April 8th, 2008
12:05 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain camp calls on Obama to denounce 'smear'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/29/art.rock.gi.jpg caption=" McCain's campaign called Rockefeller's remark an 'insult' to veterans. "] (CNN) - John McCain's campaign called on Barack Obama Tuesday to condemn a comment from one of his Senate supporters that the presumptive Republican nominee, a naval aviator during the Vietnam War, "was a fighter pilot who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit."

"What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground?" Sen. Jay Rockefeller said in an interview published in Tuesday's Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette. "He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues."

The McCain campaign issued a statement from supporter Orson Swindle, who called Rockefeller’s remarks a “smear against John McCain's character and military record” and called on Obama to denounce the "insult to all the men and women who are serving or have served in America's military."

"Had Senator Rockefeller served himself, he would appreciate and understand that most who have been to war emerge with a much deeper concern for humanity than they otherwise might," said the former Marine lieutenant colonel. "If he knew what he was talking about, he would know that John McCain wasn't dropping laser-guided missiles at 35,000 feet in 1967."

Swindle was a prisoner of war in Vietnam with McCain.

This is the second time in four days the McCain campaign has called on Obama to condemn comments by a fellow Democrat.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. Mike in Houston

    Jay Rockefellers only claim to relevence is his lineage to John D. Rockefeller. Outside of that, he is of no import.

    April 8, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. AJ

    Rockefeller was too busy playing with the silver spoon in his mouth to have served. He should keep his mouth shut concerning things he knows nothing about. As a veteran, I find his comments highly offensive.

    If not Hillary/ McCain in '08
    Anyone but Obama!!

    April 8, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Whatever you want, Mr. McCain, but you will not be President of
    the USA!.Whatever you do, do not slam Obama. Republicans have
    irrepairable and unforgiveable damage to our wonderful people
    and country. If you can't see that McCain, you are a fool. And to
    trash Obama is to trash us, again!!!!.

    Rocker fella go home, and if you can't stand for the good of our Country
    stay home.

    April 8, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Brian - Trinidad

    So Jay Rockefeller wants us to get into the lives of people. Ask him to give us details on how Nelson Rockefeller died.And after we all read that,he can mouth off on how he is supporting Obama because of how awful the Clintons behave.

    April 8, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Obama Nation

    It's okay with BHO. he's getting used to throwing people under the bus.

    April 8, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Mark

    It's pretty obvious that McCain is in love with the idea of war. It's what his campaign is based on and it seems to be all he sees in the future of his possible candidacy. It's obvious from his recent comments that, to him, all middle-eastern people are deemed terrorists or members of Al Qaeda, and that Iran is in is cross-hairs for a second invasion. The fact that he didn't support MLK day speaks pretty loud as well. He likes to glorify war, and if his war experience is what he wants to run on, he should be prepared to be deeply scrutinized. We don't need another warmonger in the white house. We've all seen where that leads.

    April 8, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    I must apologize to our fellow Democrat Senator Rockefeller. You
    are one of us. Please accept my apology. I thought you were against
    Senator Obama and for McCain. My Humble apology to you and yours.

    April 8, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Mike

    Obama so called "change" candidate... this is a different kind of campaign... you may have the college kids fooled that are still supported by their parents... who have very little idea what it is like in the real world... no, not the MTV reality show...

    Obama does not fool the rest of us... all of this back and forth over non-sense is sad... if anyone is listening to the media and forming their opinions off of my space and you tube... America is in real trouble!!!

    Obama talks about how important judgement is and how experience means very little... Not sure what he is trying to say ???

    The last time I checked... most people learn from their experiences... then they base or make judgements from that experience...

    I know that looking back on some of my decisions or judgements... I really wonder what I was thinking back then...

    No... Mr. Obama experience is more important than judgement... from what I read on the blogs, your supporters, television ads, media coverage... I really question your experience and especially your judgement !!!

    April 8, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. Kelley

    Why doesn't the McCain campaign ask the SENATOR Rockefeller to denounce his remarks, I do not believe that the Senator is a child or on the Obama campaign. Can't the McCain handle this siutation or do they just contend to behave like children. I am not a supporter of McCain and I have said far worse. I thought the McCain camp was tough!

    April 8, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. Joe

    This is a shame. I wouldn't want Rockefeller backing me! This man dishonors those who serve. I hope Obama denounces this soon.

    April 8, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. andy

    I am a Democrat and a Veteran and for these individuals who do not give to there country by serving it make me sick ! Is this what Obama wants to be a Commader and Chief who will call soldiers sissies ? I Love America do you?

    April 8, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Fonzi

    Cheap shot from McCain'c camp. You can do better than this, common!

    April 8, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. patty

    If we put all the emotion aside and think about it realistic and only based upon policy and what McCains says; he really is a war monger. Unfortunate, but true... The dictionary describes a warmonger as a person who "advocates, endorses, or tries to precipitate war". Thats McCain for you... and Bush always was. This puts Osama, bush and McCain in the same league.

    April 8, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. @americans

    get serious Mcbush; or go home if you dont want your 'old' feelings hurt!

    April 8, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Emma

    Get on with life.......Senator McCain uses his POW status to his advantage.

    If he really cares about the veterans of this country then sign on to the new Veteran's bill that you have not had time to review. McCain you are shameless! Put your actions where your words are.....sign on to the new Veterans Bill Senator McCain.

    If you sign on to the new bill I am sure you will sleep better each night! Senator Obama can't be expected to go around and apologize and denounce every Democrat who says something that the McCain campaign doesn't like and Senator Obama should not begin taking the blame for every democratic action.

    April 8, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. Dave

    I agree..stop calling for this or that person to denounce...just get on with your campaign.

    April 8, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. andy

    I am a veteran of the united States army and for those who have never served this great nation should be ashamed of themselfs ! I Love America and served her with loyalty , so why do those who never gave their time or lives for this country always have to say things which they can not back up with there service ? I LOVE AMERICA DO YOU ?

    April 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Carmen in Seattle

    This is getting to be ridiculous. When did these campaigns become gigantic games of "I'm telling" and "Make him take it back"?

    In this country we still have a right to speak our minds, and what we say is our OWN opinion of the world as WE each see it. It's completely illogical to believe that because a supporter says something that they are speaking for the candidate.

    Quit blowing smoke, Mr McCain, it makes you seem childish and petulant.

    April 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Darth Vadik, CA

    Nice try, go away now.

    April 8, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. obama 08

    Rockefeller is not a paid Obama staffer. Obama can't be held accountable for everything a supporter says.

    April 8, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Uncle Sam

    What does it tell you of a presidential candidate who surrounds himself with people who are contemptuous of America?


    April 8, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. LVS

    McCain had to marry into wealth, Rockefeller was born with a big fat trust fund and philanthropy in his blood.

    April 8, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. dEMABRAT

    He wants to see if Obama "condemns" such statements. McCain is trying to set a stnadard on which the race will be conducted. If Obama does not condemn it now, even though it may not be from his camp. brain, such comments could be later.

    A little political strategy from the Mccain camp.

    April 8, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. NC Primary MY TURN!

    Obama is not responsible for this other senator's remarks. Denounce this!

    April 8, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Hanging Chad


    I think the North Vietnamese made it clear to Sen. McCain
    what those bombs did. They did, after all, have him as a guest at the Hanoi Hilton for many years.

    What were you doing at that time Sen. Rockefeller? Spending Daddy's money?


    April 8, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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