April 8th, 2008
08:00 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain campaign says Obama team's apology falls short

Rockefeller apologized to McCain Tuesday.
Rockefeller apologized to McCain Tuesday.

(CNN) – John McCain’s campaign said an apology from Barack Obama’s team for comments from West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who supports the Illinois senator’s presidential bid, were not enough, calling for a response from the candidate himself.

“It was a spokesperson. Just as with the situation with liberal attack artist Ed Schultz, Obama refused to reject the statements personally. It’s a trend that undermines Barack Obama’s credibility when he makes calls for a ‘new’ more ‘accountable’ debate,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

The Obama campaign and Rockefeller both apologized Tuesday afternoon for his comments about the presumptive Republican nominee’s war record in a West Virginia paper.

“Senator Obama has a deep respect for Senator McCain’s service to this country and doesn’t agree with what Senator Rockefeller said,” said Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Rockefeller’s Senate office released a statement by the senator that said he regretted the comment. “I have deep respect for John McCain’s honorable and noble service to our country. I made an inaccurate and wrong analogy and I have extended my sincere apology to him.

“While we differ a great deal on policy issues, I profoundly respect and appreciate his dedication to our country, and I regret my very poor choice of words.”

At virtually the same moment, the McCain camp charged that his comments were “more than a coincidence that Obama campaign surrogates are making character attacks against John McCain without any repudiation.”

“Barack Obama’s silence is giving his surrogates a license to make attacks that don’t contribute to the dialogue on the issues,” said Bounds.

“As long as people affiliated with Barack Obama’s new brand of politics continue to make gutter attacks, we are going to call on Barack Obama to do something about it. And so far he’s done nothing.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (319 Responses)
  1. ken

    no need to apoligize. that went out the window with the swift boat attacks on john kerry by the rove administration. that not only diminished kerrys service, it diminished all our service during the viet nam war. it's open season and i don't want to hear any republicans crying about attacks on veterans. they thought it was ok during the last election

    April 8, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Craig in Texas Democrat and supporter for Obama

    I see republicans in the comment section lol

    April 8, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Brian - Trinidad

    Another example of the gutless,slimy Obama.He gets his surrogates to say all the dirty,nasty stuff about the other candidates for his benefit so he can say 'I didn't say that' 'I didn't hear that' etc. Leadership is about accepting accountability, not hiding behind loopholes.That's where Clinton has this empty character beat six ways to Sunday.She stands up and faces the music.Another great opening for McCain.

    April 8, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. Bud Curtis

    Obama and his supporters need to remember something. While you can shear a sheep many times, you can only skin him once.
    At some point the American public will realize that Obama's political skills are too sharp for his own good.
    Bud
    Miami, OK

    April 8, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. kd

    Is this a campaign that is being run or a high school lunch room. I can't remember a political season where all you hear is one candidate demanding an apology for remarks that were made by someone else. What a bunch of babies...let's be adults and talk about solutions to the problems that exist in our country and stop the whining.

    April 8, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. Penn State

    This may not get posted because CNN does not want you to know about this, but there is a march on media bias and the suppression of voters on April 11th in New York. Its suppose to be huge!!!

    April 8, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. carmen

    For a tough guy, this man is a whimp and he should instead learn the difference between a Sunni, Shiite and Bin Laden

    April 8, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. Edu Minnesota

    I don,t know why Mcain is crying. He has not actually been tested. He has ejoyed a free ride this while. I wonder why he is making dust from the Obama supporter's comment. What if he had received shots like those between Obama and Clinton, Will he be sobbing? the should get done with those victim card and be ready to show that he has the booths.

    April 8, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Isaac

    "Isn't it ironic, that Obama and his supporters always apologizes
    after the fact. THEY KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE DOING>"

    Uh, no. Sorry Alannis, but that isn't irony. And how exactly would Obama go about apologizing BEFORE "the fact"? Riddle me this, Batman!

    April 8, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. tony t

    Not enough? he expected more from that arrogant senator? He must be dreaming.

    April 8, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. An Agnostic Democrat

    O.K. McSame, are you going to apologize for all the right-wing tools and whack-jobs who are constantly attacking Mr. Obama? You are the typical political hypocrite! You have all your henchmen do the dirty work while you place nicey-nicey with the press corps. Sounds a little like your other competitor, Senator Clinton who just tried the Reagan ploy of holding her hand to her ear and smiling like she didn't hear them while not answering questions or being accountable about her corruption and dishonesty.

    April 8, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. Lonnie H.

    With all the negative comments being made by conservative news, and radio host about Senators Clinton and Obama, not once have I heard Senator McCain personally make an apology for any of them. I have enough sense to expect him NOT TO! Supporters will SAY ANYTHING in favor of their candidate of choice. If the presidential candidates spent time apologizing for every foul thing one of their supporters said, then when would they have time to bring to the forefront what really matters? This is being a bit too sensitive. Be happy your plea got any attention at all from Senator Obama's campaign. Why is this news? Let it go and stick to the issues. Try to figure out a way to win the general election in November, despite your support of a war that is constantly killing our American sons and daughters, instead of crying for apologies over foul comments made in April. Get over it and stick to the issues please…

    How is your apology going to save jobs from being lost, homes from being foreclosed, and soldiers from dying in a meaningless war? If you or any of your supporters and/or bloggers can answer that question, then I will apologize to you myself.

    Lonnie H. – Toledo, Ohio

    April 8, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. linus

    I completely agree that the comment was out of line, but I find it curious that the McCain “campaign” is saying that a response from Obama’s “campaign” is not sufficient. If the statement is so awful that only Obama, himself, can apologize for it, then why isn’t McCain, himself, demanding an apology?

    April 8, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. Debbie,NJ

    Come on war hero. Stop whining. I can't believe everytime somebody hurts your feelings you demand an apology from Obama.
    Your feelings aren't hurt. This is just a ploy to turn people against Obama. It may have worked for Hillary but it won't work for you. You're a war hero right? And for all of you who feel I'm disrespecting him, I am a widow of a war hero who earned a purple heart and silver star while fighting in Vietnam. This is just a ploy to make Obama look bad.

    April 8, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. jer

    Cry me a river. And you think you can handle the Presidency McCain?

    April 8, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. John

    MCCAIN YOU NEED TO APOLOGIZE TO ALL THE VETERANS YOU LIED TO. YOU VOTE AGAINST VETERANS BENEFITS ALL THE TIME

    SHAME ON YOU

    April 8, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. Evie

    The point is not that the statement necessarily expresses Barack Obama's own belief, but that he is implicitly condoning gutter attacks by not making a strong statement specifically rejecting them.

    Typical.

    April 8, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. JB Oakland

    McBush needs to grow a pair.

    April 8, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Mike

    It is ok for Obama to ask for Clinton to appologize... when the tables are turned it is not ok??? Obama has left himself open to these kinds of attacks because he is trying to run a "change" campaign...

    do any of you see the writing on the wall... this is what the general is going to be full of from the Republicans... they will blast Obama and then say he can not respond because of his campaign for "change"...

    How is he going to win??? How electible is he???

    April 8, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. mep

    Oh, shut up McCain and McCain's campaign!...I'm getting a little sick of lthe free ride the press is giving you...Seems to me, there has only been one man who walked on water.

    April 8, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. bonna

    Please, Mc Cain just wait until you and Obama have a debat, . to start whinning.

    April 8, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. Wisconsin for Obama

    These surrogates really spoil for the candidates. McCain needs to watch out for them.

    April 8, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. ABC '08

    West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a sitting US Senator is the one that said it not Barack Obama.

    Ever see the 527 Swift Boat adds that were planned for South Carolina but called off by RNC???

    April 8, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. April in Texas

    Good grief! Its not like Obama himself said it. The guy who said it is the one you should be going after. Obama did all he could without going against the freedom of speach law. Get a grip then again you may not remember the conversation tomorrow.

    Obama 08

    April 8, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. jer

    These comments have been mild.
    I respect McCain as a Senator but I think his being held captive for 5 years and tortured is a negative to being our President.
    He has to have a lot of demons floating around in himself.
    Sorry. I do not want to take chances with him.
    He served his Country with a price no one should have to deal with.

    April 8, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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