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. blinky

    what next, will the NYT nail them for claiming legal deductions on their taxes, just because they are so dang rich? seems like he followed the law to me.

    April 27, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. Mary

    "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"

    lol........there goes all that "straight talk" out of their own private jet window!!!

    April 27, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. gman

    Hey if MCain can get around the law...don't he dare say anything Obama decides to forgo public financing for the GE. He has just lost that arguement.

    April 27, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  4. D. Seats

    I didn't really think much of the issue till he dodged the reporters question. It reminded me of something President Bush would say. Kind of a take it or leave it answer... as in...it's legal because I say so... next question!

    April 27, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. Mike

    Who cares? I mean really, who cares.... I am still voting for Obama anyway.

    April 27, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. Paris

    He is absolutely correct.
    Show me one law that he has gone against.

    April 27, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  7. Greg P.

    Legal & appropriate doesn't always equal ethical & moral.

    April 27, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  8. Herman LA, CA

    McCain is out of control and the media is just letting him get a way with murder. He says things and gets away with it and no one is speaking out on it why America? Why?

    April 27, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  9. John

    Seems legitimate to me. Obama probably gets his airline costs covered via Oprah Airlines

    April 27, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  10. George

    Hypocrite, hypocrite, hypocrite. McCain is a hypocrite.

    April 27, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  11. After further review,Texas

    Old goody two-shoes doesnt need our money as long as he has his sugar mommas dough.

    April 27, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |


    April 27, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  13. John


    April 27, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  14. A. Sims

    McCain if elected president will continue George Bush's philosophy of help only the wealthy elite, the rest of the American population are just human capital and dont matter in the least.

    April 27, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  15. Jed in Texas

    Well if thats ok then it should be ok to see her taxes and other financial interests since this is a joint venture.

    April 27, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  16. Rodney-Dallas TX

    CNN according to a straw poll on AOL. Clinton is leading nationally with 68%. Why are you not reporting that?

    April 27, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  17. Christian, Tampa FL

    This certainly isn't devastating, but it's one more indication that McCain isn't quite as honest as he says he is.

    Isn't it kind of elitist to use your wife's corporate jet?

    April 27, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  18. Bridgette

    I don't believe it something about McCain. Now you will probably not hear about this again. But if this were Obama or Clinton it would be a week long story. He is the one that has gotten a free ride.

    April 27, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  19. Sick and Tired, OH

    Surprise, surprise!

    April 27, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  20. Blayze Kohime

    Yes he did promise not to use his wife's wealth, which apparently doesn't include her lavish aircraft. Seems McCain is every bit as honest as Bush, I wonder what else he's lied about.

    April 27, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |

    Fishy! The straight talk express lost another wheel.

    April 27, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  22. steve

    This is typical for the NY Times. Throw red herrings at conservatives, and throw smoke screens for liberals.

    April 27, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  23. mike

    This candidate is calling Barack Obama an elitist? What a joke. Maybe it wasn't illegal, but how many people do you know that can borrow their wife's corporate jet? I would say a very small percentage of the population can do that. That's right, the elite few!

    April 27, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  24. W. J. Godfrey

    Willy from Canada

    I am now watching for the second time and listening to your analysts about Reverand Wright's speech. How can you have a fair perspective when both were mentioned in the speech, at least, twice and anyone who has watched your station for the past few months know that they are strong Obama supporters. In Canada, we call this a "Snow Job". How about some fairness.

    April 27, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  25. Luis

    Wow, Mccain not playing by the rules?

    He is taking cues and being groomed by BUSH so,
    no, im not surprised!

    Please dont elect this guy into office,
    he will ONLY continue the Republican Monarchy rule.

    Rules dont apply to these Kings, or haven't you been around
    to experience this during the BUSH Reign?

    April 27, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
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