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. faith

    Why does ANYONE have to "apologize" for using Obama's middle name - we still have SOME free speech in this county, right - luckily, McCain has ZERO control over independent 527s

    February 26, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Mase7

    It's Ok the American prople are smarter than that . It does not mater any more what his name is, Obama is the real deal.

    February 26, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Franky

    "There is NO ONE CANDIDATE who can clean up Bush's mess"

    I gotta say, your a good thinker Trevor, good for you! (LOL!!!).......sorry, still thinking about that comment, LOL!!!

    February 26, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Charles

    My only question is, is this guy of McCain's age or of the age of Obama's supposedly supporters? Now who looks more mature? In any case, this guy makes Bill Clinton's rants look normal. Seriously, talk about a ignorant fruit loop. If I were McCain, I would distance myself from HIM forget the remark!

    February 26, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Mark

    Does anyone else find it extremely telling that Clinton and McCain in their exceeding "experience" can't see that all they are doing is giving Obama more opportunities to shine diplomatically with his calm, eloquent responses?

    The born cynic in me wonders if America is truly ready to put aside it's biases and take a chance on at least a marginal change, but I for one hope these attacks keep coming, because they are helping Obama bridge the voting gap daily.

    February 26, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. NotFunny

    McCain and his supporters are nutjobs. They want to keep us in Iraq 100-1000 years. Enough said.

    February 26, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. Elariia

    It is shameful that people who run for the highest office in our land are treated with such disrespect. Bill Cunningham sounds like he took a chapter from Hillary's playbook. I have NEVER heard these kinds of attacks initiated by the Obama camp. Sure, he disagrees publically with Hillary and McCain on certain issues, but none of his surrogates has ever denigrated Hillary's or McCain's character.

    February 26, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. RSP

    The overwhelming support of Senator Obama is “faith-based”, which is usually the province of the Christian Right. Obama supporters want us to ignore his past, his decisions, his wavering on patriotism, and just “trust” him, and have “hope”.

    This “just have faith!” attitude will only last so long. Men like Cunningham will inject just enough doubt into the Obama mystique to make people question their unwavering love and faith for the man.

    If Hillary is long-gone by that point, it might just be too late to salvage the Democratic campaign. I’m ordering my “Don’t blame me, I voted for Hillary” bumper sticker right now.

    February 26, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. ann

    Never again? What is the definition of 'never'?

    February 26, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Bob

    McCain handled this properly and in the only way he could. I'm an Ohioan and I feel that Bill Cunningham and his comments are emblematic of the many "No Fear" Republicans in this state. They are so used to dominating the politics of Ohio that they think they can get away with anything (and largely have), regardless of the lack of character, decency, or intelligence. And yet they love to talk about how everyone is against them. It's simply rediculous.

    February 26, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. jake

    I see the fear mongering hasn't left the right wing of the Republican Party just yet. They don't appear to have learned their lesson in 06 so I think after 2008 they'll finally realize it doesn't work anymore.

    Glad to see McCain take responsibility for it.

    February 26, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Wiselectorate

    This sounds like a comment akin to most undemocratic Third World Countries.

    I am suprised but not too suprised it is coming from the Republican Party. A party that brought America to its knees and failed woofully.

    A vote for McCain is a vote for 3rd term Bush presidency.

    Vote different- vote for Obama

    Obama 08

    February 26, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. kd

    As a Democrat and one who two months ago considered supporting Obama, this supporters is 100% right. The supporters will probably win the nomination, but Obama will lose in November. If Obama cannot handle a little difference on his issues or style, how could he possibly stand up to the Republican machine? Besides, that his hypocritical arrogance will eventually serve as force the media will reckon with and they, will ultimately crown, John McCain, the official media darling. If this country believes the healing is coming, I hate to break it to you, it's only scandals, scandals, scandals. I wish I were wrong, I hope I am wrong. Did I mention I am always an optimist and an idealist and even, see the writing on the wall. The Democratic Party is Over–Thanks Obama, you are a Party Pooper

    February 26, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. Ben

    If someone said that at a Clinton rally, does anyone really think Hillary would distance herself from the comments?

    Shame on you Hillary Clinton.

    February 26, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. marcia



    February 26, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. CBJ

    Tim Daly? Or do they mean Richard M. Daley?

    February 26, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. DAK

    Well Bill Cunningham is well known in Ohio for making these types of statements. Why have him speaking at your rally knowing he is a loose cannon. This is typical of GOP supporters.

    February 26, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. CNN Pls post my comment: 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 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Rick

    So Mr McCain, how are you going to correct all the ill's with America? Keep us in Iraq, Let us go into recession or just use the same ole STATUS QUO as the Clintons.........

    February 26, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. Phil

    Ignorant, arrogant people

    February 26, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. FP

    The guy is correct. Obama cut his teeth in one of the most corrupt polictical environments in the Union.

    February 26, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Tony

    Nice. Send out the 'radical' supporters to spread the hate and then say that you had nothing to do with it. An old play that apparently still works.

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

    Just to clarify, Bill Cunningham has been referring to McCain as Juan Pablo McCain for several weeks now so he's really no McCain supporter. He was asked to do the intro since he's a well known Republican in Cincinnati and does not work for anyone other then himself. He's a radio host, why do you think he did this?

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

    First Hillary..and now it is McCain's turn
    Positive always wins.....

    February 26, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. MAC, STL

    ENOUGH ALREADY – As Americans – we are required – no really obligated to vote IN SPITE of the UGLINESS from all the candidates. Query – why can we not dialogue, agree to disagree without the mudslinging, innuendos? We all should take our OWN (not endoresments, media, etc) counsel and vote for whom we believe in – not against another person's preference.

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