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

    Hey Andy,
    It's not "America right or Wrong" History pretty much shows that Vietnam was wrong, history will also show that Iraq was an unjust war, 98% of the world believes it.

    A true patriot stands up for what is right, unafraid to tell the truth. Minions follow blindly, they are the weak.

    Andy, I appreciate you willing to endanger your life and others if you joined for the purpose of protecting America, but not all join for that reason and when was the last time we fought a war for that reason? Think hard and answer yourself as truthfully as you can.

    April 8, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Is Obama responsible for all people who support him? If he is, then he has to talk with a lot of people. Is that realistic? No, not really; not for anyone. If Obama asked him to say it, then it show that there is cause for concern. I doubt that there is anyone in the Obama campaign that asked for that statement.

    To ask Obama to appoligize for everything that had been said is foolish and unrealistic. Take it in stride McCain... I thought that you could tolerate more than that.

    April 8, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Richard Bromley

    A little truth once in a while wouldn't hurt.


    Iraq was never a threat to the U.S. and with its limited GDP, would have never been a threat; ever. Thats a fact; even with WMD, the threat we would present is far to overwhelming.

    Al Qeada would be crushed by the larger Shia Militas in Iraq and they could actually find them; they are simply not allowed to mobilize. That; sadly is a fact.

    Iran's only real threat is economic and its the sole worry we have when leaving Iraq. Really, really; we are dyeing over a possible 15% (guess) fluctuation in the economy.

    The United States is under threat were we are not; that threat is only growing by the CIA estimates I've seen.

    April 8, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Connie

    Senatro Rockefellar should be ashamed! I a Democrat and the daughter of a Vietnam and I think Senator Obama should denouce Senator Rockefellar's remarks immediately. I cannot believe anyone could say anything so callous about a former POW.

    BSY-Nobody criticized Wright for his service to this country, we criticized his condemnation of the United States of America from the pulpit. We condemned his lies about the government creating AIDS to rid the world of blacks. We condemn his lies!

    April 8, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. DKaylan

    NEWS ALERT...to all those who need clarification. Although McCain and his campaign are trying to make it seem like this....neither...Obama...nor...his...campaign...are...saying...this. Do I need to repeat this??? So why, oh why, would anyone thing Obama needs to renounce what Rockefeller said? If Obama wishes to, he can make a comment on it. But it's not his responsibility to denounce him, as he is not on Obama's campaign, nor was he speaking on Obama's behalf. Give me a BREAK, people (and that includes McCain, his campaign, and all the Hillary and McCain supporters who are trying to spin it like it's something he needs to do).

    April 8, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Worried

    Are all Senators nuts?

    IF what Rockefeller said is not true than McCain should call on Rockefeller to apologize.

    And, has Rockefeller endorsed Obama? I do not think so.

    But even if he did endorse him …. never mind.

    This is just too childish.

    April 8, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. mick

    I am a democrat and have really gone off Obama,
    Obama will not say anything as he hasn't got any guts to do so, until he clarifies his racist comments about typical white people and white folks greed, until he stands up to the radical left wing of the party which is destroying the party, until he clarifies his wifes racist writings in college and her I'm now proud and until he tells his racist pastor he was wrong then I along with my family will never look at this man as a man of conviction or a man of actions, he's been just words so far.
    We as democrats are supposed to stand up to hate , not let racists get away with their rantings and now we have a racist running for our nomination.
    I also await for him to clarify why he is friends with a terrorist, from the weather undergound.
    I hope this time my comment gets added as usually they never on CNN

    April 8, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. RK in New Jersey

    New Jersey, usually a democratic stronghold in presidential elections, is going to be a swing state this year in the election between McCain and Obama. Kerry won NJ with 5% margin. With McCain, that margin disappears. NJ voters do not care about Iraq war as much as they do about the big pharmaceutical and big financial companies closing their doors. Obama has declared a war on big business. Indeed, the democrats have been waging a war against big business. And then they are surprised that American jobs are being lost. I want to know what Obama will do for big business os they can create more jobs.

    April 8, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    If know anything about dropping a laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet, you know the jet islong gone when they hit. It to late to worry about the people on the ground because you can't call the missiles back ,so why is this a insult to all the men and women who are serving or have served in America's military." Now if target civilian thats something else

    April 8, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. honkey white guy from cali

    I am wondering why Obama needs to respond in anyway this is a very very sad attempt by the Mc Cain campaign to take Obama off Message
    very very sad! first it was Hillaries kitchen sink now Mc Same is sending his bathtub how sad

    April 8, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. Different Mike

    Darth Vadik from California What a joke. A little history lesson for your Warmonger quote.

    WWI-Woodrow Wilson, Democrat
    WWII- Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democrat
    Korean War- Harry Truman, Democrat
    Vietnam War- John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Democrats

    If you want to be taken seriously at least have a good argument before you open your mouth.

    April 8, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. blue

    I wish the media would cover Obama in more detail as I wouldn't have voted for him knowing what I know now and much of what I know is not from the usual media outlets.
    I voted for Obama thinking he was about change but this was before his lies came out , his horrible stereotype remarks about whites.
    Don't hold your breath for Obama to denounce this, he hasn't denounced Rev wright fully yet nor has he denounced other hateful and sometimes racist language from his supporters.
    The more and more I find out about Obama the more I do not ever want to see him in the white house and if the media did their job and reported fully about Obama then neither would most of this country.
    Or this the real reason why they don't report about Obama as they want Obama

    April 8, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. Joe Bloggs, Haiku, HI

    Poor McCain! At last, some are summoning the courage to question his 'hero' status. Hundreds of thousands of brave, courageous men and women have put their lives on the line for this absurd war. Why is McCain a hreo simply bc. he was captured?! I agree with Howard Dean. McCain is an opportunist! And I agree with Ed Schultz. He is a war monger by any definition. This is not a smear but merely an accurate depiction of the man's insane lust for war. remember; "Bomb bomb bomb! Bomb bomb Iran!"

    April 8, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. mary, Dallas, Tx

    I am a vet too but I thought this was America and that we fight for freedom which includes freedom of speech. Obama should not have to apologize for everything that someone says that supports him. Give the man a break!

    April 8, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. Paul from PA

    That has nothing to do with Obama. Give me break!

    April 8, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Ratgurl

    I'm not a McCain supporter, but even I know that you can't attack a soldier for doing his job. McCain performed his duties commendibly and he should be treated no less than the soldier he is.

    That said, I don't believe having survived a war makes one qualified for the position of POTUS. I don't think he should be president, but I gratefully thank John for his service to our country.

    April 8, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. NOBAMA

    You Obummers are something else! He shouldn't have to denounce his supporters words, but yet if Senator Clinton's supporters say something, SHE has to denounce?

    Obombies = Clique of Hypocrites

    April 8, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. Claire W Solt, PhD

    I don't think we had lasers at that time. But, we had these rabid anti war communist revolutionaries. They are the opposite of warmongers. both are unthinking extremists. It is over the top; to call McCain a warmonger.
    When he is not representing his family business, Exxon,Sen Rockefeller has more than once used his position on the senate intel subversively to promote Democrat candidates.
    Those who say Obama is not responsible are probably part of the moral relativist crown who always try to explain wrongdoing away somehow. They perpetuate the conditions where schools don't teach and untutored youth join drug gangs before going to prison. They don't see the connection between morlity and a happy life.

    April 8, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. florida

    Connie, Obama has truely not denounced wright yet along with other disgusting hateful stereotype comments made by him, his wife, by the radicals in the democratic party or by his campaign etc.
    Whites, Italians, Jews and the United states of America have all been commented on in a disgusting hateful way yet no word from Obama.
    Today we was all saying at work how the coverage of Obama is very one sided/biased and I just hope the ocverage gets more even handed as up to now it has been in favor for Obama

    April 8, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. bd

    Obama's camp has issued a statement saying Obama does not agree with Rockefeller. Subsequently, Rockefeller apologized to McCain.

    April 8, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. skylark

    Why wasn't Hillary denouncing??
    I am really getting sick of this crap. Why just Obama? And what isn't true?
    Do those who bomb see the blood, gore and body parts? No, they are above it all. Immune to carnage. They do as they are ordered. This is their job. Mc Cain isn't the real hero. The real heroes didn't make it home.
    OBAMA Didn't say it! He didn't think it! Next you will be blaming Obama for the weather. Sick sick sick of this! Read Blitzers take on Iraq making fools of us! GOP gangsters!

    April 8, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Sunshine girl

    Obviously Obama has never served in the military nor had family members fight and die for the very freedoms he takes for granted. I oppose this war but not war itself when our men and women are defending our freedom and sacrificing their lives to make life better for us. I am the daugher, spouse and mother-in-law to verterans of WWII, Vietnam and Iraq.

    April 8, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. Penn State

    I am so sick of you Obama supporters such idiots. If someone attacks Obama, you want the other candidate to denounce or even fire their supporters, but if Obama's supporters attack, you guys think that it is ok. I served this country also for 15 months all over the middle east. I am so sick and tired of you Obama Kids talking all this crap. You know what CNN moderator, you may not post this but it felt good getting this off of my chest because it is known that you only post the negative comments from the Obama Kids.

    April 8, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. HSNP

    President Barack Obama will GUT THE MILITARY.

    April 8, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Andre

    I know Sen. Rockefeller (and I am a Republican). He is a good man (I disagree with him on things) and he is honorable. The problem is that he got caught up in the illogical hysteria of campaign hyperbole and, combined with a lack of personal experience with military service (not a slap - a statement of fact), stepped into to it with his comments.

    One can serve honorably and have a different view. Similarly, one can not serve and be a good, patriotic person. The problem is when we get caught up in the BS and forget that we are all supposed to be on the same team.

    April 8, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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