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. jean Greer

    SMITH AND RAGHU ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT ARE INTERESTED IN TAKING THE WHIT HOUSE BACK. THE
    REST OF THE PEOPLE HAVEN'T HAD ENOUGH PAIN. LET
    THEM HAVE A FEW MORE YEARS OF WAR.

    June 23, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. b black

    I USED TO SAY OBAMA 08!
    NOW IT'S OBAMA 2012!
    I'M A VET! AND THAT WAS TOTALLY OUT OF LINE!
    OBAMA 2012!

    June 23, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. B Jiggy

    Where are all the Clinton supporters who will be voting for McCain on at on this particular blog?

    June 23, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. steve

    I love it. The Republicans are running from their own shadows and one and other. They are going to seriously get beat come November. What goes around comes around.

    Democrats 08!

    June 23, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. Rashelle, PA

    Journalists should stop asking stupid questions, then they wouldn't get stupid answers. It takes two, you know.

    June 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Gary

    I see Mr. McCain will use the fear card just as Mr. Bush and Rove! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    June 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. AngryRepublican

    This is one of the reasons I can't vote for McCain, it's easy to see that his policies are that of a war monger.

    Bob Barr is a true fiscal conservative who believes in small government and states rights.

    I need a true conservative, that's why I'll be voting for Bob Barr.

    June 23, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. Gerry

    As always McCain tries to distance himself from the truth.

    June 23, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  9. Ted

    Guess the republicans have their fingers crossed we suffer another terrorist attack before the election.

    June 23, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. the truth come out

    He won't get my vote!

    June 23, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. Jason of Indianapolis

    Man this is just ugly, The McCain brand is so desperate to win that it would see another 911 for the GOP'S political gain!

    June 23, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Jim

    How does one "distance himself from his senior advisor" if not to dismiss him from duty? McCain probably planned the comments himself. Textbook fear mongering. Let me ask you this America: are you ready to show some spine and elect someone who will tell us the truth and lead without scaring us into submission? I sure hope so.

    June 23, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. Mike

    Yes McBush did not want his advisors to say it out right. Just allude to it like he has been doing all along. Playing on Americans fears is all McBush has got. McBush says he has the experience. Unfortunatly his experience is all bad.

    June 23, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. Lamont in Detroit

    Hmmm....

    Typical republicans. The notion that an attack would help is very similar to when Reagan made sure the hostages weren't released until after he beat Carter in 1980. He used american hostages for political gain. Of course more war would benefit McCain. His party knows this – his advisor was too stupid to let it slip.

    The real issue is that the White House is the last great bastion that white males have controlled. They are fearful that anyone else that doesnt fit this persona will dilute the latent supremacy in this country. What they don't understand is that all Americans want is equality remiss of skin tone. The fear conservatives will continue to propagate is the notion of fear – us (white) vs. them (non white). That is what they have always ran on and always will.

    June 23, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. Mary Simmons

    I do not understand why it is a double standard for McCain and Barack cannot didtance himself from people he disagree with and it is talked about it for months. Dont youidots know that McCain is a war monger that is why he stated we could be in Iraq for a hundred years. He looks like a pretty comfortable POW in the pictures I saw. I wonder if he said cheese when his picture was taken. Cindy should keep her mouth shut about Michelle , dont open your closet door. Once and for all I wish these hypocrits would lay off her for I am 76 years old and this is one of the times since John Kennedy I have been proud of this country. How soon we forget the picture of Emmet Till hanging from a tree, those little children burned in the church , dogs attacting people whehn they were just askinf for their equal rights, Medgar Evers little children and Martin Luther kings children w weeping at their fathers funerals. My Great Grand mother's mother was sold as a slave and the white plantation owners raped our women. Were you peoud of your country Miss cindy? yes your husband went to war it was his duty same as my father and brother did many of my frinds ans relatives did John you were one of the lucky ones all we have to remember are the dog tags that were given us. I still ont think that qulifies you o be president of anything , Maybe the liars club. Brack never said he would take money from lobbyist he only sad he would take under consideration. Dont be so quick to call names you have been flip floping since you started this vendetta of yours. You dont need any money any way your wife is loaded.stick to the facts unless you cannot remember what they are.

    June 23, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. EDW

    Don't forget: McCain sang BOMB, BOMB, BOMB, BOMB BOMB IRAN.
    Find it on youtube if you don't believe me. I don't want my friends in yet another war and my friends children in the upcoming war.

    June 23, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. Alan Boyer

    Charlie Black: "Let the campaign of fear begin."

    June 23, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. Kenneth

    John McCain had nothing to do with The murder investion of Mrs Bhutto so why bring it up. Oh by the way Obama would not nor his poeple would try to benfit from that sitution . Bringing a knife to a gun fight means that if you come to a fight with us then we will bring stronger means to fight you off. that is keeping it real.

    June 23, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. TerryDo

    Mr. Black was asked a dumb question to begin with.

    "Asked if McCain would stand to benefit from a terrorist attack on U.S. soil,.."

    CORRECT ANSWER: No One Would Benefit From Another Terrorist Attack on America.

    What a stupid question to ask someone in the first place!

    June 23, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. Chris Lee

    The question asked was: Would your campaign be helped by a terrorist attack? Yes. Obviously, would have been the appropriate answer.

    Would you WANT an attack?
    "I’ve worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another attack on the United States of America," he answered.

    But this is curious: the second question was not the one asked.

    Things that make you go hmmmm.

    June 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. SC

    How can half of you even say anything? Half of everyone's comments are unintelligible and lack proper grammar, not to mention spelling is horrendous. Many of you uneducated Americans are putting down McCain for what? Putting down Bush for what? Because it's the POPULAR thing to do, do any of you even have any idea about any of the candidates' policies? Haha I doubt it. All you so called DEMS...do you have any idea what Mr. Obama really wants to do? Raise your taxes? Hmmm, maybe many of you should do some research before you open your mouths. You just don't want McCain because he's a REPUBLICAN, not for what his voting history is or his proposals on social and economic policy. You just want to get on the DEM wagon. RESEARCH first and then post something that's worth while to read.

    June 23, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. gl

    Rea, Obama is only scary to you becasue he is black. I would like your comments better if you told the true why you are scare of Obama.

    June 23, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  23. Independent-woman-4-Obama

    What else is new from the far-right-fear-and-hate-mongering Republicans, sadly, that's what they REALLY think but only Black was honest enough to say it.

    Of course, we wont see this story talked about 24/7 like the Wright story was! And what Black suggested IS HIDEOUS COMPARED TO THE COMMENTS OF WRIGHT!

    Disgusting comment, but no surprise!

    June 23, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. Danel

    If McCain demonstrated his fluency for foreign affairs issue: How come he can't even diffirentiate Shiite and Sunnis? Forgot what country he was in? Voted for the war in Iraq? If that's foreign policy experience to you I'll go with common sense and judgement anytime.

    June 23, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. Peter E

    Hm... I seem to remember at least one more politician who exploited Bhutto's death for political gain... using it to attack his opponent... I think his name started with Bar-something... Oh, right: Barack Obama!

    June 23, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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