November 10th, 2007
03:42 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain's mom takes on Romney's Mormonism

Sen. McCain and his mother, Roberta, prepare for their interview with Chris Matthews from a New Hampshire hotel room.

(CNN) - The mother of Sen. John McCain criticized the religion of one of her son’s competitors for the Republican presidential nomination Friday night.

When asked about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s experience by Hardball host Chris Matthews, Roberta McCain, who’s campaigning in New Hampshire with her son at the age of 95, said "as far as the Salt Lake City thing, he's a Mormon and the Mormons of Salt Lake City had caused that scandal. And to clean that up, it's not a subject."

Romney was selected to head up the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games after a bribery scandal tarnished the Games.

Sen. McCain, who was seated next to her, raised his eyebrows and flashed a polite grin during her comments.

"The views of my mother are not necessarily the views of mine," McCain chimed in.

“Well, that’s my view. You asked me,” Mrs. McCain followed.

After a commercial break, Sen. McCain further tried to distance himself from his mother’s comments.

“Could I just reemphasize one point? I think Mormons are great people. I think it should in no way be a factor in consideration or lack of consideration for Governor Romney,” he said. “I think it should never be a consideration and I know he will be judged on his record. He’s a fine and decent man and a family man.”

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Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. John P NYC

    Older people speak their mind with no reservations. Think about the views your parents have, now think about your own views. Are they identical? No, of course not. Many older people hold biggotted views, they don't not necessarily reflect the views of their children.

    This shouldn't affect how voters see John McCain. His mother's views are just that, his mother's views. Personally I won't be supporting John McCain because of what he believes not what his mother believes.

    November 10, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Jackson

    Blaming Romney's Mormon faith for the Salt Lake Games scandal is like blaming all Southern Baptists and Christians for lynching african americans. What a stupid and erroneous thing to say.

    November 10, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Pete-NYC

    She is great-I love her. I think she is helping him a lot. Very strong and honest woman-you got my respect! She should run for President.

    November 10, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Jackson, Portland Oregon

    Blaming Romney's Mormon faith for the Salt Lake Games scandal is like blaming all Southern Baptists and Christians for lynching african americans. What a stupid and erroneous thing to say.

    November 10, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Natasha, Atlanta, Georgia

    Having your mother speak up for you on national TV? Just like a parent interceding on the playground. And at 71 years old? Simply embarrassing.

    November 10, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. Lisa anywhere usa

    Nice to know that I as a Mormon try to tolerant and respectful of many different ways of life even if I dont believe as another may believe, or even respect it. Mormons have paid taxes, faught in wars, and defended our way of life both here in the US and in the OTHER countries Mormons reside. My Mother is also a bit old fashioned and slightly prejudice but I never passively let my Mother publicly slam another persons religion or race. I just really get tired of people thinking its completely OKAY to say such rubbish and then because its them mormons we dont get offended. I do get offended! Thanks alot for feeding ignorant presumptions and little gathered facts. I was born and raised a MORMON outside of the state of Utah. And my HUSBAND also a MORMON isnt even from the US. Last time I checked MS Mc Cain SLC and Utah is AMERICAN. Lost my respect.

    November 10, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. David, Clayton MO

    She and her son are both ridiculous...

    November 10, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. WER, Elk River, MN

    I have to shake my head at those who want to look past Mitt Romney’s religious beliefs as it relates to a Presidential election.

    In the case of Mitt Romney, it's impossible to separate the man from his core beliefs. And those same core beliefs will shape his political decisions in the future.

    For those who think Mormonism is just a different type of Christian religion, think again! Mormonism is a cult which defies the imagination.

    They believe in "eternal progression" where they start out as mortal men and become a god just like Jesus Christ, who is still progressing himself.

    After death, if a man they married a Mormon woman in one of the Mormon temples of the world, they get to rule their own planet, populated by endless celestial sex.

    They don't believe in hell but three levels of heaven. In fact, everyone is going to heaven. The Holy Bible is just a history book and not to be taken too seriously.

    Mormonism sounds more like "science fiction" than religion. No bigotry here, just someone who has looked into Mormonism in detail.

    November 10, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Dave, Oklahoma

    This reminds me of principal skinner and his mom hahahaha Why do we care about john mccain's mother??

    November 10, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. Doris Ethier, Sudbury, Ont. Canada

    Mrs. McCain calls them as she sees them. How refreshing not to hear politically correct answers. Thank you Mrs McCain for your honesty.

    November 10, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Warren Matthews Westminster, MD

    Too bad Ms. McCain isn't running for office. She has what America needs; unvarnished honesty, confidence to stand and speak without having to "suck up." America needs to elect politically incorrect Politicians to clean up the mess we are in today.

    Reelection should not be a thought until you've done something reelectable.

    November 10, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Christianazi, MN

    McCain is having her 95 year old mother do the dirty talk. This is a show that McCain is putting on for the religious half wits.

    November 10, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Al, Downey, Ca.

    It is interestin to note that when we as an uneducated public, choose to say or make comments in relation to ideas or themes that we have no knowledge about, we actually look or imitate a horses ass! I have not decide on whom to vote for, but one of the issues I will not focus on is that candidates religous preference or their gender.

    Lets vote for the best candidate, who is going to lead our nation and bring it back to respectability, that it deserves. Being Mormon or Jewish or Christian should not matter, alot of people said things about a Catholic president, yet many older americans believe that he was a good president before he was assasinated!

    Besides the Mormons I have met for the most part have been family oriented people, I have not met too many bad mormons. Give Romney a chance, you never know he might end up being a very good president if elected, can he do any worse than the so called Christians that are running the show now! You decide that answer for yourself.

    November 10, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. Ryan, Oakland, CA

    WER in Elk River,

    Actually, what you're expressing IS bigotry, because you're just stating beliefs that are different from your own and expecting everyone to be shocked and appalled, not because the beliefs are violent or hateful, but simply because they're different.

    And for the record we don't believe the bible is "just a history book", we accept it as scripture and read the King James version in church without modification. But we aren't bible literalists, like many evangelicals, and we do believe its important to understand the bible in its historical context.

    Also, we definitely don't believe Christ is "still progressing" as you say. We believe he is God and is perfect in every way.

    And we do believe in hell. I don't know where you heard that we didn't. We just don't think many people will end up there. We believe most people will inherit some degree of glory. But there will definitely be some people in hell.

    You are correct in stating that we do believe in eternal progression and in man's ability to become like God, just like many of the early Christian sects did, and just like many world religions do today. Of course we don't describe it in the crude and bizarre way that you did.

    So out of four statements about Mormon belief, you got three pretty much entirely wrong and one mostly correct. That's better than most of the other people posting on these boards who claim to have "looked into Mormonism in detail".

    As far as this story goes, I think its actually pretty funny. I wish I had seen the interview live. I'm not a Romney fan because I'm a liberal democrat but I'm glad that McCain, and the general public, are realizing that Romney's faith shouldn't be a factor in determining whether he's fit for the office of president.

    November 10, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. jb seattle, wa

    This was an important interview for an important job. Obviously he knew what his mother would say if asked, having grown up with her, and how biased she was and yet he still chose to have her on with him to say those things. And when she said them, he had to "clean up" after her and then he had to distance himself from her opinions. That was a stupid thing to do. So who is he going to chose to be on the cabinet with him or on the Supreme Court or as an ambassador if he gets that important job? Someone else to clean up after?

    November 10, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Alberta

    McCain's mom makes Hillary look like a loving mother and wife! Yeeeshhhh.... I thought Halloween was already over!

    November 10, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Mac Reynolds, Los Angeles, CA

    Hey WER from Elk River,

    For someone who supposedly has "looked into the details of Mormonism," you seem pretty ignorant.

    (a) Mormonism is not a cult, it is a Christian religion with over 11 million members. Don't flatter yourself by presuming you are the only "true Christian." Your actions alone didn't ring very Christian to me.

    (b) You distorted (and outright lied in some places) about Mormonism's views on Eternal Progression. Mormons believe that they are children of God (See Romans 8:16-17). As such, and as the Bible bible teaches time and time again, our life here on earth is for us to learn to become more like our Father in Heaven by emulating his son and our exemplar, Jesus Christ. Christ also atoned for our sins, making it possible for us to become perfected through him.

    (c) I'm not even going to stoop to address your false and crude "celestial sex" comment.

    (d) Mormons do believe in Hell. That is just a plain lie. The only truth to your comment was that we don't believe that all those who go to heaven will be at the same stage of progression in their growth (do you really believe that those who don't try and live Christ-like lives here are either in Hell or receive the same reward as everyone else??). See 1 Corinthians 15:39-42 if you need help understanding this one.

    (e) Mormons don't take the Bible seriously??? It's just a history book?? Offensive, and another lie. Mormons actually believe in the Bible, above the creeds that corrupt kings and paid pastors have created hundreds of years AFTER its creation.

    Your talk of "science fiction" only insinuates that it is you who doesn't truly believe in the Bible. If you do, perhaps you should start living its precepts and spend your time a little better than trying to spread false rumors about religions you clearly know nothing about.

    November 10, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Julie, Seattle, WA

    Pixie- Did I read you correctly? Are you indicating that you discriminate against people of many years? Isn't that contrary to your comments? You should show some respect for people with opinions different from your own. The comments made by Mrs. McCain were fair and in her opinion. Senator McCain clarified his personal view later, without disrespecting his mother in any way. What a fine man he is, what a wonderful son SHE raised. You could learn from her.

    November 10, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. L. Wood -- NY, NY

    I'm voting for Senator McCain's MOTHER. She is the first honest person I've listened to! While I may not agree with some of her comments, you at least know where you stand with her - she's genuine. What a breath of fresh air!!!!

    November 10, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. Billy - Ogden, Utah

    First of all, this woman is clearly a bigoted old coot. Imagine for a moment what this country would be like if we were led by a whole slew of these types. Hey wait a minute... maybe we are. Second, I am a Latter-day Saint from the Salt Lake City area and I had nothing to do with the 2002 Olympics "scandal" at all. Neither did my family nor anyone in my wife's family, all of them active LDS. Third, I am not so much upset by the elderly mummy's comments (more amused) as I am the "yeah, you tell it like it is – good for you" comments from the peanut gallery of the ignorant and equally uninformed. Speaking your mind is only admirable when it comes from a place of knowledge and wisdom. Just spouting off some half-witted, incoherent drivel is no more admirable than it would be for me to make comments about Jews and money or African-Americans and gangs in Los Angeles. Those types of comments would stop a political campaign dead in its tracks and you know it. Ridiculous and unfounded comments have no place in our society nor in a political discourse. Kudos to Romney for his excellent work with the 2002 Olympics. Give credit where credit is due. The truth is, I don't plan to vote for Romney because I don't necessarily agree with his political views. Wow... imagine that, a Utah Mormon -not- planning to vote for the only Mormon currently running for president. You would think all of us involved in this "cult" would be brainwashed and forced to vote for him, right? Give me a break and grow up.

    November 10, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Samuel, Lincoln, NE

    Mrs. McCain is straightforward and honest, she won't backpedal on her views. This is what 95 years of life will teach you. Very admirable.

    Posted By Keri Alaska, Tucson, AZ : November 9, 2007 10:17 pm

    What's admirable about intolerance and bigotry, Keri? McCain's mother doesn't get a free pass because of her age. Considering that her son John once referred to people like this as "agents of intolerance", at least we can thank God that he did not inherit this despicable point of view from her.

    November 10, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Tony R. Roseville Ca.

    Good for Her not afraid to tell the truth

    November 10, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. Hales, West Lafayette, IN

    McCain's a decent fellow, it was good of him to stand up for not bashing someone on their religion

    November 10, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Jessie Phoenix AZ

    My grandmother just turned 97 in October and a devout Catholic and she doesn't talk nonsense like this woman does. Ms McCain is just plain ignorant.

    November 10, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. QueenBee

    I see two interesting observations:

    1)McCain slandered oriental folks by calling them "Gooks" on a bus. He is obviously a ignorant bigot. Apple didn't fall too far from the tree. He didn't learn his lesson the first time he got caught saying something inappropriate and stupid. He is stereotyping then and now (and yes, I do think his mothers comments should be attributed to him since he obviously knew what his mother thought about Mitt/Mormans before the interview and still allowed her to be part of the interview).

    2) In response to WER's comments. You state that one should look at Mitt and Mormanism together since it is part of his core beliefs. That is fine. Just curious if you held the same standard to Bill Clinton when he was in the White House. It seems as if we got the idea pounded into our brains that one can separate their personal life and professional life. Nice double standard that America has for its people.

    McCain has shown his true colors. He didn't slip up when he made reference to 'Gooks' years ago – he was just being himself. A ignorant bigot. McCain just lost my consideration for president. Keep it up buddy – Mitt just might steal some of your votes if you can offend a few more people with your bigoted views.

    November 10, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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