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)
  1. Susa

    great.... if you can't win because you are the better candidate, then simply slime your opponent. Doesn't matter if it's true.
    I am so sick of that type of politics - and its partly the fault of the media too. you guys will print anything.

    May 2, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. Montana is Obama Country

    It is amazing people need to stoop to lies, false claims and vulgarity need to win elections. This guy may be decent but his words speak volume to the state of ethical despair our country is in.

    Yes.. We.. Can..

    May 2, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  3. Veterans For Obama

    And even more for Obama.

    May 2, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Ivan, DE

    McCain would welcome a Swift Boat tactic, trust me. He's not above any help he can get.


    May 2, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Grant

    The Dems are in tough......McCain is formidable and very well respected...only Obama can match him character if he survives the Clinton attack...The DNC is in civil war.....NIghtmare!!!!!!!!!

    May 2, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Karlie

    That's despicable. What's the matter with people anyway?

    May 2, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. a middle aged white woman in SF

    Great, the swift boaters are already positioning themselves to do smear tactics on whoever is the Dem nominee. Don't these people have lives? The irony here is that since McCain has actually SEEN war, why in the world would he purport to keep us in Iraq for "100 more years?" Go figure – it makes NO sense.

    May 2, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Veterans Against McCain

    Please visit our website Vietnam Veterans against McCain to see how Veterans really feel! this man has let us down when we need him most.

    Don't be fooled by what one Air Force vet says.

    May 2, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. dee

    I'm a Female, African-American NAVY VETERAN. I DON'T AGREE with swiftboating at all. Truth and integrity, is what I expect from our nation's president. I like everything about McCain EXCEPT his position on the war. Time to begin talking about bringing our troops home now!!

    But, I DO AGREE that THIS VET WILL SUPPORT McCain, if the Clinton's steals the Democratic Nomination!

    May 2, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Honest Abe

    And there'll be a lot of Veterans that'll come out and attack him too, LIKE MYSELF.

    I survived Bush Sr. 1st 'False Gulf War' – and it was sad to see his son send more of the troops to their deaths. Now McSame and Clinton (Iran Obliterator) – will try to follow suit. Let's vote against these war mongerers !

    OBAMA 08 !!!!!!

    May 2, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Neve

    You left out the part where McCain says the Iraq war was fought for OIL, not WMDs.

    May 2, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Alonzo Demetrius

    I agree with the citizen. McCain will be bombarded with and DailyKos etc of the hate-mongering liberals who will tell half-truths or outright lies against McCain. I would like to see groups independently support McCain with truths about him. McCain is an American hero.

    May 2, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Hunter

    Yeah, just like they came out of the woodwork to help Kerry four years ago.

    May 2, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. American Girl

    He needs a Swift Boat to a Sr. citizen Home in the Islands.

    I respeect and honor his service... but the decisions that he couold maek as President will impact our nation 20, 30, 40 thru 100+ years when he is more than likely not alive.

    People we need to vote for Youth.

    May 2, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Joe Schmo



    SHE GETS MY VOTE!!!!!!!

    May 2, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Jed in Texas

    His former captors must be laughing all the way to the bank now with all the trade deals they now get.

    May 2, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Interested Reader

    Will any democrats READ and understand John McCain was AGAINST the swiftboat ads back in 2004????

    May 2, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. Ryan

    I would support a group like this for McCain. Semper Fi!!

    May 2, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. merle 7

    During a town hall event in Colorado today, John McCain "decried the dangers of Americans reliance on foreign oil," but "also seemed to suggest that this reliance caused the current struggle in Iraq."

    Here's what he said:
    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.

    I think they call it Imperialism,yet the american people were told it was because of WMD which Sadam had and to fight a war on terriorism.
    Please people no more republican in the white please vote democratic this election year!

    May 2, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. Tim

    I'm from compton,,Whats your point. He did a good job in V W..Come to Compton..10 buck say he would not make it out.

    May 2, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. Sean

    Hopefully, the American people are smart enough not to fall for these kinds of empty arguments once again. The outcome is too important to be decided based on rhetorical, manipulative, irrelevant issues.

    May 2, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. MD

    No one can help McCane. He cannot run away from his past. The truth about his conduct in the Navy, and the influence of his father in keeping him in giving him a pilot's license will come out.

    May 2, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. DJ in TX

    McCain is war hero and his service should be respected and thanked by all. That said, I totally disagree with McCain policies. He defended John Kerry against that type of politics, now when they seem to want to help him, he's accepting that kind of help.

    I thought he was the one that has stated he was going to run a "respectful" campaign where the issues and policies are debated??

    May 2, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  24. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    That vet should go back into the woodwork and sell the termites some whole life policies.

    May 2, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. John

    Knowing that the swift boat campaign was "dishonest and dishonorable" why would a vet, who believes in duty and honor, even suggest such a vile tactic.

    May 2, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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