October 14th, 2008
12:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Ayers will come up at debate, McCain says

 McCain plans to criticize Obama's ties to Ayers at Wednesday night's debate.
McCain plans to criticize Obama's ties to Ayers at Wednesday night's debate.

(CNN) – John McCain and Sarah Palin appear to have dropped the subject of Barack Obama's connection to 1960's radical Bill Ayers from the campaign trail, but the Arizona senator said in an interview that aired Tuesday he'll likely bring it up at the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night.

The comments, during an interview with St. Louis radio station KMOX, come after Obama and Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden were sharply critical of McCain for targeting the Illinois senator over Ayers at campaign rallies, but not when the two last met for a presidential debate.

"I was astonished to hear him say that he was surprised I 'didn’t have the guts' to do that, because the fact is the question didn't come up in that fashion," McCain said of the last debate. "I think he's probably ensured it will come up this time."

McCain and Palin stepped up their criticism of Obama's past relationship with Ayers last week, as the GOP ticket's poll numbers continued to slide in the homestretch to Election Day. The campaign also released a string of ads that questioned Obama's truthfulness on the matter, in an effort to raise doubts about the Illinois senator's political origins and character. But the subject of Ayers was noticeably absent from both McCain and Palin's stump speeches Sunday and Monday, leading many political observers to conclude the campaign had deemed that line of attack ineffective.

Watch: Palin Renews Obama Attack

In the radio interview, McCain made clear he still thinks it's an issue.

"It’s not that I give a damn about some old washed up terrorist and his terrorist wife, who in 2001 said they wish they'd bombed more - what I care about, and what the American people care about, is whether he's being truthful," McCain told the St. Louis radio station.

soundoff (246 Responses)
  1. Collin Kelley

    McCain continues to dig his own grave with the Ayers connection. No one is buying the "palling around with terrorists" line anymore. It's the economy, stupid.

    October 14, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. Unshrub

    Bring it up old man. No one cares about it except a couple of stressed out republicans.

    October 14, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Val

    Bring on Mccain! Obama is ready for you and your B.S. Obama is will tear you down and spit you out. Obama will expose even more that you are pathic and weak..

    October 14, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. bill

    I wonder if McCain will look him in the eye when he "brings it up". He is acting cowardly and running scared in the final weeks. He needs to address the issues of the failing economy. We've heard enough about each candidates pasts. Let's move forward and deal with the issues~

    October 14, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. JM Speak with Forked Tongue

    Thanks for telegraphing that punch John ... we'll be ready.

    You know, you once said you'd never tell your enemy what you were going to do ... in the process, you criticized Senator Obama for that even though that isn't what he was doing with regards to Pakistan.

    Your flip flops, hipocracy, double-speak, doesn't have any bounds ... does it?

    October 14, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. RIGHT WAY FOR AMERICA

    iTS SAD AFTER WHAT NEGATIVITY DID TO YOU JONNY YOU STILL WANA FINISH UP THE REMAINING INTEGRITY U HAVE LEFT WITH AMERICAN.

    October 14, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. irony

    mcaain is erratic. palin is a liar.

    October 14, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Bea

    I am sure it will John McCain..I am just glad that you finally thought about seniors considering the fact that Obama proposed eliminating income tax for seniors way before you thought about them...so anyway about Ayers, i hope you will also mention the Republicans and Independents who worked with Ayers along with Obama in that Charity board. This was after Ayers changed his ways...let's see if you are man enough to mention that!!!

    October 14, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Fred (I)

    I have a white flag for you McCain if you need it.

    October 14, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Jeff Brown

    Keep chasing your tail John.

    October 14, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Mike in Columbus

    I couldn't agree more!!! BRING IT UP, I DARE YOU mccain!

    October 14, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Frank in NE

    That's fine John...Let's also talk about Keating 5, TrooperGate, your leaving your wife while she was recovering from a major car accident for a trust fund heiress, your VP's husband wanting Alaska to secede from the US...Bring it on McSame and Caribou Barbie...You're just digging your own political grave...

    Could you try posting my comments for once CNN?

    October 14, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Spencer/Commonwealth of Virginia

    Sen. John McCain's wife and father-in-law continued a lucrative business partnership with disgraced financier Charles H. Keating Jr. for 11 years after the GOP presidential nominee said he ended his close friendship with Keating in March 1987.

    Cindy McCain's business partnership with Keating in a real-estate development between 1986 and 1998 netted her a tidy profit, in addition to years of significant tax benefits. Her father, who died in 2000, earned similar returns.

    October 14, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. cg

    Hope this old goat and that moose don't fall to hard.
    I glad to see the people in this country, can see through the both of them. McCain make this your last time running. I am sick of you.
    Please that wife of yours, she needs your attention from what I see from being in the public. Just knowing that I don't have to look at you two aliens for four years, brings music to my ears!

    October 14, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. Kerri

    And I look forward to Obama ripping you apart on the issue.

    October 14, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Meoq

    This is a total non-issue. It has nothing to do with anyone or the problems we're facing! And for the stupid media (CNN included) to keep referring to Ayres and keep giving McCain free ad time by showing blurbs of that inane commercial, is pitiful. Have you seen any POSITIVE ads from McCain? About him or Palin? I haven't!

    I don't know how anyone can call the media "liberal". They have ignored crucial facts of Palin's life and they give McCain every break imagineable.

    October 14, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. RIGHT WAY FOR AMERICA

    iTS SAD AFTER WHAT NEGATIVITY DID TO YOU JONNY YOU STILL WANA FINISH UP THE REMAINING INTEGRITY U HAVE LEFT WITH AMERICAN.

    October 14, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. ket

    McCain and his choice of Palin is dispicable. Palin has no morals she would say anything her campaign tells her to say she does not have the guts to say no even when it is clear that her words are not true how can the media sit by and let her smear a sitting senator telling people he hangs out with terrorist the media has a obligation to educate and not just standby.

    October 14, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. ap

    I guess McCain and Sarah's sheet wearing tactics aren't working out so well...

    October 14, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. H-Town

    Washed-out McSame.

    October 14, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. Jay

    I would comments on this, but why bother??? but I will say this... While you are at it Senator McCain, please bring up how your VP pick was found to have abused her powers in firing Public Safety Chief and how you were linked to the Iran-Contra Affair

    October 14, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. hooverguide

    What the McCain campaign fails to grasp is that we, the people, actually believe in second chances at becoming upstanding citizens and this topic is not of interest to us. We have so many important unsolved issues – where is your plan to solve them?

    October 14, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. cg

    Hope this old goat and that moose don't fall to hard.
    I glad to see the people in this country, can see through the both of them. McCain make this your last time running. I am sick of you.
    Please that wife of yours, she needs your attention from what I see from being in the public. Just knowing that I don't have to look at you two aliens for four years, brings music to my ears!

    October 14, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    The Bill Ayers issue is "saturated," and Americans are more interested in the economical yardstick of the nation. Ayers is old business, and to be honest, if McCain decides to continue, it will not have an impact on Obama's campaign. You cannot do damage to another without doing damage to yourself.....and McCain's closet is surely not void of political skeletons.

    October 14, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Rodger

    The only question I have for this election...will Obama break the 400 electorial vote barrier? If he wins in Montana, Georgia and North Dekota he will!

    October 14, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10