April 8th, 2008
08:00 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain campaign says Obama team's apology falls short

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/08/art.mccainrock.gi.jpg caption="Rockefeller apologized to McCain Tuesday."](CNN) - John McCain’s campaign said an apology from Barack Obama’s team for comments from West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who supports the Illinois senator’s presidential bid, were not enough, calling for a response from the candidate himself.

“It was a spokesperson. Just as with the situation with liberal attack artist Ed Schultz, Obama refused to reject the statements personally. It’s a trend that undermines Barack Obama’s credibility when he makes calls for a ‘new’ more ‘accountable’ debate,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

The Obama campaign and Rockefeller both apologized Tuesday afternoon for his comments about the presumptive Republican nominee’s war record in a West Virginia paper.

“Senator Obama has a deep respect for Senator McCain’s service to this country and doesn’t agree with what Senator Rockefeller said,” said Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Rockefeller’s Senate office released a statement by the senator that said he regretted the comment. “I have deep respect for John McCain’s honorable and noble service to our country. I made an inaccurate and wrong analogy and I have extended my sincere apology to him.

“While we differ a great deal on policy issues, I profoundly respect and appreciate his dedication to our country, and I regret my very poor choice of words.”

At virtually the same moment, the McCain camp charged that his comments were “more than a coincidence that Obama campaign surrogates are making character attacks against John McCain without any repudiation.”

“Barack Obama’s silence is giving his surrogates a license to make attacks that don’t contribute to the dialogue on the issues,” said Bounds.

“As long as people affiliated with Barack Obama’s new brand of politics continue to make gutter attacks, we are going to call on Barack Obama to do something about it. And so far he’s done nothing.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (319 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Democrats sure do a lot of apologizing.

    April 8, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Jack Meyer

    More to the point, why do so many people view McCain as an expert on war. He spent most of the time in "his war" as a prisoner (unfortunate, but not battle experience). It would appear that his stance on Iraq is an attempt to vindicate his participation in an earlier unnecessary war that we "lost". The only Americans who lost in Vietnam and Iraq are those unfortunate military personnel who died or were permanently maimed (physically or mentally). We must stop the insanity in Iraq, and obviously McCain has no intention of ever doing that. Mentally, he's still in the Hanoi Hilton.

    April 8, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. Creative Woody

    Once again, Obama must apologize to the Right for something someone else said.

    I demand McCain apologize to me for the offensive remarks Hagee said!

    April 8, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. Nick Mann

    Obama does not have the leadership to personally denounce these vile statements because he does not want to annoy the leftist wackos that are putting money into the pockets of his campaign.

    April 8, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. Terry Williams

    Obama boasts of a campaign that is high minded. He doesn't attack people personally but sends out his "thugs" to attack his opponents. Obama should be held accountable for his surrogates just like how he held Clinton for her surrogates.

    Its his pattern of the double standard. He imposes standards on others but keeps himself on a differenst standard.

    Just like Don Imus and J. Wright. Its ok when J. Wright is racist against Whites but not ok for Imus to be racist against blacks.

    April 8, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Next McCain will demand an apology for stuff Hillary says.

    If a fellow senator says something McCain doesn't like, McCain should go to the senator.

    McCain is like the kid in the back seat, complaining because his brother hit him.

    April 8, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Andrew

    This is unnecessary.

    April 8, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. Andrew


    April 8, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. John in MN

    Obama should have addressed this name calling with Rockefeller from the beginning, but instead he just let it be until McCain said something and requsted an apology. Not Good.

    April 8, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. shelia

    you see every time obama ,his camp; or his supporter make a stupid or bad comment they are not accuse of going negative or a lier, or saying that they will do anything to win ,but if this was going to come from hillary she would already accuse of being a lier etc

    April 8, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Melissa M

    I don't understand why Obama supporters, who claim to be peace-loving uniters, seem so mean-spirited and childish, resorting to name-calling when they can't think of a logical argument. I have no doubt that Obama is a good man and could quite possibly become a great president, but these mean-spirited supporters will be his downfall – they make him look very, very bad. Whether it is high-ranking supporters, or the pro-Obama forces on the fringe who post on sites like this one, the name-calling and nastiness should stop or Obama doesn't have a chance to make it to the White House

    April 8, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Alfredo

    Obama is irresponsible and can not be trusted.

    April 8, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. VJ

    People are stupid enough to think Saddam did 9/11, So I will not be puzzled if infact such strategies work...

    Now, McCain... please apologize to Obama for all the comments made by talk show hosts, bloggers, criminals etc who support you - AND - you have to apologize everyday since every day YOUR SUPPORTERS are saying bad, insane things....

    April 8, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Grif

    White is Right.........White is Right........... White is Right..

    Religion is Stupid!!! This is anElection for A Commander in Chief of the US Govenment... AND Not Popie the Pope....

    April 8, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. why?

    Why does Senator Obama have to apologize for what everyone else says? Last time I checked the constitution provided freedom of speech. If these people don't work for him then they are free to speak their minds. Get over it....

    April 8, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. ephra

    We all agree that McCain is a hero,, but com on!!
    should I apologize too... sorry rose if I roughed up your petals;
    wait, my cat wants to apologize too

    April 8, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. Lisa, AR

    Now, how old is McCain???????? I think he is well past infancy.

    For such a hero, he sure has soften in his old age. If he becomes POTUS, will be outraged everytime someone says something he or his surrogates do not like? This is not recess time. You can't run and tell the teacher. Gee, sounds like my first graders.

    April 8, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. Rainy

    OMG, John McCain is a crybaby. I would never apologize to him for anything. He thinks just because he's a Vietnam vet/POW that he automatically is the best choice for president and for situations about Iraq? That's a bunch of bull.

    April 8, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. Scott L

    Wow! Just saw Obama speak to General Petraeus on the hill.

    He kept stuttering for words and looking at his scripted speech and questions, was this his only action on the foreign service committee???

    Not sure what people see in this guy...I would vote Hillary over him any day, but McCain gets my vote. And yes I voted for Kerry in '04.

    These sensitive times require a heavy hand in the world. Won't be any swift boaters this time around...

    April 8, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. Terry from VA

    Get over it. Senator McCain's colleague made the statement and he apologized to Senator McCain. If the McCain camp wants to get petty like the Clinton camp. Bring it on. We can not wait to call the Senator a warmonger for his stands on the war and his joking about "bomb. bomb. bomb, bomb, bomb Iran".

    By the way just becuase he spent 5 years in a POW camp does not make him a Military hero, It makes him a American Hero but not a Military hero. In addition, it certainly does not make him a military expert(clearly)

    April 8, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. Joe in PA

    I heard over the weekend a story that the Columbian President or representative mentioned Barack Obama specifically in a speech and his opposition to the proposed free trade agreement with Colombia, while the story made point that the same person did not mention Hillary Clinton. Has anyone in the media asked the question, "Why was Clinton not mentioned?". Then we find out that a Clinton campaign representative is not opposed to the proposed free trade agreement with Colombia and was actively negotiating with Columbia. Did Columbia know the familiar Clinton rhetoric of saying anything to the voters to be elected.. Barack Obama has convinced me of the change in Washington to "Mean what you say"
    It would not suprise me one bit, if given the chance, she would vote for it. I would also hate for Hillary to wake up at 3am to answer the phone and misspeak, then use the excuse of sleep deprivation. Hillary if you are sleep deprived, don't pick up the phone.

    April 8, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. Earl

    OK Obama lovers –

    How do you respond to the last sentence?

    “As long as people affiliated with Barack Obama’s new brand of politics continue to make gutter attacks, we are going to call on Barack Obama to do something about it. And so far he’s done nothing.”

    Does sound like unity and healing to me.

    April 8, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. John, PA

    This is insane! Why is McCain crying about this? O didn't say it. Is he going to apoligize for every nasty attack that the Repubs make about O in the general?......NOPE! So lets not start with this I'm sorry because so and so said so and so about so and so........Get over it McSane!

    April 8, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Please Read the article

    Its like some of you people either can't read or chose not to.

    April 8, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Craig from Rockford. Illinois

    Poor John getting Swiftboated? Listen to them whine! Obama doesn't owe McCain an apology. He never said anything. McCain's own party (Bush/Rove) slimed him much worse than any Obama supporter has. Did he ever get an apology from them? Anyone remember the rumors spread in the Carolinas about fathering a black child? DId W ever apologize for Swiftboating Kerry?

    April 8, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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