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. Tom

    I have the deepest respect for adult but Sen. mc cain has proved me wrong, how could he have chosen that no knowledge lady as his running mate, she just destroy everything he has work for

    October 25, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  2. capitalist

    cnn...why aren't you covering the story about the obama campaign refusing future interviews with a local tv station in florida after one of their anchors asked joe biden some tough questions (something the rest of the media won't do)?...why can't the obama ticket answer tough questions? more importantly, why isn't the media asking them?

    October 25, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  3. Nathan

    Shouldn't McCain be in the Smithsonian?

    October 25, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  4. Denise Groves

    Mccain should also have his done.Obama is not doing anything that is not called for. Bush signed an executive order for his Cabinet to begin working with the new POTUS and his Cabinet. Both men should be doing this. You do not wait until the last minute.
    That is what is wrong with the McCain campaign. They are all tactics. never prepared for anything.

    October 25, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  5. Reason


    1. Obama is NOT MUSLIM. He is Christian. Stop believing the rumors. The Republicans want to foul us like they did 4 years before.
    2. Obama was born in Hawaii. Again the republicans are trying to trick us again. Don't fall for it!!! We don't need Bush III.
    3. Sarah Palin is a joke. Enough said.

    Obama 2008

    October 25, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  6. Peter of Oregon

    McCain's sounding like an angry old man, sort of like his brother Joe McCain.

    October 25, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  7. Jojo Jones

    I just want to give a shout out to all you elderly white voters. John McCain is not George Bush. He offers much more when it comes to caring about our country! Do not listen to the media. They are corrupt. John McCain will do what is right for America! Please vote for John McCain! Do the right thing!

    October 25, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  8. Bigbubba

    McCains attack ads are backfiring on him. His ill-advised Vice-Presidetial choice is going rouge on him according to his own aides. And now he is trying to distance himself from the President he was trying to ally himself with in the Primaries. I'm not sure it would be in Obama's intrest to listen to anything McCain has to say.

    That being said, John McCain may have just given Obama the only words of wisdom spoken by McCain in the whole race. Never stop running, they might be gaining.

    October 25, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  9. Common Sense '08

    Advise to the Senator Obama Campaign...not that they need it!

    "Never murder your opponent when he (McCain) is committing [political] suicide." W. Churchill

    October 25, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  10. xargaw

    Obama has been warning supporters everyday to not get complacent, to work extra hard and to take nothing for granted. That's the opposite of what McCain is claiming. Watching McCain campaign you can see how strained he is. On the other hand, Obama looks like he is having the time of his life. Obama is so much better equipped, it couldn't be more obvious. It is a leader of a lifetime.

    October 25, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. j

    Everyone's been so interested in Obama's birth certificate that I decided to check out McCain's. McCain wasn't born in the United States. He was born in Panama.

    October 25, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  12. Richard

    You know who's going to win this election? McCAIN, McCAIN, McCAIN. No way in hell should democrats run this country, they will just bring weakness and uncertainty. The great people of the United States do not deserve a patsy in the White House, which Obama is. There is no substance in that eloquent rhetoric, it is full of crap.


    October 25, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  13. hmm...

    seriously.. what bill burton said made me laugh out loud

    October 25, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  14. CMG

    John, the party is over. Your choice of Palen took you down. I guess the white house is not on your list of residences. Two nasty people on one ticket is not the recipe for victory.

    October 25, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  15. jl2008

    I'll be voting for Obama early this Monday in Texas. I'm so excited! This will be the first time I vote Democrat but I'm confident with my decision. GO OBAMA/BIDEN!

    October 25, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  16. Moe, NY

    Go Obama.....we are all with you!

    October 25, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  17. Raoul

    McCain can't even take care of his own campaign let alone be truthful or accurate. Palin is running loose and apparently "off the reservation". Holy cow.

    Obama supporters- keep the pedal down until November 5th!

    October 25, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  18. Democratic or Republican- Black or White

    This election should not be the platform for holding a rally for Black Americans,
    Mr Rolland Martin a CNN Contributer, a Black American Democratic supporter, and a Black American Activist, continues to promote rascism among White Americans wjo differ from his own personal views.
    Heaven for bid if you disagree with him, you are automatically labelled as a rasict.
    Mr. Martin you are not Martin Luther King.
    Stop pormoting hatred with your one sided views.
    Is Obama White or black.

    October 25, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  19. Rhonda

    I think it is important to be prepared wether you win or lose. A speach should be written in advance since waiting you may find that you wont have the time to do it at the last minute. That is smart thinking. McCain just likes to attack and we don't need that right now with the economy the way it is. If he wants to win he has to think about the American people instead not wanting a man like(that one) Obama to beat him.

    October 25, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  20. Edwina

    If McCain had done what the 'less experienced' Obama did and started the process of vetting VP candidates more than an hour before the beginning of his convention, he would not be looking at Sarah Palin all crazy on National television. He might even be planning his own inagraual address. Instead, he is still poking at windmills. If he truly thinks that, in the bottom of the 9th, he can pull this one out, he needs to stop pointing fingers at Barack Obama. It's unbecoming for someone of his skill level and much more fitting of his running mate who seems unable to enter into a real conversation centered around issues. John McCain needs to talk common sense about the economy, the war and the state of this nation. Unfortunately, I am beginning to think he is just as deficient in this area as the good Governor.

    October 25, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  21. MC

    You can't even get your own running mate to cooperate with you. HA! Good luck with getting the entire country to follow you!

    OBAMA 08

    October 25, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  22. VETS4Obama

    McBush it is time to save what little is left of your honor and STOP the all out lies and negative attacks! You were poorly mishandled by your advisors yet you let it happen! You also let people influence your decision on a V.P. and you erroneously selected a smart mouthed, dim witted piece of eye candy!!!

    October 25, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  23. SW,OHIO

    Just lies, more and more lies. Sounds like a typical Republican!

    October 25, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  24. Charlie Bradley

    I know this particular ticker entry may not be the right place to post this, but since there is not currently another one open for comments I feel that I should post it here.

    I've heard countless people in my city, who are not as open minded as myself, say "yeah them black folk are going to be voting for him just because he's black" .

    First off, he's not black. He's bi-racial. Secondly, the racial intent of such comments is grossly invalid because I have done my research into the African American population in the United States and the polls currently show Senator Obama ahead in MANY states which have very little, some almost next to no, African American population.

    October 25, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  25. Rogue Palin

    HA HA HA this is so funny, McCain is distancing himself from his own achille's heel, Palin piggy lipstick!

    October 25, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
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