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. James

    What is there to denounce?

    April 8, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Chris Roland

    I don't care whether he's connected to the Obama campaign or not. A Senator for Life (apparently these days there's no other kind) has slandered the humanity and morality of every member of the military with these accusations. Not only that, but this is a guy who never served himself, who inherited every last dime of his money from his daddy, and who has every benefit and blessing of thiscountry one can possibly have without making an ounce of effort or sacrifice to get it.

    We get the government we deserve, and the fact that people keep re-electing guys like this and Ted Kennedy and John Murtha and William Jefferson says a lot about what Americans, apparently, deserve.

    April 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Uncle Sam

    The father of our country was General George Washington. Was he a warmonger too???

    April 8, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  4. HP Boston

    See that the RNC can negate OBAMA in a Flash!

    They will pick apart every word he utters, every look he poses, and dish him up as a plate of MUSH!
    They will be relentless in their quest to destroy him as they have already driven Hillary to the ground. You see how they have made you all in to a snarling pack of dogs at the mention of her name. Get ready for the same for your barack, he is doomed!

    April 8, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. vjh

    I don't understand, why should Obama have to 'denounce' anyone – because Rockefeller supports him? Absurd !

    April 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    As a Vietnam Veteran, I'm outraged by Rockfeller's comment. How many of the Rockfellers served in Vietnam? Rockfeller is an individual politically obsessed; bright and interesting, but he has something missing in his nature; a hole, an empty place and he uses his politics to fill up the boid. It someone leaves hims somewhat misshapen. When Rockfeller has walked a mile in McCain's shoes, then and only then can he have a say in what transpired in Vietnam.

    April 8, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. debbie

    It seems as though everybody wants OBAMA to fight for them. Even the republicans are running behind him. "Stop it, Stop talking about Mc Cain or else we will tell Obama on you!."

    If you want to know one thing that Obama has done. He has successfully educated our young and old by getting them up and out to the polls. So Hillary and MC Cain, "what have you done for the young people lately". One of you misspoke to the young people and the both of you are killing them in this never ending war..........

    Now, I see why America is soooo broke The Clintons are treating ALL of Us like slaves. Taking all of our jobs and selling it off to other countries and pocketing the commissions, the worst part is that we are being lied too STAND UP AMERICA!. Don't let one family get richer while we are getting poorer!

    April 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. montag

    So McCain supporter Orson Swindle called on Obama to denounce the "insult to all the men and women who are serving or have served in America's military."

    Hey Orson, I served in the U.S. Air Force from 1969 to 1973 and I don't feel insulted at all.

    And who died and made you the spokesman for America's veterans?

    April 8, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. Uncle Sam

    Senator John McCain will not become our next president because he was a POW. It will be because a majority of Americans (most of whom are not CNN bloggers) know greatness when they see it.

    April 8, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Earnest Sellers

    Why does Obama and Rev Wright hate freedom so much?

    April 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. bill from pa

    Is this the only way McCain can get a headline? Don't worry Sen McCain, the dems will be paying more than enough attention to you in a couple of months.

    April 8, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Obama Supporter

    Phil Greene – being a POW is not heroic? Are you high? The man was caught and tortured by the North Vietnamese for about 5 years. When they realized his father was an admiral they told him he could go home, and he refused, because according to the rules the date of someone's capture dictates who leaves first, and so he spent 2-3 MORE years in a prison camp because he stood up for principles.

    I support Barack Obama and not McCain for president, but anyone who diminishes the service that McCain and other members of the armed forces have done for this country is simply ignorant.

    April 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. warweary

    It would not take a genius at least to figure out who would be a disastrous choice for President. McCain is a hawk who has no idea how the economy works. One who would keep our young men stuck in the hell-hole of Iraq in an open-ended war. It is time for those who have their heads buried in the sands to look more carefully and think of those troops who have to put their lives in danger away from their home and family thanks to the greed and short-sighted policies of the Republicans, including McCain. I suggest you go and watch “Bush’s War” or “ “Bad Voodoo’s war” or just go and spend a day in Iraq to see the reality of a devastating war.

    April 8, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. Warner

    When are we going to see McCain denouncing comments by John Hagee that Catholicism is a satanic cult, or by Rod Parsley that the US was founded on the duty to kill every Muslim on Earth?

    April 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. lindahen

    Why don't McCain denounce all the negative statements about Obama made by Republicans on fox news? Hanniety & Colmes have nightly bashing session.

    April 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. Phil

    Phil Greene – I'd like to take you for a ride into air combat in the "relative safety" of my jet and listen to you cry and whimper like a baby. Do you think you could endure years of capture and torture with honor? I doubt you would last a day. Why don't you enlighten us on your heroic service to our country? Since that shouldn't take you too long why don't you also try backing up your lies about McCain napalming civilians with some hard facts ... a little too 1960's cliche don't you think?

    April 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. Stephen,Wilmington,NC

    Let's look at all the pain and suffering the Elite Rockefeller family has caused Americans through history. He's just another rich elite idiot that should NOT be in Congress.

    April 8, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. Mike

    What on earth does this have to do with Obama?
    Rockefeller is a senator who happens to support Obama, like so many others do. Does this mean that Obama is responsible for every word uttered by these people. Give me a break please. If McCain has a problem with Rockefeller's comments, the brave, straight -talking patriot can easily address this directly to Rockefeller. What a lame

    April 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. Dirik Lolkus

    Typical political tactic, perfected by the Republicans – draw attention away from the issues and focus on irrelevent things. Isn't it about time we had a controversy about flag burning? Anything to avoid talking about health care, domestic infrastructure falling apart, lack of responsible regulation in every sector...and a war in Iraq that isn't accomplishing anything but depleting our ability to pay for fixes to any of our real problems.

    April 8, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Matt

    This has got to be one of the stupidest things any politician has ever said! I'm not a supporter but – come on – the guy was on the ground in a POW camp!

    April 8, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Alexandra

    And what does this have to Obama?
    McCain shouldn't you be in a retirement home somewhere?

    April 8, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Roger G

    I hope people of West Virginia are really proud today for electing this piece of human filth. Kinda makes you want to believe all the stories about married cousins, don' it?

    April 8, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Bob

    pretty doubtful that laser guide bombs existed in the vietnam days.

    April 8, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |

    This man is a Senator. If John Mccain has a beef with him, he should take it up with him. Calling on /senator Obama to denounce a statement from another senator is ridiculous and kinda cheap.
    John McCain is way too comfortable with America at war. His Father was a General. His Grandfather was a General. War is what he knows...why should he let go of his one strong point?
    I feel for the enlisted. I come from a military family. (5 brothers, 4 served, father retired Air force) I understand the toll on the family. My mother learned to handle all sort of problems because my father was always gone. Money was always tight. I was years before I realized peanut butter came in little cute jars. The way the enlisted are being re-deployed again and again is sinful. If they're needed that much...reinstate the draft and let the rich kids serve. Maybe young women should have to serve stateside...I'm really for every ablebodied American doing SOMETHING for at least 2 years to serve this country. Freedom is not FREE! It makes me sick to see young men out there talking up war (Yes I'm talking about Mitt's sons) and then going home to their nice comfy houses and families. That is NERVE! We are destroying the good will of the enlisted and as Americans we should all be ashamed. Bring them home. NOW!


    April 8, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  25. Jake

    I think this statement by the McCain camp is a desperation attempt to remain relevant to the political race. Americans are increasingly viewing this race as a race between Clinton and Obama and forgetting about McCain altogether. McCain is getting pummeled in the fund-raising arena and so any free press that he can find it going to be a godsend.

    April 8, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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