August 26th, 2008
08:38 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain, Obama trade jabs over patriotism

Sens. McCain and Obama traded swipes over patriotism Tuesday.

Sens. McCain and Obama traded swipes over patriotism Tuesday.

(CNN) - John McCain Tuesday accused Barack Obama of missing a great “chance to express such confidence in America” in his speech in Berlin last month.

“He was the picture of confidence, but in some ways the confidence itself and confidence in one's country are not the same,” McCain told a gathering of the American Legion in Phoenix.

“And in that speech, Senator Obama left an important point unclear. He suggested that the end of the Cold War proved that there was, "no challenge too great for a world that stands as one... The Cold War ended not because the world stood ‘as one,’ but because the great democracies came together, bound together by sustained and decisive American leadership.”

The Obama campaign, which has accused McCain of impugning the Illinois senator’s patriotism, responded quickly.

"The 'confusion' here is between John McCain rhetoric that no one's love of country should be questioned and the reality of his campaign's daily, false, personal and detestable attacks on Senator Obama,” said Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan.

They also pointed to passages of the Germany speech that included praise for America. "I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived - at great cost and great sacrifice - to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world,” he said then.

“What has always united us - what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores - is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please."

Obama also criticized European anti-Americanism, telling the crowd that “just as American bases built in the last century still help to defend the security of this continent, so does our country still sacrifice greatly for freedom around the globe.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. john c

    It took John McCain a month to come back with this weak retort?

    Also Obama gets it, we must allow other nations the feeling of empowerment that we are working together as one, and not merely as american puppets. Only then can we truly neutralise countries such as russia, china etc. There is no with us or against in the post-iraq world.

    McCain your views are outmoded in our inter-connected world. Go sign up for broadband asap!

    August 26, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  2. Edgar - Orlando

    Michele claimed to love this great nation now its your turn, the Clintons don't have to pander to Obama or its supporter so she can have a political career. The party bosses picked Obama now he has to show this nation that he loves this country. To this date I have not heard him declared his love to this country. I've only heard say how this nation provides opportunity to a skinny black kid.

    I love this great nation and would die for this great nation whether I am Republican or Democrat. PUMA!

    Can any of the Obama supporters claim their love for this nation online?

    August 26, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. Obama/Biden Change you Can Believe IN..

    A POW experience 41 YEARS ago........IN the 20th century DOES NOT qualify you to be Commander -in -Chief in the 21st centruy..

    John you do more the fill the American dream..


    Yes YOU DID...!!

    August 26, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  4. Michael

    McCain is exactly correct. The entire world did not stand as one in the cold war as Obama stated in his speech. American lead a group of nations, a group that did not represent the whole world. Obama did not give America it's due credit for it part as the leader, and gave the impression the WHOLE world was united in the effort. This is not a shot at Obama's patriotism. It is a critisim of Obama's belief that the whole world must agree on a course of action when confronting nations that pose a threat to the free world. Nations that know in their hearts that something must be done and have the power to do so must act, even if there are some countries in the world that do not agree. This is a statement that Obama is too weak to serve as the leader of the most powerful nation of the free world. Under Obama, America would abdicate it's role as the leader of the free world.

    August 26, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  5. Matt B

    What does patriotism matter if one doesn't have a JOB as a consequence of the Bush recession ?

    August 26, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  6. Sandy

    Obama/Biden '08/'12

    No more Bush, No McCain, NO MORE CLINTONS

    August 26, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  7. Scott L

    Where is George Obama? Isn't he muslim? Oh yeah, forgot, his big brother Barack left him in a shack in Kenya (according to CNN anyway).

    Can someone verify this?

    August 26, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  8. JOSH


    August 26, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  9. J.C.

    I don't think this has anything to do with patriotism.
    McCain was referring to President Reagan, while Obama wanted to be friendly to NATO.

    August 26, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  10. David Peter

    McCain was born in Panama and signed his name in blood to the communists, denouncing America as a POW.

    Obama is the bigger, better patriot. God Bless America

    August 26, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. California Gold

    McCain signed confessions for the North Vietnamese, gave US military flight info to the North Vietnamese which resulted in the enemy moving artillary and shooting down US planes and killing US servicemen, which acts are firmly "aiding and abetting the enemy" which are acts of treason.

    Obama has never committed acts of treason.

    And McCain has the temerity to question anyone's patriotism? Outrageous! What a POS.

    August 26, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  12. WeBoDave

    The Cold War was also won because of internal pressures in the Soviet Union and its Soviet bloc neighbors. I know US citizens want to take all of the credit but Boris Yeltsin, Lech Walesa and individual citizens like them deserve much of it.

    August 26, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  13. John in Binghamton NY

    Scott, you clearly have a problem with muslims so why would you care?

    America has no place for narrow minded Bigot Rush puppets like you.

    August 26, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  14. Mary...Ga

    Obama has very good speech writers. The question comes to our
    mind......How can speech writers help IF he should become
    President???.....Just an empty suit.......

    August 26, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  15. What?

    QUESTION...........Just for the exercise, would a man of genuine substance abandon the wife who raised his kids, suffered a terrible accident, and then marry money for power. If the partisans can answer yes, what can one then say about substance.

    A vote for John McCain is a vote against the fundamental principle of America, the right of the individual to lead their life privately without the government interfering. McCain has sold his soul for the candidacy.


    August 26, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  16. Becky

    McCain throws out the POW card whenever he is asked about anything that is TRUE, but feels free to say he doesn't question Obama's patriotism while doing exactly that.

    He has nothing postive about himself. I would have voted for him in 2000; now not at all. It is sad and I also fear he is suffering from early onset dimentia. That is not a jab–it is a real fear.

    War is all he knows. Negative attacks are all he does. I am troubled.

    August 26, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  17. LINDA

    Well then Mary what do you think about McCain who do you think has been writeing all of his crazy speeches and commericals do you really think his mind works that away .HUH i think not go to youtube and see all of his huge mistakes Sen.Obama is just not as NASTY as McCain is see when you really mean what you say you don`t have to be but when you are a lier and have to go and get Carl Rove people then you do what you know what you do best and play dirty pool and lead this country right to hell yet again.
    Hey have a great day Ok..

    August 26, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  18. Scott L

    @John –

    You are missing the point...why is Obama hiding him in Kenya? He is his HALF BLOOD BROTHER. I could care less about his religion, I want to know why he won't help him out? The guy lives on $1 a day and in a shack... and is training to be a mechanic....according to CNN. If Barack Hussein Obama can't help out his own brother, what makes you think he can help Americans? If I had a half brother and visited him and saw him living in conditions like that, there is NO WAY I would not help him out. He has no other family there, no ties, no wife, no nothing. Take him out of there. Even George's neighbors complained that Barack has done nothing for him. Give me a break....check CNN article posted last week if you care to investigate further.

    August 26, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  19. t- NC

    McCain in 08 enough said

    August 26, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  20. marieoj

    Obama cant even make a speech that's why he beg Hilary to make a speech for him. Other words he help her pay off her debt and she just making a speech in return

    August 26, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  21. Reality


    August 26, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  22. stone

    What did Obama contribute to U.S? Did he enlist army? Did he donate
    something for poor people? He hates rich people, but he still buy expensive house. He still hope to get the rich live. Too shame Obama!

    August 26, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  23. Kelly

    Thank you Hillary for delivering an awesome speech! People fell in love with a person and forgot the reason why she was running. Obama, will be a great leader if he is given a chance. It is NOT about race, or what his name is or where he is from, it is about unity in this country and making our economy better for every person living here!!!! REMEMBER THAT. Things will not change in this country until someone stands up for a change. I am proud of my democratic leaders! They are different people with similar dreams and that is all that matters. I am sick of the negativity displayed in this country against each other.

    August 26, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  24. 'Bama for Obama

    McCain is an idiot. Why does ANYONE even listen to this old fool. And you know what everyone says... "there's no fool like an old fool"

    'tis true.

    August 26, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  25. jackie d

    Hillary Clinton speech was wonderful tonight but unfortunately she is not the one running for president. I think she would have made a great president,but not this time, maybe in 4 years. But for now Borak Obama is running. And I am sure there were several supporters of Hillary at the convention but why did you choose to interview only one who felt so strongly about Hillary ? And no-one else because that wouln't be news would it? Go CNN

    August 26, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
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