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. Linda of Atlanta

    The comment shows just how outrageous the people with whom McCain has surrounded himself are!

    June 23, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. ANGIE

    I HOPE THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT PLANNING SOMETHING JUST TO WIN PEOPLE DONT FALL INTO THEIR FEAR MONGERING TRAP JUST GET READY FOR ALL THE BIN LADEN TAPES TO COME OUT SOON HOW CONVENIANT

    June 23, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. JJ

    Hmmm...maybe McCain needs to remove him from his campaign all together. We've seen managers and advisors get fired for alot less!!!!!!!

    It is a shame that he would say something like that and it's scary at the same time. These words coming from his own camp. SMH!

    June 23, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. NY FEMALE SAYS MAC IS WACK!!!!!!!!!!

    Where are all of those PUMA people who think that McCain is the best thing since sliced bread?

    Do you really want to go where McCain's straight talk express is heading?

    Get off of his train. It's a horrible wreck just waiting to happen!

    June 23, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Mr. B.

    Just for the record...............I made that comment a couple months ago myself.
    Sorry but it is the truth, it worked for Bush.
    Nevertheless, we are to wise for that now !

    America Is Ready
    Obama 08

    June 23, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Jeronimo

    McCain: “I cannot imagine why he would say it...”

    Jeronimo: Umm.... Because it's true?

    June 23, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. drz

    I fear this mentality will lead the desperate rethuglicans to bomb Iran before November. Or worse, make Israel make the first attack and say we have to defend Israel from Iran.

    June 23, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. charles

    that is exactly the true feeling among grandpa camp. critising is not gona change anything. he did not mispeak he told the truth they believe in. grandpa we all know you agree 100% with him privately. you actualy discussed it. becoz thats yr weapon come november.

    June 23, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    AND WHOSE FAULT WOULD THAT BE?

    BUSH, MCBUSH & CHANEY.

    THEN TO ELECT MCBUSH SO HE CAN

    CONTINUE DOING A CRAP JOB?

    NOT THIS TIME & NOT THIS COUNTRY.

    June 23, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. colene

    I will never vote republican no matter how many wars or what we need a change in this country and my vote will go for change!

    June 23, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. Tired of W, OH

    This is typical for the republicans. Once in a while, they'll let their guard down and their true feelings come out. This is one of those moments.

    June 23, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. ProundToBeRepublican

    Repulican are Warmongers they would do any thing to get elected even by creating terrorist attack on U.S. soul. The repulicans call themselves christians, but I do not see it evey violent act is done by repulicnas.

    June 23, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Nina De Ponca

    Oh John ... you know what he is saying ....

    Namely that some Americans, wrongly give you points for having been a prisoner of war and a long tenured senator.

    They don't take the time to evaluate whether either of those have any bearing on what you know, how well you've demonstrated good judgement, how proactive you are in addressing national security threats.

    The sad thing is, if there were an attack, there is a segment of the population that would run to embrace you despite the fact that you've never really done anything, from a proactive, leadership perspective to mitigate a terrorist attack.

    You'd get voters for Sizzle ... not Substance.

    June 23, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. CLINTON 08 VP

    TO MCCAIN: TOO MUCH VIETNAM IS WHAT MAKES YOU TOO MUCH IGNORANT TO BE PRESIDENT FOR LOSING TO MANY BRAIN CELLS WHILE YOU WERE A PRISONER, PRETTY MUCH LIKE YOUR DADDY BUSH ONLY THAT I THINK THAT HE WAS BORN WITH ONLY A FEW BRAIN CELLS... THE POINT IS THAT YOU CAN'T BE PRESIDENT BECAUSE YOU'RE WAR-SICK AND THAT MAKES YOU THINK ONLY ON WAR, DEATH, WAR, WAR, WARWARWARWAR...

    June 23, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    If we did have another attack from Al Quada is Barrack silling to invade Pakistan to get OBL. I doubt it more than I doubt Barrack being a fiscal conservative. If we rely on Law Enforcement to go after terrorist not treat it as a real war than we do lose. They want to kill us so we should want to oblidge them by killing them so they can get their virgins. If we do not use special ops tactics against the terrorist we will not defeat them. The only way the Republicans benefit from a terrorist attack is if it happens while the dems control the White House, the Senate, and the House. Then there will never be democratic control of any part of government again because they will treat fighting terroist as their hero Bill did as a law enforcement issue.

    June 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. ANGIE

    REPUBLICANS USE FEAR TO WIN DONT LET THEM DO IT AGAIN DO THE RIGHT THING VOTE OBAMA

    June 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. Gene

    Of course McCain would benefit from an attack on US soil. Then he would actually have a legitimate reason to keep on the war path that he so strongly believes in. If anything.. at least his campaign adviser was honest :).

    June 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Montana is Obama Country

    McWAR is another BUSH Third Term...........

    Too bad the economy is the most important issue to real Americans....

    Not FEAR MONGERING AT It's WORST........ McWar

    June 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  19. Murry - Arizona

    I forgive McCain, for he knows not what he says – or maybe he does, but just forgets..... Maybe he's just a little delusional. I don't think the Republicans should have even been in the running this year for President. I think McCain should step down from being a candidate.
    Go Obama! 08! See ya! McCain!

    June 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  20. David Goldman for OBAMA

    POOR CHARLIE IS IN BIG TROUBLE FOR

    GIVING AWAY THE PLAN.

    June 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. Kenneth M

    CHARLIE BROWN, I MEAN BLACK IS OFF MESSAGE. HOWEVER, IS STATEMENT IS REVEALING OF HOW THE GOP THINKS. NOW LET JUST WE WHAT THEY DO.

    June 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. Janet Jacme

    What would happen if the "terrorist" was a native born American like Timothy McVeigh?

    Would John McCain still get a bounce?

    June 23, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Obama/Hillary 08

    It won't happen never I say to these republicans. These republicans like Charlie Black and John McCain want us to get kill by terrorist to show that they are strong. Shame on these republicans.

    June 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Paul

    Wow …

    I know people think it... I can't belive he said it out loud.

    Shows you they must be talking about it in their camp.

    I used to be a supporter of McCain's……. His time was in 2000, when we should have had him rather than Bush...

    Instead he’s spent the past seven years studying under Bush.

    Now my vote would go ot Obama.

    June 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. JO

    All you dumocrats for BO are sick, sick, sick with your comments !!

    June 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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