October 14th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
10 years ago

Biden disappointed McCain will raise Ayers in debate

Sen. Biden said Tuesday that he is disappointed with some of the tactics planned by his longtime friend Sen. John McCain.

Sen. Biden said Tuesday that he is disappointed with some of the tactics planned by his longtime friend Sen. John McCain.

LISBON, Ohio (CNN) – Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday afternoon he is disappointed John McCain is planning to bring up Barack Obama's acquaintance with 1960s radical Bill Ayers at Wednesday night’s debate, but said all Obama has to do to win is repeat his last two performances.

“I think what the debate has shown, the last two debates, is a guy who's confident and steady, and a guy who's not quite sure of where he wants to take the country,” said Biden, waiting for a cheeseburger and shake at Lisbon’s Steel Trolley Diner. “I think all Barack's got to do is repeat the performance he's had the last two times out. I feel good about it, I have total confidence in him.”

Asked how he feels about news that McCain said Ayers will come up, Biden seemed to hope his old friend the Arizona senator would change his mind.

“I'm disappointed, but we'll see. Let's see what, what he does.”

In every campaign speech, Biden makes sure to tell supporters that he and McCain have been friends for decades, and just disagree on policy. He likes to tell a story from the 2000 campaign when McCain and his family were being personally attacked by supporters of then-Texas Gov. George Bush, Biden called McCain and offered to hit the trail to vouch for his character.

So why doesn’t he call McCain now about the character attacks the Arizona senator is launching against Obama?

“I know John knows my views. I know he knows my views. I expressed them in a – in a slightly different way earlier,” said Biden after explaining he tried to call McCain around 9/11.

“I was proud that John decided to take on some of that attitude that was expressed at his, one of his campaign rallies. And I hope he keeps it up,” Biden said, but added he thinks McCain’s ads featuring Ayers are over the top.

“I think the average person looks out there and sees this guy who they say is a known terrorist, and I think they – the vast majority of the American people associate terrorism with, you know, radical Islamic groups and al Qaeda. I just think it's – I think it's over the top.”

Biden has done a number of national and local interviews since being tapped as Obama’s running mate, but his staff has kept him sequestered from the reporters that travel on his campaign plane. The impromptu Q&A in Lisbon was the first time Biden has spoken to the press traveling with his campaign in over five weeks.

soundoff (283 Responses)
  1. FAYE, NV

    Obama will handle with whatever McCain throws at him. No one wants to hear old news that is meanless.

    McCain and Palin has incited such hatred and bitterness that it useless to expect a lot from them. McCain is willing to dishonor, has dishonored what services he has given.

    October 14, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. pawstiv1

    I hope he does....that will give Obama the opportunity to put it to rest....Ayers is a college professor now, no longer an activist....how would McCain like it if he was judged on his behavior while at the military academy? McCain better think twice before he opens up a can of worms he doesn't want opened. But he's not smart enough to not go there....it will be fun to watch.

    October 14, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. emily

    dear john mccain,

    the horse is dead. you probably shouldn't keep beating the hell out of it. just a thought.

    October 14, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. NJ

    Obama's character flaws should be brought up. ACORN is another one he can't hide from. The Demwitts call McCain/Palin all kinds of names, but they sure can't take it. Obama is scaring everyone with the race issue,.
    Too much dirty laundry going on with Obama
    Whatever happens, they're should be a recount........

    October 14, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. Adriana Birmingham, AL

    I think it will be great if he raises Ayers, everyone will see how much of a non-issue it really is and how desperate and petty McCain is for bringing it up. It will also give an opening to bring up McCain's links to Iran-Contra in the 80s as well as Palins link to an Alaskan separatist movement. Talk about the hate America Club, one of the separatist leaders hated America so much he insisted on being buried in Canada. If that's how Paliin and her husband see America then they don't share by values.

    October 14, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. Darryl

    Gov. Sarah Palin says, "She have nothing to lose".

    Now, is that why she is not taking care of her National Guard Units she deploy from Alaska?

    All leader take care of there troops except President Bush and Gov. Palin....

    October 14, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. Katran Miller

    McCain uses a noun and a verb to describe himself: "maverick," which means loose cannon, and "fight." He wants to fight lots of wars, he fights with Congress and the president, he fights with opponents, he fights with the media, he fights his own constituents: heck, he fights ACORN, which he himself supported and gave speeches for, until he figured out that registering lots of voters might backfire!
    I prefer two words which characterize Obama's campaign (no, not "change," since McCain borrowed that buzzword from him): "hope" and "understand."

    October 14, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. Sherly

    Why you can't print what the viewers say about McCain/Palin. They say nasty things about Obama so why not give it back. McCain/Palin is a big fat liar team. CNN print if you may. I think John McCain will be surprise if Ayers confront him about smearing his name.

    October 14, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. Lady4Obama

    On Wednesday night, Obama will rise to the occasion of the subject of Ayers and finally lay it to rest right back in the lap of McCain and his camp. Then McCain will have absolutely nothing else to throw at him. Obama tops McCain with his plans on the economy and even in foreign policy, which was suppose to be the great Senator's super-strength. It's over, McCain! It's over, Ok?

    October 14, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Kathy in CT

    McCain has his own skeleton, although CNN isn't covering it so far.
    (let's see if this gets posted - every time I criticize CNN in a post it mysteriously vanishes)

    Just posted elsewhere - the head of McCain's transition team was one of Saddam Hussein's lobbyists.

    SO let's discuss that, too.

    October 14, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Hurricane

    Does McGeezer realize that there are many competitive Senate and House races? The republicans are on the verge of becoming totally irrelevant if they lose many more seats. The republicans may become a fringe party leaving a void to be filled by a more moderate group of sane people.

    This guy has gotten bad advice from day #1. The American people DO NOT CARE ABOUT AYERS! If McShame brings up Ayers, Obama counters with his economic proposal to get the country back on its feet.

    Game over.

    October 14, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  12. Nija

    The election is over for McCain. I am glad that McCain has really shown the American people the kind of man he is. He was an officer but not a GENTLEMAN.

    October 14, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. Bring it on!

    McCain has lost the last 2 debates and he will lose this one as well. He has nothing new to say.
    I hope he does bring up the Ayers and Rev. Wright stuff so Barack can clear this us once and for all! Maybe then McCain and Palin can talk about the issues, if they even know what they really are!

    Yesterday Obama introduced his Economic Strategic Plan = the Dow SHOOTS UP 937 points

    Today McCain introduces his Economic Plan = the Dow DROPS DOWN 200+ points so far!!



    October 14, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. Jerry Ohio

    I see what McCain is really about he not for the American People he for hisself and rich people who cares about Aiyers I am worrying if i am going to have job for the holiday that what McCain and Obama need to talk about ....McCain and Palin are jokes

    Obama/Biden 08/12

    October 14, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. Important_issue

    Obama does not have a chance, standing one on one with McCain, on experience, qualification, government achievements and records. Obama can only rely on the economic problems to distract us voters from other equally important issues such as foreign policy, national security, character and his questionable past history, with ties to radical and liberal people like Bill Ayers and Louis Farrakhan, who calls him the "Messiah," and ACORN organization. Why, and who is Louis Farrakhan? Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton knew all better than that, during the primary season, when they themselves tried to win the presidential nomination.

    October 14, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. mume

    obama all da way,debate or no debate

    October 14, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Darren

    What about the endorsement McCain proudly accepted yesterday from the couple who gave Ayers $51 million?

    October 14, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. No Hillary = No Obama

    All's fair in love and war, buddy. The wah, wah Democrats

    October 14, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. anne

    McCain is a coward. No matter what he does, if he brings up Ayers or he doesn't he will always be a coward. Him and Palin are a disgrace to America.

    Obama/Biden 08!!! Everyone make sure to vote!

    October 14, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. cmars

    It's one thing to talk about this stuff in your rallies and ads, when you have nothing else, but to waste valuable debate time? Not the mark of a great leader.

    Also a very foolish thing to do considering not only his Keating 5 issues, his ties to many racist congressmen, the recent findings that Palin broke an ethics law (yet she somehow claims the report exonerated her? I bet she drank the WMD kool-aid too)... it's obvious who the real anti-Americans are... the ones who are determined to keep America in the Dark Ages, and an enemy of every other country in the world. Now THAT'S patriotism, McPalin style!

    October 14, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Frank

    Disappointment indicates that you expected better, Joe.

    Given McCain's disgraceful performance to date, I don't see how you could have.

    October 14, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. California Gold

    Obama simply has to keep on doing what he's been doing with his campaign for the last 18+ months. He knows the issues. He is well versed on matters of finance, foreign policy, military, and domestic issues. He can field questions and mentally shift gears with ease. He is youthful, clear minded, intelligent and always approaches issues with a large dose of common sense.

    McCain struggles to keep on point. He can't enumerate core issues. He offers no detail to his solutions. The broad brush strokes he wipes multi-faceted issues with is alarming. "I'm for health care" isn't enough. Not 21 days before election day. Clearly he lacks depth.

    October 14, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Tracey

    I thought that McCain was on top on his game? Ayers is not going to help up get jobs, or send our children to college. Talk about the issues. If he doesn't, I bet his poll numbers are going to go even further down because people don't want to hear that nonsense.. It's about jobs, baby, jobs! Besides, evil never prevails!

    October 14, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Tom

    I'm pretty sure Obama will have an answer prepared for this question, especially now that it has been announced. So, at this point to ask Obama about it is a waste of our time. McCain, you wanna waste our time? I guess we'll find out tomorrow night.

    October 14, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  25. Robert Wooller Bradford England

    McCain just doesn't have any ideas left. All he can do is bring things up when he has no proof. What about finding answers to the economy? What about answers to why millions are without healthcare, why poverty is on the rise, why people are losing their homes and their jobs?

    October 14, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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