March 25th, 2010
08:20 PM ET
4 years ago

McCain calls for civility in health care debate

John McCain spoke out Thursday against reported incidents of harassment and threats.
John McCain spoke out Thursday against reported incidents of harassment and threats.

Washington (CNN) – Sen. John McCain called for a more civilized political discourse on Thursday after members of Congress who voted for health care reform reported incidents of harassment and threats of violence.

"There is a lot of anger and passion out there," McCain said on CNN's "John King USA." "Let's change that into a spirited and healthy respectful campaign season between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. Let's really go at it, but let's do it with respect, that's the key to it."

McCain noted that he has held thousands of town hall meetings during his long political career. "The only thing I ask people to do is be respectful," he said.

The Arizona Senator wasn't so optimistic about the future of bipartisanship among legislators in Washington. The prospects for immigration reform or financial regulatory reform appear dim, he said, because Democrats have failed to reach across the aisle since President Obama took office.

"The problem is, in all due respect to bipartisanship, there has been none," he told King. "They have taken their 60 votes, when they had 60, and their majority in the House and they rammed thing through. Any semblance of bipartisanship was not used by the majority. I understand that, but that's not change in Washington, that's change for the worse."


Filed under: 2010 • Arizona • Health care • John McCain
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Susan L.

    Wow. Another non-apology apology. Another blaming the victim call for "civility". You Republicans just can't take responsibility for anything. It's always the Democrats. What a bunch of WATB.

    March 25, 2010 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  2. Patrick

    Listening to this man speak this morning, this afternoon, and this evening; one cannot help but thank God that this man is not the President of the United States of America.

    March 25, 2010 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  3. lovable liberal

    This tantrum-throwing 2-year-old has the nerve to lecture Democrats on bipartisanship. Despite all the Republican ideas included in this bill, the Republicans decided they could break Pres. Obama by unanimously voting against it. Wrong!

    March 25, 2010 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  4. in AK

    mccain is absolutely right

    March 25, 2010 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  5. Tracy

    He's one to talk about civility – NOT!

    March 25, 2010 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  6. MR AMERICA, average American

    It's not Obama's fault the pig-headed GOP won't vote for something that will actually help people.

    The GOP won't even try to repeal it...they will just point fingers and say how bad the Dems are, yet never do anything themselves.

    If congress turns over to a GOP majority, and if a new GOP pres is elected in 2012, the bill still won't get repealed.

    GOP=party of won't do anything, even if it's part of their own platform.

    March 25, 2010 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  7. Perusing-through

    There are very few Republican members in the Senate that HATE President Barack Obama more than John McCain.

    John McCain is a nasty, erratic old man that detests President Obama, and he has a personal vendetta against the President.

    March 25, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. Ed

    I can't wait to hear McCain and all his cohorts scream when they get unanimously stonewalled by the Dems while trying to pass a bill. The GOP is currently the blocking party.

    March 25, 2010 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. Michele

    Where has McCain been. All the Democrats have DONE for the past 18 months is reach across the aisle, only to have their hands slapped. And isn't this the guy who said yesterday that he would not work on anything now? Plus he's palling around with domestic terrorist wannabe Sarah. The reason the bill is full of garbage was to appease YOU, John. Just go retire. You are lost.

    March 25, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. me

    Once again...the reason he is not president....he knows what he says is wrong...no matter how often democrats reach across party lines the republicans will say no. They have shown that time and time again. They are offering no solutions, they are just afraid that the presidents plan will work. And it will.

    March 25, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  11. Pete

    I may disagree with John McCain on most issues, but he is a good, honorable man. I still vividly remember Sarah Palin would stop and smirk when people yelled "lynch him!" about Obama, playing along with that hateful venomous rabble, but McCain never failed to stop and chastise them.

    I really hope honorable politicians like John McCain can regain control of that party and stop the unelected Neocon cabal from spreading FUD and dictating to the elected puppets what they will vote on everything. I just don't see that happening any time soon.

    March 25, 2010 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  12. L for Legend

    First you sic the dogs on folk and them you try to call them off when it's too late. Secondly, the hand of bipartisanship was extended to you repugs and you bit it off. All of you will go down in November.

    March 25, 2010 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  13. IVOTE

    Liar. Liar, Liar...The GOP made a pack with the devil and now they can't escape the party of NO.

    March 25, 2010 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  14. Congrats!

    Congrats to our president for getting the health care bill passed.

    I SUPPORT YOU MR.PRESIDENT!!

    March 25, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. normajean

    I'ts really sad. John McCain was a politician with a somewhat genial. .respectful way about him and I always liked him but as time has moved on he has become deceitful and blind to the actions of people around him as if they didn't exist.Wake up John and realize that your party did not ever intend to work with the Democrats. They were determined from the start to sink our new president, they even said so quite publically. We the voters are not all uneducated fools who listen to every ding dongs opinions. We read, listen and think for ourselves and have come to the conclusion if we want something done, we have to do it ourselves and that is what we are in the progress of doing. Sorry you couldn't have joined us.Goodbye Repubs.

    March 25, 2010 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  16. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    "Democrats have failed to reach across the aisle since President Obama took office."

    Compared to the fine example set by the conservatives in the Bush nightmare years? And if you are being a totally unreasonable, obstructionist bunch of screamers, do you actually expect that the other side will be magnanimous?

    March 25, 2010 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  17. Larry

    As a fellow U. S. Navy veteran of Vietnam, I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in John McCain and how he has handled losing the election and everything since. If he wants a lesson in how to act like a grownup should after a major disappointment, he needs to visit with fellow Navy veteran John Kerry. Now there's a class act, no whining, no moaning. Just rolled up his sleeves and went to work.

    March 25, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  18. mother in Pa

    Yes, Mr McCain, we must be respectful. Unfortunately, no such civility exists among the democrats and it was evident during your campagin. Infact, I never knew a sitting president to hurl barbs publicly at past administration like Obama. No, civility and manners do no exist in that other party. I find it very disheartening.

    March 25, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  19. bennie new york

    I know your old John, but this call for civility is about eight months too late.

    March 25, 2010 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  20. sara

    The big loser who has obstructed and encouraged political discord since losing is now asking for civility, while he campaigns with the "mother" of political discord, "target, RELOAD" Sarah Palin. LOL Get serious Johnny, this is a dangerous game you people are playing!

    March 25, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  21. petena

    Sorry loser. Be a gentleman and accept that Obama won. Why are you stooping so low? You are acting like a two year old. As a military man, you are hsameful in your behavior. Sad, sad, sad. Grow up senator. Please show CIVILITY.

    March 25, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  22. Michael

    Now, Mccain calls for civility, this like Bin Laden calling for a cease fire! Mccain and Palin seen this movie before during the presidential campaign for 2 years! Mccain finally spoke out against the extremist attending a election campaign event after over a year of the extremist rhetoric! This is typical repuglican response, after the heat gets close to them, they will come out of their man caves! All, it took was for Eric Cantor to get shot at for them to say something! THEY STILL HAVE NOT CONDEMED GUNS AT THEIR RALLYS, OR THOSE INCEDIARY SIGNS WHICH STIRRED THIS FERVOR OF EXTREMIST ACTIVITIES! SO, I DO NOT TRUST THEIR SINCERITY OR APOLOGIES BECAUSE TRUTH TO THEM HAS "TWO HEADS" OF HYPOCRISY!

    March 25, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  23. SC-Pub "no" more

    Hey John remember these... "Domestic Terrorist, Communist, Socialist, THAT ONE, Arab, Muslim, or maybe he wasn't born in America?" You should they came from your campaign...
    In case you are so old you have forgotten, just ask old Sarah, she was pretty good at working up the crowd. However, you were not too bad yourself; remember when someone yelled out "kill him (referring to Obama)?"

    March 25, 2010 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  24. Mark

    John, you are such a fake.

    March 25, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  25. HypocriCNN

    Here's Another Idiot Late To Put Out The Fires After They've Already Started. Senator McCain Has The Nerve To Even Be Directing Traffic!

    March 25, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
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