May 2nd, 2008
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Voter tells McCain he needs 'Swift Boat' help

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A voter said a “Swift Boat”-style group should come to McCain’s aid.
A voter said a “Swift Boat”-style group should come to McCain’s aid.

DENVER, Colorado (CNN) – A voter at a John McCain campaign event told the presumptive Republican nominee that he needed a “Swift Boats for McCain” group to aid his campaign this fall.

Air Force veteran Clif Sams told McCain that he had done a “damn good job” surviving his imprisonment during the Vietnam War. He then told the senator: “I hope that we have somebody called Swift Boats for McCain come out and help you. You’re damn good.”

“Thank you sir, and thank you for your service,” McCain responded.

In 2004, McCain vigorously defended John Kerry against attacks from “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” a group which sought to undermine Kerry’s Vietnam war record. At the time, the Arizona senator called the ads “dishonest and dishonorable.”

Asked why McCain had not had a similar reaction to Friday’s "Swift Boats for McCain" comment, campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said the senator had repeatedly staked out a “clear position” against third-party groups, and "the only 527 activity is against us."

Sams, the Air Force veteran who now sells life insurance, re-iterated to CNN after the town hall that he would like to see a group similar to “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” to help McCain defend himself from Democratic attacks in the general election.

He predicted “there will be a lot of veterans like us who come out of the woodwork this fall” to assist McCain.


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. DAVID

    MC CAIN IS A MAN OF HONOR,IF IT WASNT FOR THE FACT HE WANTS MORE BUSH POLICY HE'D HAVE MY VOTE

    May 2, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. John Smith

    Hillary is NOT tearing apart the democratic party. Hillary is doing just what any Clinton does- take advantage of any situation given to them (e.g., Monica L., Sniper-fire; NAFTA, Michigan and FL votes etc.).

    The real people splitting this party are the "bilnd" and uneducated supporters of Hillary. How can Hillary, with more negatives than any politican (except Gov. Bush), ever run a successful general election in this nation? The Republicans and Independents are praying for that day to come!!! We will have to thank, not Hillary (because she will be off somewhere with her $109 million), but her "bird-brain" supporters

    May 2, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Stacy Clarks

    MCCAIN IS FULL OF GARBAGE!!!!!

    I HONOR HIS SERVICE TO THIS COUNTRY, BUT HE IS NOT RIGHT FOR THE WHITE HOUSE!!!

    DEMOCRATS IN 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 2, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. MM/FL

    What Planet is this guy living on?

    May 2, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. James

    Whatever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now what?

    May 2, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Frank D

    Look out Obama, the Swift boats are coming. if you think you had it tough with Hillary just wait and see what is coming in the GE.

    All of your whining will not help you and all of the truth about your unknown past will be known to the world.

    May 2, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Florida For Obama

    He's NOT going to be president. Lets just leave him out in the cold and stop acting like he's got a shot.

    May 2, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Patriot

    Barack Obama was born in 1961 and there wasn't a war going on during his college days to fight in- so I don't know if a lack of military service should be used against him.

    Don't forget about the true draft dodgers like Bush, Cheney and Clinton.

    May 2, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. FEDUP

    If Obama is the nominee it wont take much more then Obamas own life story to bring him down. Dreams of My Father is packed full of ammno.

    May 2, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. After further review,Texas

    Check the facts.The Swift boat folks have a huge money ties to Communists in Vietnam today.

    May 2, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Darth Vadik, CA

    Yes swift boats, a term used today to slur somebody with lies, go ahead and do it and see what happens.

    May 2, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Dylan

    What an incredible hypocrite! Apparently John McCain no longer has any problem with sleazy Rovian smear politics that dishonors the military service of war heroes.

    John truly is McSame as McBush. McNever '08

    May 2, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. MD in OK

    Is this the only way Air Force veteran Clif Sams believes that McCain can win? Shame on him!!! Shouldn't he (McCain) be able to win based on facts not cheap ads by people who simply want a republican to win. This kind of thinking does not represent truth...it's a lie wrapped around truth.

    May 2, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Zachary

    Whoa, your reporting the same event but without the real meat! Come on CNN, tell us what McCain said after the man suggested swift boat ads for McCain.

    My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will – that will then prevent us – that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.

    He indicated the war was for oil. that's kind of a big deal and needs to be fleshed out.

    May 2, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Kenneth M

    I AM A OBAMA SUPPORTER BUT I DO THINK MCCAIN IS A MAN OF INTEGRATY. IN FACT I PLAN TO VOTE FOR HIM IS HILLARY WINS BY HOOK OR CROOK, OR HONESTLY. MY POINT IS THAT MCCAIN IS TOO MUCH OF A GENTALMAN TO SWIFT BOAT OBAMA. IF HE WINS IT SHOULD BE BECAUSE OF HIS POLICIES OR MERIT. NOT BECAUSE HE CAN CAUSE THE BIGGEST STINK FOR THE OTHER CANDIDATE.

    May 2, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. AZM

    I'll give McCain a bit of credit for that one... he was pretty hard on the swift boat group... He does pretty good staying away from the negative campaign stunts... something the Republicans are known for. However it should be noted that the Democrats have led the way in that department this year... as much as it pains me to say it... Obama and Clinton have taken it to a whole new level

    May 2, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Mike - Texas

    Somebody has to do it, McCain won't put up a fight.

    May 2, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. STOP THE MADDNESS!!!!

    Appreanly this guy is not a aware of what MOST vets & pow survivals really think of fellow war time survival John MxXain they can't stand him. Maybe he needs to check with that group of vets that made the you tube video titled "John McCain, Lying Shunk!"

    May 2, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. Marc PDX

    I don't want to see this kind of candidate attack mentality take place. I agree with the position John McCain took against this in 2004. Attacking your candidate on garbage issues in order to make yourself look better is not a good way to select a president. It is not good for the country. Elections should be based primarily on positions on key issues. I'm a republican and I am strongly against attacking the democrats with swift boat style attack ads. John McCain is simply the best candidate to be president and he should be elected on those merits alone.

    May 2, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. kingsley

    it will be exciting to see the swiftboat contest between mcain and hillary

    clinton wouls beat mcain today- obama wont

    whats wrong with this letter? the rise and fall of our democracy and how hypocrites like ED RENDELL will like to get fed again by the clintons. he will sell his soul for it. i also read the list of the reasons she should be the candidate and it didnt include black vote. why are we not relevant. and last of the question was "if the eletion were helf today". well its not being held today. it will be in NOVEMBER. and what about if it was held after super Tuesday? and how dare do they say she ran a better campaign than Obama? the republicans are waiting for her. SWIFTBOAT 08. WE CAN FIGHT IN THE MIDDLE EAST FOR DEMOCRACY BUT WE CAN'T PRACTICE WHAT WE PREACH IN OUR OWN BACK YARD.

    DEMOCRACY FOR OBAMA 08

    May 2, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Wouk

    This is one veteran who doesn't buy his "moderate" politician/hero image and who would never vote for McCain.

    May 2, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. RealityKing

    And just how many of McCain's fellow officers are coming out about his 'sexed up' version of his military career??

    May 2, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. ART in TX

    What was more interesting was when he alluded to the fact that the IRAQ war was over oil.

    Let's explore that.

    May 2, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Ben, Merced CA

    I guess this just proves that fact that war makes a lot of people crazy.

    May 2, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. Darth Vadik, CA

    IF YOU LOVE THE VETS SO MUCH WHY DO YOU NOT SUPPORT THE JIM WEBB'S GI BILL, AND NOT ONLY NOT SUPPORT IT BUT GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO PUT PRESSURE ON OTHER REPUBLICAN SENATORS THAT ARE BACKING THE GI BILL?

    AND IT WORKED, THAT TRAITOR TO THE TROOPS JAMES ENHOFE PULLED HIS NAME OUT OF CO-SPONSORING THE WEBB GI BILL.

    SHAMELESS

    And there arepeople that would vote for this guy, shameless.

    May 2, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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