August 17th, 2008
09:45 AM ET
10 years ago

Crowley: McCain on his greatest moral failing

LAKE FOREST, California (CNN) - Pretty compelling moment when John McCain was asked about his greatest moral failing and very quietly replied: "the failure of my first marriage." You could have heard a pin drop.

As an aside: McCain was put in a "cone of silence" while Barack Obama was on stage, because he was getting the same questions.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (223 Responses)
  1. KENT in NC

    I am confident this was an honest response from McCain and I'm sure it may have pained him to say it but now I pray no one picks up on it to use it in the campaign against him. It was something that took place years ago and it is personal in my opinion. I do not think the Obama campaign will attempt to get in the gutter with this but I would not put it past others to use this response. To clarify this comment, I am an Obama supporter but for anyone to use this response would be wrong.

    August 16, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  2. short

    McCain seemed like he was medicated on something, with all the hyperness! short on answering but those long drawn out war stories that we have all heard!

    August 16, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  3. Ilona Hussein Proud Canadian





    August 16, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. Kees

    I was appalled that Senator McCain gave a two word answer when asked his greatest personal moral failing. I think that he should have given some details.

    Clearly, he's ashamed. But why? Was it his adultery that he was speaking about? Was it his abandonment of a sick wife? Was it filing for a second marriage certificate while still married to his first wife?

    He went on and on with other stories. How about coming clean about his greatest personal moral failing.

    All he had to do was ask for forgiveness.

    August 16, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  5. Michele

    Even though he won't get my vote, I give McCain a big thumbs up for this one. He confronted the way he treated his first wife and that it was a great moral failure. I appreciated his honesty.

    August 16, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  6. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    C'mon CNN..............McCain opened the Pandora's Box........let's hear more of how he failed his first wife...............with Cindy..............

    August 16, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  7. Norma

    Did you take his cell phone/or blackberry? The feed was live on the internet.

    August 16, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  8. Independant Thinker

    McCain was right.

    But he now has a 30+ year history with Cindy.

    August 16, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  9. Larry Buchas

    McCain didn't elaborate on how that marriage ended. McCain went after youth and power over a handicapped wife. He is not trustworthy.

    August 16, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  10. Lourdes

    I see he didn't go into detail....the details are appalling (google Carol McCain divorce car accident) and show the true nature of his character.

    August 16, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  11. Iowa Eyes

    A "failure" of a marriage indicates there were two people in it. "Killing" a marriage because you are shallow and looking for a better/younger/healthier meal ticket is quite another. John isn't being honest with the public, "My friend" .

    August 16, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  12. Evelyn Jewell

    I was impressed with John Mc Cain's achnowledgement, that his biggest moral mistake was his first marriage failure, of which he took responsibility for that failure.

    He showed remorse & feelings in his answer.

    He was direct, with all of his answers, without hesitation.

    I do not agree with all of his answers, but he does deserve credit, for being direct with his answers.

    August 16, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  13. sideon

    Nice deflection.

    If he was going to own it and be responsible, he would have said:

    "I was a lying, cheating bastard to my first wife whom I abandoned for a rich, hot beer mogul."

    August 16, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  14. Nadine Greene

    How can anyone trust a word that McCain utters, concerning his first consideration is not self, but the people of the United States. He absolutely was about self, and not family, when he was cating around after his present wife while still married with family. He was so immoral when he applied for a marriage license before being officially and legally divorced. He's a farce. Just because he was a prisoner of war, does not make him a great candidate for President. He is a war monger. I don't trust him.
    I would leave this country if McCain is elected to the White House. He's no better than G.W. Bush.

    August 16, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  15. Kris from AZ

    I disagree with MCcain on several issues but he was honest about his moral failing. I have pat him on the back for that. It was the truth.

    August 16, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  16. Janice Crowley

    I think his greatest moral failing was his decision to invade Iraq. If Mccain doesn't think that he failed America than he'll do it again. Mccain talks about war and foreign politcy. I didn't feel personal to him or understand him anymore than I did before. Obama was more personal and answered the questions seriously. Mccain was on his ordinary talking points and what he has remembered.

    August 16, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  17. DR. YES

    not a good way to treat someone who stayed true to you while you were gone for so long.and to do it after she had a bad accident?really sad and telling.however,as a christian and a human being ,i can forgive him.i could not vote for him,only because i believe obama will better unite the 'entire' nation,and change the way government works for everyone,through citizen participation.

    August 16, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  18. judyo

    John McCain needs to explain that he was cheating on his first wife, when she was ill, by dating his present wife, Cindy. The first marriage didn't "just end."

    McCain needs to explain why his first marriage ended.

    August 16, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  19. sylvia avery

    John McCain's wife must have felt wonderful as she heard her husband say that his failed first marriage, not his unfaithfulness, was his greatest moral error. He might be sleeping outside the "Straight Talk" bus tonight.

    August 16, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  20. Chris from NY

    Everyone who divorced did so for various reasons. He didn't say why his marriage ended. It was because he cheated. He should have said that instead of telling his war story. I didn't think Rick Warren will be this partial. He let McCain salivate on the issue of Georgia without redirecting him.

    August 16, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  21. Audrey

    Are you sure he was in a cone of silence? He answered the questions to quickly for that or he knew the questions in advance.

    August 16, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  22. Alan Boyer

    a lot of marriages fail...but they citing a failed marriage as a moral failure dodges the question. The moral failure was abandoning is wife and cheating on her with Cindy.

    August 16, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  23. Jason

    His divorce is something that gets smeared, twisted, and attacked day in and day out by liberals in the media on in the blogs. I'm glad that McCain finally had the guts to address it tonight.

    Probably the most honest candidate to ever run for president. Great job, McCain!

    August 16, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. Chuck

    I'm disappointed that Sen. McCain dodged the question about his greatest moral failing by answering "the failure of my first marriage." It was a difficult question, to be sure – but given the opportunity to face the issue head on, in a house of God, in front of fellow Christians, his inability to take personal responsibility for his actions still leaves the question of his moral strength of character open.

    August 16, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  25. Rob

    Why is it anybodies business about McCain's divorce a few decades ago? The majority of marriages now end up in divorce, and in many cases it is not the "Fault" of either couple. If there is something else going on like abuse, cheating, abandoning children, or drug problems, then yes that is a moral failing, but otherwise we need to realize that divorcees are not monsters.

    Having a divorce does not automatically make you a horrible person. It scares me that people would change who they are voting for because of that one issue.

    Before anybody asks, I am married and have never been divorced.

    August 16, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
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