March 28th, 2008
05:35 PM ET
9 years ago

RNC calls on Clinton, Obama to denounce Dean comments

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="DNC Chairman Howard Dean. "]
(CNN) - The Republican National Committee called on both Democratic presidential candidates Friday to denounce recent comments from Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean who called John McCain a 'blatant opportunist.'

Dean made the comment earlier in the day in a statement issued by the DNC on McCain's new television ad that features footage of the Arizona Republican as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

"While we honor McCain’s military service, the fact is Americans want a real leader who offers real solutions, not a blatant opportunist who doesn’t understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years," Dean said.

RNC Deputy Chairman Frank Donatelli called the comment a "character smear," and said they are the "latest in what has become a troubling pattern where the chairman of the national party has questioned Senator McCain’s character and integrity."

"Howard Dean owes John McCain an immediate apology and both Senators Clinton and Obama should unequivocally denounce this disgraceful attack," Donatelli added.

Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama are battling for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Responding to Donatelli's comments, DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney said the RNC is "cherry picking the facts."

"Clearly the RNC recognizes that the biggest threat to John McCain, as we heard loud and clear from voters in our recent focus groups, is the damage he inflicted on his 'independent' image and reputation for 'straight talk' by shifting his positions to make them more acceptable to the right wing of the Republican Party," she said.

"The truth is that most Americans would likely agree that while we honor Senator McCain's service, America cannot afford another Bush Republican who doesn't understand the economy and who wants to keep our troops in Iraq for up to 100 years," she added.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Howard Dean
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Ca Native

    Howard Dean = screaming opportunist that is primarily responsible to the deep muck the DNC is presently in with Florida and Michigan delegates.

    I guess if I were Dean – I too would be trying to flame the Republican candidate. ANYTHING to get the attention off your incompetence, eh Howie? You're handling your job with the DNC almost as well as your former Presidential Campaign!

    March 28, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  2. Allison Marie

    Howard Dean is a pathetic leader of the DNC........perhaps he should return to medicine, because he is terrible with the whole primary mess.

    For anyone to urge a candidate to set down is wrong. To not want to count the votes of the American people, because politicians changed the rules is wrong, I don't agree with Dean, or Pelosi, and apparently a lot of other people don't either!

    If the Dems followed the same rules as the GOP, we would have a nominee already, Clinton! Why would anyone want her to drop out to have a nominee who can't win in a general election, hope you boys don't expect any support from Florida or Michigan, because if they are not counted in a primary, we won't be voting in a general!

    Countless in Florida

    March 28, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  3. Rohit

    You stay put Dean. You are doing a great service to the democratic party and the country. You are a patriot and have as much of a right to say what you want as anyone else.

    March 28, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. David Boston Ma

    WOW! Thw RNC is now throwing blows at the DNC. Fair to say it will be all out CIVIL WAR in America if this keeps up.... David Boston Ma

    March 28, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. jps

    "Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama are battling for the Democratic presidential nomination."

    chances are, everyone knows that, but just in case...

    March 28, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. Sly

    Naw RNC... nobody from the DNC needs to honor this request, especially if it's the truth what Dean said.

    I also questions McCains character and integrity. He doesnt seem much smarter than our current president.

    OBAMA 08!

    March 28, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  7. Alison, FL

    Dream on won't happen.

    March 28, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. oh well

    Dean is having his own problems having failed at forcing Obama down the throats of democrats.

    Cut him a break.

    He really does not have a feel for the pulse of the people.

    March 28, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. karela

    The RNC has got to be kidding. They're yelling smear campaign? What a crock. And about John McCain--I am grateful for what John McCain did. On the other hand, he cheapens his sacrifice by using it for political gain. I don't think I've seen a McCain add yet that didn't feature a thirty some year old picture of him in bed. Your country thanks you John, but we need a man on his feet and with fully functioning intellectual capabilities. Our country is in trouble in the world and at home. John has lots of verbal goofs. Imagine if he had one with a foreign power that was edgy with us. John, we honor your sacrifice. Please just go home and rest on your laurels and let us be proud of you. If you fight to run our country, we're going to have to call you on issues and we can't afford to take it easy on you even if you hold up your bed picture. We have a country in crisis and we need a leader at the peak of their skills and performance. We love you John. Don't make us say the hard things.

    March 28, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. kathleen

    Howard Dean don't owe anybody an apology. McCain can
    apologize for keeping this war going for 100 years.

    March 28, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. Anyone but a Republican

    Republicans have ruined the economy and America's standing in the world. China is rising as the world's superpower while we dump our kids inheritance into Iraq.

    To quote Bill Clinton " you shouldn't enter politics if you don't want to get beat up"

    And if you think McCain and his supporters aren't going to say FAR WORSE things about Obama or Clinton, you've got another thing comin'

    March 28, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  12. Peter T

    And so the bickering starts. Dean's name calling won't help to solve the problems.

    March 28, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. Joseph Adewole

    I can't see anything wrong with what Dean has said; he said the truth and nothing but the truth...l realised that not much educated people are in the Republican Party; no difference between Bush and McCain.

    March 28, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. beyonce pride

    Howard Dean is crazy, I remember when he yelled on the micrphone and they were talking about him having a melt down. I wish he would tell Obama to step down and wait 8 years.

    March 28, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  15. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    Why should anyone denounce it? John McCain IS a 'blatant opportunist.' He's also a liar about his war record, a self-admitted novice on economics and wants us to stay in Iraq for 100 years. There's NOTHING about this guy that says he can lead America.

    March 28, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. Illinois

    I agree. Howard Dean should step down. Well, he should apologize and then step down. He is a disgrace to the DNC. In fact, ALL the top people in the DNC are a disgrace as none of them are able to do their jobs. How is it that Dean can call on Obama and Hillary to "tone down the rhetoric" if he's shooting his mouth off as well??? Double standard?? Get rid of this guy.

    McCain isn't that bad of a candidate. He and Hillary are not that much different, politically, in some ways. I'd take him over Obama any day.

    March 28, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  17. ignore him

    Does it matter what Dean says?

    He gambled the outcome of this most important election on the votes of the "new" democrats. These are the people that never bothered to vote before. Too lazy, too selfish and too apathetic to vote for a leader.

    Dean felt he could disenfranchise the democratic base, who always votes democratic, so he rigged the primary to benefit Obama.

    He thought the Hillary democrats would just come back in the fall.

    Clearly this man is out of touch.

    Forgive him McCain- he knows not what he does

    March 28, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  18. Chris in Va.


    March 28, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  19. Diana Hamilton

    Mr. Dean,
    You do not owe McCain an apology. I and millions of others agree wholeheartedly with what you said.

    March 28, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. Sue, Michigan

    The truth hurts. He has made so many mistakes in the last week that I'm expecting Mitt Romney to renew his campaign to try to salvage something for the Republicans.

    March 28, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. Nadine


    March 28, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. Concerned Canadian

    Howard Dean...please denounce yourself !!

    March 28, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. matt

    Ok. If Obama 's backer wnat Clinton quit so 244 superdelegate of Clinton wuold call Obama quit then. So who will quit for the right? Stupid Obama and his backers.

    March 28, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
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