December 15th, 2007
12:52 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain wins military endorsements

McCain is campaigning in South Carolina Saturday.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Republican John McCain has won the backing of over 100 retired admirals and generals, the presidential hopeful announced Saturday at a campaign event in the early-voting state of South Carolina.

Admiral Leighton "Snuffy" Smith, one of five veterans who joined McCain at a morning event in Columbia, said the Arizona senator is the best equipped of the presidential candidates to fight the war on terror.

"This nation is at war and we'd better damn well understand that fact," Smith said. "John McCain understands it, and he is the only candidate that has not wavered one bit in his position regarding the importance of victory in the war against Islamic extremism or in his commitment to the troops who are doing the fighting."

McCain said he was "deeply honored" to have the support of the officers, who have "literally hundreds of years of service" between them collectively.

McCain made the announcement in this crucial campaign state the morning after he pleaded with supporters near Charleston to put signs in their yards and make phone calls on his behalf. He said he felt "invigorated" and promised that "we're going to win this primary."

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows a tight Republican presidential race in the Palmetto State. McCain stands in 5th place with 13 percent of support, while leader Mike Huckabee is at 24 percent. The survey carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

- CNN’s Peter Hamby and Alexander Mooney

Filed under: John McCain • South Carolina
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. mark wilkes barre pa

    congats Mr McCain,, keep up the good work

    December 15, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. Mark G., BBH, ME

    The average GI and his family are putting their money where there mouth is, behind Ron Paul.

    Who cares about a couple pencil pushing political admirals, just as out of touch with the boots on the ground as the folks in Washington are with the average American.

    December 15, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. steve, San Diego, CA

    Well heck Admiral, where were all of you Admirals and Generals when bush decided to only use one third of the forces recommended by the army Chief of Staff when the war started? Then he was "encouraged" to retire. Where was your moral courage to tell bush "no" and fall on your sword if he did not listen? If enough of you Admirals and Genrerals had resigned in protest, maybe this thing could have been avoided entirly, or at least done correctly. 200 years of experience of "dont rock the boat" is what that is.

    December 15, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    This country is at war with itself which is destroying our economy while certain interest groups capitalize. What's going on in our government and the world is far more reached than most citizens realize. Listen well to what this government is not saying, not to what they say. If we as Americans don't make a "change" we will allow government to continue to give us the illusion, while robbing us, that they are working in the best interest of American citizens. The GWB/Karl Rove "underminded" Americans while claiming Karl Rove was the "mastermind". Smith, with respect, we've already heard it.

    December 15, 2007 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. Jim, Columbia, SC

    Ron Paul get most votes from active duty military. Both enlisted and officers. The guys who are dying and risking their lives want Ron Paul. Only the retired Generals who have tons of money and live in their big homes far from gun fire like McCain.

    December 15, 2007 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. Joseph H, Warner Robins, GA

    With 70 percent of the American people against the War in Iraq, does the GOP really think they can win in 2008 with another pro-war candidate? McCain's military endorsements mean squat. Who is getting the majority of the campaign donations from those who classify themselves as military (active-duty and retired)?
    I'll give you a hint...first name is Ron, last name is Paul.
    And watch tomorrow – we're going to smash another campaign fundraising record on December 16th.

    December 15, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. Jose Card

    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." – Theodore Roosevelt.

    Senator McCain is the most qualified commander-in-chief to be.

    December 15, 2007 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  8. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    Kim from Dallas TX,
    So, anyone gaining all the military support is not someone you would want to see in office?
    You don't want a President who has the support of the very military that fights for your freedom? And stands behind and fights for the rights of the Soldiers who fight for the freedom you have?
    You have my sympathy, I guess you call yourself an American also, right?

    December 16, 2007 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  9. Thomas Wells, Laerton MI

    I guess it's easy to win the backing of the past as you can relate to each others arthiritus.

    Curious to see that no one CURRENT has backed him.

    Those admirals and generals should be ashamed of themselves. They have the right to choice, but should ensure they are backing the current military first.

    It'll be interesting to see if this is rigged for McCain.

    December 16, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  10. Dean, Idaho Falls, ID.

    Ron Paul will not win the Republican nomination so can we please stop talking about him? He is a loser and doesn't have a serious chance at winning. Besides, was he ever in the military? Did he ever spend five years at the Hanoi Hilton and get tortured? No. John McCain did and he deserves the military endorsement. Ron Paul sucks.

    December 16, 2007 11:02 am at 11:02 am |

    WOW, after reading all of these comments here, I see that the Ron Paul sympathizers are lacking grammar, punctuation and spelling skills.

    December 16, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. james sparta, mo

    McCain is the only current republican I see who hasn't driven a major wedge between the GOP and the Military which has tradionally been pro Republican until Bush. I think it's his stong stance FOR the Geneva Convention and AGAINST torture and waterboarding that seperate him from other Republicans.

    If we had a McCain/Keyes 00 ticket in 2000 we wouldn't have two lost wars on our hands we'd have one successful one (Afgahnistan), long since finished with our troops home.

    December 16, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Paul, New Orleans, LA

    I served overseas in Iraq as US Marine (military police) and I can tell you with certainty that RON PAUL is getting my vote! He is the only one that understands that you can force your will down people's mouths. Ask Michael Scheuer (head of the former CIA's Bind Laden unit who he supports!!

    December 16, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    To those of you with your rose colored glasses on you need to take them off so you can see the Beruit Marine Barrracks Bombing in 83, Hijackings and kidnappings in the 70's and 80's, USS Cole, Anbar Towers in Saudi Arabia, Embassy Bombings in Africa, London Subway Bombings, Madrid Train Bombings, the recent UN Bombings in Africa, and yes the World Trade Center/Pentagon bombings are all madeup to scare people. If you know that they will not happen to the USA or our allies again, I know of swamp land in Florida to sell you. The Armed Forces can support McCain, because he has been there unlike you armchair wannabes. As a Naval Acadamy Grad., he is taught an honesty and integrity that has been removed by the elitest Ivey League schools these other slick Lawyers/Politians attended. Also the thing this Desert Storm Vet/Retired Navy voter likes about McCain is he wants to win the "WAR ON TERROR"! Maybe if previous Administrations and their Democrat controlled Congress had the will to fight terrorist years ago 9/11 might not have happened.

    December 16, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Jose Card

    "Ron Paul will not win the Republican ... Besides, was he ever in the military?" – Posted By Dean, Idaho Falls, ID

    For your information, Dr. Paul was a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon and an OB-GYN doctor, who delivered more than 4,000 babies. A flight surgeon usually doesn't end up as a POW.

    Both Senator McCain and Congressman Paul are honorable men and dedicated public servants for life. Either one will make a fine president.

    "Congressman Paul graduated from Gettysburg College and the Duke University School of Medicine, before proudly serving as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the 1960s."

    December 17, 2007 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  16. Eric, Daytona Beach Shores, FL

    Dean in Idaho, Mark in Birmingham, You two have much to learn about Foreign Affairs. Dean, Paul was in the Air Force as a flight surgeon. Mark, do some research on American involvement overseas starting with Iran in 1953 and you will realize that the reason for most attacks against us was because of our government messing around in other countries. The ignorance of you two is helping no one. I served in the Air Force from 2000-2004 and was deployed to the middle east, and I am telling you that McCain is a Neo-Con fool. Wake up!

    December 17, 2007 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  17. Paul C, Palmetto Bay, FL

    As a vet with 2 years in Vietnam I tell you it a given that we are in a battle against terrorism. The secret is how you fight the battle. An intelligent general will first study the enemy, determine a strategy and muster support. We seem to just blunder around shooting and bombing totally devoid of the thought process using a mercenary army with borrowed money.

    December 17, 2007 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  18. Former US Army Officer, Kansas

    Terroism has been around for over 2000 years. They were called zelots, and would walk up to a victim, and stab them knowing full well that they were goingto die for their actions. It is not a matter that Democrates or Republicans were in office, nor is it a matter of what actions they took or did not take.

    However, a terrorist act, I am sorry, is not an act of war, it is a crimminal act. This administration, has errored, not by responding to 9-11 but for giving it legitamate status of something other than a crimminal act.

    To Mark, yes you do need a declaration of War as Congress provided after the attack on Pearl Harbor, that takes your nation to a war time footing and annouces an enemy.

    A war on terror, is like saying a war on crime, a war on drugs, it sounds good and sells newspapers but acheives little else. We had a war in Iraq, we acheived the limited objectives this administration set and then after winning the war became bogged down in a internal mess with no clear cut military objective to end the situation.

    In Afganistan, we accomplished part of what we set out to do and then forgot about it, sending military forces needed there top presue a war in Iraq.

    Johm McCain is a military pilot that was shot down. His expertise is in the treatment of prisoners, the rights and wrongs. The generals and admirals would have better served the nation had they stood together as a TX ANG pilot that did not see fit to fullfill his obligations took the nation to war.

    December 17, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. marie,hampton roads,VA.

    Congratulations Senator McCain ... You got this military families vote !
    Don’t you RP people have anything better to do than sabotage other candidates? Your arrogance hurts your cause, and your Candidate ! But your to stubborn to realize it. As far as military votes for RP ... ha-ha, not buying it!

    December 23, 2007 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  20. Jill, Pittsburgh, PA

    Yes, Ron Paul served as a flight surgeon for military. He does have a chance just like all the other candidates. Just because corporate media isn't being paid enough to support Ron Paul doesn't mean he is a "loser" as someone has said. He's an upstanding congressman whose been elected over 10 times for the Republican party. People are listening now, empty rhetoric isn't working. Please listen and think about what the candidates say and do rather than relying on the media to regurgitate their spin of the facts down your throats. I beg you, as a voter, do your homework.

    December 25, 2007 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
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