October 25th, 2008
07:51 PM ET
5 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. concerned

    i am very concerned that there are problems with the voting in the battleground states. what is going to be done about this problem if anything. how come these problems are always in the urban areas? please have someone in authority investigate this mockery of our voting system. 2000 & 2004 again.

    October 25, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. Janice

    IF Mr. Podesta wrote an inaugural address for Obama. Then he has ONE cnn. Why do you people keep on doing this crap. He either does have the thing or he doesn't . WHich one is it. Jerks.

    October 25, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. Independent voice

    He handed the election over to Obama when he went for Palin!

    Obama is not so stupid as McCain thinks, the memories of New Hampshire are well entrenched in his memory. And what diabolical trick will McCain pull off at the last minute – Obama team knows it well!

    October 25, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  4. BK

    Isn't that what politicians are supposed to do? I mean, have things prepared for any outcome. If they are smart then they will both have both a victory and defeat speech ready for election night, the very same way they print up both victory shirts before a sporting event but then can only sell one or the other.

    October 25, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  5. Kim

    “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.

    Ahahahahahaha! Too funny!

    October 25, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  6. What?

    Polly, did you actually use McCain and dignity and the ability to play fair in the same sentence?

    Where have you been...frozen?

    October 25, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. georgia for Obama

    McCain would possibly do better if he put as much energy into how he would address the issues of this country as he does in coming up with new lies & smoke screens against his opponent.
    Even Palin is fed up with him !

    October 25, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  8. Kelley

    Can someone shut this loud mouthed loser up?

    October 25, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Sally, San Antonio, TX

    This is typical for McCain. Take an innocuous event, twist it, make it sound like something it isn't, and then act as if the opponent has done something reprehensible. Where is the ethical McCain? I haven't seen him.

    October 25, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  10. Charlie Bradley

    Griff...

    If I were you I wouldn't be voting for McCain....He is planning on CUTTING healthcare funding...when it is PAINFULLY clear that your mental health is lets just say less than stellar.

    October 25, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  11. j

    I don't think anyone is starting a victory lap. Obama is campaigning just as hard as ever. He knows he's got to keep the momemtum going and get people out to vote. I hope every Obama supporter in every state will show up and vote. Make sure Obama wins on Nov. 4. Then the celebrations can begin. The Bush era will be over.

    October 25, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  12. True Republican

    I am so disgusted with my Republican Party leadership. We've handed the election to Obama on a silver platter. Anyone who bothers to vote for that rotten neo-con/poor excuse for a Republican (and that blithering idiot he chose to be his VP) – is a moron. I now say "Vote For Obama" and let the chips fall where they may. We'll see what happens in four years. And I say this now to all Republicans – The Revolt is Coming and We Are Going To Take Our Party Back From The Neo-Cons!

    October 25, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. Ork

    Come to think of it.. McCain has been laser focused on Obama.. and Obama has been laser focused on the Economy and Heathcare.. I wonder why McCain is not winning?

    October 25, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  14. Polly

    Thank you John McCain for putting your country first and for protecting our freedom.

    October 25, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  15. Barbara from Canada

    The speech has been explained as a non-issue. Obama could probably wing a great one impromtu, in any event. If he's prepared for the eventuality of winning, that shows someone who is forward looking. Not likely to be used, there is probably is a concession speech at the ready also.. McCain is looking more and more like the confused old grandfather that his running mate steered by the elbow after the convention. John says "I've been tested". – for what? – senility? dementia? delusions? or Alzheimer's? Time for meds and Nitey Nite John

    October 25, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. v.ananthan

    IT¨S so pathetic that OBAMA needs BUSH so badly that in every speech he has to connect McCain to BUSH and to tell the voters how bad last 8 years were….
    Bush has nothing to do with 9/11 but he has prevented new terrorist actions in american soil…and people should give Bush credit for that..

    October 25, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. Peachbird

    No problem.... the only people listening are the Republican base.... they will believe anything they are told.... obviously, or they would not be so impressed with the drivel that falls from McSame and McBarbie's lips.....

    October 25, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  18. Griff learn to spell

    Geeze man.. you are spelling AMERICA wrong! All your hate must be clouding your brain.. Obama is hardly Hitler.. and you sir need to read some History..sad really but it figures..

    October 25, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  19. Matthew

    October surprise is going to be Palin dropping off the ticket and McCain picking a way more qualified candidate to be his VP. It's the only way he has a chance and it sounds like it's coming from all the stories about Palin and the McCain aides not seeing eye to eye.

    October 25, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  20. John, Tampa, FL

    All those people that are calling McCain a losser have you voted? Have you taken a firend to vote? Has your friend taken a friend to vote for Obama?

    If NO- Then stop saying McCain can loss. McCain Can and will win if we don't back up Obama. We have given him our money, our ideas, our stories, but most important our support......WE MUST END THIS WITH CLOSING THE DEAL;OUR VOTES.

    WE CAN NOT BE AT EASE UNTIL OBAMA IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

    Obama/Biden 2008 Change and Experience WE NEED TODAY.

    October 25, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Jay N.H.

    This post has been totally debunked by Poltico. This is just another failed tactic for a candidate who is out of ideas and running out of time.

    October 25, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. bill for barack

    What is McCain's problem anyway ?
    This is just prudent planning.
    I'm sure that the McCain campaign already has his concession speech written.

    October 25, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. Robe

    It is a shame that all Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin can do is attack Sen. Obama. They do not have a plan themselves, so their plan is to attack Sen. Obama's plan.

    So, if they are unfortunate enough to win the election, I guess they would have to contact Sen. Obama to see if he has a plan they can attack.

    We have suffered through 8 years of having a unintelligent president, we can not afford another unintelligent president and vice president. We all know that education and learning was not important to either of them. They are definitely showing it on the campaign trail.

    Sen. Obama and Joe Biden has two masters degrees and two law degrees between them. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have two undergraduates degrees between them. My husband and myself have two masters between us. We are more educated than Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin.

    Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are not well educated and they are two arrogant to seek counsel from people that are knowledgeable. The country and the world is in bad shape, we can not afford to have the uneducated back in office again.
    .

    October 25, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  24. AM in VA

    I saw McCain on TV the other day saying "don't worry about John McCain, I'll still be a Senator representing the great people of Arizona". His top campaign aides are looking for work.

    Sounds like he's conceded already.

    Obama '08

    October 25, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Daryl in Seattle

    And where is Senator McCain getting this info? Even if it's true, It's no different from how before a Superbowl game, both teams already have championship hats and t-shirts ready to go. It just shows that Obama is prepared for anything and confidence isn't such a bad thing. I'm willing to bet that the reason McCain doesn't have one ready, is because he knows he's about to lose! Just like the reason Palin finally testified in the troopergate probe is because she's getting ready to go back to being Governor of Alaska and has to think about her standing there when this is over. Because believe me folks...IT'S OVER.

    Obama-Biden 08

    October 25, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
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