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

Voter tells McCain he needs 'Swift Boat' help

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)

    What he meant was swift kick!

    May 2, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. mitch from ark. doesn't matter because mccain is not electable.he's too old.

    May 2, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. WFK

    Sick. Just sick. The hate running through the veins of so many Americans is shocking and SICK. Attitudes like this are NOT American.

    May 2, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. fred

    McCain won't need much help if Obama is the nominee...McCain will win by a landslide!!!

    May 2, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. liberals' worst nightmare

    McCain doesn't need anything of the sort.... the two imbeciles from the Democrat Party seem to be "swiftboating" themselves without any help.... especially Obama. He's got more skeletons in his closet than Jeffrey Dahmer, with plenty more to come!

    May 2, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Brian

    This is terrible. This is the kind of low to which the republican party has dragged our public and political discourse.

    Why someone would ever think it's okay to slander someone else for their own personal or political gain is beyond me. And it's disgraceful. We can disagree on policy, but we should all be working together as one nation for the betterment of the nation.

    Based on my comment, I'll let you decide who I'll be voting for in the fall.

    May 2, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. joe average

    why will you not report on paul VS. clinton search for it everyone

    May 2, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Veteran

    Mccain doesn't live in the perfect little fantasy world of the liberals allied against him ! He knows that the world can be a terrible place for America and all the negotiating and peace sign flashing will do little to keep our enemies at bay and our troops at home! Come to think of it why do we need troops if they belong at home ? What would these liberals stand and fight for? Nothing I suppose when conservatives will do the dirty work in the world and the pure of purpose liberals will stand by and denigrate any and all efforts!

    May 2, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. MM

    Gee McCain, I thought you were above swift boating? If so, then say it loudly!

    May 2, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Video Guy

    I am a 20 year Air Force Veteran who will be supporting Obama. I agree with McCain on 527 activity, it has no place in a fair campaign.

    May 2, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Susan, Kentucky

    I wonder how much McCain paid that guy?

    May 2, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Boomer

    That's right. Swift Boat McCain! Ker POW!!!

    May 2, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. voice of reason, NC

    And Obama thinks he can beat this guy without Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. He's in for a rude awakening. Standing next to this man he would look completely out of experience, out of sorts....

    I don't want a Bush extension in the office. Vote Hilary, she is the electable one against McCain.

    If this gets posted by CNN, that would be a real surprise.

    May 2, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Doug Pierson Tohatchi, NM

    Swift Boats for McCain, that is what we really need this year. If that is the case he has lost my vote.

    May 2, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Tate,Nc

    So, what their really saying is you need to fool the American people again!

    May 2, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. King of NJ


    May 2, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. NWindependent

    It truly frustrates me as an independent that the Dems. do not see that Senator McCain has attempted to do the right things in a very difficult political enviroment. He has defended two liberals, Senator Kerry as noted and Senator Lieberman when they were attacked from either side of the Isle.

    I know he has a temper, but it seems to me he get's the most frustrated when he encounters behavior which is dishonest or dishonorable.

    You may not agree with his postions, (half the Repubs. don't) but you have to admire his integrity.

    May 2, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. phony maverick

    McCain changed his mind on the Bush Tax Cuts the prosecution of the war, how he really feels about the religious wingnuts in his own party, etc... if he thinks a little "swiftboating" might help him get elected, he'll probably be all for it

    May 2, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Obama will win in 2008.....whereas Hillary would get pounded – I'm a Republican who supports Obama for a change – at least there is hope with him....and I feel as though I am part of it – but HRC need to understand that 53% of the population are smart enough not to trust her.....(and the ad's about the real Hillary haven't even started yet) – don't make the mistake and vote for that mess

    May 2, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Lila Mach

    Don't quite understand how having survived being a prisoner of war, though admirable and sympathy worthy, qualifies John McCain to be our President. I believe there are many negatives to this candidate and being a prisoner of war survivor has no bearing as a positive.

    May 2, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Tom Hadley

    Come out of he woodwork ? Come out of the psych ward is more like it.

    May 2, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Ponder this

    it is not a double standard if you are the American people

    May 2, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. noemi in los angeles

    So McCain would like some Swift Boat Veterans protecting him this general election??

    Why does he need protection....?

    The real questions is: Does McCain have something to hide??

    May 2, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. Ben

    If McCain's father was and admiral,and he himself was a navy pilot. Then he must have been in another navy than I was in the 2nd world war! Why? He said he didn't know who placed that big banner on the aircraft carrier that read MISSION ACOMPLISHED.
    All you old navy veterans will agree to me that nothing happens aboard ship that does not meet the captains approval! Only one voice on that ship could override the captain and that was the voice of the commander in chief.Bush had it placed there and the captain did so, whether he liked the idea or not.

    May 2, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. enoch needles

    100 years is 100 years.

    Cast off and bring it on, sailor.

    Oops, almost forgot – "Mission Accomplished" 🙂

    May 2, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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