July 3rd, 2008
06:32 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain denies grabbing foreign official

McCain is currently in Colombia.

McCain is currently in Colombia.

(CNN) - John McCain says he never acted inappropriately toward a one time associate of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, contradicting a recent claim made by one of the Arizona senator's Republican colleagues.

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran told his hometown newspaper earlier this week that during a 1987 trip to Central America, he personally witnessed McCain grab an Ortega associate by his shirt collar to lift him out of a chair.

"McCain was down at the end of the table and we were talking to the head of the guerrilla group here at this end of the table and I don't know what attracted my attention," Cochran told The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Mississippi. "But I saw some kind of quick movement at the bottom of the table and I looked down there and John had reached over and grabbed this guy by the shirt collar and had snatched him up like he was throwing him up out of the chair to tell him what he thought about him or whatever."

"I don't know what he was telling him, but I thought, 'Good grief, everybody around here has got guns and we were there on a diplomatic mission.' I don't know what had happened to provoke John, but he obviously got mad at the guy," Cochran added.

Speaking to reporters in Colombia Wednesday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee flatly denied the report, calling it "simply not true."

"I had many, many meetings with the Sandinistas," McCain said. "I must say, I did not admire the Sandinistas much. But there was never anything of that nature. It just didn't happen."

McCain has long faced criticism for his at-times hot temper, and he has especially clashed with Cochran over a variety of spending projects. The Mississippi Republican endorsed Mitt Romney's presidential bid last year and told the Boston Globe that "The thought of [McCain] being president sends a cold chill down my spine."

"He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me," Cochran told the paper in January.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (462 Responses)
  1. San Diego Moon

    He's known as the hottest temper in the Senate.

    Yeah, let's let this guy have his "hand on the button". Especially since he beats the Iran war drum so often.

    Obama 08.

    July 2, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. McCain=the draft

    To Brian S.:
    You don't have to lift your arms very high to grab a guy by the collar who's sitting down and lift him out of a chair.

    McCain has a well documented temper. He was the school yard bully and has now become the world bully. This man should never have his finger on "the button".

    July 2, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. John

    "For a better and more prosperous country: Vote Obama"

    You're refering to the cool headed/decisive/strategic leader that can't decide if he should or shouldn't wear a flag pin without consulting a focus group???

    From what I have seen of him lately I really think Obama should adopt the Panda as his mascot.

    July 2, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  4. Disgruntled Republican

    I'm not voting for McCain, but if this were true, which I don't believe it to be. I would reconsider, you would have to admire someone who would be so brazen to stand up for something in a middle of a room filled with rebels with guns. But I truly don't believe this story.

    July 2, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  5. Patrick

    This man of "family values" is the same person who called his wife the C-Word. Absolutely no integrity.

    Obama '08

    July 2, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. JPDC

    Political policies aside, McCain simply doesn't have the temperment to be our president. We've had enough of cowboy diplomacy in this country, and McCain's temper tantrums will only perpetuate the same sort of ridiculousness we see with Bush on a regular basis.

    July 2, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  7. Disgruntled Republican

    Oh yea, I am voting for Obama, first time in my life I am forced to go Democrat in a presidential election.... Way to go Rep. Party....

    July 2, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  8. Shane

    There are MANY other reports of his temper. Who wants a hot headed leader in this day and age. Do research on John McCain and you will be scared out of your mind when thinking of him as Presidents. To Republicans, please just don't vote for your party because it is your party. Be open, read, research!! McCain is a scary warmonger! What is he doing traveling to all these countries with all the problems here in the US and last I checked, he is still being paid as a US senator!

    July 2, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  9. The Democrat

    Who cares whart the Mc Cain did 21 years ago. He was 21 years younger and a lot feister than he is now. Maybe that's the kind of man we need in the White House. But that was then, this is now. Stop dredging up ancient history and freshening it up. Shame on you CNN for publishing such a ridiculous story. When will you be reporting on the demise of the Dinosaur?

    July 2, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  10. Roberto

    I love it when Republicans start to eat their young. It's those family values, you know.

    Obama all the way.

    July 2, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  11. Seth Prouser

    Oh it didn't happen you say? That's right McCain, Republican Thad Cochran just MADE that story up....no doubt about it!

    July 2, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. TonyNJHC

    WOW! Looks like Mr. McCain has SPUNK!

    July 2, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
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