June 23rd, 2008
03:45 PM ET
7 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. Nate

    Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran!! Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran!! Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran!!

    McCain thought that was funny. I fail to see the humor.

    June 23, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. tedious898

    wow....this is as unamerican as it gets. "attack on US soil = dead americans" ....It would be a good thing? or be an advantage for John McCain?

    I need to know, why would we vote republican again? Because we would rather die or see other americans die before voting for Barack ? What a great country we live in!

    June 23, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Jaime

    McCain should just distance himself all the way to Panama where he was born.

    June 23, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. Robin Country Club Hills

    Frank June 23rd, 2008 4:33 pm ET

    "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."

    I'm sorry did he fire Black. That would be the harshest way. Being a prisoner of war and enemy sympathizer while P.O.W. doesn't make you Presidential.

    June 23, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Texas Trail Dog

    WHY CONDEMN THE MAN HE WAS ONLY TELLING THE TRUTH. IT WILL TAKE ANOTHER TERRORIST ATTACK TO WAKE THESE MONKEYS UP. THEY'RE ON A ONE WAY TRACK TO DESTRUCTION WITH FOLLOWING OF OBAMA JUST A WAGGING THEIR STUPID TAILS. BESIDES CNN THE MAN DID NOT MEAN HE WANTED ANOTHER ATTACK. YOU PEOPLE ARE SICK, SICK, SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. @everyamericans

    let the republican fear mongering begins!

    Charlie Black, who is a renowned lobbyist for the worlds worst dictators is conjuring up this fear-tactics?!

    It just shows that at this time when the american economy is in the tank, gas prices skyrocketing and morgage meltdown is on the upswing, the republicans cannot run on the issues, but would rather invoke another terrorist attack!

    the republicans feed off of evil terrorist attacks & wars that do us nothing but misery and pain at the gas pump!

    Time for CHANGE IS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  7. Like Bush, Only Older

    Scare tactics .... disgusting, pathetic, sad.

    June 23, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. bill pike

    i just cannot get over the fact that you have missed the point. WE ARE IN AN ILLEGAL WAR THAT IS KILLING U.S. TROOPS FOR NO REASON. Progress??? Have we solved the religious aspect of the cause and effect of this country, or the entire middle east??? didn't we have the crusades a few years ago and did england solve these religious factors??? MAKING PROGRESS in what??? we should get the hell out of there and let the country manage itself. when they kill each other after we are long gone is that progress???

    i am a vet. my dad was an officer in WWII, uncle tommy jones a west point grad and war hero in korea. and i say-there is no pride in winning a criminal offense and to talk about progress is like bank robbers talking about how they help their families and even some scraps to the poor.

    this is out of whack that you would write about progress when bush and the entire administration needs to face a Nuremberg trail just like after WWII–why were the german's on trial–they invaded places they had no business doing and tortured prisoners and and and, but there was progress??? they invented the Volkswagen for all of us. our space program. DON'T WE EVER LEARN.???

    final note, a thousand years from now these countries will be at war with each other and also religious wars within their own country. AND SOME IDIOT WILL WRITE ABOUT THE PROGRESS IN IRAQ, OR IRAN, OR WHEREVER.

    June 23, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. Nat Apir

    Oh no it's the American people that are killed and not the soil.

    June 23, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    Fire him.

    Prove your straight talk by walking a straight walk.

    My friend.

    June 23, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. Cathy

    I'm an Obama supporter and I don't think Black meant anything negative by his comment. The question was a leading question and I understand what Black was trying to say even though I may disagree that McCain is better for our country. Don’t let fear tactics win this election for McCain.

    Needless to say OBAMA '08!!!!

    June 23, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. bravedave

    Thanks so much Charlie for motivating me to send another contribution to Obama.

    June 23, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. William

    Everyone knows that a terrorist attack would benefit McCain. That doesn't take a great deal of genius to understand. However, no one thought the McCain campaign would be dumb enough to come out and say so. When you need the tragedy of a terrorist attack to inspire people to vote for you it signals how pathetic your stance is on the issues.

    June 23, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. OBAMA 08

    ANYONE TALKING ABOUT A TERRORIST ATTACK ON THEIR NATION SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. AFTER WHAT WAS EXPERIENCED, THIS MAN SHOULD NOT BE TALKING LIKE THIS. IT IS VERY SUSPICIOUS.

    June 23, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. kim

    To think that a comment like that is OK is beyond comprehension to most outside of politics.

    It show's how out of touch they are. Hillary did it last month with the Bobby Kennedy statement.

    We Need God on our money and Prayer in our hearts

    June 23, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. tigerakabj

    I knew someone in the rethug party was going to slip sooner or later. Folks, we are fighting a war on terror indeed. It is the repugs, always has been. Bush calling everybody the axis of evil, when he has demonstrated that he is who he condemns.

    I can't wait until President O initiates Nuremburg trials Round 2 against these war criminals and puts them away permanently. After all, he is a civil rights lawyer.

    June 23, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. Mcshame

    there you are mccains supporters this is the typ of president you will vote for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 23, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. Trotamundo

    Why is John McCain a hero? For having survive his plane going down? What or how that enhanced his fellow comrades in arms or benefited the US war effort? For having lived out the war, without risk to his life in the Hanoi Hilton were they even wanted to release him for being the son of a US navy almiral? How did they learned that? For having said he only came to love America when was deprived of her? he said it several different times.
    The real heroic thing to have done was to accept release and go back to fight, but I guess it was safer been in protective custidy.

    June 23, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. Sickening

    You all notice that McSame's "criticism" was more of a touting of his resume. Why doesn't he put politics aside at a time when his advisor summons the images of 9/11 all over again and just say, "I strenously disagree, I am sorry he said this, and he will be fired." It's not always about you McBush; sometimes it is about the American people.

    June 23, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  20. Upon Further Review

    McCain has some real cockroachs in his camp,he may as well resign now.

    June 23, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. Marc PDX

    Dude, you fell for it! Let it be a lesson for both campaigns – ambush journalism will be a prevalent tactic through November. Mr. Black, you are the poster child for being a pidgeon now.

    June 23, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. Quincy

    I hope the American public has gotten a little smarter and won't fall for the same tactics used from 2001 to 2008.

    June 23, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  23. G. Gabelli

    If, god forbid, there were a terrorist attack before the fall elections it would only demonstrate what a failure the Republicans have been at the helm of this country for the last eight years.

    We Americans understand that Bush/Cheney et. al. have NOT succeeded in capturing Bin Laden, did NOT pursue the terrorists in Afghanistan, and have made us LESS safe by waging a destabilizing war in Iraq!

    Americans cannot be fooled any longer by the Republicans playing the "fear" card.

    We are no longer in the paralyzied mind set post 9/11 in this country. And YES we folks out here understand a new political reality when it comes to "who can keep us safer; McCain or Obama?"

    The answer is simple, obvious, and not as complicated as pundits are making it; a Democrat will keep us safer.

    An unfortunate terrorist attack before the elections will vividly show that Republicans cannot be trusted to keep us safe. A Republican President only created more terrorists around the world because of the Iraq war, and McCain and his party have failed miserably after 8 long years!

    June 23, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. Voting for fear

    There you have: the fake patriots are wishing that some of their brothers will die, so that their right wing man keeps the power.

    Well, Bush surely profited in 2004 from the 9/11 attacks in 2001...
    PNAC even told in 2000 that a new Pearl Harbour would transform the army for the better...well, they got what they hoped for...

    June 23, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. Johnny

    WOW the GOP has officially hit rock bottom. So lets rephrase this for folks living in "the deep south" . According to this guy death of innocent Americans would greatly benefit the GOP Presidential Candidate.

    Shame on you McCain!!!!

    June 23, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
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