March 2nd, 2008
06:11 PM ET
13 years ago

Dean hits McCain's integrity: 'He doesn't seem to have any'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="DNC Chairman Howard Dean targeted Sen. John McCain Sunday on CNN's Late Edition."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean stepped up his verbal assault on Republican presidential front-runner John McCain on Sunday, questioning the Arizona senator's integrity.

"Here's a guy who's a typical situational ethicist. He runs on his integrity, but he doesn't seem to have any," Dean told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

The Democratic chairman has spent a week pounding McCain - one of the architects of 2001's McCain-Feingold campaign finance law - over his attempt to opt out of public financing for his Republican primary campaign. In a complaint to the Federal Election Commission last week, Dean accused McCain of using the promise of federal funds to obtain a bank loan and automatic ballot access for his presidential bid while dodging federal spending limits.

"John McCain has a history of doing what it takes, regardless of what the ethics of this are," Dean said. "I think he's going to be a flawed candidate."

There was no immediate response to Dean's broadside from McCain's campaign.

The FEC has asked McCain's campaign to explain the terms of his loan, but the agency won't be able to resolve the matter until four vacancies on the six-member commission are filled. The campaign has said it acted legally, and did nothing more than what the Dean's 2004 presidential campaign did in rejecting public funding - an argument Dean says isn't true.

Dean said McCain "has a problem with personal integrity," citing his onetime ties to jailed savings-and-loan executive Charles Keating and his refusal to reject the support of televangelist John Hagee. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has criticized McCain for accepting the endorsement of Hagee, who has called the Roman Catholic Church "the Great Whore" and a "cult."

Updated 6:11 p.m. with response from the McCain campaign: "John McCain is a man of integrity who will run on his record.  Senators Clinton and Obama should denounce this desperate, personal smear campaign Howard Dean and the leaders of their party seem intent on running," the McCain campaign said in a statement to CNN.

–CNN's Jessica Rummel

Filed under: Howard Dean • John McCain
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Independent

    McCain is such a hypocrite. How he can go through the worst of war and then declare that hes going to subject over 100,000 troops to potentially the same treatment for 100 years BAFFLES me.

    A true hero would SAVE lives and that means getting OUT of Iraq.

    This man needs to rethink how he operates himself. Im so tired of his immunity because he suffered. We get it..... he was tortured....... but he didnt learn his lesson that WAR is WRONG

    Hes no better than Dean, and he needs to stop cheating the people out of the tax money!!

    March 2, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. Nathan

    It's like the pot calling the kettle black Mr Dean. Your integrity is certainly in question after your attempts to disenfranchise Florida and Michigan Democrats.

    March 2, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  3. Ellie

    I believe Mr. Dean just better be "careful" with his words!! Right now, the Democratic Party hangs in the balance - the two candidates are fighting for victory - and it appears that Mr. Dean is considering letting Florida (and perhaps Michigan) spend their own taxpayers money to either have a redo of their primary and/or seat the Florida/Michigan Delegates and let them vote at the convention!! THE WORD INTEGRITY MIGHT JUST COME BACK TO BITE HIM, AND HE MAY JUST FACE A LAW SUIT HIMSELF!!

    And further, Thank you!! CNN for your today's biased coverage of the campaign trails of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama !! You certainly have pulled out ALL OF THE STOPS to cover "POOR HILLARY" today! It has been and continues to be very evident that you spend most of your air time at every stop along the Clinton trail!! Well, when she loses, she certainly cannot come back to you and say you didn't give her the proper PR the last few days!! I believe ALL Americans would be better off in their decision/choice for the nominee if their was NO MEDIA, NO NEW PAPERS, NO RADIO, NO TELEVISION AND NO TELECOMMUNICATIONS!! That way, we could pick our candidate by listening to him/her - and make up our own mind in HONESTY AND TRUTH!! The fabrications, dirty politics and lies we have heard and continue to hear in this election have taken the steam right out of both political parties!! To be quite honest with you, I for one, will be glad when the "NEGATIVE" AND DISHONESTY" are done and over!! Perhpas you can find a plan of action to ALTER your media coverage by the time the year 2012 rolls around!! However, I"m NOT holding my breath!!

    March 2, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. LeftToRight

    Dean is ranting like a spoiled baby again. Everyday, people in Amierica struggle to get by taking loans, paying mortgages, putting kids thorugh school. What does the liberal politician do – nothing to help us, but tyr to advance their party by bad-mouthing the ccompetition. This guy should get out of public life – I'm sick of the carping.

    March 2, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  5. Lamps

    Just who the heck Dean thinks he is? This is not is campaign. If he does no support McCain, then endorse Hussein and shut up.

    Dean attacking McCain on his integrity? McCain spent 5 best years of his life years as a POW when Dean was skiing in Vermont.

    Attack his political views if you want Dean, but attack his integrity? Shame on you.

    March 2, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  6. Normal Joe

    Dean said. "I think he's going to be a flawed candidate."

    So what Dean, are you flawless? Are you the perfect one?

    March 2, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  7. OBAMA 08

    Interesting comments...Is McCain going to be impossible to criticize because of his undisputed heroism??

    My cocerns about McCain:

    1. His insistence on Obama sticking with public funding while he is trying to get out of his request for public funding for the Republican nomination; Obama has every right to state that, if (when) he wins the nomination there needs to be a face to face meeting and a signed deal hammered out before any agreement is reached

    2, McCain's change in stances now that he is trying to consolidate his "base" within the Republican voters

    3, He is more than able to wage a war...but where is his track record on making peace or on diplomacy...that is really what is needed now...his comments on "...bomb, bomb Iran sticks too vividly in my mind

    March 2, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  8. Dr. Feelgood [in MA]

    I'm a Clinton supporter and I think that Dean needs to hush up. He made a fool of himself when he ran for President. He needs to learn from his own lessons.

    March 2, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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