McCain: Gingrich crossed a line
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former presidential nominee Sen. John McCain hold a campaign town hall meeting January 4, 2012 in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
January 5th, 2012
08:53 AM ET
6 years ago

McCain: Gingrich crossed a line

(CNN) – John McCain said his endorsement of Mitt Romney in the presidential race is not a response to Rick Santorum's recent surge in the Republican nomination process.

During an interview Thursday on CNN's "Starting Point," McCain said he "strongly disagreed" with the former Pennsylvania senator's support of earmarks when they served in the Senate together, but added "I still respect him."

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Santorum spoke out publicly against McCain during the last presidential race and they at times had differing opinions as members of the upper chamber in Congress.

The Arizona senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee, who backed his former rival Romney Wednesday, also offered some advice to current contender Newt Gingrich.

He said calling an opponent a liar, as Gingrich did to Romney earlier in the week, crosses a line in politics.

"You need to be careful about being too angry," McCain told CNN's Soledad O'Brien. "The people of New Hampshire want to hear your views and vision for the future rather than attacks on other candidates."

McCain, who won the New Hampshire primary in 2000 and 2008, said he intends to help Team Romney however he can, although he acknowledged endorsements do not hold much weight.

"Endorsements have limited effect," McCain said. "The performance of the candidates is what makes voters decide."

Also see:

DNC highlights old Romney-McCain tension

Gingrich hones message in New Hampshire

Santorum raises more than $1 million in one night

Huntsman to air first TV spot

Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Curt

    Who cares what John McCain thinks? Lets remember his judgement is so good he chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate and to this day won't admit he was wrong.

    January 5, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  2. vosky

    McCain telling people not to be angry? Anybody that tells a lie is a LIAR. If Romney told a lie (he did), then, he is a LIAR! Gingrich has got some cojones!!

    January 5, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    There are times when you have to call a spade a spade.

    I think Gingrich has been the most sincere and upright candidate, in the race, taking heat for views he has, which he knew would be unpopular, because he believed they were right. No other candidate has been willing to do that.

    Perhaps if the Senate operated more on the principle that people should be called out, when they lie, or otherwise attempt to deceive, and manipulate, the Senate might operate a little better, as well. McCain would do well to re-examine his own methods, in dealing with those who want to dictate to the people, in the Senate.

    January 5, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  4. AnonyMouse

    Wasn't it Romney that spent millions of dollars on negative campaigns in Iowa? So is it only the people of New Hampshire that want to 'hear your views and vision for the future rather than attacks on other candidates'? Did Iowa want to hear the negative ads?

    January 5, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. Paul1st

    McCain is revealing politics at its worst. On Santorum, he said in effect, "I think he is a screw up on earmarks but I still respect him." On Romney, he said in effect, "I didn't think he was qualified to be President, but he is a personal friend and I'm not in the race, so now I endorse him." No matter how you slice it, McCain is a master hypocrite.

    January 5, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. Seattle Sue

    And to think it was just 4 years ago that McCain hated Romney. I would think Romney and McCain are both flip-floppers. But McCain is old and delusional.

    January 5, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  7. Brandy

    Mccain stated he ONLY backed Romney because he wants him to beat President Obama. I would think issues should come into play somewhere. So I have a problem with this. This is part of the problem with Washington now. Issues should be an issue and what they believe in not to just beat someone in office

    January 5, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. anagram_kid

    "You need to be careful about being too angry," McCain told CNN's Soledad O'Brien. He then turned, opened a window and shouted at those kids to get off of his lawn.

    January 5, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. Larry in Houston

    WoW !! They used to be rivals in '08' – I think he's doing the right thing (McCain) makes me respect him a little.
    Sounds like he may be the smartest one of the whole bunch. If those other clowns don't get behind someone by the time Florida (voting) comes around, the Repubs will be in Trouble !

    January 5, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  10. Larry L

    I'd expect CHina and India to contribute heavily to Romney's campaign. They owe for all of the jobs he help create in those countries.

    January 5, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Indy

    One of the few times Gingrich told the truth and McCain is all flustered and peeing his pants ? It's Ok for Republicans to spew outright lies about the sitting President but how dare they break the 11th commandment. Republicans entire agenda is about lying to every American everyday.

    January 5, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. Sniffit

    "McCain: Gingrich crossed a line"

    And McPampers jumped straight down the rabbit hole when he foisted Jabberwocky Barbie on us.

    January 5, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. politics as usual

    This is a very destructive tantrum Newt is throwing.

    January 5, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Phil in KC

    I'm glad he specified which line Gingrich crossed that upset him. Newt has crossed so many lines....

    January 5, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    Now that Romney has received the "coveted" McCain endorsement in New Hampshire, Mitt could start proving his leadership skills by getting McCain off the campaign trail (and out of the spotlight he so craves) sooner rather than later. Be careful what you wish for, Mitt. John McCain is one of those wishes which would have been best left on the cutting table.

    January 5, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |