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. Anonymous

    We all respect and honor McCain for his service, but are we supposed to beleive we are not allowed to critcize him?

    April 8, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. Tell the truth

    It was the truth. I wish everyone would based there statements on facts and issues. A vote for McCain equal war and another 4 years of Bush. Please read and think and vote Obama

    April 8, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Nedu

    Is this simply a desperate attempt by the McCain campaign to stay in the news? Since when did bomb bomb McCain become so sensitive? Did I mis-read something? Should Obama also apologize for the fact that I believe McCain is a warmonger? Give me a break.

    April 8, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Jim

    We all respect and honor McCain for his service, but are we supposed to believe we are not allowed to criticize him?

    April 8, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Well, I'm a independent that knows both camps are full of it...what I am seeing is to date the lunatic left is making all the smear attacks, when those radical right wingers start the attacks the lunatic left will start crying as usual. If you are going to start a fight don’t look to the independents to bail you out. Maybe you should stop finding fault with your rivals and really come up with solutions for the country and stop placing your political party or favorite special interest groups ahead of the country. Oh yeah one last comment if you really think you and your political party know all the answers than you are really no different than the devout political party supporters from Nuremberg and Munich during the 30's..............

    April 8, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. John

    Obama and camp scream bloody murder when Hillary's surrogates make comments like these. Then he fails to repudiate them when his own surrogates do the same thing to McCain. He claims to be taking the high road, then he sends his minions out to crawl right into the gutter.

    So much for new politics, same old politics as usual.

    April 8, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Willy

    Did you expect a democrat to stand up aganist a fellow socialist?

    April 8, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. notso

    as i welcome myself to the land of stupid, bored, underinformed ,overly opinioned, circular logicly challanged, and unfortunately, registered to vote people, i offer the following: nobody cares what JR says, said, or will do, therefore why should Obama denounce anything; next, anyone who thinks being a POW is a political advantage is an idiot, because if it was a political advantage they would all do it; finally, being a POW and or pilot in a war may not make JM a hero in everone's book but he served his country and his life was on the line (kind of like HC at the airport in Bosnia or BO in ……. , nevermind).

    April 8, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. George

    Is freedom of speech going to be an issue in this presidential campaign? I am an Obama supporter – gave my $25.00 – who happens to think that Mccain and Pres. Bush are both warmongers. Will Obama be expected to apologize for my comment?

    April 8, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Joe

    Obama did not say anything derogatory and has nothing to apologize for. The only important thing to think about is how O8ama will extract us from the mess in Iraq. McCain will send our grand children to be killed by roadside bombs while playing referee in a civil religious conflict that is a thousand years old. This is a no brainer election.

    April 8, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Bukky

    Are you serious? Why should Obama personally apologize for ANOTHER senators statement. McCain and Rockerfeller work in the same building, why doesnt he just want down the ailse and get his apology from rockerfeller.

    They are trying to make it seem like Obama insulted Him when Obama had NOTHING to do with what was said.

    April 8, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Proud American-R

    If Obama won't step up to the plate now, then what would he do if he were President? This just goes to show you what he really is!

    April 8, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. Real change

    It makes you mad doesn’t Senator McCain? It’s disrespectful and unfair isn’t it Senator?
    Now…here is what I would tell McCain if I were Obama. I’ll apologize to you just as quick as you return the money you have taken form the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and apologize for what they said about Kerry. Until then you can just sit there and be mad (and be a hypocrite).

    April 8, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. John

    From the news: Ms. Ferraro, . . .who backs Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, [said]: “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

    She made the comments last week, but on Tuesday, the Obama camp latched on to them, calling them outrageous and demanding that Mrs. Clinton repudiate them.

    You see, Obama demands that Clinton personally repudiate comments from her surrogates, and then refuses to do so himself. What a hypocrite.

    April 8, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. heather

    oh mccain stop being a cranky old man. is this the temper acting up? what do you want him to do reject and denounce and whatever else term is good enough for your ego? you are sounding like hillary

    let go

    April 8, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. anon

    Rockefeller needs to appologize to every US bomber crew or fighter pilot who ever dropped a bomb in warfare. He suggested they don't care about life

    April 8, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. SUE, Michigan

    I also think all the "new" Democrats registering for the PA primary are bored Republicans who want Obama to win so they can beat him in November.

    April 8, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Obama Supporter

    People – if you are a senator supporting Obama that just means that (A) you are a democratic senator and (B) you decided not to support Hillary Clinton. Just because you decide to come out and say "I support Obama" doesn't make you the mouthpiece of his campaign!!!

    I'm starting to think McCain may need to "chill out," in the words of WJC, as well as the dem candidates. Everyone calm down and don't be so touchy!!!

    April 8, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. kim portland, oregon

    chudi, thanks for sharing that, i had no idea. but it is so interesting cuz i have been thinking that people on here have been sounding more angry and ignorant lately--and that would DEFINITELY explain it!!!

    i was seriously getting depressed cuz i was beginning to think that we dems had turned into a bunch of stupid name-calling half-wits that would do anything a bloated, self-hating, idiot radio host told us to do.

    April 8, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. Dusty

    I thought McCain was supposed to be tough. Look, what Rockefeller said was inappropriate – but come on, people. When are we as Americans going to say enough? Let's be a serious nation here, people.

    Rockefeller is not a paid staffer of the Obama campaign. He's accountable only to himself, and he apologized.

    Don't be fooled, folks – it's plain now that McCain's people are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill here, hoping it smears Obama with voters. Obama didn't say those words, and there'd be no benefit for him to have a surrogate say something that (politically, at least) stupid. Now McCain wants to exploit his victimhood. For someone who uses the footage of the most horrible episode in his life as campaign advertisement fodder, I can't say I'm surprised.

    April 8, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Big Tex in Texas

    How can McCain complain about twisting words....remember how he twisted Romney's words..."timetables".....McCain can only win if Clinton's team keeps it up , as in RUSH, HANNITY, SAVAGE, all of KTRH...Obama also has to battle BIll, Hillary, and CHelsie.....what a man!!!

    April 8, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. Dan

    It was a spokesperson…” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. Haha what a priceless quote. You beat me to it Bryce.

    April 8, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. Darryl

    McCain is full of himself. Obama need not..

    April 8, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. SaneTexan

    RE: Chudi -Wrong...I'm a life-long Democrat and I will NOT vote for Obama. He is a phoney. He gives a big race speech and then says crap like "typical white person". He is going to lose the general election. Many like myself are tired of being labeled racists eveytime that we question his integrity, etc. He has divided the party and will divide the nation even more if he is elected...which isn't going to happen.

    April 8, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. bakersfield


    April 8, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13