February 5th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
8 years ago

McCain takes aim at Romney's remark on Dole

 Romney is taking heat from McCain for his recent remark on Bob Dole.

Romney is taking heat from McCain for his recent remark on Bob Dole.

(CNN) - Mitt Romney is backing away from a statement that seemed to denigrate former GOP presidential candidate Robert Dole, who wrote a letter to Rush Limbaugh yesterday defending the former Massachusetts governor’s main Republican rival, John McCain.

In a FOX interview Tuesday morning, Romney had said the former Kansas senator was “probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me.”

McCain immediately put out a statement condemning the comment, and told reporters on his campaign plane that Romney should apologize to Dole, a decorated World War II veteran, for the remark: "this is no way to end up this campaign, by attacking a genuine American war hero." His campaign also released a statement in which the Arizona senator called Romney’s remark “disgraceful.”

A short time later, Romney also referred to Dole as “an American hero.” He added that he would love to have the former senator’s support for his own bid.

“I think very highly of Sen. Dole,” he said, and had merely intended to criticize “the mental set that says we should choose our nominee based on how many years they’ve served and how long they’ve waited in line.” He added that he did not think McCain will benefit from the letter.

On Monday, Dole sent Rush Limbaugh defending John McCain as a "mainstream conservative," in reaction to the talk show host’s attempts to rally grassroots conservative support against the Arizona senator.

Dole said in that letter he remains neutral in this year’s presidential primary.

UPDATE: Romney unsuccessfully attempted to reach Dole by telephone Tuesday morning to clarify his statements.

- CNN’s Tasha Diakides and Alexander Marquardt contributed to this report

Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney
soundoff (316 Responses)
  1. cano

    I would love to be McCains V.P, Why? because after a year you would be President. He is way too old, can we please have some fresh blood in office, instead of these old white men who do nothing but batter at new ideals. Just because McCain was a war hero it doesn't make him any better, like he tries to come off. The reason I say he is to old is because he has no good vision how to turn this country around from G.W. If he is elected we are screwed, same if hilliary is elected.

    February 5, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Mark P., Bellevue WA

    If Mitt does not win the republican nomination, I will vote for Obama just so the libs get what they want and I definitely don't want either McCain or Clinton anywhere near the WH. I don't agree much with Obama's political leanings, but at least he would be a breath of FRESH air after nearly two decades of the same old families at the top.

    February 5, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. HolyOK

    McCain is the real flip flopper:

    1. Twice voting against the Bush tax cuts. Now he says he understands the need – flip flop.
    2. Voting against an amendment to the Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. – Now he is the family man – flip-flop.
    3. Voting against energy sufficiency by refusing to allow drilling in Alaska. Now he wants to be energy independant...??
    4. McCain Feingold, which damaged the First Amendment. – Flipped to the dems
    5. McCain-Kennedy amnesty. Now he says he has heard the voice of the people – flip flop.
    6. Lying about Romney in Florida. Then demanding Romney to apologize...?
    7. Filing an Amicus brief in a Wisconsin case to stop parental notification of abortion. But he is now prolife – flip flop.

    Washington politics as usual. Clean house Mitt. If it takes a bunch of dead wood federal workers to lose their jobs to balance the budget and cut spending, so be it. The rest of us will create jobs for them to fill when the reach the real world!! We need Romney's record and productivity in Washington. McCain is dead wood; the Huckster is just that...

    February 5, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. William A

    Huckabee is the only Republican who speaks the truth. And the only one who is not a Bush Supporter. Yet, Americans are stuck on Mitt and John? Go Figure.
    NO matter – The Dems are going to win anyway...

    February 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. Julie

    If McCain gets the Republican nomination....the Democrats will surely take over the White House.

    February 5, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. Jayson

    It is funny how more and more it is becoming apparent that in the eyes of McCain if your a decorated veteran you are always right. If that is the case and he is elected I guess we can look forward to even higher levels of contention between congress and the President since McCain as a POW will always be right.

    February 5, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Dana, Calif

    Huckabees only talent is his jokes and one liners, thats how ministers fill their congregations, other than that, he's a chump and is unelectable. He'll win the bible belt but nowhere else in the nation would vote for him. McCains a loose cannon with attitude, & should be living in a seniors center. These jokers are going to squeeze out the only candidate who might be able to make a difference in washington.

    February 5, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. mike

    Most people vote for Romney because he supposedly "looks like a president". What president does he most look like? I can't think of one. Maybe Calvin Coolidge?

    If we pick a president based on whether they "look like a president", we should at least pick someone who looks like one of our good presidents.

    How about Sam Waterston? – he kinda looks a little like Lincoln...

    Say no to:
    Mitt Ruin-me

    Say yes to:
    Obama or Ron Paul!!!!!!!!!!

    February 5, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. s.buczak

    keep it up, boys and girls and the dems will win the whitehouse in november in a lanslide........i love it

    February 5, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. Truthsayer, Boise, Idaho

    Okay, I'll say it. Most Americans are idiots; stupid, ignorant, cut-off-their-noses-to-spite-their-faces blockheads. The mess of a primary we're in shows just how dimwitted the average American is. Doesn't proffer much hope for the future. Someone said Romney is a weasel. I'll tell you who are weasels, the person who said that, Huckabee and McCain. Those two make me want to puke. "Puke", now that's a funny word. "Weasel" has been over-used. Huckabee is so gleeful to thwart a Mormon, any Mormon, that he can't contain himself and McCain is so full of himself he can't contain his bowels, or is that just his age? He is arrogant, as someone posted, and so is Huckabee. It's interesting to me that many Americans are more willing to throw support to a narrow-minded Baptist minister than a broad-thinking, experienced businessman, who happens to be a Mormon. It's ghastly! I also find it despicable that McCain is preferable to many so-called conservatives than an upright, intelligent family man. In the midst of a serious economic crisis, Americans will, for petty, absurd reasons, reject a candidate that has the ability to fix at least some of the problems. They'd rather smash into an iceberg and go down with the ship than let a competent captain steer. It is where America is. Many Americans will get what they deserve; McCain, Obama, or Clinton, doesn't matter which one. I'm just sad those of us who have intelligence will have to live with the wreckage wrought by the remainder of this forsaken land's inhabitants. Fasten your seatbelts, it's all rapidly downhill from here.

    February 5, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. allen, minnesota

    The Crazy Right Wing Talk Radio is frantic because McCain is the one Republican they can't control. They see their iron grip on the GOP is slipping and they're scared to death.

    But they can't spin Romney enough to make him look either conservative or presidential. McCain is going to ride the Straight Talk Express ALL THE WAY.


    February 5, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Steve in Baton Rouge

    Poor Mitt Romney ... no matter how hard he tries, he can't help reminding everyone of their least favorite neighbor's irritating little yappy dog.

    By the way: Choosing a candidate on how well he or she hews to some outdated ideological "party line" - whether you call that "conservative" or "liberal" - is pretty dumb.

    To stretch the canine analogy a little farther: Who does McCain remind me of? Maybe Ole Yeller?

    February 5, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. Gary Wisconsin

    McCain/Feingold Sold our country out to politicians that could not make it out side of government ( in the real world)!

    February 5, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  14. Lew Warden

    I'll go for a man who served his country in combat any time over a slick, rich man's son who just couldn't find the time to do so himself. It pissed me that Bush managed to keep out of combat, but at least he had the guts to climb into a jet fighter and take his chances with that highly hazardous duty - not that I agreed with Bush's politics.

    Romney is just too, too groomed and sure of himself to suit me. Maybe in a few years he will learn to keep his mouth shut about better men. In the meanwhile, I'll not vote for him.

    February 5, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. coollikeme

    McCain looks strong.

    February 5, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  16. Truthsayer, Boise, Idaho

    McCain looks like an idiot, sounds like an idiot, talks like an idiot, acts like an idiot. Must be an idiot. Huckabee looks like a crook, sounds like a crook, talks like a crook, acts like a crook. Must be a crook. Romney looks intelligent, sounds intelligent, talks and acts intelligently. Must be intelligent. Americans will never go for that. Makes too much sense. Americans act like idiots, sound like idiots, talk like idiots, love crooks, Nixon and the Clintons among their favorites. Americans must be crooked idiots, or idiotic crooks. There are both varieties out there, I'm sure. They'll vote for a crooked idiot, Democrat, or Republican, that's certain. BTW, when McCain, the idiot, gets the nomination, look for his running mate to be Huckabee, the crook. They cut a deal, for sure. Between media trashing and McHuckaduck bashing, Romney had not chance from the start, but he has certainly fought the good fight against impossible odds. Congratulations America, you win the prize, ClintobaMchuck. Choose any one of 'em, same thing, America goes down the tubes.

    February 6, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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