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. Patriot(Phoenix Arizona)

    I don't like Ed Schultz but he is calling a spade a spade. Can't we just get back to the policies of the Presedential Candidates? Maybe with non-informational news networks like CNN and Fox I guess we can't

    April 5, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. Rich

    This is ridiculous. A lot of people have called John McCain a warmonger. That is a very common thing people say about him. Just the other day at work, one of my co-workers told me John McCain is a warmonger. I have also called him a warmonger. Why do so many people call him a warmonger? Because it is true! Now I know John McCain's entire family has a long history of being in the military, his father and grandfather were both very high-ranking military officers, and he has sons fighting in Iraq. But does that make John McCain an expert on military matters? He graduated 5th from the bottom from the Naval Acadamy, and had a long list of demerits. He is old and is having "senior moments" such as talking about Al Qaeda in Iran (when he should have said Al Qaeda in Iraq). John McCain supported the war in Iraq from the beginning, has never wavered, and he was the person who originally proposed the so-called troop "surge". The surge only seemed to work because Muqtada al-Sadr told his Mehdi Army to stop fighting and blend in with the civilian population and wait for us Americans to leave. But recent violence in Basra has unraveled the gains that seemed to have happened during the surge, and that violence spread to Baghdad and especially its Sadr City neighborhood. The Iraqis expect us to leave in a year or two and are waiting us out, and each militia is trying to get hooked up with the best weapons, armor, and training. The Iraqi army is basically just members of various militias who are getting hooked up with free weapons, armor, and training from us Americans, so they can fight a civil war after we leave. The Iranians are also training and arming most of the militias, too. So, I think history is proving that John McCain's strategy of a troop surge is not working, and he is in fact a warmonger. And "warmonger" is not an offensive term, it merely refers to people who like to go around starting wars and escalating them. It is calling a spade a spade. It is "straight talk", the kind of straight talk that John McCain pretends he does. Calling John McCain a warmonger is just saying the obvious truth, and nobody should have to reject or denounce someone else for telling it like it is.

    April 5, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. Bridgette

    He is constantly talking about staying in Iraq and going after Iran. I don't know if it makes him a war monger but it does make him seem suspect.

    April 5, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. steve

    Warmonger, warmonger, warmonger: if it wants war, if it wants to extend war, if it wants to keep funding a war @ 10 billion $ a month, then you gotta call it a warmonger. Also, you can tell Karl Rove where to stick his lapel pin...

    April 5, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  5. kate1149

    OK, CNN – get your facts straight! I was at the North Dakota Democratic Convention and Ed Schultz did not speak there. Maybe you mean progressive talk show host Heitkamp? Poor reporting.

    April 5, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. J.L.

    Get over it McCain! I am so sick of everyone having to denounce and decry every day in this campaign! The candidates need to toughen up and stop whining! Give the American people a break from the nonsense already!

    April 5, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  7. Herman LA, CA

    Barack wasn't there and he didn't say it. I am tired of all of this denounce and reject B.S. Now everyone wants to jump on Barack high road and morals and judgment that’s why we need Barack as president. You see what Barack can bring us together with this movement he really can change the way the world views the United States if given a chance.

    “I Have A Dream”

    Obama 08!!!

    April 5, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  8. Judy

    Once again someone speaking at an Obama event starts with negative comments and the Obama people are quick to point out that he was "not there" when the comment was made. It appears that Obama gets these comments out and never has to take responsibility for what is said because he "was not there". For all the Obama people; while he may not have been on stage he must have been in the building, are his people saying that he NEVER listens to the speakers who are on stage speaking for him? I thought that Obama did not want to run a negative campaign, so he lets others do it for him. Focus on the issues and stop name calling.

    April 5, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Kaywood Hopkins

    Um McCain is warmonger...

    April 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  10. Jason

    Webster's defines as warmonger as:

    "A person who advocates, endorses, or tries to precipitate war."

    Under this definition how is McCain NOT a warmonger? His past support for the current war in Iraq; his support for continuing the war in Iraq indefinitely; and his talk about war with Iran all make him a warmonger by the very definition of the word.

    April 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  11. THE POLITICAL NINJA

    Ed Shultz is the man, does the truth sting McWar?

    April 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. Nicolas Smith

    What if he is one? How could you be interested in a country that has nothing to do with your country's affairs? When you have 1 in 9 African American men in your prison. 25% of highschool students in Detriot graduate. The housing industry is at a stand still. Wall street is at a low. People have neglected their morals because of they to busy making ends meet.
    9/11 brought America together and the RNC put forward gw bush (lower case used deliberately) to divide America and the World. If there was ever a political flip flooper its John McCain. This is your war Mr. McCain and you are no doubt a warmonger. The money you lied to allocate for this war from the tax payers like myself could have been spent on other things. That is just the fact of the matter. After the war how to intend to govern...... with the present Constitution......... that you helped defiled. You a dumb on the economy and world affairs. Get with the times old boy.

    April 5, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. Peter

    Rule of thumb: Each candidate is responsible for any and every member of his/her party that says something crude, reprehensible inappropriate etc. whether or not done in their presence or with their knowledge. Same thing should be true of any church – any member of that church that does something unseemingly should be the responsibility of the church. Makes sense (if you're IQ is about that of a brick.)

    April 5, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  14. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Sorry – McCain's words and votes speak for themselves. The Iraqis want us out, want Blackwater out and McCain talks about needing to linger 100 years. If you liked Bush, you'll love McCain.

    April 5, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  15. Jack

    A man that was tourured for six years....mmhmm. I am sure he is all about war. What have you risked Obama?

    April 5, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. Craig H, Mpls, MN

    No! McCain singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" to the tune of the 'Beach Boys' " Barbara Anne" is definitly not warmongering (the video is on You Tube). I shall have no such accusations that it is (heavy sarcasm).

    April 5, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  17. Crystal, California

    Well if that's the case McCain, you should start making a list of people you need to denounce who have said some horrible things about Obama's. Start with Karl Rove and Sean Hannity. Go ahead and sit down... rest your bones. It's going to be a long night.

    This is getting ridiculous.

    April 5, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  18. Erik, Washington, DC

    The Iraq War was totally unnecessary. If you're of the same opinion, then your vote in November is easy. Senator McCain supported it. Senator Obama did not. For me, you don't ask the man who helped create the mess to clean it up.

    April 5, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  19. ndlily

    I checked. A warmonger is a sovereign or political leader (McCain) who encourages or advocates aggression or warfare (i.e., pre-emptive strike, now we're there we must see it through, however you wish to put it) toward other nations or groups (Irag), so yes, John McCain does equal warmonger. I think a little less of Obama's campaign for mincing words like this. Words mean what they mean. If McCain doesn't like what he is, he should change his stance.

    April 5, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  20. Jake

    McCain advocates 100 years of war and he want's Obama to apologize? Hello, even I, as a life long Republican think that McCain is a loose cannon. I don't trust McCain.

    April 5, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  21. WFBDEM

    So calling a warmonger, a warmonger, is wrong. Next we will not be able to call the sky blue.

    April 5, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  22. Barbara M Campbell

    Give me a break! McCain and the Republicans are boring us to death with this strategy – combing every speech by Obama and his supporters; creating out-of-context soundbites; and hysterically insisting that Obama "reject and denounce".

    Obama will win the Democratic primary and the general election because he's the only candidate with substance and authenticity. Too bad some folks can't deal with it.

    April 5, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  23. victoria

    We as a PATRIOTIC people of USA want a discussions on your show and these never ending vidoes on Trade with Colombia as Clintons top manager was involved with. We havent see such a corruption in years. You should cover NEWS properly or please at least don't call yourself as independent.

    Nothing more to say.

    April 5, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. steve

    McLame says he wasn't aware of MLK's legacy....umm, was this guy tied up all through the sixties? He's caught on video singing: Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran (to the tune of Barbara Ann – Beach Boys). Gosh, those old white Republicans sure is funny...the Hanoi Hilton wants their towels and ashtrays back.

    April 5, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. Dennis

    Is McCain going to bring up his service record every time he's questioned on Iraq? It's only April and I'm already sick of hearing about it.

    April 5, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
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