June 13th, 2008
02:45 PM ET
5 years ago

McCain: Treat our wives with respect

CNN

Watch portions of Dana Bash's interview with John McCain Friday.

(CNN) – John McCain said Friday that every candidates' wife "should be treated with respect and if there's any disrespectful conduct on the part of anyone, those people should be rejected.”

“I have the greatest respect for both Senator [Barack] and Michelle Obama. … I've never met her, Mrs. Obama, she's a talented and a very effective person. And I admire both of them. We have stark differences in views,” he told CNN's Dana Bash in a one-on-one interview.

Earlier: Obama expects Michelle to take heat

“Americans want a us to have a much more respectful campaign than the kinds they've been seeing recently.”

The comment comes a day after Obama’s campaign launched a new Web site, Fightthesmears.com, which aims to debunk rumors against the Illinois senator and his wife.

McCain also touched on his own vice presidential vetting process - and whether he's considering former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as his running mate.

"Not yet," he said.

Romney, who had clashed with the Arizona senator during the Republican primaries over economic issues , has campaigned for McCain since suspending his campaign.

McCain, however, sought Friday to downplay the negativity between the two during the hard-fought primary.

“There were specific comments and times that are made in primaries, but overall, I'm proud of the kind of primary that all of us waged. It was - with a few exceptions - a very honorable primary, which allowed us all to come together," he said. "And as I have gotten to know Mitt better, and his wonderful wife, Anne, we have become quite friendly.”

The presumptive GOP nominee also said that it’s important for the vice presidential vetting process to play out.

“One of the things about this is that sometimes, if you aren't careful, we've seen in history, that it's harmful to the ticket. And that's one of your first criteria, to make sure that there's nothing out there - the people who you are really considering that they would not have a harmful effect on the ticket, or some - so that is one of the reasons why you look very carefully early on at just about everything and try to get some help in doing it.”

McCain also touched on his proposal for joint town hall meetings with Obama, saying “I think Americans, one of the reasons I wanted so badly to have the town hall meetings, so they have a chance to look at us and respond to them, rather than the soundbites and the spin and the Web sites and the 527s.”

He has called for a total of 10 unmoderated town halls between now and August. The Obama campaign, however, rejected the proposal.

McCain’s campaign recently sent a letter to the Obama campaign urging the debates after receiving invitations by the Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Libraries to hold joint town halls meetings.

In a statement Friday, Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe responded to the letter saying the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate offered to meet McCain at five joint appearances between “now and Election Day” – which would include three traditional debate “plus a joint town hall on the economy in July and an in-depth debate on foreign policy in August.”

“That package of five engagement would have been the most of any Presidential campaign in the modern era – offering a broad range of formats – and representing a historic commitment to openness and transparency.”

soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. John Q

    you had better take the high road on this one, pops

    cindy has a few skeletons, so do you really want to go thare?

    didn't think so

    June 13, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Loretta from California

    YEAH RIGHT!!! and when the cameras are gone, I bet that he is as disrespectful to her as Fox.

    June 13, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Belle

    Well...the Obama supporters once again blog with hatred....the exception...Clinton is no longer the target...(or I should say, not as much of a target) and now McCain is.

    How stupid of me to think that change meant actually laying out plans, vetting both candidates, and letting voters make up their own minds.

    Now, that I have received emails from Obama's campaign telling me what I should tell others that are on the fence...I am sickened by this. Funny, Clinton's never did that. Her emails were of coming events...detailed plans...never about trying to sway people. She always said the American people were the ones to make the choice.

    Now I feel like Obama supporters blogging, combined with slanted journalism are trying to sway the vote before it ever happens.

    June 13, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Travis (in the real world)

    I'm sure McSame the wives are off limits for only ONLY REASON...he has lots to hide and doesn't want his wifes drug problem divulged....right out of Roves playbook....if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck....watch out Cindy....DUCK.

    June 13, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. R U for real?

    Jan from Boca Raton, Fl. June 13th, 2008 3:12 pm ET

    Why does Michelle Obama deserve respect from the American
    people when she is not proud of our country????
    ____________________________________________

    Oh, poor, obtuse Jan, let it go. Everyone and anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows what Michelle was trying to say.
    So, the real questions is are you racist, stupid, or both?

    June 13, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Chris from NY

    This is after he said yesterday that he can't control anything other people wish to do or say. McCain has to stick with one story. He can't be anywhere at any time. It's called pandering.

    June 13, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. RickytheGriff

    Yeah, John McCain treated his first wife with all the respect that Newt Gingrich treated his!

    June 13, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Darlene, Orlando Fl

    OH, NOW YOU SAY LEAVE OUR WIVES ALONE, WHY DIDN’TYOU SAY IT WHEN IT FIRST BEGUN TO HAPPEN? TOO LITTLE AND TO0 LATE. I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL THEY COME OUT ON YOUR WIFE CINDY, THAT SHE IS OR MAYBE STILL BE A BIG DRUG HEAD? I BET IF MICHELLE OBAMA WAS A DRUG HEAD THEY WOULD HAVE HAD A LOT MORE TO SAY ABOUT THAT. I AM SURE OBAMA WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN WHERE HE IS NOW. THAT IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND, THEY ARE WORRIED FOR A HAVARD GRAD BEING IN THE WHITE HOUSE BUT NOT A DRUG HEAD, I WONDER WHY? WE ALL KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT.

    June 13, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Where are the Feminists for Michelle Obama?

    CNN won't post this comment, why, one must ask...

    Where are the Hillary feminists now? Where is their outrage for Michelle Obama against Fox News? Where are Geraldine Ferrarro and Gloria Steinham now?

    Is a black woman not woman enough to be defended against the smears of Fox News?

    Where's all of the solidarity now?

    Will you post this, CNN?

    June 13, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Joe, Northern Virginia

    Deception, Hypocrisy, Same Same old dirty Republican political tactics. Since when did John McCain became the epitome of CLEAN campaign? Short sighted people shouldn't look far... just go back to how John McCain smeared Mitt Romney and turned right around to advocate for a clean and honest campaign. McCain cannt spin the facts.

    June 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Barack the Vote in RI

    Let's be fair – While we're digging up garbage on Michelle let's also drag Cindy McCain into the fight.....where are her mysterious tax records???? What are they trying to hide....I'm sure her investments will link McCain to many entities he doesn't want to disclose – especially now.....not to mention the fact that he was STILL MARRIED to another woman when he started seeing Cindy....and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    HRC started with the hypocritical "kitchen sink" tactics, too – grossly underestimating Obama and look what happened to her. The Republicans need to be very careful. If it's a fight they want, then they'll get it.

    June 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. Tom, St. Paul

    John, they are going to hammer Cindy as hard as they hammer Michelle. Thus is the sad state of affairs in American politics these days. It's called Free Speech. Dontcha love it? Oh, and just what do Cindy and Michelle have to do with this election? Ummmm.... Ask Rush, Sean, Ann and the rest of the Free Sppeech exercisers gang.

    June 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. Happy in CT

    Hmmm..... I hope he keeps this attitude... then again what's HIS definition of respect?

    btw... his daughter is kinda good-looking... I wonder if she's allowed to date out of her race

    lol

    June 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Sasha Cha

    A potential first lady that knocks knuckles with her husband deserves a great deal of respect. You bet!

    June 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. P. Morrison

    Knowing how many times McCain has voted against issues that would benefit women plus the circumstances that ended his first marriage, I will never understand how HRCs' supporters would even consider voting for him. It boggles the mind.
    Older white woman for Obama.

    June 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. darren

    this man has flipflopped on almost every major issue, including the war...Obama needs to reel off all his inconsistencies at one of his speeches...

    this man does not have an honest bone in his body.

    June 13, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  17. MD

    This coming from a man who left his sick wife for Cindy. LOL.

    June 13, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Vig

    Yeah – the same way Hillary and Bill were treated with respect! Give me a break – B.O. benefited off the degrading, sexist and demeaning smears of the media and pundits toward HRC – write HRC in to win on the November ballot.

    June 13, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Happy in CT

    If someone is for MCcain or Obama why does what they say taken as a reflection to what they all feel?

    June 13, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Sasha Cha

    BREAKING NEWS! TIM RUSSERT DEAD!!!!!!!

    June 13, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Seth

    Is this guy for real. What a LIAR. He says all of this and then sicks his attack machine on her.

    Just what we want, another LIAR in the White House. Talk about McSame.

    June 13, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. M. Jordan

    Why should Obama agree John McCain's terms for a town hall meeting. All he will do is get his supports there to just try to bash Obama. McCain does enough of that on his own.

    I guess he fills he needs some help. Talk about dirty politics.

    June 13, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. aware

    Campaigning surrogates are fair game! Bill took it and so will Michelle!

    Why does Obama think Michelle will take heat? Could it be her own edgy words? Remember John Kerry's out spoken wife! :(

    Is Obama trying to inoculate himself against this issue before another shoe drops?

    June 13, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. Rick FL

    Yeah right, McCain should send the memo over to his "family values" affiliates at the RNC and Fox News. I agree the wives should be treated with utmost respect, but the route too many Republicans are taking already will leave Cindy McCain vulnerable to fair retribution. Please be careful which cards you play.

    June 13, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Rico in Arkansas

    i believe all the wives shoudl be left alone because they matter little in the real issues.
    for those who say obama is unable to think on his feet and may stumble in a town hall setting. please remeber he is a harvard educated lawyer.
    you don't graduate from harvard and not be able to answer a question with an intelligent response.
    please give them man his proper due.

    June 13, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8