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. syl parbe

    So what was Obama's biggest moral failing? And what are the implications for the youths of the nation.

    August 17, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. JfromNC

    His marriage didn't just "fail". If he were being honest, he would say his greatest moral failure was committing adultery.

    August 17, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. David from Georgia

    Crowley I thought your analysis was terrible. Going out of his way to appeal to people's emotions. Even a child (my daughter) could see that McCain was pandering. McCain is a lifetime member of the good ole boys club. He did not give much thought to his answers. Sometimes answering before the question was given. Crowley, how could you have missed this critical error. It was obvious that McCain had somehow been coached on the questions, yet television's major commentators could not see it. Shame Shame Shame

    P. S. Should Obama apologize for not screwing up his marriage?

    August 17, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Jacqueline

    I watch the the forum last night and I felt Mccain knew the answer before hand answering the question. I felt a Mccain was talking politics and Obama was talking personal

    August 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. Chilli

    It's about time someone started talking about that particular elephant in the living room. It's a pretty poor testament to the America media that it had to be John McCain himself who brought up the subject.

    August 17, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. Peter

    It is not the break up of his marriage that is his moral failing; it is what he did to break it up. However, as usual, Republicans involved in good old boy heterosexual exploits get a bye on this.

    August 17, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Ammar

    Crowley and Schneider:

    I wish you guys would honestly report something instead of creating a narrative of McCain being a sincere, moral man and Obama being unsympathetic to the religious. Un-tax the rich and forget the poor? How is McCain so 'moral'. And how humble is a man who voted and still supports us going to war with Iraq off false evidence. Think about the American and Iraqi lives it has costed and then maybe you can blog about McCain having the 'right' answers on human rights after conception. Shame on you guys and CNN for being such biased cronies for McCain.

    August 17, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. bskahn

    McCain was compelling with his personal stories but you're left with the impression that he wants to lead America boldly into the 20th century.....

    August 17, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. seah

    McCain is Sincere and Honest.

    McCain Has Honor.

    August 17, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. AMW

    There was honesty in John McCains responses last night. After listeneing to both candidates, I came away with the belief that Barack Obama will enhance a story with a total disregard for the truth.

    Senator Obama claimed his used of drugs and alcohol was in his teen years, actually it was quite later on in his life. He also claimed to have had the same knowledge and intelligence as the US Senate had to form his decision regarding the vote to authorize the President to go to war when actually, he did not have the same level of intelligence since he was not a US Senator yet.

    So embellishment and misrepresentation in his words still abounds with Senator Obama. Honesty and sincerity were the two words I could apply to Senator McCain.

    August 17, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. energy

    CNN: It is surprising that the only moral failing you chose to focus on is that of McCain. McCain cheated on his wife and Obama used drugs. I guess your commentators did not get both sides of the story?

    I am definitely shocked that McCain looked very sharp last night. Obama was out of words or manipulating words ot trying to give new meanings to yes or no. He is learning well, from the master, Bill Clinton!!

    August 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. Mish

    I thought McWar was as usual in his * war mode*
    Sorry I happen to think he exploits his captivity in vietnam for political points!!!!
    After all he is not the only captured pow in history just the most glorified one!!!
    its quite obvious CNN is pro MCWar
    just another example of how *IF* you vote for him your going down the same path as the last 8 years
    At least Obama will try and steer the country toward the change it so badly needs

    August 17, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. Bob Gladstein

    Notice how he worded it: "the failure of my first marriage." He didn't say anything like "I cheated on my wife," much less "I cheated on the woman who waited for me while I was a POW, messed around and finally married a rich, young heiress with political connections, and my autobiography fudges the dates on which all this took place."

    Saying that his failing is the failure of his marriage is kind of like a murderer saying "the gun went off" instead of "I shot him."

    August 17, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. voter

    you mean the first wife he left who was recovering from a life threatening accident to marry a woman half his age because she is rich. That doesn't sound like moral failure. It sounds like McCain is an opportunist.

    August 17, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Mary, TN

    And he quickly change the subject. The reason it failed is because he cheated on his wife with Cindy.

    His every word was about "WAR"—
    I promise you McCain will keep us in War(s)–

    August 17, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. 1SG G. Barrow the infamous, "Texas Trail Dog"

    There is no reason to comment on this. The ones with clean slates cast the first stone the other guilty ones keep your mouths shut. Remember God is watching you.

    August 17, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. explorer0713

    Too bad he didn't learn from it. He treats his current wife with no respect, too.

    August 17, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Marc, Toronto

    "by the way" "my friends" "one more thing" "some straight talk"

    "I forgot to mention I committed adultry"

    I honestly believe John McCain is an ATHIEST. He never talks about God or Jesus. I wish he would have been asked about his religious beliefs last night.

    August 17, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. marty from Indiana

    I am really offended by Candy Crowley's evaluation of the candidates religious views. I thought news was supposed to be unbiased and objective. Is Crowley on the McCain political paid staff? "The facts, mam, the facts." Just report the facts and let the reader decide the interpretation. CNN should be ashamed to report such a biased report. Personally, I don't think McCain practices any form of religious faith.... he can talk the talk if someone tells him what to say, but in his daily life he doesn't not present any religious evidence in his character. He is an angry, mean man who would force his opinions on everyone.... even use war to push his agenda. We don't need 4 more years of Bush Christianity in the White House.

    August 17, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Marko

    and that was pretty much everything from the last nights "faith forum" McCain hour that did not include words like war, security and of course Vietnam.

    Candy, i don't mean to get personal, but given that you and your colleges are branding yourself as the best political team on tv, one would expect more than this lovefest for McCain this morning on the blog, that it should be pointed out, is completely undeserved.

    somebody has been drinking the cool aid this morning

    August 17, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  21. SH

    I am pretty sure no moral values are at play forconservatives because just to win they will ignore the fact that Sen MCOLD is an adulterer. Pathetic and they call themselves conservatives.

    August 17, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. whatwouldbuddhado

    Mccain can't even be faithful to his first wife how could a country trust his loyalty as a president. He's just another manchurian candidate that the gop has prepped to win over the religious right (whether he believes what he says or not) Religion is supposed to be a personal path to god but it's been anything BUT that. It should be kept OUT of politics for good! what gives mr warren the right to morally judge the candidates in this one sided forum. The abortion question should be asked to the religious right and warren for that matter. This is the same group( republicans) that generally support the death penalty and destroying foreign countries (murdering innocent women, children, men) all in the name of freedom and god. gimme abreak hypocrites. Even bush (idiot jr) called the war in iraq a 'crusade for god' to win over the far right then in order to substantiate his reasons for war. That is disgusting and unwarranted. Mccain is no different.

    August 17, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. rhoward

    Well, it didn't appear to me that McCain really answered the question because he refused to say why it was a mistake. But then, none of his answers appeared to have any depth to them and totally consisted of his usual talking points. If it anyone was watching this forum to learn anything about McCain's faith, they had to be sorely disappointed.

    Also, is it me or did it appear that McCain already knew what the questions were beforehand?

    August 17, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Lee

    I'll say that was a moral failure. His treatment of first wife Carol was despicable– completely narcissistic, and bordering on sadistic. Sadly, just weeks ago McCain stated in public, that second wife Cindy (who does her best to look "first lady-ish") should enter a wet teeshirt contest. And previously he said he just stopped beating wife Cindy two weeks prior. Jokes (???) at his wife's expense. It is how we treat those closest to us, that reveals the TRUE measure of our character.

    August 17, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. checkpoint

    He answered the questions before they were asked. The cone of silencemust have been faulty.

    August 17, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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