June 23rd, 2008
03:45 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain criticizes adviser's terrorism comments

McCain adviser Charlie Black.
McCain adviser Charlie Black.

FRESNO, California (CNN) - Sen. John McCain distanced himself Monday from comments made by a senior campaign adviser suggesting that McCain would stand to benefit politically from a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

In an interview with Fortune magazine, McCain senior adviser Charlie Black said that the Arizona senator demonstrated his fluency in foreign policy and security matters following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December of last year.

Bhutto’s killing, Black said, was an “unfortunate event.” But, he argued, McCain’s “knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us."

Asked if McCain would stand to benefit from a terrorist attack on the United States, Black answered: “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him.”

Campaigning in California, McCain shook his head when asked by CNN about Black’s comments.

“I cannot imagine why he would say it,” he said at a press conference. “It’s not true. I’ve worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another attack on the United States of America. My record is very clear.”

McCain cited his work on the Senate Armed Services Committee and his role in creating the 9/11 Commission in describing his efforts to stop terrorist attacks on American soil.

“If he said that, and I do not know the context, I strenuously disagree,” McCain said of Black.

On the day Bhutto was assassinated, McCain seemed to suggest the calamity could offer him some political benefit.

“I’m the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment," he told CNN's Dana Bash on December 27. "So perhaps it may serve to enhance those credentials.”


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. Chris from NY

    Isn't that what they are hoping for. It may have worked for them in the past. It may not actually work for them this time around.

    June 23, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. TESAP

    On US soul...........

    Bad comment............ right ideology.

    BARACK THE VOTE PEOPLE.................... :)

    June 23, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. MLG

    I'm still voting for McCain. I trust him 60% compared to Obama 0%. McCain 08

    June 23, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. independent

    this entire party is a joke!i'm voting for bob barr.he's not a war-mongerer!

    June 23, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. saga for Obama

    “I’m the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment," he said on December 27. "So perhaps it may serve to enhance those credentials.”

    wow that statement sounds almost evil

    June 23, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. judge dread

    soooo... will charlie be fired? doubt it

    let a democrat say something this stupid, and heads would roll

    June 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. OlderBudWeiser

    What a horrible thing to say! Much as I don't like McCane, he should send this lobbying anti-American piece of garbage packing. And mean it! So does this mean if GWB bombs Iran McCane would be elected? McC is out of touch with himself.

    June 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    "Hmmmm"

    Mr. Black has said other stuff that makes one say, "Hmmm". I wonder if McCain is running for President or Commander-In-Chief?

    June 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Power to the People

    "Asked if McCain would stand to benefit from a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Black answered: “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him.”

    Remember McCane saying a few weeks ago that American casualties in Iraq were ok as long as we have them under control and win the war?
    This is blatant corroboration of McCane and his warmongers finally accepting again that the loss of American lives means nothing to them as long as they win the White House.
    Look McBush can be the straight talking express but I know it was no mistake from his campaign spokes person who echoed their plans publicly for about the 3rd time in 6 months.
    The American People will not be fooled again.

    NOT THIS TIME

    June 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. independent

    isnt charlie the only 'black' guy in the gop?better keep 'em.

    June 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Fair-minded

    But CNN, why didn't you report the advisor's story in the first place–as many MSM did–before McCain's reacted to it?

    If it were Obama's campaign advisor who made this nasty remark, would you have waited for Obama to react to it before you run the story?

    June 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. TyWebb

    McCain "strenuously disagrees" – reminds me of "A Few Good Men" when Demi Moore said she "strenously objects".

    June 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Frank

    Looks like John McBush is geeting advice from Karl Roves operatives. So, it's not just Bush / Cheney people that rely on such extremes. Just another reason to drive a stake into the heart of Republican, neo-conservative dogma in this country.

    Vote OBAMA 2008 –because it's the right thing to do !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    The troubling part of Senator McCain's response is that he didn't say "I;ll speak to Charlie Black about this immediately, and until further notice, he's not speaking for my campaign."
    That would've sent a clear msg, but I'm guessing that McCain is looking for all sorts of advantages since he's down 6% in most polls (discounting Newsweek because 15% is just way too much in my opinion).

    Course, now, didn't former President Bush meet some Iranians in London in 1980 and had them hold the hostages until after the election that fall where Jimmy Carter got blown out by 8 million votes?
    So, would anyone put it past the Reps to "orchestrate" such a devious plan for politcal gain?

    June 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. No Comment from True Democrats

    True Democrats,

    I am so tired of all the tickers being about the Democratic party. They are trying to divide our party. The only comment I will leave is NO COMMENT until they give the republican party the same attention. Please join me…

    NO COMMENT

    June 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. gastoys

    It just amazes me how ingnorant and once side you Democrats are in your thinking.

    Bob Barr 08

    June 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Dave

    Look McSame voters.. the truth does finally come out!

    June 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. jack

    shame on mccain camp hopin 2 benefit from an atack on u.s soil politics of fear but it wont work dis time i said it b4 nd i say it again mccain is da most confuse politician i have seen in my life time wanna shade more blood on our soil it wont work we are stronger now.

    June 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Jude

    CNN I know you never posts any of my comments cause you fear the truth. Here he goes again....its called "Fear" Mongering and Obama warned us about it already. McCain would like to distance himself from it but he knows that down deep inside it is true...it is exactly what he wants to try to take the white house. Put "The Fear" into people and start an attack on IRAN or some other rogue nation or the likes of Hamas, etc...

    June 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. colene

    We do not have anymore troops to send to war so why would this be good for the country. this is no country for old men.

    June 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. McMillilan McVanquest

    Just a bunch of ruthless and diabolic characters whose desire for power knows no moral limits.

    0ver 4000 of our finest young men/women dead, several maimed and injured ones, billions of dollars wasted and all this, just sacrificed at the alter of making a WAR PRESIDENT.

    And Now we are hearing from same advisers who would wish an Attack on America to make another 'War' on terror president.

    June 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. david

    we all know that bush is going to do something terrible so that we would feel that we would have no other choice but to pick mccain. i am already preparing my self for something like this. i hope america is ready for something like 9/11 or something big in iraq or iran to happen again

    June 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Beltway Insider

    Republicans are warmongers.

    They want us to be attacked.

    Haven't we learned this enough times over the last decade?

    June 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Justine

    I think it would do McCain more harm than good if the US were attacked again.

    If the US was attacked again, it would mean that US solgiers in Iraq aren't really keeping Americans safer and it really is time for a change!

    Obama 2008

    June 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Frank

    McCain has the right stuff. Mr Black was wrong to make such a statement and John McCain let him know in the harshest way possible. Presidential material all the way.

    June 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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