February 26th, 2008
02:40 PM ET
1 year ago

McCain distances himself from supporter's comments

 Local radio talk show host Bill Cunningham speaks to Sen. John McCain supporters.
Local radio talk show host Bill Cunningham speaks to Sen. John McCain supporters.

CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) - A supporter of John McCain, speaking at an official campaign event in Ohio attended by the Arizona senator, called Barack Obama a “hack, Chicago-style Daly politician,” and told the crowd “all is going to be right with the world when the great prophet from Chicago takes the stand, and the world leaders who want to kill us will simply be singing Kumbaya around the table of Barack Obama.”

“At some point in the near future the media, the stooges from the New York Times, CBS (The Clinton Broadcasting System), NBC (The Nobody But Clinton Network), The All Bill Clinton Channel (ABC), and the Clinton News Network at some point is going to peel the bark off Barack Hussein Obama,” said controversial conservative commentator Bill Cunningham, an Ohio native.

“That day will come and then you'll know the truth about his business dealings with Rezko, when he got sweetheart deals in Chicago,” he added, “and the illegal loans that he received, at some point the media will quit taking sides on this and maybe start covering Barack Hussein Obama the same way they covered Bush, the same way they covered Cheney, and they same way they cover every Republican.”

Cunningham also compared Hillary Clinton unfavorably to current First Lady Laura Bush.

McCain was not on stage during these remarks. Immediately after the event, he distanced himself from the comments, telling reporters that he had been informed about “disparaging remarks” about his potential Democratic opponents.

“I have repeatedly stated my respect for Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton, and I will treat them with respect,” he said.

“I regret any comments that may be made about these two individuals who are honorable Americans, we just have strong philosophical differences, so I want to disassociate myself from any disparaging remarks that may have been said about them,” he said, adding later that “I absolutely repudiate such comments, and again I will take responsibility it will never happen again. It will never happen again.”

UPDATE: Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a Tuesday statement that McCain's remarks were appreciated: “It is a sign that if there is a McCain-Obama general election, it can be intensely competitive but the candidates will attempt to keep it respectful and focused on issues.”

–CNN's Dana Bash, Evan Glass and Shirley Zilberstein


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (345 Responses)
  1. jake

    A J You are right, Bill Cunningham is a moron for comparing Hillary to Laura Bush. Hillary is a lot better person. Laura Bush is as fake as her husband, boy george

    February 26, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. concerned

    what is this news about an Obama supporter putting the picture on the internet where Obama was dressed up.

    Haven't heard this. But then of course the news media wouldn't report that. Again – biased against Hilliary

    Go Girl

    February 26, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. M.Dowell

    I support Obama, and yes-I believe McCain-however, I doubt others will.

    February 26, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. MythicalJack

    Bill Cinningham is a Cincinnati radio personality who loves to get a rise out of liberals with his over the top right wing, god bless america rants. I think most of people in Cincy don't take him seriously if they listen to him at all.

    p.s. I have personally heard him speak out side of his radio character and he sounded like a nice resonable person.

    February 26, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Cyrus - NY

    Bill Cunningham is a fascist!! Just like Falwell (was) and Buchanan (is). These xenophobes, racists, fear-mongering pundits give the Republican party a bad name.

    I want to believe that the Republican Party is still led and supported by decent, conservative, sane, and sensible Americans, who are not full of hatred of other races, colors, religions, and democrats!!

    February 26, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Bubba

    Right, some cunning ham doesn't like black people, and that's news. Whoop do do. Boo hoo, McCain, YOU had the ham say the crap.

    February 26, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    Same old thing. We are voting for Barack Obama because this is the type of politics that we are sick and tired of.

    February 26, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. CM

    To JB Hull, Iowa,

    All I got to say is: right on! This is the oldest trick around (good cop, bad cop).

    February 26, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Son of Liberty

    Neither McInSane nor Obama have much REAL change in mind. They are both CFR members secretly pushing for a more socialized, BIG government society! Notice they will say nothing about the Trans-Texas Corridor or the North American Union. They both kiss the boots of the Bilderberg Group and the Fabian Socialites!! Do your research America!

    February 26, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. Mark

    I agree that this is the beginning of the "Rovian Hunting Season" utilizing mudslinning pundants to say what "they" want, then coming out to take the HIGH Ground. Sounds like the Swift Boats are back in the water.

    February 26, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Robert

    I've read all the posts up to this time (first 45 comments) and it seems there are two possibilities. Either McCain is playing covert politics or he honestly had no knowledge of what this man was going to say. With Clinton, it is easy because there is a trail of doing this several times since the Iowa caucus, that has been looked at carefully and found there is enough evidence to see this is a campaign plan. But with McCain, a long-time senator, he is seen as a reputable, well respected, honorable senator by congress persons of all political ideals. I think his response is real and as much as he can control all the fringes of his campaign, he desires to run a respectable campaign even if it means losing to do it. That's one thing that Hillary's not willing to do. For Hillary if ugly means not losing, then ugly it is.

    February 26, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. John

    If McCain can't control his political team then what makes him think he can control the white house?

    john

    February 26, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. Brian M. From Fort Mill, S.C.

    I'm sure Cunningham is getting paid hansomely for his comments. God bless him.

    We have three candidates running for President, all of whom have some good qualities, and some negatives. In some respects, I like all three candidates.

    The only major issue I disagree with McCain is the Iraq war. Otherwise, I would consider voting for him.

    I like both Hillary and Obama for their ideas. However, I give Obama the edge because he has a gift that Hillary doesn't. He is a much better communicator. This means that he will be better able to communicate with the American people (which is obvious by watching him win state after state), and with other world leaders. At least he's trying to run a positive campaign. After all, his slogan is "Yes We Can", whereas Hillary's slogan is "No He Can't".

    But this idea that you have to demonize your opponent just to make yourself look good is a little like having a Burger King commercial that says, "McDonalds sprinkles rat droppings on their hamburgers. Therefore you should eat at Burger King."

    At the risk of being accused of plaigarizing Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?"

    February 26, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. S.J.Y.

    And Mccain stands by oblivious as always. At least he's out of Arizona for the time being. Feel our pain Ohio!

    February 26, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. Vanny

    Simply pathetic! The media may have chosen their man, but so have the American people. Change is needed now, change is what we will get when Barack Obama becomes president.

    February 26, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. Upstate NY

    Obama's middle name has been kept out of the press as well as his white mother and white grandparents that raised him and gave him an elitist life.

    If HRC is out of the race as a Presidential candidate this Democrat is voting for McCain.

    February 26, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Patrick Peavy Plano,TX

    This poor old man is constantly trying to outrun his and his own supporter's quotes.

    February 26, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. andrew jones

    Seriously, I think conservative radio talk show hosts and knuckleheads like Bill Cunningham, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Bill O'reily, and dimwit Ann Coulter needs to move to Iraq and start broadcasting live from the war front.

    Last time I checked, there are still available spaces in the Green Zone to accomodate these right-wing loons, so they can live up to what they believe in, because they are so cut off from the reality of so many Americans.

    February 26, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. June

    Of course McCain distances himself, except that he probably sent him to do this hit job. It will not work, and somebody ought to tell the Republicans not to go down HRC's path. I don't know why they would think it is a good idea –she is failing miserably!

    February 26, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. jon,philadelphia

    I want to find out what kind of medication this guy is on. It really needs to be adjusted. I knew someone would start on Obama's middle name. This is just one more standard lowball tactic from the Republicans. Four years ago they called it swift-boating.

    February 26, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. Kristen

    Even though I don't agree with McCain's politics or his supporter's statements, people have to realize that McCain can't go around censoring his supporters. They're going to say what they want because they are adults. On the same token, McCain was right to distance himself from those comments that were clearly derisive and polarizing rather than constructive and uplifting.

    Why doesn't anyone remember that John McCain himself is quoted as saying "I hate the gooks. I will hate them forever" back in 2000? If a politician said that about women, blacks, or latinos, that politician would be out of a job.

    February 26, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. Underwhelmed in H-town

    PDC said it best: Non-story.

    Who cares.

    Regarding the person who said, "Obama will change the world"... how? We keep hearing this, but I still haven't heard the reasons why they believe this to be true.

    February 26, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Landers

    This Cunningham guy and his sick comments is just the beginning. That is why I'm astonished at how irate (almost frothing at the mouth) Obama supporters get at any criticism of their candidate.

    Hillary Clinton's campaign has not been negative at all. Nothing compared to what is coming.

    February 26, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. ceci

    Sen. McCain wants Hillary to win. Let"s be clear about that. Sen. Obama would be a much more formidable foe to defeat. Having said that, who is going to believe McCain had no clue regarding the inflammatory content of the introduction offered by the local radio host who presented him to the audience. Come on. The whole strategy is damage and smear by surrogates, apologize later. Damage done anyway. The only person runnning a clean campaign is Obama.

    February 26, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. JWAZ

    Why should McCain apologize – he didn't name Obama? What is Obama ashamed of?

    February 26, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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