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. Okra Mouth

    In the bible, even though God loved David, God did not allow David to lead his people in building His Temple.
    The reason God gave was because, His temple represents peace, and David was a man of war, and his hands had shed too much blood.

    In a similar way, I admire all our soldiers, but I don't think the leader of such a great country promoting PEACE IN THE WORLD should be a man of war like McCain, whose hands has shed human blood.

    Sorry McCain, I don't think soldiers, especially Bomber Pilots like you…. should run for president.

    What Sen. Rockefeller said was true, and there is nothing to apologize for.
    His comment does not mean all soldiers should be hated.

    April 8, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Obama Nation

    the protocted one..he has been pampered this entire campaign

    April 8, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Justin from West Haven, CT

    Let's face it Hillary supporters are bitter.

    April 8, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. C Watson

    "The Obama campaign and Rockefeller both apologized "

    How is it that John McCain is 71 and I'm left wondering if he's grown up yet? I'd expect this from Clinton but I'm a little surprised McCain is being so petty.

    They've both apologized. Get over it.

    We have McCain's lack of knowledge on the economy and "war mongering" to discuss (j/k).

    April 8, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. T

    I served proudly. I'm not going to vote to elect an old man who is wrong about almost everything simply because he served, too.

    All the people saying, HOW DARE YOU NOT HONOR THIS SOLDIER!!!, I bet a lot of them didn't honor John Kerry, or Al Gore, both of whom had service in Vietnam while Bush was falling off his barstool. These jerks honor soldiers when it's politically convenient, like when they schedule Medal of Honor ceremonies to preempt congressional hearing coverage.

    April 8, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Fazio Cufino

    What exactly does McCain want? Obama's group apologized... now accept it and move on. Does McCain want something in writing – perhaps a "reject" and "denounce" declaration from Obama?.... This represents just another lame opportunity to get press coverage to disparage Obama and those that support him. See through this everyone.

    April 8, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. NickNas

    LOL WOW They are getting so filled with fear about running against Obama they are trying to help Hillary?? WOW

    This attempt is just so weak it is actually funny.

    April 8, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Mike Coleman

    If McCain is crying about someone saying nasty things about him, he should remember and take back some of his past statements. I remember when Obama first came into the Senate and McCain asked him to join him on some legislation. Obama stated that he wanted to check with the Democratic leadership first and McCain went off on him. Did McCain apologize? No he didn't. I don't think Obama should apologize for any words that don't come directly from his own mouth.

    April 8, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Doug R.

    Why should Obama apologize?? After all the trash and garbage and hate the right and Republicans spew out at the Clinton's and Obama and this war hero McCain is crying already. What do you stand for McCain?? Take a hike grandpa. Go back to Arizona.

    April 8, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. YES WE CAN


    April 8, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Hillary Clinton


    don't you know I am the only one who can trash Barack as well as make up stories about him...

    If you don't stop you may find yourself under sniper fire like me in Bosnia... Oh wait I misspoke.. am I bad..!

    April 8, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. sara michelle b.

    Senator Obama has masqueraded as a "new politics" candidate from minute one while slinging every bit as much dirt as he has caught from others. Though this has been an effective tactic for Obama, it surely is the same bare knuckles politics that Americans have seen for years. When will Americans wake up to this game? Support Obama for his ideas, not because you are follish enough to believe that he isn't playing the same hardball as everyone else.

    April 8, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Ken in RI

    You know, back in the day, you could challenge someone to a duel if they insulted you. Now it seems that you can challenge someone to a duel if they're acquainted with someone who insults you.

    For a politician, this McCain guy sure has a thin skin. But, I've got to give him and/or his campaign peop[le credit. This is the second occasion where they have made it clear that only McCain's standard for adequacy will apply to any apologies for perceived slights. Obama had to "distance himself" from somone the other day who wasn't even involved in his campaign, simply because McCain wanted a "satisfactory" response.

    I think Obama should slap the old dude down on this one... since when did McCain start making the rules? Nip this trend in the bud... one apology is enough!

    April 8, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Redshift

    Wow, so McCain is going to apologize for anything objectionable that's said by anyone who supports him? Even if he only covers right-wing radio, he won't have time to do anything all day but apologize!

    Nah, I didn't think so either.

    April 8, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Robert Santa Rosa CA

    Wow. I support Obama, I think I'll say some nasty things about McCain so that Obama will need to apologize for my remarks. I hope he does not need to denounce and/or reject as well.

    April 8, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Davis

    McCain does seem to be sensitive. He has been inferring the democrats are losers and cowards. And he wants Obama to personally apologize.

    April 8, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Anthony-Minneapolis,MN

    Are you kidding me John McSame, McSame supporters and Clinton Supporters. You are what is wrong with America today, not taking responsibility for "YOUR OWN ACTIONS" demanding Obama, or Clinton or McSame to apologize for words uttered by someone that supports them is just complete crap and is a clear sign of an immature person. McSame likes to tout his war hero record and character but when he demands Obama apologize for the remarks of a supporter, please this guy is as fake as Pamela Anderson's sweater props. I am sure out of camera shot on the Senate floor McSame was called worse. I hold the candidates responsible for what they say and that includes what they say in response to what someone who supports them says. Key point what the candidate says not his minions.

    April 8, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Sandra

    When a candidate has to apologize for a comment made by a supporter it is a poor commentary on the election system. Observations, comments and opinions made by a supporter are not observations, comments and opionions made by the candidate. The voters (and the candidates) need to learn the difference

    April 8, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Concerned Democrat

    Just more political posturing.....

    April 8, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. IDonotseeanywrongwiththiscomment

    Why should obama apologize for some one grownup and repected Sen. Jay Rockefeller. The senetor already apologized for his comments, If I was the senetor I would of sticked with the comment , everybody knows MCsame is a warmonger.

    April 8, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Bryce Benton

    “It was a spokesperson...” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

    A spokesperson complaining about the insignificance of what a spokesperson says.

    April 8, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  22. True Independent, MD

    This is why the GOP has to voted into oblivion.

    I am tired of McCain behaving as if we all owe him.
    He is not the only PoW we know, yet, we know NONE who has benefitted and profitted from being a service man as he has.

    The only reason he wants a 'decent' campaign is so we don't talk about his adulterous relationship with current wife, before he married her. As well as her drug issues.

    We don't owe anybody. Yes, we are grateful to people who serve, but gee, he has had job security for decades. Let's say it like it is. People like McCain make me sick.

    There are so many who paid the ultimate price, I would rather talk about how their families are coping than about McCain's holier than thou attitude.

    Why should Sen. Obama apologize for what someone else said? Give me a break!

    April 8, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Glen

    Isn't it amazing how quickly the BO supporters cry racism and unfair when their man is attacked. I have never seen anybody attacked like Hillary Clinton (and I don't like her) and the treatment of Geraldine was unforgivable. I would not vote for BO because of his supporters, he has unleashed the Tyranny of the Self Righteous.

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

    Obama never does any wrong and his campaign has done no wrong to date, that's how Obama wants you to see it.

    Talk Change but seems like the same old poliTRICKS.

    A real leader with real solutions, HILLARY CLINTON, 2008!

    April 8, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Chuck

    It’s started. Obama will not make it when the Republicans start attacking him. Fox is going to make Obama look like a punk, and by this time next week Obama may look like Kerry in 04. Another Obama super delegate makes racist comments and now Rockefeller with this.
    Keep your on the ball Obama fans its going to get ugly.

    April 8, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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