February 26th, 2008
02:40 PM ET
2 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. K.D.A. - Indiana

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I think it is horrible that in today's society, someone would have the audacity to speak disparaging words about another, especially in the public eye. For Cunningham to make the comment about "peeling the bark off of Barack Hussein Obama" is not only a racist remark, but his comment refers to the lynching of Senator Barack Obama. It clearly shows that Cunningham has a distorted view of the different peoples living in the United States of America and are themselves American. His comment also supports race superiority.

    Maybe it's time that the bark is peeled off of Cunningham so he can examine the blood that flows through his veins and compare it with Senator Obama's or any other person of a different nationality than his. I'm sure he'll discover that everyone's blood either looks alike or shares a resemblance. Only when backwards thinking like Cunningham is eradicated in this country, can this country truly heal from the mistakes of its past and allow all men to live, work, and thrive in peace.

    February 26, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Ryan

    Something people need to understand about Bill Cunningham: this kinda stuff plays well in ultra-conservative Cincinnati. They lap it up. I couldn't stomach the mindset of the city, so I moved to Columbus.

    Mark Twain once said, "If the world were to end, I'd want to be in Cincinnati. Everything happens there ten years later." That nails the backwardness of the city to a tee.

    February 26, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Marlene

    wow, this is the respect we the people are to expect from Mccain and his staff? It scares me.

    February 26, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. max

    typical bush-bot neopuke rhetoric ... mccain is starting to fear the kind of change that'll get him and the bush-pukes thrown in prison ... unless cheney has a grabber, I see him getting thrown in prison 2 years out of office ... Obama 08'!!!!

    February 26, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Bill

    For every racist goon who makes fun of his name, 3 more undecided people will flock to Obama. Is this the best you've got? Keep it up GOP!

    February 26, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. gill scott gribler

    Democrats who sincerely wish to see beneficial changes to their country need to be directing their attention to the person who is qualified – repeat – qualified to do that....namely Hillary Clinton. As one of the European Friends of America it is distressing to see how naively voters are being guided away from someone who is unbeatable against the Republicans. Do they really think with America on such an unheard of downswing that the country will put the New Boy on the Block in charge instead of the Grand Old Experienced boy no matter how excitingly the former orates.
    gill scott malaga spain

    February 26, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Shannon Shiflett

    all that is, is fear-mongering. what's interesting is that it sounds like what we've been hearing from the clinton camp recently–you know when clinton sides with the right-wing that obama must be the people's choice.

    also, i am disappointed in clinton supporters lately–you have been paranoid about the media, cynical about the democratic party, and the hateful comments strike me as racist. it is becoming more clear every day that we have many republicans-at-heart in the democratic party.

    February 26, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Puddytat

    I won't run out of steam till I see McCain lose . He has been the MEDIA MONKEY .

    JUST BECAUSE HE HAS ENOUGH MONEY TO BREAK LAWS AND RULES AND GET AWAY WITHOUT A SPOT .... DOESN'T MEAN HE'S A PRESIDENT .

    You can say get over it all you want... I'M NOT GOING TOO ! AND WE WILL NOT SHUT UP ABOUT THE UNFAIR TREATMENT !

    February 26, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. J. Scott

    He is right about Obamas complete ignorance to Foreign affairs. The last President to think the world would all hold hands in Peace was Jimmy Carter. Even Carter later admitted that thinking was wrong and had to take a tough stance.
    The enemies of America and the Free world will be celebrating if Obama ever see's the office.
    This is a bleak world we live in, we need a leader like McCain to guide us through it

    February 26, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. KMAN

    What a fine spokesman for a lost cause ... at least Mr. McRelic distanced himself from this irrelevant moron!

    February 26, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. P.

    Read the comments above: This is exactly why John McCain will win in November.

    February 26, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Praetorian, Ft. Myers, FL

    It doesn't appear my dissenting voice is getting through.

    February 26, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Robert

    I have lost all respect for John McCain. I think this thing was contrived to help McCain because of the stupid statement he made about Castro (that he wished Castro would die.)

    I am an Independent now but I was a Republican for a long time. I won't be in a party that shows the world it's racist side.

    That's what the world is expecting to happen, folks. I was in England last week and I know of what I speak.

    February 26, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. Bill

    I have always been a republican but this kind of crarp has gone on long enough- (have they no same)I will never vote republican again and has these people ever heard of slander.

    February 26, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. matt

    I am a Obama supporter. I appreciate McCain's apology, but still this is not about race or religion. We all know Obama is not a muslim, and it was proved by CNN that he went to a catholic school. I regret that some people are willing to come up negative attacks which are useless to the American people. The real issues we face are addressed by Obama, millions of Americans understand that. No one can stop him from bringing good things to America, and the American people. Obama is honest, sincerely, genuine, and respects everyone else. Please Vote Obama. I am from Ohio, my vote is for Obama. Million others are voting for Obama too. Thanks

    February 26, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Its people like this who are a disgrace to the world. The only thing that one notices through all such comments is that Barack Obama has the dignity that these people lack.Obama doesnt find the need to trash
    other people to gain points..Go BARACK!

    February 26, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Roger, SC

    I agree with alot of what this wako right wing extremests is saying, the media has given Obama a free ride & the GOP will not if Obama is the candidate I feel certain they will dig & dig & McCain will probably win the presidency because of the media's favortism toward Obama....

    February 26, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Roger

    Even though I do not share many of the stances on social issues as John McCain, I have to say he still comes across as more honest and willing to admit mistakes more than anyone else running right now. Obama and Clinton have run such a smear campaign against each other, it's hard to see everyone uniting under the democratic nominee. I suppose four more years of an intelligent Republican will still be better than the last 8 years of a mentally challenged individual.

    February 26, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Roy , Cambridge MA

    The same way they covered Bush and Cheney ?

    If the press really did their job and put the screws to the republicans, the vast criminality of their enterprises would be known.

    In the meantimetime they treat them with kid gloves because they are scared. Go watch Tim Russert's interview with Hillary vs. his interview with Cheney... then tell me who gets the special treatment !

    February 26, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. HISTORY REPEATS, NY

    its so funny how these right wingers actually say EVERY media outlet besides fox news is out to get them! its sounds more like paranoia then anything. i cant stand these ignorant loud mouths, rush limbaugh, ann coulture and this bill cunningham. complete idiots. they are likr people that complain about the police and protest constantly and when they actually need them they beg for there help.

    February 26, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Jerry

    What an idiot Bill Cunningham is, he needs to crawl back in the hole he crawled out of, bet he is a Bush fan.

    February 26, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Pam Durham

    As a native Cincinnatian, I can tell you first hand that, in my opinion, Bill Cunningham is no more than a mouthpiece who scatters hate whenever given the opportunity to do so. His remarks about Barack Obama today are no different. Although I will not be voting for McCain, I'm quite sure that McCain had NO IDEA that Cunningham would spread his racist venom within the context of a McCain campaign rally.
    Bill Cunningham doesn't care who he hurts with his words and makes no apologies for doing so, at least not that I've heard of to date. Cunningham would have completely disregarded any direction from McCcain or McCain's campaign staff to refrain from making the remarks that he did, even if they had known about them. Cunningham separates himself from humanity and such consideration for the effect of his hate-speak about Obama would have served only to debunk this fact.

    February 26, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. maya

    Peter- I know that Obama likes to diminish and dismiss valid concerns with the word "silly"- but doesn't make them go away. If Obama is the nominee- he had better start thinking of better ways to counter attacks like these or else he'll be the one looking "silly" and we Dems will be devastated.

    February 26, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. America

    Now that's good politics

    February 26, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Jeep

    In response to the comment about "you can tell who the republicans fear more" (i.e., Obama), I wonder why it is then that so many republicans have been crossing over and voting for Hillary in past primaries and then laughing about how they did it to get the tougher candidate out of the way so that they quash Obama in the General Election?

    February 26, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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