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. abe

    Isn't everyone tired of media furors over insignificant news? Unless John McCain, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama actually say something shallow or offensive about another candidate, I don't really care and don't hold them accountable for stupid actions of one of their millions of supporters. One person's rant should not reflect their party or candidate, because everyone's supporters are ranting.

    February 26, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. brandon

    I'm from Cincinnati and listen to cunningham regulary. He just replayed what he said and I don't think its half as controversial as what he usually says. I agree with what he says. What's wrong with calling someone by their full name? You never hear anything bad on Obama in the media, he's the media's darling. You hear about McCain and his fling with the lobbyist all week but nothing about "Brokeback" Obama's supposed drug-induced fling with Larry Sinclaire, why is that? Cunningham also mentioned in his introduction of McCain about Obama's dealings with Rezco(reported by the Chicago Times) and no other media outlet acknowledges this.

    February 26, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. lookyloo, texas

    This Cunningham guy sounds like he needs his blankie and a nap- he is losing brain cells by the second.

    February 26, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Steven McCain

    Everytime we think we have grown ups making grown up calls we are reminded why we are in such a state as we are. Guess Barack should have asked his dad to name him george instead. What would the spin had of been if his middle name was Dracula.

    February 26, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Ty

    The comments made by McCain' supporter offers a purview of how divisive a Republican can be.

    Over generations, Republicans have indoctrinated their believers with the hateful, the distasteful, and the divisive rhetoric. They enclosed themselves in a world of backward thinking. They demonized the word "liberal". A lot of them talked about moral but secretly violated every sin in the book. But the worst of all, they want to drag us all down with them

    Wake up!

    February 26, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. VA

    I DO NOT BELIEVE A WORD THAT MCCAIN SAID...THAT SOUNDS LIKE A PLOY RIGHT FROM THE START...JUST LIKE THE YOUNG COLLEGE GAL THAT WAS TOLD WHAT QUESTION SHE HAD TO ASK IN A CLINTON RALLY....DIRTY POLITICS...AS USUAL......SHAME ON YOU AND YOURS MCCAIN...AND IF IT WAS A HILLARY PLANT...SHAME ON YOU, HILLARY... GO OBAMAAAAAAAAAAAAAA1

    February 26, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Matt

    This is the same guy that said "we need more teachers beating people." Only a "special" segment of America is stupid enough to listen to this guy, and fortunately they're no longer big enough to win elections.

    February 26, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Matt

    The Republican-bashing here really needs to stop. This isn't "typical right-wing", this isn't a normal, average, everyday conservative. Trust me on this- I am one. This is a hack on the air who is spewing his own personal opinion. Yes, it was an official campaign event but McCain's campaign cannot control what the guy says off the cuff. John McCain was right to shut the guy down. Lesson learned- the jock should never appear for McCain again.

    February 26, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Sheila, Macon, Ga.

    Would someone here PLEASE tell me 2 things Obama actually plans to do or stands for?
    Yeah, I know, HOPE AND CHANGE!
    Jeeze.
    Yes, I know I'm a RACIST now for even questioning his platform.

    February 26, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. BJE

    "Do not be deceived; Obama is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow."

    Galatians 6:7

    February 26, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Joan

    GOP already screwed up?

    LOL

    McCain pretends he runs an honorable campaign, but expect to see this kind of ugly, racist sleaze around him for the next 7 months.

    Sorry McCain, as the saying goes, "Show me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who you are"

    February 26, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. steve

    ummm sounds like a white rev white, obama's minister but taken from the opposite side

    February 26, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Dennis

    I'm not a McCain supporter, but I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. I'm currently supporting Obama. However, I have respect for McCain, and I appreciate that he denounced such comments. I also respect Senator Obama and his campaign for not taking advantage of the mud slinging by Cunningham to launch an attack of their own. Should the general election come down to Obama and McCain, then I hope this type of tone can continue. It would be much more pleasant than the Obama/Clinton race for the Democratic nomination.

    February 26, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Robin

    Sen. McCain and Sen. Clinton not only have similar record in the Senate, but also similar records in the campaign. At least he himself didn't mock others.

    February 26, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. Ross

    Deranged and hateful. He should be doing his commentary from a psychiatric ward.

    February 26, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. Obamacan

    I wish this guy who made these comments never finds another job and has to do radio from his basement via the internet.

    February 26, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. CHERYL

    IT IS ABOUT TIME THAT THE TRUTH CAME OUT ABOUT OBAMA!

    I HAVE BEEN SAYING THIS FOR MONTHS! BUT CNN WON'T PRINT IT!

    THE REPUBLICANS WILL RULE THE WHITE HOUSE AGAIN!

    THEY ARE GOING TO TEAR OBAMA APART!

    ALL I CAN SAY IS I HOPE HILLARY WINS OR GOD HELP US!!!!!!!!

    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 26, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. Jake

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

    Note that hypocrite McCain said NOTHING to the guys face or at the event.

    He says this later in a press release.

    What a coward.

    February 26, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. Bearcat

    I live in Cincinnati and everybody I knows thinks this guy is a clown. This just further proves it.

    February 26, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. Bimbo

    That a supporter makes inappropriate comments is not a reflection of the view of the candidate, regardless of the candidate. Cunningham is an as.., who has shown his stupidity.

    February 26, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. D Guill in Texas

    This guy Bill Cunninngham is just trying to get another interview on CNN or other Networks. CNN, NBC etc. please don't give him any air time to so he could continue to spread his negative propaganda. Go OBAMA GO.

    February 26, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. Mike, Land O Lakes, FL

    The right wing Republicans, the McCain's supporter and McCain himself are all out of touch with an average American. Lets see he wants another 100years of war, McBush tax cut for the wealthy, chases lobbyist skirts.

    February 26, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. Fran Martin

    There will be more personal attacks from the spokespeople of the right wing because McCain can't even begin to compete without support from the likes of Cunningham. And don't expect McCain to reel it in either. It will be just more of his two-faced style.

    February 26, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Mike

    The Conservative Party has done more damaged to this country than any other group!! It is going to be a joy when OBAMA is elected and then we can turn ourselves loose on these crooked door to door salesmen!!

    STAND STRONG FOR CHANGE (OBAMA)

    OR

    FALL HARD FOR THE SAME (Conservatives and McCain)!!!!

    February 26, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Independent

    The White "Man" feelings have truely been spoken, and McCain should choose his supporters a little bit more carefully , that shows the true direction of his campaign – Or am I wrong?

    February 26, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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