March 2nd, 2008
06:11 PM ET
10 years ago

Dean hits McCain's integrity: 'He doesn't seem to have any'

DNC Chairman Howard Dean targeted Sen. John McCain Sunday on CNN's Late Edition.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean targeted Sen. John McCain Sunday on CNN's Late Edition.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean stepped up his verbal assault on Republican presidential front-runner John McCain on Sunday, questioning the Arizona senator's integrity.

"Here's a guy who's a typical situational ethicist. He runs on his integrity, but he doesn't seem to have any," Dean told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

The Democratic chairman has spent a week pounding McCain - one of the architects of 2001's McCain-Feingold campaign finance law - over his attempt to opt out of public financing for his Republican primary campaign. In a complaint to the Federal Election Commission last week, Dean accused McCain of using the promise of federal funds to obtain a bank loan and automatic ballot access for his presidential bid while dodging federal spending limits.

"John McCain has a history of doing what it takes, regardless of what the ethics of this are," Dean said. "I think he's going to be a flawed candidate."

There was no immediate response to Dean's broadside from McCain's campaign.

The FEC has asked McCain's campaign to explain the terms of his loan, but the agency won't be able to resolve the matter until four vacancies on the six-member commission are filled. The campaign has said it acted legally, and did nothing more than what the Dean's 2004 presidential campaign did in rejecting public funding - an argument Dean says isn't true.

Dean said McCain "has a problem with personal integrity," citing his onetime ties to jailed savings-and-loan executive Charles Keating and his refusal to reject the support of televangelist John Hagee. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has criticized McCain for accepting the endorsement of Hagee, who has called the Roman Catholic Church "the Great Whore" and a "cult."

Updated 6:11 p.m. with response from the McCain campaign: "John McCain is a man of integrity who will run on his record.  Senators Clinton and Obama should denounce this desperate, personal smear campaign Howard Dean and the leaders of their party seem intent on running," the McCain campaign said in a statement to CNN.

–CNN's Jessica Rummel

Filed under: Howard Dean • John McCain
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Alex

    Howard Dean attacking McCain on his integrity? Good god, attack him on his political views, but to attack the integrity of a man who spent 5 years as a POW for his country is nothing short of shameful.

    March 2, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. J.E. Hyatt

    Howard Dean and Ted Kennedy should get together in a bar in Southie and see which one can bellow the loudest.

    As for campaign financing it is an expensive waste. As for the lengths of these campaigns it is an expensive waste. All candidates who are serving (strike that)/ being paid to do a job representing a constiuency are an obscene waste of tax payers money.
    We have national elections every 4 years coinsiding with leap year.
    Let the games begin no sooner than Jan 1 and end February 29 in all states. A day off to vote in the primaries. Be done with it in one fell swoop, and get back to work.
    This congress is a bad joke. They quibble about steriods in sports while we are at war, the economy is in turmoil, and the nation is raped by the support of illegal alliens stealing OUR nations benefits.
    Nancy Pelosi should be tarred and fethered for dereliction of duty along with the rest of the musty bunch of quagmire do-nothings.

    March 2, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. Joe M.

    McCain has no integrity left. He's so determined to get to the White House that he has embraced the hate-filled leaders of the Religious Right who smeared him the last time Around. He was a POW for 5 Years, presumably tortured, so he knows darn well why America doesn't torture, but he refuses to denounce President Bush's torture policy for fear of losing the 26%. He's basically running his campaign on a platform of Attacking Iran.

    March 2, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. Spidey

    The rodent Howard Dean should stick a sock in it.If ever there was a cheap political hack it is him. Howard Dean was skiing in Vermont when McCain was a POW.

    March 2, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. Patrick

    McCain won't even denounce Hagee, who is he to ask Senators Clinton and Obama to denounce Howard Dean? And isn't Dean 100% correct? Aren't we seeing a lack of integrity in McCain's refusal to denounce and reject the endorsement of homophobic anti-Catholic Hagee?

    Honestly, I expect better of John McCain.

    March 2, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Byron in CA

    Dem and Rep really should stop petty attacks like this example from Dean. This type of tactic doesn't help either party and causes the real issus facing Amreica to be convoluted into the background, instead of bringing lively discussion on them.

    March 2, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Keith Hunter

    I agree with John McCain that this type of attack by Dean should not be acceptable. I think it is time that the "political leadership" of America finds a place to have a discourse worthy of Americans and not just a mud fest as usually happens.

    Howard Dean needs to apologize.

    March 2, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. benji

    Dean is right. McCain is the sacrificial lamb for a republican party that is on the wane. McCain is the best the republicans have to offer and that is a sad commentary for an arrogant, corruptible and incompetent political party.

    March 2, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. ED

    Come on john it is again time to tell america about your POW tour and do not forget to retell us how you have used the same old story to further your political endeavors. Also do not forget to remind us that you came back alive, 55,000 [did not come back alive] and or get involved criminally with special interestsand lobbyists. If your going to use these tactics to forward your greed be prepared to pay for them

    March 2, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. Dennis

    Senator McCain recently changed his positions as often as he changed his suit. He is cravenly chasing every vote he can get, even the anti-catholic vote. He should be running in the election of 1884 as James Blaine.

    Actually he looks more like the third term of George Bush. Talk with your friendly neighborhood Republican and they will tell you the only thing wrong with George Bush is the sloppy way he handled the war. Imagine, finding out you don't have enough troops after you declare victory! They will also tell you two recessions in eight years is just the business cycle. zzzzzz....

    It looks like Senator McCain might get some competition for the Bush mantle from the Democrat side. I see Senator Obama is declaring himself a uniter. Hmmm, where have I heard that before?

    March 2, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. John G Charleston SC

    Is Howard Dean still mad about losing the primary 4 years ago? Is that what this is about? The Democrats who are actually in the race are too busy arguing about who gets treated by the media so Howard Dean pipes up to attack and smear John McCain?

    Ask Vince Foster about Hillary Clintons integrity-oh wait....

    How about we ask Antoin Rezko about Barack Obamas integrity

    This is a weak and transparent smear attack from a washed up has been who is upset that he never had a chance to begin with.

    March 2, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. pat armas

    Howard Dean is right, and I am a dyed in the wool republican who has NEVER voted Democrat and never will but neither will I vote for McCain.

    March 2, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  13. Juan Grain

    Go ahead and start that crap and you will hand it over to McCain. You don't get it Americans ESPECIALLY INDEPENDENTS LIKE ME have no loyalty to either party and we are sick and tired of being sick and tired of the dirty uncalled for slams. John McCain did more for America in six years with his hands tied behind his back than you will ever do, and you know it. So there's an attack for you! How do you like it. I guess your mommy didn't teach you how to play nice. Now, I am a staunch Obama supporter, but I am a supporter of being decent first and actually that is one of the reasons why I support Barack. I hope he and Hillary denounce & reject your style of dirty slams. So please go away, don't go away mad just go away.

    March 2, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. Peirce

    Typical Republicans, do as I say & not as I do. If America is stupid enough to let Dictator Bush older twin in 1600 Penn Ave; They deserver and the world deserves everything we know he will do.


    March 2, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Mr. C

    Why would they denounce it... It is very true.

    March 2, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. ne,pa

    McCain, the evil little man, has no integrity at all.
    Let's not forget this part of his "record":
    He cheated on and then ditched his first wife (after a severe auto injury) for heiress Cindy who took pills from her own charity.
    Google it.

    March 2, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  17. Jose

    He sure hates being out of the spotlight...what an ego...

    March 2, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  18. roger

    Why is McCain a hero? I don't want to take away from the torture and suffering he endured while a P.O.W., but that is something he had no say over, how does that make him a hero? We keep hearing that there has been no attack since 9-1-1, before that we had not been attacked on our soil since the war of 1812! Whenever we are finally able to give the Iraqi's control over there country, they will probably ally with Iran and Syria, brings back images of the Persian Empire. The economy went from a 3 trillion dollar surplus to a 3 trillion dollar deficit under the Bush misadministration. Gas was about 1.00 a gal. in 2000, now it is over 3.00, thanks to the republican economic and foreign policy. The theory of giving business a break on taxes so that they can increase jobs is good in theory, but doesn't work when they tak the profits and invest them overseas.

    March 2, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  19. bond

    We denounce and reject John McCain for President.

    Texans for Obama!

    March 2, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  20. R. I.

    McCain really portrays himself as a man of great character but it seems some skeletons are squirming in his cupboard. We'll see.

    March 2, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. larry hardin

    I am from Arizona and I am completely disgusted with McCain. Besides all of the apparent issues, such as the war, immigration, and the economy, Senator McCain was the most absent Senator last year. In my opinion, he is basically stealing the money he makes as a Senator and then he spends all of his time planning a presidential campaign.

    I have contacted local media and they refuse to ever run an article about this.

    I would love to get paid for a year while I look for another job.

    March 2, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. Bill

    This comes from a guy who got a deferment so he didnt have to go to Vietnam, allegedly for a bad knee...then spent the next year skiing in aspen.

    March 2, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. Tom Wittmann


    Excuses as that she if very busy and she would release them if OBAMA files his documents regarding RESZKO are real lame and
    worse, outrageous excuses, especially as people voting in the primaries wishes to now how she was able to write a Check for $ 5,000,000 to the campaign !!


    March 2, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  24. Maria in Wa.

    Deans right. McCain is a flipflopper weasle.

    My big question is where did Vicki go? Is she in hiding? Why won't SHE talk to the press??????


    March 2, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  25. Ennis, LA

    I think the time has come for a thorough, public review of John
    McCain's relations with Charles Keating. We demand an end
    to the media cover-up of what the Senate Ethics Committee
    called "poor judgment" on the part of McCain.

    March 2, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
1 2 3 4