme Court is never going to please all the people all the time. Obama will rise above this, just like he does everything else, and continue on his march to the White House. I just hope that when he gets into office that he will seat judges that will not be afraid to follow the Constitution.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  105. Alan, Buxton, Maine

    I can think of very few crimes for which the death penalty would be more appropriate so I must applaud his condemnation. Our criminal justice system is totally dysfunctional and it just became more so with this court decision.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  106. Brian


    Obama will gain from this. He'll pick up more independent voters who are either undecided or in support of the death penalty than he'll lose from the Democratic base. When pressed, most people would find it difficult to defend child rapists faced with the death penalty. It is simply too heinous to give forgiveness or leniency to these people.

    Moscow, Idaho

    June 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  107. Rachael in Princeton, NJ

    Nobody's perfect. But Obama's close enough.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  108. d

    I don't believe it will affect his campaign in the least. I must say I am NOT an Obama supporter, never will be, but I totally agree with his stance on child rapists.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  109. Perry J

    death of child rapest is the only thing mr obama and i agree on
    you do not know how hard it is to have to addmit i agree with any democrat

    perry j council bluffs iowa

    June 26, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  110. Stan

    I am an Obama supporter and I suspect that many other Obama supporters ageee with me when I say that I do not support the death penalty for any crime. However, his stance on this issue will not sway my support for him. There are too many other issues on which we agree that I consider more important than the dealth penalty.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  111. Mike

    This will make it more challenging for the Republicans to label him as "soft on crime" like other Democrats including Dukakis have been labeled.


    June 26, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  112. Casey in CA

    I support that too. To be honest, I am torn about the death penalty given that the judicial system is so messed up with racial profiling and corruption... but if anything deserves the death penalty, it's child rape...

    June 26, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  113. A Kraft Naples, FL

    I agree...some crimes are heinous and child rape is one of them...they do not deserve leniency...

    June 26, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  114. kathe

    Anyone with children should be behind Obama on this issue. To rape or harm a child is cause for death penalty no matter what!!!!!
    That is the problem in this country, all the rich can do whatever they want, get away with, go to a resort jail, be pardoned by President.

    So are we going to treat a deviant who harms our children like kings too!!!!! Where do we draw the line, where and when do we say, NOT THIS TIME ENOUGH!!!!!

    I am a parent, and I have been for the death penalty for a very very long time, even before I had children. Taking a human life for the sake of stealing, robbing, revenge....your life is worthless too. Harming a child by torture, rape – that is instant death. Do you folks not realize you have given children another form of a death sentence by allowing their attackers to live, when their young lives and bodies will never ever recover.

    I am with you Senator Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 26, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  115. Bishop

    I Don't blame the Illinois Senator. He has two daughters...

    I have a sister half my age...I might not wait for the courts...

    June 26, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  116. Ken in NC

    Considering the fact that some are going to vote for him and some are not, he will lose some votes because of his response but because of his response he will gain some votes he did not have. The affect will be nill. SOMEONE NEEDS TO WAKE John McCain and pose the same question to him.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  117. Laylah B

    His comments affect the campaign in a positive way. The violent rape of a young child is any parent's worst nightmare, and the overwhelming majority would support the death penalty. This father of two young girls, who strongly disagrees with the Supreme Court decision, shows that he is one of us.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  118. Nancy, Tennessee

    We punish murderers with the death penalty. When someone rapes a child, they have smothered the innocent life out a child. Oh, the child may breath, but their innocence is gone for good. So don't go soft on a rapist. Give them death.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  119. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Most child rapists get it in prison anyway. They are hated by their fellow inmates. What was the name of the priest who was murdered in prison for child molestation? I rest my case.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  120. wally Ruehmann las Vegas nv

    none.i don 't even want to think about this kind of crime, it's sick..these kind of people are lucky my grandpa isn't alive..let's concentrate on positive thing's and how to fix the wrongs in our country that we can possibly change for the good.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  121. Quentin, NYC

    Well, that hurt him with the catholic vote. Then again, priests aren't always that political.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  122. Dennis from Phoenix, Arizona

    If he meant what he said...then there is hope.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  123. Darren S.

    It should effect his campaign at all. With the brutality of that crime, many feel the perpetrator deserves to be put to death, for he's destroyed any chance that little girl has at a normal life.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:52 pm |
  124. Jose Card - Independent

    I don't wish death upon anybody.
    Forensic science today isn't perfect yet.
    Taking a life for a life lost is not always fair under our justice system.
    A life sentence is more than enough in this case.
    I have daughters, too.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  125. Greg from PA

    The death penalty is saved for those lost soles who have given up on GO...........

    June 26, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  126. Ralph, Long Island, NY

    It will have the effect it deserves, nothing.

    June 26, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  127. Kristine from Connecticut

    I oppose the death penalty EXCEPT when it comes to children.
    Senator Obama is "dead-right" on this issue.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  128. Sue

    Way to go Obama! You won my vote. I just cannot imagine a peodophile raping my 6 yr old, let alone go scot free from the death penalty.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  129. Rick-Minot North Dakota

    It was the only option. Can you imagine what the ads would have looked like when the 527's got done with it? It would have made the old Willie Horton ads look tame! No politician in his right mind would say anything different. Chester the Molester has gotta go and the sooner the better.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  130. Victor

    He gave a nuanced political answer to a sensitive question. His answer ultimately offends nobody and acknowledges that the crime is of a terrible nature. Still I disagree with him. The court made the right decision.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  131. Jose Card - Independent

    Often a child is raped by a close family member.
    If a death sentence is the law, these kids may never see the light.
    Usually, family members don't wish death upon another. Jail sentence for life is more workable to stop the damage to the victim.

    Senator Obama, please think carefully about the consequences of a death sentence for child rapists.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  132. Keith - Ohio

    Not at all, Jack... The vote was very close; 5-4... I'm more concerned about the 5 and what they were thinking when the vote was going on..?

    Next, we'll be hearing about how they think that they can rehabilitate these perpetrators and get them back out on the street.. When we have the chance to make a good judgement, we fail again.

    Here's a novel idea: Maybe Supreme Court judges should be voted in instead of appointed.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  133. Harry Lime

    I see this as inconsistent with the usual very liberal views Obama has stated about everything else. Pandering? This position will not diminish his support among the far left. I doubt it will garner support in the far right.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  134. bob klepak

    It won't. Supporting the ruling would have!

    June 26, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  135. OLD EWOK, Cottonwood, Ca.

    What did you expect him to say...duh.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  136. Chryssa

    Good for him for saying what he believes, instead of what he thinks could gain him a few points in the next poll. This is another example of why he'll make an excellent president.

    Boise, ID

    June 26, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  137. Harold from Anchorage, AK

    Might help him with Conservatives; although the death penalty does NOT deter crime, and has been banned by the civilized countries of the world. All the death penalty is, is revenge.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  138. Pam Simmons

    I think it wil be a tremendous boost to his campaign, because there are liberals like me who have a steady head on her shoulders. And the rape and murder of a child is the most dispicible crime. Children should not have to suffer such things. They should be off limits until they are adults. But since this is not the case, the punishment should be the harshest available. Kudos to Mr. Obama for saying out loud what many of us think.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  139. James

    This is a situation where it is best to agree with the McCain camp. It is difficult to explain that the Supreme court is right. If a child rapist were to let a child live, the child would testify against the rapist and it would be a death penalty if the court did not decide the way that it did. The Court did the right thing.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  140. Bill in Albuquerque

    It will affect his campaign like every other issue: Some people will love it and others will hate it. His ultimate success or failure isn't dependent on any one issue; it will be based on how closely his overall "profile" matches that of the individual voter.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:35 pm |
  141. Terry in Fayetteville, NC

    What he can do to secure the rights of law abiding citizens is far more imortant than any difference I might have with him about the rights of convicted criminals. If we see McCain championing the cause of child rapists, I might give it another ten seconds of consideration and then vote for Obama anyway.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  142. Chris in Minnesota

    I don't think that it really helps him much. Everybody knows that if he would've said that he doesn't support the courts decision, he would've been eaten alive for at least 10 news cycles. In my opion he did what he was supposed to do. And I don't think that anyone that is undecided or for McCain will give him a second look just because of this stance.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  143. doug pierson tohatchi nm

    I am disapointed at this point in Obama. It is wrong to kill, to take another's life. Period!

    June 26, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  144. Debra Rich, Washington, DC

    Yes he did Jack, and did you see the look on his face? It looked as if he was thinking about his two daughters. The question gave ages that were similar to his daughters. I think it hit home.

    I also think he may have thought; oh no not this Ducacus question again. I'm sure he is beginning to the kitchen sink while it flying, and he's learning when to duck. It just a sham that our political system uses horrible situations to tear their opponents down.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  145. Chris in Minnesota

    I don’t think that it really helps him much. Everybody knows that if he would’ve said that he doesn’t support the courts decision, he would’ve been eaten alive for at least 10 news cycles. In my opinion he did what he was supposed to do. And I don’t think that anyone that is undecided or for McCain will give him a second look just because of this stance.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  146. Tom - Las Vegas, Nevada

    Considering his answer it most likely won't have any impact. Nobody is likely to bring it up again although it does give him a little bit of credibility when the inevitable "Obama will be soft on criminals" ads start popping out of the 527's.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  147. Chuck in Eugene Oregon


    I do not know that I agree with the death penalty. There have been too many people imprisoned that have been later proved innocent. One is too many, although our laws may not be perfect, I am more inclined to support life in prison, or some other punishment fitting punishment. But regardless, not all convictions are a reflection of guilt, as I stated earlier too many have spent years in prison only to be discoverd to be completely innocent of the charges. So no I do not support the death penalty

    June 26, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  148. Cathy in MD

    This is a difficult issue. In every case and at any age, rape is a crime of violence against an innocent, helpless victim. My child is my child when she’s 4 years old and when she’s 24 years old. I don’t like the death penalty because of its inherent flaws, so I don’t know if I agree with Obama on this one. I do respect his opinion, however, and I do not think this will have a negative effect on his campaign.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  149. Kara from Nebraska

    I know if my children were molested I would personally like to kill the moster that did it.
    Obama has earned my vote all over again.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  150. Leticia Orange Park,Fl.

    Anyone who knows or has been the victim of any kind of sexual assault knows that the act of rape is cruel and unusual punishment, the crime fits the punishment. I applaude Sen. Obama for having the good judgement and common sense to speak out. I think others will too.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  151. Marty, Idaho

    It means he cares about the safety of not only his children, but ours. I may not agree with the position he took on this, but as a parent, I fully understand why he took it.

    June 26, 2008 at 5:50 pm |
  152. rob Wright

    Obama has it right, damn the flag burning Supreme Court. How can anyone allow a rapists get away with this crime. I have ( 2 ) daughters and a wife and if someone did this to either of them and i got my hands on him,he would meet his maker quickly!

    June 26, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  153. Cameron, from Swarthmore, PA

    If the reporter asked Dukakis whether the death penalty would be applicable if his wife was raped and murdered, the answer should have been yes simply to account for the latter part of that statement–you know the whole being murdered thing. Rape is an egregious crime, but in itself is not murder.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  154. Mike Starke Pembroke Pines FL

    The raping of a young child is equal to murder and worse in my opinion.There would be a good chance that child would be mentally and physically scarred for life,walking this planet a poor souless zombie bent on a destructive life because of some manical moron's
    dispicable act.Good on Obama for his continuance of common sense of the law.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  155. Tela

    Jack, Obama is no Dukakis. There is no way that comment should effect his presidential ambition. The man is already a president in waiting and will beat even (Bush) hands down.

    Mr B Tela, Abuja Nigeria

    June 26, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  156. Joey

    I think it might raise his chance at becoming president. No one likes to see people getting away with mutilating the mind of a child.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  157. MAX

    It proves once again that he is extraordinarily endowed with a cutting edge learning and high frequency oscillator in his brain. I believe he will be one of the greatest presidents America has seen in a long time.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  158. Lewis Whittington

    It is perfectly obvious that Senator Obama is a once in a lifetime political realist and visionary. He is not going to be undone by sophomoric loaded hypotheticals by dorks who want to trap him. This man thinks through every major problem of our time and has ideas to address them. I am convinced he does so passionately with his head and his heart.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  159. Gordon Miller

    Mr. Obama is not only going to be the next President of the United States, he is a smart politician who thinks about things before he opens his mouth. His campaign will succeed because he is decisive and intelligent. The McCain effort is at a disadvantage by Obama's strength in this department.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  160. Bill

    This is the best news yet for the Obama campaign. This shows who Barack Obama really is, a man of strong conviction and reason and not your Howard Dean, Mike Dukakas Democrat. Obama will make a great leader.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  161. Jared from Fort Monmouth, NJ

    The raping of any person, especially children is one of the most heinous crimes one could commit. It may not kill the person physically but does so psychologically. The majority of the nation will agree with this. Get the majority on your side, you get the presidential nomination. It's that simple... A great politcal move my Obama.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  162. Carsten from Berlin, Germany

    I guess what Sen. Obama said is what he had to say in order to not ruin his chances to win the general election. As I am opposed to the death penalty as a useless, cruel, barbaric and revenge-driven violation of civilized behaviour, I am not happy about it.

    But still, I think he will be a far better president than Sen. McCain, so I'll support him nevertheless. And maybe he'll change his (and the American people's) mind some day?

    And, I might add, I fully understand that people whose children were molested feel otherwise. If such happened to children of mine, I guess I would feel the same. But it would be wrong.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  163. James Kansas

    Once again Obama impressed me with his comments about the Supreme Courts decision on the death penalty. Most parents feel the same way about this issue regarding our children and any other child. Each State should have a right to decide for themselves the penalties regarding these sick individuals who rape and kill a child. I think this will be great for his campaign and he continues to show he does care about American families.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  164. Tela

    Jack, Obama is no Dukakis. There is no way that comment should effect his presidential ambition. The man is already a president in waiting and will beat even (Bush) hands down.

    Mr B Tela, Abuja Nigeria

    June 26, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  165. shawn, in NC

    Jack, I agree with Obama on this. If any Adult is low enough rape a child, that person should be put to death. Look at all the repeat sex offenders against children. Maybe if the laws were tougher, to protect children the rapes would stop.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  166. T.D. Browder, (Franklin, Louisiana)

    I must admit when I heard the decision I was truly shocked with their decision. I firmly agree with the Supreme Court decision. We are not in charge with commanding who lives or dies – only God. Beyond this, I still support Obama.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  167. Margo, Lewisville Texas

    This won't hurt Obama at all. No one is going to match every single criteria liberals want in a nominee. On the other hand, it could help Obama because those republicans smart enough to avoid the obvious McBush trap may be somewhat appeased with this issue. We can hope.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  168. Patrick

    Most child rapists are relatives of their victims. Statistically this is the case. Also, another thing to keep in mind is that having the death penalty for child rapists actually encourages the rapist to murder the victim. We should be moving away from the death penalty completely, not pursuing a slippery slope of emotion in adding more crimes to the list. I'm still an Obama supporter, but he's flat out wrong on this issue.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  169. Annette of Aurora, CO

    Well, Obama's position on the death penalty for child rapists shouldn't affect his campaign one way or the other, but we know better than that. To a parent or grandparent, raping a child is on the same level as taking one's life because in essence, that is what the rapist has done. Obviously the majority on the Supreme Court don't see it that way. Their job is to interpret the law. My job as a parent/grandparent is to protect my children (including boys) from the predators. If my child were raped, I would pray that I could find the strength and courage not to take the life of that person. Even criminals have standards and from what I understand, if I couldn't get to the rapist, those inside the prisons would.

    June 26, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  170. bill

    I thought democrats were against the death penalty?

    June 26, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  171. david martins

    When you look at Obama and he is asked a question he always comes up with a great answer, is this because he thinks like the rest of us who knows that you dont have to be a rocket scientist to get the right answer but be a person who has common sence and normal logic. Yes Yes Yes to that!!!

    June 26, 2008 at 6:40 pm |