October 25th, 2008
07:51 PM ET
10 years ago

'Finish the race before starting the victory lap,' McCain says

Sen. McCain warned Sen. Obama not to get too far ahead of himself during a campaign event Saturday.

Sen. McCain warned Sen. Obama not to get too far ahead of himself during a campaign event Saturday.

(CNN) - Senator John McCain attacked Sen. Barack Obama for having his inaugural address ready to go and said that Obama’s presidential preparations will be proven premature at a rally in Mesilla, Arizona on Saturday.

“We just learned from a newspaper today that Senator Obama’s inaugural address is already written.”

“You know? I’m not making it up. I’m not making it up. I’m not making it up. An awful lot of voters are still undecided, but he’s decided for them that well, why wait? It’s time to move forward with his first inaugural address,” McCain said.

“My friends, when I pull this thing, I have a request for my opponent. I want him to save that manuscript of his inaugural address, and donate it to the Smithsonian. And they can put it right next to the Chicago paper that said Dewey Defeats Truman,” he said in reference to the 1948 Chicago Tribune headline incorrectly proclaiming Dewey the winner of that presidential election.

“There’s 10 days left in this election, maybe Barack Obama will have his first state of the union address ready before you head to the polls. You know, I guess I’m just a little old fashioned about these things. I prefer to let the voters weigh in before presuming the outcome. What America needs now is someone who will finish the race before starting the victory lap.”

McCain was referring to a New York Times article published Saturday that said John Podesta (who leads Senator Obama's transition team) "has been mapping out the transition so systematically that he has already written a draft Inaugural Address for Mr. Obama, which he published this summer in a book called ‘The Power of Progress’.”

Minutes after the Republican presidential candidate finished his speech, an Obama aide clarified that the address was in a book John Podesta wrote before Obama was the nominee and was written for a generic Democratic president.

In another response, Obama-Biden spokesman Bill Burton denied McCain's claim and linked him to a very unpopular Republican president.

“While this charge is completely false and there is no draft of an inaugural address for Senator Obama, the last thing we need is a candidate like John McCain who just plans on re-reading George Bush’s,” Burton said.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (521 Responses)
  1. Mark of Tenn

    What an article. I guess I can add my two sense in this because I kind of see things a little bit differently than some of the comments mentioned.
    Let's see if I can put it into prespective for ya. John is down.........Correct.
    Sarah is now going solo and acting like she is running for president........Correct.
    Obama is up in the polls..............Correct.
    10 days left and it's all over..........Correct.
    The country has really seen the real RNC party.............Correct.
    Obama is focousing on winning and the Rep party is mad..............Correct.
    More battle ground state are leaning more to Obama...........Correct
    More attacks of the the Obama campaign from the Rep.........Correct
    John knows he is losing and made a misstake with Sarah...........Correct
    Obama is not falling into the McCain tactics................Correct
    So now Johnny is upset because he really don't know what else to do now. I think he's about to introduce his Bin Laudeen video now, I mean thats what they did in the last election.

    "Won't work this time"

    October 25, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Brenda

    McCain has officially fallen off his rocker...how stupid does he think we are? Erratic is an understatement to describe him at this point. I too had respect for him but the way he has run this campaign has permanently tarnished his image.

    October 25, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Lady_Di

    Go McCain!!!! And take Palin with you!!!!!!! (Away that is!!)

    October 25, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. Biff


    OBAMA / BIDEN, BABY !!!!!


    October 25, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  5. John

    There is nothing wrong with being prepared, especialy
    with the odds so much in our favor. I'm sure rove had Bushes speech written before hand also, and they already had the lawyers hired and payed for already too. never know when your going to need them as you GOPers full well know...

    October 25, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. Jack M.

    McCain should say the same to his running mate...

    Seems like Palin is gearing up for her 2012 laps.
    With Joe the Plumber in tow?! Watch out Todd!

    October 25, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |

    SoooJohn where you relly a pow??????o

    October 25, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  8. gl, Pittsburgh

    Why do McCain spend all his time talking about Obama and never what he is going to do for the County if McCain become the President. I guest he dont' get it that's why is number are slipping. If he would put as much engery that he put in to tear Obama down, maybe he could have win this race. He is just to negative and crazy.

    October 25, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Rodger

    Mesilla is in New Mexico, the 47th state...not in Arizona – our neighbor to the west!

    October 25, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  10. Kim for OBAMA

    Okay, enough is enough. It is time for McCain to bow out gracefully in efforts to preserve some respect for hisself. It is time to say farewell and try to get things back on a more positive path so both parties can work together for the good of our nation. For a 72 year old man I think he gave a good shot but it is time to let it go.

    Obama/Biden 2008!

    October 25, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  11. gl, Pittsburgh

    Please 10 days hurry up! I am so tried of all the Republicans nut job.

    October 25, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  12. Pepou

    This is complete BS and shows how utterly desperate poor old McCain is., He should finish the race with dignity, not by making a fool of himself.

    October 25, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  13. james in s.c.

    folks, got more great news about palin....more corruption!!! this time its oil pipeline to nowhere. check it out on huffingtonpost.com

    GO OBAMA-BIDEN 08 & 12

    October 25, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. Charlie Bradley

    OMG.....OH MY GOD I think I have fround the smoking gun on this McCain Fella. According to several sources he was born in PANAMA....NOT THE US....OMG and there has been question as to WHERE OBAMA was born when he was BORN IN HAWAII???? PLEASE POST THIS CNN...Please POST THIS

    October 25, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. I voted for "That One"

    All I have to say is that everytime Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin open their mouths, another lie comes out. I really wish they would utilize fact check before just spouting off nonsense. These two are truly pathetic. So glad I voted early.

    Obama/Biden!! The only smart choice

    October 25, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  16. Andrew

    Polly, planning ahead isn't arrogance, its just being smart. I wouldn't be surprised if Obama also had a concession speech written up (although I doubt he'll need to use it at this point).

    This attack from McCain is just laughable – claiming that he has run his campaign with dignity couldn't be further from the truth.

    October 25, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  17. MsRotten

    >Polly October 25th, 2008 8:17 pm ET

    The problem here is that Barack believes that he and his supporters can "play this game anyway they want to." There's way too much arrogance going on. I appreciate Senator McCain for his dignity and ability to play fair. Luckily, God is still bigger than him and things will work out eventually.<

    You obviously do not know the difference between CONFIDENCE and arrogance!! If President Obama were, indeed, arrogant...he'd be sitting at home right now, convinced he and Vice President Biden had it in the bag.

    You McShame/McLipstick followers need to get over it and stop the whinning!

    October 25, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  18. Adriana

    Hey John! I think it's time you wrote your own "epitaph"!!! Sounds like you might be a little "jealous" of Senator Obama! Well, like ALL races, you both started on the same line, and OBAMA will beat you, and I mean really beat you to the finish line! Perhaps you can talk the Smithsonian Institute into taking a pair of those expensive shoes you wore during the campaign! Maybe they'll take one of those thousand dollar outfits of your VP, Sara Palin too! I'm sure they could find a place for them to be displayed! And while your at it, maybe you could donate one of your 7 houses to charity! You'll never miss it!! You have TONS of cash, while MILLIONS OF AMERICANS have LOST their 401K's, their life savings, their homes, their cars, and even their health, Since you were joined at the hip with George Bush, 90% of the time, you somehow were asleep at the switch and didn't realize your fellow Americans were losing their shirts! I guess you were only concerned about your own shirt, right?

    October 25, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  19. Perla

    Sen. McCain,
    Honestly, stop being such a WHINER. You and Barbie can't seem to do anything but b!tch and moan and LIE. You might be able to salvage some sort of a political life after this disastrous botch of a campaign, if you could at least lose with some grace.

    October 25, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  20. Dee

    Polly, you are right. God is bigger but he is not under the monopoly of the GOP. Barack Obama will be president because God has seen our plight and has heard our prayers for change. So all you haters keep hating and watch as Sen. Obama becomes POTUS

    October 25, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  21. palinIdiot

    Mccain is done and he knows it. Time to retire Mr. Mccain you are way over due for your retirment, it is showing every time you speak you are unstable and forgetful. America can not afford to have a senior citizen for president.

    October 25, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. Monica

    Hey John… it’s called being “proactive” instead of “reactive”. If your campaign was proactive and actually had a plan for America you wouldn’t have react with so many negative ads.

    "That One" gets my vote!

    October 25, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |

    I appreciate Senator McCain for his dignity and ability to play fair.

    hahahahahahahahahah...................Polly DON'T you mean whiner with no DIGNITY?????

    October 25, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  24. Glenn in California

    McLame is now a tired old man. I actually feel sorry for him now. I can't wait until November 5th, when he finally gets a chance to retire and live out his life on his ranch. R.I.P.

    October 25, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  25. foreigner in the US

    Exactly Tristan!! Oscar nominees ALL write their acceptance speeches in PREPARATION! McCain is sounding like he does not like to prepare for anything.

    October 25, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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