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. marie

    Don't bother bringing out the swift boat strategies. This may've worked in a different time, in a different situation. But things have changed. They'll mark McCain's campaign as completely outdated, petty and irrelevant.

    May 2, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. Fran Martin

    When push comes to shove, McCain will gladly accept a swift boat strategy. In spite of what he said in the past, McCain has a problem with credibility.

    May 2, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. kayla

    your rocking chair awaits you mcsame.

    May 2, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  4. David Kolva, MD

    Those life insurance sales people sure do tell the truth, don't they?

    John McCain could have corrected him and defended Kerry again, but he didn't. Why? McCain's thought processes are slowing due to age. It will become more evident as the spotlight gets hotter.

    May 2, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. Laura

    I would not say that McCain "vigorously" defended Kerry. He did come to Kerry's defense, but he waited a while to do so. I give him credit for doing it but he initially held back for fear of offending conservatives and party activists whom he would need to please when he ran in 2008.

    May 2, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |

    I'm one of those veterans that will support McCain and not Hitlery the freedom hater. The one who hates our servicemen and women. The one who hates big oil, the one that doesn't want to have this country be self reliable, the one who hates this country, the one that wants to raise taxes until no end, the one that wants to have everyone turn to the government for there very existance. The very same one that is foaming at the mouth for control of everything. The one that lies about being shot at. The one that blames everyone but herself about the iraq war that she voted on rather she needed more info. or not, she still did it. Get rid of this cow onece and for all.

    his is the same person that wants you to change your very existance on how you live right along the lines with the special interest groups like PETA, the global warming maggots. It is just a hoax to raise your taxes and put fear into you if you don't see things her way, just like yesterday when she said you are with me or against me about the big oil companies. SCREW the witch!

    May 2, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. A. K.

    The Democrats have learned how to swiftboat and there is a whole lot to use on McCain. Check it out, please, starting with the affairs including the one he had with his present wife before he dumped his first wife after she lost a leg in a car accident so that he could marry a rich lady.

    I hope the Democratic supporters can go toe to toe with the swiftboaters this time. Two can play that dirty game.

    May 2, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. Jim C

    The strong support of veterans for McCain is just one of many reasons why he will beat Obama if Obama is the candidate against him.

    May 2, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. JohnLahai

    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 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. aware

    Hillary Clinton 2008 and 2012 or John McCain 2008! 🙂

    If the Democrats chose Obama as their nominee, the Republicans will be back in the White House.

    The American people are looking for the kind of truth telling and serious policy making that is going to have an affect on their lives and this does not describe Obama.

    Give the obfuscating, inept, freshman senator with the credibility and judgment gap some time to develop authentic values and a better resume.

    Don't let the far left media choose their far left candidate for you. America is centrist and will vote accordingly in the General Election.

    May 2, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. JP, Chicago IL

    Why do veterans want to back McCain when he consistently votes against them in the Senate? (CHECK HIS VOTING RECORD)

    May 2, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. bob in LA

    Sad, isn't it that people even think that way? I don't believe its just Republicans, but for a Republican supporter to use those words in public makes it dificult to not think there is something wrong with the Republican mind-set.
    Are all conservatives believers of tabbloid journalism? Maybe. Look at the Rupert Murrdock holdings!

    May 2, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  13. Fred, MS

    No comment, he puts me to sleep. Then he starts talking about war, war, war, and I want him to go somewhere, and leave the rest of us alone.

    May 2, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. Rob - Vegas

    another example of the McCain flip-floping, he's getting REALLY good at it..

    May 2, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  15. dwayne

    Swift Boat vets aren't very swift. Well...maybe at lies and deceit. I think I lose 2 IQ points everytime I try to listen to them.

    May 2, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  16. Leslie

    He already does, it's called Freedom's Watch.

    May 2, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. s.positive

    No point, John just blew it by saying we go to war for OIL.

    May 2, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. Quit Lying.

    Are the "Swift Boats for McCain" going to tell the truth this time, without any fabrication? And are the veterans really going to search McCain's real words about America while a POW? Are they the same veterans "coming out of the woodwork" the same veterans who cannot get their benefits because of McCain? Or the benefits who have had to go on 5, 6 or 7 trips to Iraq? I am a mother , wife, sister of a veteran!!!

    May 2, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  19. Eric Thornley

    Looks like the Vietnam war dumbed people down also, shame, I thought they all came back as intellectuals.

    May 2, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  20. Jane, NC

    Well, the "swift boat" ads, played a major part in electing the worse president ever. Problem is, they worked then, and they might again. Otherwise, McCain's chances are surely so slim that I can't imagine anything else that could put him in the White House, no matter who wins the democratic nomination. I can just hear the whisper campaign too, "Did you know that Sen. Obama and his wife have 2 black children?" And if the nominee is Sen. Clinton, something similarly stupid will no doubt be tried in order to hurt her.

    May 2, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  21. Ben

    This country needs 8 years of President Barack Obama.

    May 2, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  22. wed

    CNN is not referring to Mickey Kantor but if the story was concerning Obama, they will be happy to comment in their situation room. MSNBC Chris Mathew is on right now but not making mention of the racial slur of Mickey Kantor but you brought the issue of the underground the other day that happen many years ago longer than Mickey Kantor. Go on CNN with your Pro-Clinton news.

    May 2, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. PaulC

    Not to worry. If there is one thing that you can hang your hat on in this race is that the Republicans will unleash their full arsenal of "swift boats" and dirty tricks. THE UNFORTUNATE THING IS THAT IT WILL PROBABLY WORK.
    Americans will gladly follow the John Wayne/Rambo character that will make them feel safe and protect them from gays and heathens.

    May 2, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  24. Obama 4 Our Future!

    ....and the only way it's going to get better is to put Obama in the White House. This country needs to change and the Clinton's are not the ones to do it!

    OBAMA 2008!

    Now.....CNN, how about not being so biased and report on the Paul vs Clinton issue and the Clinton's pastor being convicted!

    May 2, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. Bruno

    The man is right. Only out-right lies will help McCain win the nomination. We need more people in Washington who think lies are positive things. Looks like McCain has a new VP candidate. Why do Republicans bring out the worst in people?

    May 2, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
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