February 26th, 2008
02:40 PM ET
5 years 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. Cindy

    Thank you, John McCain.

    February 26, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. Bob

    Bill, I am Bob from Ohio, I will silence you with my vote. You are one dude who Ohioans wish you are off air. It is about time!

    February 26, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. mep

    These things were said in public at an official campaign event...McCain can 'distance' himself as much as he wants...Just more familiar republican badmouthing...Don't these morons ever run out of steam?...Seems like the more they are losing the worse it gets.

    February 26, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Steve

    It is important for politicians and their teams on both sides of the aisle to recognize that the reason people are responding to the Obama message is because they are tired of infighting, name-calling, and mud slinging. It's been going on for a decade or more, and has proven itself to be absolutely useless. Our country's political system continues to spin its wheels, with little positive output. The American populace wants politicians who will reach across the aisle to get things done in a collaborative way with their political friends AND adversaries. McCain is very wise to distance himself from this Cunningham nonsense. it hasn't worked for Clinton, and it won't work for McCain. There is a huge contingent of independent voters in this country who are awaiting the results of the Democratic Primary process. In the event that Clinton is chosen, these independents will vote for McCain, if he continues his ethical and honorable course. If he too decends into the Clinton-esque (and now Cunningham-esque) nonsense, he will reduce his chances of being our next leader. Tell Cunningham to shut up and go home.

    February 26, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Dexter

    Hey there, Mr. Cunningham! That's the next president of the United States of America you're talking about. Show some respect. From now on he's Mr. Barrack Hussein Obama, to you.

    Obama '08

    btw... Does the GOP's insistence on reminding people that Obama's middle name is Hussein bring back bad memories of Freedom Fries?

    These people are pathetic.

    February 26, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Rob

    Typica right-wing hate speech. When there is no intelligent defence of your behavior, you must attempt to lower your opposition to your level. Problem is this; there is nothing lower than the depths to which these neo-conmen & their nixon leftovers have driven our country.
    It used to be that these sorts of folks were given tar & feathers for crimes against the people, now they get a stage.................

    February 26, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Randy - Denver

    Hmm it seems like the republicans are now taking a page from the Clinton campaign, spread a rumor and inuendo then step away from the sender.. put on your best surprised look and say "Who ME?, NEVER I am a good person" If he really wanted to distance himself from these comments he should ahve stated BEFORE HAND (since he was informed) that he disagreed with these comments OR tried to stop them. I had hoped he was better than this, and maybe he is is and it was not covered if so I look forward to a GOOD discussion for the presidency between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama with minimal mudslinging and slander.

    February 26, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. JC

    Wow...I bet Mr. Cunningham is not the only one who feels this way about Sen. Obama. If Obama thinks he's going to "unite" the country when people feel this strongly about him, he's got a long long road ahead of him.

    February 26, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Tim T.

    Such "disparaging remarks...will never happen again.” Never say never, especially in politics USA. But maybe, just maybe, the majority of the electorate has had it up to here with this infantile, dirtbag style of political
    behavior and discourse. I'm not holding my breath...

    February 26, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Damon

    Wow! High ground from McCain. I'm for Obama and lifelong Dem, but it's nice to see at least one Republican rise above the policies of petty politics.

    Thank you McCain

    February 26, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Kevin, Louisville, Ky

    Interesting .......politics of fear ....Americans are above that !

    February 26, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. Tom Wittmann

    GOOD for McCAIN !!



    February 26, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Gail

    You must be having low number of listeners to your show Bill, especially if they are supporting Hillary down there in Ohio because you know, Obama is coming and coming in with his Big Mo....

    February 26, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Tired of Clinton

    I'm an Obama supporter, and I want to thank you John McCain for calling it like you see it on this one...

    February 26, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. Reecie

    Despicable! The Clintons tried this game of having surrogates make disparaging remarks and it backfired. There is nothing honorable about these kinds of tactics and McCain should be ashamed of this (but of course he's not).

    February 26, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. PDC


    Just like the Obama supporting yahoos who had the picture of Che up in their office. McCain can't be held responsible for even try to answer for every loon that supports him.

    This commentator guy is obviously looking to get his name in the news with idiotic remarks, and has done so.

    Bravo, Bill Cunningham. Whoever you are. Now crawl back into the muck.

    February 26, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. norisha

    WOW...that is ashame that people feel that much hate and contempt for anyone in this world, that is not causing that person or their family members any harm. I'm disgusted....

    February 26, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. carlo

    You know, McCain isn't my favorite candidate in the world. In fact, I'm an Obama supporter, but kudos to him for shooting down those kinds of comments. He's still way off on foreign policy, though.

    February 26, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. Independent-Latina-voter, Salt Lake City, UT

    What else can you expect from the Republicans who can only win election using the "politics of fear" tactic?!

    I believe Sen. Obama knows all too well, being African-American, that just as Hillary has done, he will be attacked by the right-wing-hate-mongers. It has already started.

    How sad it is for America that the only way we know how to 'campaign' is to sling mud at our opponents.

    February 26, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |

    wow. unbelievable. and McCain this psycho to say all that?

    February 26, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. MN Woman

    Oh my, here comes the Rupublican Ranting! I don't think they'll be quite so nice to him. I do think he's right about the media though. It may take Obama being elected, but eventually the media will start to eat their own (choice).

    Yeah, yeah – off to moderation purgatory, please how does one do penance to get out of this purgatory? Just tell me, I'll give it a try..

    February 26, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Jane, Maryland

    I know that we Americans are decent people.
    We will show the Republicans that the days of intimidating us into submission, by using fear tactics are over.
    We will vote for the person of our choice, irrespictive of their name, color, ethnicity, affiliation, or political party.

    We are no longer afraid. Even if you came up with another 'plot'

    We Americans will prove to the Republicans that we are not rascist.

    February 26, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. dwight

    As an Obama supporter, I have to say thank you John! You are a stand up true American hero

    February 26, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Naomi

    This article is like Hillary campaign that is to tear other others down than lifting them up and Bill is sinking low with her. I pity those who would like to go down with clintons....

    February 26, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Jack

    Hillary Clinton is like Laura Bush?

    Only one of these First Ladies has served in the U.S. Senate.
    Only one of these First Ladies has had 8 full years in the White House.
    Only one of these First Ladies travelled to foreign countries to negotiate peace deals.
    Only one of these First Ladies took on Healthcare, albeit unsuccessfully, to reform one of America's greatest problems.
    Only one of these First Ladies has a law degree and has practiced law.

    Now, which one of these First Ladies revolutionized that role, and which one of these First Ladies is a mere TOKEN?

    February 26, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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