February 26th, 2008
02:40 PM ET
6 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. Ian

    This seems awfully family to Huckabee's stunt where he "didn't" show a negative campaign ad. The damage is done John, quit dodging responsibility.

    February 26, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. PR UNdercover

    Obama Supporter, so you are ready to give up your country for stupid feelings? thats what Obama is all about an empty air bubble

    February 26, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. nthompson

    I must say that I am not shocked. The hoods are coming off and the horrible, but real racism- though subtle, is coming out. Americans are not all close minded. Whites are listening to this and saying, "These people want to represent us- NO WAY" While I believe McCain, does not endorse these statements, there will be others who do not. As an Obama supporter, I applaud McCain for denouncing this hateful rant and look forward to an un-biased, adult campaign between Obama and McCain.

    February 26, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Puddytat

    He keeps a pretty good distance from debating HUCKABEE and RON PAUL ... that ought to be enough to make people NOT vote for McCain.

    McCain is a media creation.

    February 26, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Michael Haynes

    These comments just prove the adage, "Never trust a Republican to do the right thing."

    February 26, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Steve

    Anyone who lives around the Cincinnati area knows Bill Cunningham is a Rush Limbaugh wanna-be who says whatever the Dittohead playbook calls for. I have not voted Republican for many, many years, but the Clintons have forgotten that some people vote for the best candidate, not blindly supporting the party. But if she is the nominee, I for one will seriously consider voting for Sen. McCain. And as for the guy representing the Machinists Union in Ohio that was at a Clinton rally over the weekend – I do not drink lattes, I drive a 10-year-old GM Malibu. And I will vote for Sen. Obama.

    February 26, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Mark

    Wow, I thought placing empasis on Obama's middle name was reserved only for closet racists and islamophobes on the internet.

    February 26, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. john

    Republicans acting on behalf of Hillary as sarrogates! Mind you Obama is a few steps away from the white house. I mean a few months away from being our president........Go Barack we have your Back!

    February 26, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. DUH!, Nowhere KS


    It's funny you say that because the most pointed attacks in the race so far have been from the DEMOCRATIC Party. Like it or not hun, your party still houses Hillary, the biggest shreiking mouth of them all. Daily, her and Bill are being caught saying some rude, offensive, demeaning, and condecending comment. But I'm sure you will find a way to balme it on the repubs.....just like a democrat! Now don't take responsibility for your actions, or that of your party...its just not the democratic way!!

    February 26, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  10. Bob

    I agree with JB Hull. It was a good strategy. I mean, how can they not know ahead of time what everybody will say at these events? Nobody's ad libbing on stage, let me tell you that's for sure.

    February 26, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Dizzy

    Its about time someone see Obama for who is really is! Way to Go Bill Cunningham! Now if CNN wants fair and Balanced reporting, put Bill on air as a CNN Contributor! CNN Reporters should take a lesson from Cunningham and tell the facts and leave out the Fantasy!

    February 26, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. demwit

    Biased reporting from the major media?? Nooooooo...........

    February 26, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Brian

    Holy cow. This kind of hateful fearmongering is exactly what Barack Obama stands against.

    Looks like John McCain needs to issue his, what, two hundreth retraction this week?

    Just absolutely disgusting, McCain.

    American needs and wants Obama in '08!

    February 26, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Peter

    And the 'Silly season' starts.......

    February 26, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Donna

    I am an Obama supporter and do give McCain credit for distancing himself from these comments. He is an honorable American and he needs to ensure that his campaign is being as honorable as he is. He may differ on issues and where the direction of this country should go, but he is not a hateful person like his surrogate. At least he distanced himself from the comments, unlike Hillary who let her surrogate insult supporters of the democratic party (Latte drinking, prius driving), that she would have had to rely on in the general election, she did not even address the hate he spewed from his mouth!

    February 26, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Matt from Charlotte

    First thing I have ever heard from a Republicna political operative that is true! Lunhbox Dems for McCain. It is time for rank and file Dems to send a message to the "progressives that they cannot push their liberal agendas from the backs of hard working blue blooded dems. Anybody but Obama 08'.

    February 26, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. dsrobins

    This kind of slime attack on Barack Obama is totally Republican and a harbinger of things to come in the campaign this spring, summer and fall. McCain and his Republican cronies will start right off in the gutter and work downward from there. It will be the ugliest campaign ever seen in America because the Republicans are so afraid they are going to lose, and they will. McCain will show us all just how low he can go, but in the end he and his loathsome party will be worse off for it. America deserves better than another bitter old man as President and Barack Obama is better; far better.

    February 26, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. Shane, NY

    I guess we can how crazy some of these radical conservatives are. They probably call themselves real christians too lol.

    February 26, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. Nancy S -Long Beach, CA

    Wow, this is the kind of person that supports McCain? I guess only pale-face-white-old men can have any power in this country. If his people keep talking like this and McCain wins the election I am moving to Canada!

    February 26, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. Hillary supporter MA

    Senator McCain please do not fall for what Hillary and Bill have fallen for. How many times are you going to apologize or distance yourself from your supporters????????????? The Obama people know exactly what they are doing. They play this game so wll so beware. They will destroy you. If Hillary does not win, there might be a lot of us coming your way. I know I will simply because I do not buy the media crap about Hillary being divisive. BARACK OBAMA IS THE DIVISIVE ONE BIG TIME!!!

    February 26, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Meghan

    Perhaps Ellen is the reason that Senator Clinton does not seem to be bothered by her husband's infidelity.

    February 26, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. Bayou Joe

    All you Obama supporters need to get a grip. Obama cannot hold a candle to McCain. Anyone that does not serve in the Military, salute my flag or recite the pledge of allegiance, get sworn in with the Koran and not the Holy Bible, does not get my support.

    February 26, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. Len from Toronto

    Ha, ha, ha, great prophit from Illinois, that's a good one. But I'll take the great prophit over the great retard from Texas you currently have now – any day!

    February 26, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. FFD

    same old crap...

    February 26, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. Charles Now

    It's funny how CNN felt it necessary to print word for word, his entire message. Nothing like getting the point across to millions of readers free of charge.

    February 26, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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