April 28th, 2008
09:31 AM ET
13 years ago

McCain: 'What we did was perfectly legal and appropriate'


Sen. McCain was joined by his wife, Cindy, at a Florida press conference Sunday. (AP Photo)

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, didn't waste a lot of verbiage reacting to the New York Times report on his use of a private jet belonging to his wife's company for campaign trips - at less cost than normal charter flights

At a news conference in Coral Gables, Florida, McCain used just eight words to respond to a reporter's question before moving on. "What we did was perfectly legal and appropriate," McCain said. The Arizona senator didn't answer the part of the reporter's question about whether the use of plane contradicted McCain's stance on campaign finance reform.

There is nothing illegal about what McCain did. Under a law which McCain supported, presidential candidates are now required to pay charter rates rather than just less expensive commercial first class rates when they use corporate jets. But under an FEC exemption, candidates don't have TO reimburse full costs if the plane is owned BY a candidate, a candidate's family, or by a privately held company controlled by a candidate or a candidate's family member. (The FEC has tried to end the family exemption, but didn't have enough sitting commissioners to change the rule, according to the Times report.)

The Times story said McCain used the jet over a 7-month period starting last summer, mostly for campaign trips. The campaign paid $241,149 for the trips.far less than the cost for normal charter trips.

Why are some raising questions over it? The Times reported some campaign finance experts said using the exemption goes against the spirit of the new law, and McCain has championed campaign finance reform. McCain had also said he didn't plan to use his wife's wealth to help with the campaign last summer.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (330 Responses)
  1. JB Cal

    Hey american, I'm trying to decide which is the bigger problem for you. The fact that he's black or the fact that you want to believe he's muslum. Oh, try spell check or a dictionary next time, it will set you free.

    April 28, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  2. Iara Alencar

    I see no problem in using what is his.

    April 28, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. Freddy-D

    And he regards Obama as the elitist...

    April 28, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  4. Uncle Sam

    The change we can believe in ultimately lies, not in a presidential candidate, but rather begins with us.

    April 28, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  5. Florida Voter

    "New York Times" enough said.

    McCain / Rice '08

    April 28, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. Hank in PA

    Does anyone really care? His wife owns the plane, he is within the law, so why bother to report it? Of course, if this were Hillary, they would be calling for her to quit running because of this.

    The media is a big joke - start acting like you are reporting news and issues instead of pandering to the lowest story available!

    April 28, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  7. Bill

    I guess she gave him the Senior Discount!

    April 28, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. Tanya Kujath

    Sounds like Bush. We don't need or can stand that kind of POOR leadership in America, again. DEMOCRATS UNITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 28, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  9. John

    "What we did was perfectly legal and appropriate."

    "I remember landing under sniper fire."

    Hillary and McCain are starting to sound like Richard "I am not a crook" Nixon.

    Why a member of the Keating 5 and a supposed "advocate" of Campaign Finance Reform would try to justify this as "perfectly" appropriate is beyond me.

    It's this kind of self-righteous behavior that's going to keep him out of the White House.

    April 28, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  10. norb

    Beats driving a beer truck from town to town.

    April 28, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. Robert

    The NYT can't help tripping over themselves trying to get something to stick to McCain.
    Please stick to journalism 101 and report the news instead of inventing it.

    April 28, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. Tiredofit

    Leave it to the brain dead liberals to find something wrong with saving some money!

    April 28, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  13. John in PA

    Cindy McCain is so hot!

    April 28, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. Tony Tx

    I hope everyone is as tired as I am of turning on the news and seeing Obama or Rev. Wright.

    Is this what we are going to see for 4 years. Who ever heard of these people? If you listen to them for very long you will go insane!!!

    Promises, Promises, Promises....from the most liberal of all!!!


    April 28, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  15. TODD

    UMMM, Who did John McSame say the elitist was in this campaign season. Barack, ha. I don't think Barack has a private jet.

    Obama 08

    April 28, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  16. MomGrandma

    To Tom Huntington,NY Elitism carries many meanings, but Senator Obama's statement demeaned the people of PA .

    As far as Senator McCain using his wife's private jet...Sour grapes?!

    April 28, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  17. Working Gal in Big D

    Boy, CNN, what are you trying to do now? Stay on track with your pumping up of OBAMA so McCain can beat him!

    April 28, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. Tom Eyemdaman

    Let's see – McCain is talking about issues and the Democrats are throwing mud. Who has the high road? Keep yourself out of the Democratic mud, McCain, and run on the issues!

    As much as McCain would welcome a character debate (no one holds a candle to him!), he's trying to keep this contest about the issues and let America decide what's right for the country.

    Stop the division and talk about how to solve our problems!!!

    McCain 08

    April 28, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. g

    Some of you nobama nabobs are so drunk on your messiah's koolaid, it's so hilarious. You don't remember your great JFK who flew all over the country in 1960 on his private plane, the Caroline? You nabobs- get ready for your boy to join McGovern and Mondale in being a big loser in November.

    April 28, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Ed K.


    I have no comment on this subject but I am setting here watching R.
    Wright on CNN at the Press Club. This guy is a nut living in the past and leading black people down the wrong path. As long as people like Wright keep beating this "Race" horse we will stay divided.


    April 28, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  21. Tom Eyemdaman

    What McCain said responded perfectly to the reporter's question, "what we did was legal and appropriate"

    What more do you want? Stop slinging mud and talk about how to solve America's problems!!

    April 28, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  22. Warren Cohen

    We all know how the NY Times feels about McCain – only the news THEY feel is fit to print

    April 28, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. Kansas Veteran

    While I respect McCains military service, it is really nice to see that he is a man of the people. Hey I don't want anyone telling me I cann't use my wifes private jet for political purposes either.

    April 28, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. Barack the Vote in RI

    Can we stay focused please. This is nonsense.


    April 28, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Debby

    I don't care if McCain travels in the back of a turnip truck, he is going and talking to people of all walks of life. CNN is ducking putting the Wright sermon last night on their ticker I wonder why. LOL

    April 28, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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