April 5th, 2008
04:58 PM ET
4 years ago

McCain criticizes Obama over speaker

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Obama campaigned in North Dakota Friday.
Obama campaigned in North Dakota Friday.

(CNN) - John McCain criticized Barack Obama Saturday for not denouncing comments from a speaker at a North Dakota Democratic Party event calling the Arizona senator a "warmonger."

The comments in question came Friday evening at an event in North Dakota where Barack Obama also spoke. Radio talk show host Ed Schultz addressed the crowd, during which he criticized McCain's support of the Iraq war and called him a "warmonger." Obama was not present for Schultz's comments and spoke later at the event.

"I hope that in keeping with the spirit of Sen. Obama, that they condemn, that Sen. Obama will condemn such language since it was a part of his campaign," McCain said. "But that kind of language is unnecessary for this campaign. I think its very clear how I feel about war and my experiences with it."

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday McCain should not have been described that way.

"John McCain is not a warmonger and should not be described as such. He's a supporter of a war that Senator Obama believes should have never been authorized and never been waged," she said.

Obama's campaign also notes Schultz is not an official supporter of the campaign and was asked to speak by the North Dakota Democratic Party, not the Obama campaign.

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds noted the Arizona senator denounced a radio-talk show host last February who at a campaign event repeatedly referred to Obama's middle name, Hussein, while criticizing him.

"The quickness he showed in rejecting the charged environment should reinforce in the minds of voters that there are some elected officials, like John McCain, that walk the walk, and others that are only talking," Bounds said.

(3:45: Updates with McCain comments)


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (447 Responses)
  1. Harry Walmsley

    I agree with the statement that John McCain is a war warmonger.Like Bush he feels it is ok to leave our troops there for as long as it takes to bring what is a civial war to a close.Iraq views us as a occupation and they are right,We have shed enough blood as with the lives of the poor Iraq people.It is ashame the truth hurts,and i am glad Ed Schultz said it

    April 5, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Steve

    John McCain is not a "war monger". But he did support the Iraq war from the beginning. That's no good.
    I would vote for Obama, but I need to be convinced he will not tax us into oblivion.
    As long as Hillary is sent home packing, I'll be happy.

    April 5, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. John Weir

    A monger is a seller. A warmonger is someone who sells war. Senator McCain is correct: "I think its (sic) very clear how I feel about war and my experiences with it." Yes, it's very clear. His "Bomb, Bomb Iran" comment leaves no doubt. His endorsement of the failed "surge" and recent visit to Israel are confirmation of what he is selling. With his promising an Iraq occupation lasting on 50; 100; 1,000; or 10,000 years and advocating more war, more casualties, more broken lives, more destroyed property, more widows, more orphans, and more sacrifice for American families, how can Senator McCain be described as anything else? Perhaps Ed Schultz should have added the adjective "evil" to describe what kind of warmonger the Arizona senator is. If it talks like a duck, it is a duck.

    April 5, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  4. Steven(Ontario, California)

    Except it was not pat of his campaign. It was the ND State Convention. Hillary also spoke.

    April 5, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. Caleb

    I'm a Dem, but I'd vote for Mccain over Obama any day. Atleast he's not a hypocrite.

    April 5, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Tim

    Oh please. John McCain IS a warmonger.

    April 5, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  7. Katherine, Kansas City, MO

    Talk about flip-flopping; McCain has already made the mistake of stating that the U.S. should be in Iraq for another 100 years. Then he re-iterated (when he realized that he made a major political error by saying so), and tried to cover it up with, "The U.S.'s presence should be in Iraq for 100 years." Oh brother! McCain is as much of a warmonger as Senator Obama is a liberal. It seems as if being a P.O.W. did not change McCain's mind about the cruelty of war.

    April 5, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  8. Monica, Texas

    Now we are spliting hairs....

    Definition of "Warmonger": One who advocates war

    Definiton of "Advocate": To argue in favor of

    April 5, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  9. TW

    It is only those who have never been closer to actual combat than sitting in a movie theatre who can call anyone who has experienced the realities of armed conflict, and, in McCain's case, the isolation of years of imprisonment, warmongers. Unfortunately, it is also the mindset of Obama and the Clintons and those around them to denigrate those who have the courage to actually serve and defend this country.

    April 5, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. merle 7

    Well we know who the attack dogs are not the republicans!
    If this is offensive Obama's nomination for the presidency will be a walk in the park!

    April 5, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. Jay

    The man who parodied the Beach Boy's "Barbara Ann" into "Bomb Iran" a warmonger? Well...he's certainly not a peacemonger. Ed Schultz is dead on.

    April 5, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Dylan

    Aaaaaaand ... what exactly is wrong with what Ed said? McCain IS A WARMONGER. How can he possibly deny this? And what in the world does Obama have to do with any of this? He wasn't even in the building at the time and this wasn't even an event sponsored by his campaign! Even if it was, McCain IS a warmonger of warmongers. I've called him one myself many many times and have no regrets. I love Ed Schultz' show... YOU TELL 'EM BIG EDDIE!

    April 5, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Ron

    WOW...Is it going to be this way for the next 7 month. Everytime someone uses a world consider too negative the candidate has to REJECT and CONDEMN the word?? I don't know about everyone else, but I feel this is getting close to ridiculous.
    He may not be a WARMONGER but I am pretty sure he would be a little too quick to go after Iran, and stay in Iraq for at LEAST 5 more years at the current troop level. This is unaccceptable!!!

    April 5, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. Chris K

    From an outsider looking in (from Canada) trust me.... ALL Republicans are Warmongers. That is what they are. That is how the entire rest of the earth sees them. Wake up America.

    From Blackwater, to Haliburton, to everything they do Republicans are all about two things 1) Saudi Oil Profits and 2) Blowing things up so US taxpayers can pay to rebuild them.

    April 5, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. igorz

    What's an onger, and maybe a cold one is better?

    April 5, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  16. Bobb Dobbs

    Of course Obama didn't say it - he will make sure he has plausible deniability - he lets his hangers-on say stuff like that.

    April 5, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. Patricia Collier

    John McCain comes from a military family and himself spent time as a POW. I think these experiences had an enormous affect on him and I'd have to agree he seems to have become a "war monger." McCain has been pro invasion of Iraq since the start, he proclaims the surge of more troops for that invasion is working, yet at the same time he calls for more troops in Iraq and he’s told us he’s willing to keep them there for 100 years. He is also pro-invasion of Iran and perhaps other countries later.

    However, the future of this nation depends on not having another president who thinks we have a moral authority to invade and destroy other nations. We need a president who will work to protect us, but not just by invading others. He must be able to solve problems with his mind and his intelligent advisors, not solely with the might of the U.S. military.

    April 5, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. Chris (WA)

    anything to take people's eyes off the MLK Day controversy, right John?

    what a moron.

    April 5, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. The Professor

    It is unfortunate when people let their exuberance get ahead of their good sense and speak inappropriately, as apparently was the case with Mr. Schultz. It lowers the level of the debate. There is plenty about Senator McCain's credentials that one can direct ones energies against in addition to his war position. Take his environmental positions in the Senate for example, which are given a score of 24 (out of a possible 100) by the League of Conservation Voters, or his self-proclaimed lack of knowledge about the economy (rather critical at this time wouldn't you say), or the endorsement by one of the most radical of Christian clerics, or his attitude toward spending without taxation to pay for it. There are plenty of legitimate weaknesses to attack without descending to name calling.

    April 5, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  20. No McCain

    Hey McCain, you want Obama to renounce the truth? You are a warmonger, this is the main core of your politic. Your political power will not survive a minute if you and Bush stop this tactic.

    April 5, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. Unshrub

    Why is it ok for all of the conservative talk show hosts to call Obama and Clinton worse names when McCain, Chenney, and Bush go on their shows but this is soooo bad. Besides, this was not a political event where ED Schultz was asked to introduce Obama.

    April 5, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. David

    warmonger -a person who advocates war or warlike policies.

    This word actually describes Sen McCain's position on the war & the future of the war. Does it not?

    -David

    Dumfries, VA

    April 5, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. A.M. Saqib

    Agree! John McCain should have not been described as 'warmonger' as he is not. We do differ from his policies of war, and particulary 'Iraq' war; that is it.

    'Obama's message is very positive, and his compaign is very civil. I am sure he does not appreciate the kind of comment either.

    A.M. Saqib
    Houston, Texas

    April 5, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  24. Dan

    Let's just denounce anyone who says anything. This is ridiculous. People of all three camps are making silly, stupid, insensitive, unnecessary comments. So, let's denounce anyone who makes any comment that is not specific to the campaign. I denounce CNN, Fox, MSNBC and all medial outlets who referred to the candidates as old, black, white, female, male, Chrisitian, veteran, non-Christian, liberal, conservative, neo-conservative, etc. because none of these things haev anything to do with how the economy is going to change, and how these young men and women will come home alive.

    April 5, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. Spastica Rex

    What the heck?! What happened to "freedom of speech?"

    Oh, wait: this is Post 9-11 America. Never mind.

    April 5, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
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