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. Michael

    News flash: John McCain is a politician, the rules apply to the other guy.

    April 27, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  2. Femi in Minneapolis

    Em.....see the question was not about the legality of your actions Pa Mcain! it was about your ever so potent rethorics matching your rash actions. You hate lobbists, but your league of top advicers head lobbying firms. You think the government under bush was a failure to the people of New Orleans: because Bush did'nt land a plane in the midst of the caos, but you were with him on a plane cutting birthday cakes during that same moment. Your wife claims shes a patoit, especially when compared to Mrs Obama, but wont release her tax returns showing how transparent her husband is. she claims she needs to protect her children. Didn't Mechelle Obama, the Un-patriot release hers? so lets be clear here Senior McCain, you do things very legal.....but they dont say what or who you are.

    April 27, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  3. A.

    Even if the price is less than commercial flights, it is one more example of elitism. The corporate jet is suppose to make people feel better? What happened to McCain in Viet Nam is undeniably wicked, but let's not confuse the war hero with the man who has become an embittered political elitist and doesn't even realize it. He is out of touch with the people who have been most hurt by his party. If he wants to win, he has to make great strides to distance himself from Bush politics, not follow him around like tumbleweed.

    April 27, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. Paco

    Right. And he is calling Obama elitist? Thank you to the NY Times for pointing this out.

    April 27, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  5. WJS

    In the larger scheme of things, when you consider the amount of money Obama has collected/spent so far, this is small potatoes. At least McCain's honest about it. Obama acts like he's God's gift to clean politics, while single-handedly making this the most expensive Presidential race in history.

    April 27, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  6. Marissa

    sounds like something Bush would say

    April 27, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  7. ed fl

    typical of you old right wing kooks .everything is bad unless it is one of the GOP nuts. Your turn is coming old man

    April 27, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  8. Coloradan


    I REALLY look forward to the Presidential debates when Obama pushes his buttons and he flies off the handle!!!

    April 27, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  9. That's Reality

    "Why are some raising questions over it? " because they're having a hard time finding something to criticize McCain for.

    April 27, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  10. Montana is Obama Country

    What an ELITIST.....

    April 27, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  11. D Gran

    Who cares? This is coming from a democrat!!!!!!!!!!

    April 27, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  12. shaun

    I don't see a blog yet on Rev Jeremiah wrights powerful speech yet...whats up with that CNN?

    This Speech completely alters the negative view of this man and his message, so why won't you make light of that?

    Does the media want to take every opportunity to divide us through race?...oh yeah..

    see how perception is altered when you play something in its entirety?


    April 27, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  13. charlotte

    Rich people always use the law to jump through loop holes. It is called being smart. Can't blame him for the loop hole..

    April 27, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  14. wordsseldomsaid

    as a leftist i can't see the big deal here...what is wrong with saving money?...this is a stupid thing to be upset about..i would all politicians found ways to save all us money...

    the things poepl wish to fuss about...sheesh...

    April 27, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  15. charlotte

    Rich people always use the law to jump through loop holes. It is called being smart. Can't blame him for the loop hole

    April 27, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  16. CL

    This is a non issue.

    April 27, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  17. charlotte

    This will no doubt run for days.. All of these politicains have way more money then most of us do. Well, maybe not more then the Obama-bots.

    April 27, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  18. NObama

    Hmmm he used his wife's company plane...Why is this even a story?

    Oh it's because Obama needs to deflect attention from his minister talking crap again....

    Goodbye Obama!!!

    April 27, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  19. Obama 08

    And he's not an elitist? Wow!

    -Never McCain

    April 27, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  20. Bayou Joe

    Go McCain tell these NY Times Liberals off. They need to ask Obama where his funding is really coming from not how you use your own resources. For those of you who don't know. Arizona is a community property state. It is his property too...and he can do whatever he pleases with.

    April 27, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. Dennis

    McCain is targeting Obama on economic issues. Must be a small target because Obama's ecomonic policy has little substance and all talk.

    Goog luck John, you will need a microscope to study Obama's plans. Better make a copy of his policies because Obama has tendency of changing plans on the fly.

    April 27, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  22. Pete


    thanks for the news.

    i'm sure that his using of a non-government plane with non-government funds will have everything to do with the campaign this fall.

    great reporting.

    April 27, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  23. FNJ in Pa

    HE IS A WAR VET! He can do whatever he wants to!

    Whatever John!

    Obama 08

    April 27, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  24. clintons out of control

    come on CNN and the biased media...........waht about Clinton using a private jet???why none reports on that//
    leave Senator McCain alopne, he is honest......................

    why does not CNN focus on what clinton has been doing, all the illegal things?

    April 27, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  25. clintons out of control

    whyis cnn not publishing my comments, because I said you are biased and not saying a thing about the clintons using private jets???

    leave senator McCain alone, he is at least honest................

    April 27, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
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