October 11th, 2008
08:44 AM ET
3 weeks ago

McCain to crowd: 'Don't be scared' of Obama presidency

McCain called for the crowd to cool its rhetoric Friday.
McCain called for the crowd to cool its rhetoric Friday.

LAKEVILLE, Minnesota (CNN) – John McCain heard boos at a town hall meeting Friday night after the Republican presidential nominee called for the crowd to be more respectful towards rival Barack Obama.

“We would like you to remain a true American hero,” an elderly military veteran told him. “We want you to fight.”

“I will fight, but we will be respectful,” McCain said. “I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments and I will respect him.”

When the crowd began to boo, McCain told them “No, no. I want everyone to be respectful.”

Watch: McCain tries to calm the crowd

Along with the veteran, four others pleaded with McCain to put up more of a fight against Obama.

One woman who said she had a lot of undecided neighbors said she wanted McCain to “go to the mattresses” on in his third and final debate with Obama on Wednesday.

While McCain said “I got my marching orders” from the supporters, he still seemed to resist their red-meat rhetoric.

One man said he was scared of an Obama presidency.

“My wife and I are expecting our first child, in April 2nd, next year,” the man said. “And frankly, we're scared. We're scared of an Obama presidency.”

McCain told the man he should not fear Obama.

“I want to be president of the United States, and I don't want Obama to be,” he said. “But I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared as President of the United States.”

McCain's response was met with more boos from the crowd.

A McCain campaign senior adviser later denied that there was a change of tone at Friday night's town hall.

“I believe someone called (Obama) an Arab Muslim, which is factually incorrect, and he corrected that person,” said Mark Salter. “We’re going to campaign hard against this guy. I don’t think he pulled any punches on any issues.”

Since last weekend, when Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin first accused Barack Obama of "palling around with a terrorist" - a reference to 1960s radical William Ayers - rowdy crowds have called Obama a liar, terrorist and worse.

Asked about these outbursts, campaign manager Rick Davis said that he didn’t know who those people were, and if they were there as supporters or to disrupt the rallies. He said while people are “incredibly frustrated” that he is “very confident that it has nothing to do with what our candidates are saying or doing on the stump because I think that if you compared the rhetoric of Barack Obama on a daily basis with the rhetoric of John McCain and Sarah Palin, you’ll find that our rhetoric pales in comparison to what Barack Obama says about John McCain every day.”

And while McCain may be trying to tamp down the rhetoric on Obama, he may be walking a fine line, careful to not extinguish the enthusiasm he needs to win.

"Now, I don't mean that has to reduce your ferocity, but that just means it's got to be respectful. Ok?” he told the crowd Friday.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain • Minnesota
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. TL

    I guess now that McCain has had his town hall meeting he remembered his pledge to run an honorabable campaign. Maybe he can send the memo to Palin as well.

    October 11, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. Kathy

    He is trying to do the right thing, its way to late and too little with his lil chickie out there inciting near riots. But it does lead one to believe that although John McCain may have gotten caught up in all the "Negative Campaigning and Smear Tactics" the Honorable Man is still in there somewhere.

    Palin on the other hand needs to just go away. Sorry McCain can't vote for you with her on the ticket.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 11, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. former republican for OBAMA

    Too little too late!! No respect left for this man.

    October 11, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. What the &@%#?

    McCrazy and his dirty campaign brought this on themselves. Now McCrazy has to defend Obama against the untrue and bigoted claims made by his own campaign. This also proves that he is winning the idiotic rednecks who don't know what they're talking about vote.

    October 11, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. AMERICA THE BEAUTYFUL 08

    Why are some white Americans afraid of Obama? Come on, we are in the year 2008, the 21st century started long time ago and you guys are still stuck in the 19th century. Our country has made great progress; we are no longer a nation that supports slavery. Although, some of you folks would like things back the way they were back in the "good old" south. Please, Get out of your bubble and explore the beauty of our Country. All you need to fear is fear itself.

    October 11, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. Sharon - NC

    Now get rid of your television ads that say the same thing that you and Sarah Palin have been saying which have brought out the crazies and caused these frightening comments.

    October 11, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. Richie

    I think McCain wants to be able to continue to be a force in the Senate and that won't be possible if he doesn't personally act responsibly. His campaign still thinks they can win with this garbage. McCain knows he has lost.

    October 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. Sharon - NC

    And of course these people are planted. He knew who he was handing the microphone to.

    October 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Naseem

    It seems that Mcain/Palin Campaign is giving a nasty message on Senator Obama "palling with terrorists", and people are pushed to say what they are saying – 'liar, terrorist". A terrorist Senator in White House! Ridiculous!. The campaign is getting dirty, and this is not adding any good image of either America or Americans, and ought to stop before it further impinges on the country's global credebility.

    October 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Bitter American Dem

    It's nice to see McCain finally take the high-road. But with so much nasty trail behind him, "sorry" ain't gonna get him into that White House.

    Fortunately we are at a point in our political journey where we Proud Americans can actually make the liars suffer the consequences of their abuse-of-power antics without having to suffer by them for years on end.

    October 11, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. A ROSE FROM IOWA

    This is where the right goes so wrong...With all the McPain ticket and their misleading lies and false smears about Obama we can see that this craziness is really Republican-made to create fear that isn't naturally there in reality. Look at the fact checks about these lies and you'll see!!! McPain keep these misleading lies alive and going because that's all they have. Every day McPain say the same list of misleading and false things about Obama.
    Breeding ignorance CANNOT be the Christian thing to do. This indicates a complete loss of integrity.

    October 11, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Mike from FL

    Its about time he cleaned up his act, but he has burned his bridges and can't have it both ways. John McCain has run a lousy Presidential campaign and now he is showing how erratic and inconsistent it has been. He has been showing how unstable he has been and that makes him look unpresidential. We need someone who can keep himself together during tough times, and McCain has failed in that aspect.

    October 11, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Imo K Imo

    A pathetic old man who seems to have everything except the one thing he has dreamed about, the Presidency. Poor McCain

    October 11, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. PJ

    I am very thankful that Sen McCain took a stand and corrected the crowde however he and Gov Palin have opened an ugly can of worms that is going to take more than him saying Sen Obama is a decent man. In his desire to win at any cost, he has turned this country upside down. It is bad enough we have to be concerned about the economy and just surviving in this country, we can't even trust that the people who are running for our highest position have this countries best interest at heart. I have no doubt that Sen Obama is a good man and loves this country with all his heart and I also believe that Sen McCain also loves this country. I am not so sure about Gov Palin. I still have serious concerns over Sen McCains frame of mind to allow Gov Palin to talk the way she does in the first place. She is turning the clock backwards. We don't need that is addition to the economy problems we have right now. We need peace, hope and answers.

    October 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. ak

    both parties have their "fans"..
    which ones are saying kill him..talk about bombing..terrorist..spewing hate..etc
    are you proud of your party?
    ..what we have seen in the past week is that these supporters of McCain/Palin exhibit terrorist tendencies.. ie terrorists and hate mongers support the McCain/Palin campaign..

    October 11, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Awesomeguy

    Whitney Houston is already set to sing at Obama's Inauguration!!!!!
    WELCOME PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!

    October 11, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Independent for Obama

    McCain's attack ads against Obama are being made as we speak...this dude is the biggest hypocrite in the history of hypocrites

    October 11, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. DEX

    It is so obvious that McCain's campiagn has gotton away from him. His staff is in total control of his message and the remaining honor he has. It looks like he is realizing this and trying to preserve any repect for his character he once had. John you are 72 years old do you really want America to remember you like this? Because if you continue in this manner none of the good you have done over your lifetime will be remembered. Your legacy is being crushed by the one YOU entrusted to help you become President!

    and guess what if elected he would not be in control of anything just like Bush.

    October 11, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. liz, from MO

    Sounds like a gimmick; fuel the fire and then pretend to put it out! This McCain campaign cannot be trusted anymore!

    October 11, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Joe, Florida

    I'm not voting for McCain because of the issues, but I respect him for what he said to his own supporters.

    It's about the issues, the rest are distractions.

    October 11, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. Oopsie

    I am an Obama supporter. However I have to say ,Mc Cain's song change supprised me. Thanx Mc Cain for trying to be respectful in your so messy campaing. Even when you got booed by your own people you insisted to make your point of respectfulness. I sulute you!
    Obama 08

    October 11, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Army Wife

    OMG... the republican town hall meetings have become a "FREAKSHOW" how sad,!!!

    Obama/ Biden 08.

    October 11, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Tim

    It is a little late McCain in the past I thought of him as a honourable man but his campaign has turned so negative. It is one thing to bend the truth cause that is what polictians do and that has been ongoing on both sides. However he has been bending the truth so much I don't think there has been any piece of it left. While he has been doing this he has been playing on the countries fears and bringing out the worst in people.
    If he wanted to run a decent and honourable campaign he certainly didn't do a good job of it. Obama isn't innocent in the bending of truth by any means however he isn't the one who has been pumping up the bigots and the ignorant. If Mr McCain wanted to win this election he should have focused on the issues that is what most people want. If so he could have made this much more competitive than what it appears this will turn out to be.

    October 11, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. kravitz

    McCain in the same speech, later turned back to that dude in Illinois who came from a very wealthy Chicago family.

    Or as Education Week REPORTED (that verb that has been so hard to use this election year)

    “You can’t work in school reform in this community without coming across Bill Ayers. He’s been involved in every area of Chicago reform going back 20 years now,” said Michael Klonsky, who has known Mr. Ayers since their days in the leftist group Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s. Mr. Klonsky later founded the Small Schools Workshop at the University of Illinois at Chicago with him.

    “Senator Obama would have to be a magician to not have ran into, or met, or sat in a meeting with Bill Ayers,” Mr. Klonsky said.

    "that's the difference between reporting and publishing" Michael Getler, PBS

    October 11, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Erick

    Well, MCcain Campaign is the most desperate campaign ever.. I feel bad for him, he has made very bad decisions, he wants to be president doesn't matter how... is like he has sold his soul, I mean, All the respect that he has won in 26 years or so... now in the toilet... What a way to make history....

    Mr. MCCAIN, you can make history without being president.. Is your campaign is your name!!! The people working for you won't be affected as bad as you will with the dirty and low work...

    Loose or Win with dignity!!!

    Obama, could have play low, but he didn't, and that is why Obama is 7.7 points ahead!!! He is focusing on the job...

    Obama Character is off topic, is wasn't point out by a party commision, he was elected as a candidate for presidency by more than 17 million americans, they have check is character!!! So i think is reliability is yesterday's news...he ahs been vetted and accepted, MOVE ON TO THE ISSUES!!!

    October 11, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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