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.