February 5th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
7 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. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Thank you to those persons who left a long list of Romney Endorsements on this Board in the Comments.. Many Republicans have been wondering if there were any. The Media Bias is so STRONG and UNJUSTIFIED in this Campaign. The MEDIA continues to try to PICK THE CANDIDATES. This is exactly why John Edwards could make no advancements in the Polls. The Media Ignored him, pure and simple. This morning on CNN, it was AGAIN.....ALL ABOUT HILLARY...

    February 5, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. factchecker1946

    Oh – to all those who think the Bush tax cuts should be made permanent – think about this: If you were to run your household budget the way Bush is running the country's, you would soon be bankrupt! You can't increase your spending while cutting your income and remain solvent! Bush's budget presented to Congress has a $400,000,000,000,000 deficit – and THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE THE MONEY REQUIRED TO KEEP FIGHTING HIS WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN!!!!

    All you financial geniuses who have the brains available to remember Ronald Reagan should also remember that Reagan realized he had to – and DID – eliminate his tax cuts in order to restore financial integrity to the budget.

    If the Bush tax cuts are made permanent, we'll end up like the Soviet Union. We'll IMPLODE from financial ineptitude!

    February 5, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Jacob, Phoenix AZ

    McCain is an arrogant prick. These military guys always stick together even when they're dead wrong. Dole and McCain do have lots in common.

    February 5, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. GC-Michigan

    Gov. ROMNEY will win California on his way to the Nomination!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 5, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. C Parker

    And Ann Coulter's support is something you would accept – what a joke!

    February 5, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. Matthew

    McCain... quit your dishonest twists. Like Rush said about your dishonest 'timetable' swipe at Romney... 'for someone who says he is honorable, this was not honorable at all... "dispicable"

    Romney did not mean it in a mean-sprited way – stop twisting things, McCain. You are really showing your colors. I hope the people wake up.

    February 5, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |

    Insane McCan and JJ McClure, Your two grabastic amphibian pile of crap!! What is your problem! Insane, Dole didn't anything positive about you, you and your blow hard media friends and political hacks you have have blown this thing so far out of proportion that you look stupider than Pee Ww Herman being busted in a FL stall jerking off!

    Dole told an interviewer what he said and waht it meant and morons blow it out wrongly. So why don't you just SHUTUP!

    JJ McClure, magic underpants? what the heck are you talking about! This isn't about releigion you moronic arrogant, ingnoramas!

    Scientologist, leave them alone and go call someone in your nursing home to wipe your mouth! it is running in overtime and you need to put your dentures in your mouth and eat you puree food.


    February 5, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. Ginger

    And hopefully soon Mitt will be vanquished.......................to la la land where he belongs........................Huckabee is the true voice of freedom and there is not enough money in Utah to change that!

    February 5, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. Ian

    Makes you wonder if Rove is pulling the puppet strings once again. Either way, boo for Romney and boo for McCain. Either one will bring this country down.

    Ron Paul '08

    February 5, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Victor Lebanon

    I love that a bunch of you are quoting Rush Limbaugh as a source of honesty and reason. That's fantastically funny. If he and Ann Coulter are against McCain that's almost enough evidence right there to convince me he's the right guy to become president.

    McCain/Lieberman 08.

    February 5, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. lisa

    Never vote for anyone with bulletproof hair and with sons that make the Osmonds look like a Tim Burton movie family. Very scary people.

    February 5, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. MellyNY

    This is bull.






    February 5, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Max Power, Springfeild

    Ha ha ha! I hope Romney wins for the repubs..... because he will be slaughtered, SLAUGHTERed by the DEMS. Sweet dreams GOP. The revolution will be televised.

    February 5, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Uncle Sam

    John McCain is a patriot and I support him wholeheartedly. He will make a wonderful president, demonstrating the moral courage it takes to be a leader. The American are looking for a candidate who speaks for all of us and can work with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to make this a better country.

    February 5, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. Ashley

    According to the Boston Globe January 27th 2008.

    VP Dick Cheney's daughter Liz Cheney has joined Mitt Romney's campaign as his Senior Foreign Policy Advisor. Considering that and the fact that he has close ties to Jeb Bush and George HW Bush should be all anyone making a decision about who to vote for on the GOP side need know. If you want a continuation of the Bush Cheney administration vote for Romney.

    According to the polls it seems people want a change. Has everyone already forgotten Bush and Cheney's ratings?

    February 5, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Peanut,Eagle Lake, Tx

    Jacob, one of the two things they have in common is they are both as old as dirt, and they both lost an election.

    Vote Hillary 08

    February 5, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. RICK Bethany,PA


    February 5, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |

    Dole needs to go back canning pineapples. OBAMA 08!!!!!!

    February 5, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Kent, Chicago, IL

    "McCain is trying hard to turn the tables and twist Romney's words."

    Why do Romney supoorters alywys whine that Romney's words are being "twisted?" Whether it was a statment like this:

    "I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush."

    –Mitt Romney

    Then there are these little reminders of the not-so-conservative Mitt.

    'Romney ran against Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 1994. During a debate, Romney declared: "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it."
    – Boston Globe, March 2, 2006

    '"I respect and will protect a woman's right to choose."
    -2002 Questionnaire for the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL)
    Boston Globe, July 3, 2005'

    '"All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation. While he does not support gay marriage, Mitt Romney believes domestic partnership status should be recognized in a way that includes the potential for health benefits and rights of survivorship."
    – Romney's 2002 campaign website

    "Mitt and Kerry Wish You a Great Pride Weekend! All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference"
    – A flier handed out at "Gay Pride" by the Romney/Healey Campaign See the flier here

    "We have discussed a number of important issues such as the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which I have agreed to co-sponsor, and if possible broaden to include housing and credit, and a bill to create a federal panel to find ways to reduce gay and lesbian youth suicide, which I also support. One issue I want to clarify concerns [grammar in context] President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" military policy. I believe that the Clinton compromise was a step in the right direction. I am also convinced that it is the first of a number of steps that will ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation's military. That goal will only be reached when preventing discrimination against gays and lesbians is a mainstream concern, which is a goal we share…"
    – Governor Romney letter to Log Cabin Republicans, October 6, 1994'

    C'mon people! Smarten up...this guy Romney is a fraud and you're a bunch of dupes if you think otherwise!

    February 5, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. GC-Michigan


    February 5, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Frank

    These lies and the warmongerers are making me sick. Hope for America can not be found on this page....better look around. Ron Paul has been the only candidate who has run a campaign of integrity. His honesty and intelligent discussion can not be found elsewhere on the Republcan campaign.

    February 5, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Dually

    Romney is one of the worst candidates to run for office, ever!!
    What an idiot.

    February 5, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. HolyOK

    t not take McCain at his "straight talkin express" word? "I guarantee you as the nominee of my party, I can and will carry the city of New York, as well as the state of New York because we know how to appeal to independents," said McCain at a Manhattan rally, backed by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent who McCain called "my favorite Democrat." There it is! McCain knows he can't carry the base, he's to liberal so he counts on independents, is backed by them and even Bill Clinton said that McCain and Hillary are close friends. Enough said. Romney is the true Republican. No matter how blatant the media are in their pull for McCain he isn't a true republican candidate..

    February 5, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Sammy

    If you like G W Bush. You will love John McCain.

    February 5, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Gail Carter

    Why don't you print Romney's full statement. He didn't say anything about Dole's character or war record. He was referring to the fact that Dole ran a poor campaign in a bid for president. CNN obviously is siding with McCain. It's disgraceful that you aren't showing the full comment.

    February 5, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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