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. Mary

    Straight talk?

    "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 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  2. Travis

    Maybe because he saved some money is why everyone is upset?

    April 27, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  3. Dawn

    To wordsseldomsaid:

    Agreed. although I am an Obama supporter, this is nothing. Let's keep our eye on the ball, not on non-issues.

    April 27, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. GT in CA

    The Straight-Talk Express lost another wheel...

    April 27, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  5. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    Hey, how about some fairness here!

    Has CNN even tried to find out how much Barack pays when he uses Michele's jet?

    April 27, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  6. Cynthia

    And he and Senator Clinton have the nerve to call Senator Obama an elitist. Go figure!

    April 27, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  7. Daniel P. Christopher from New York

    I don't see anything illegal, unethical or immoral here. i won't vote for the man but that's for other reasons.

    April 27, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  8. Jim

    And with that answer the press will not approach the subject again, just like they dont with his pastor problems, his temper, his stance on torture, taxes.........I mean come on he has good BBQ,

    April 27, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  9. David Goldman for OBAMA







    April 27, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  10. Neutral

    Obama uses private jet paid for by his campaign donors, McCain uses private owned by his wife and it is LEGAL!

    Are you Obama koolaid drinkers envious Cindy McCain is filthy rich?......ROTFLMAO!

    Prior to that, McCain uses commercial flight while campaigning.

    Use private jet John, that is LEGAL! I am ALL for it!!

    April 27, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  11. JuleS, Chicago

    The War Hero apparently puts himself above others in many more ways thasn we will ever know. Between his separately filed tax return and promises to keep our sons and daughters in Iraq forever, and now this, McCain is proving himself to be as much a poltician as those he criticizes.

    He's a pathetic figure already and now just bastardizing whatever legacy he might have left, by making this tired gasp for one last moment in the political sun.

    April 27, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  12. Nikole

    WJS-You are criticizing Obama b/c people who have NEVER donated to a Presidential campaign before actually want to donate to him? Wow.......you know you're doing well when people start hating on you for no good reason.

    April 27, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  13. Glenn

    Yeah, right! McCain is no Mister sqeaky clean.

    April 27, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  14. David in Canada

    Release your wifes taxes McCain, this is one example of why this must happen. Also, the public must be sure that there have not been large "favours" that will have to be paid back.

    April 27, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  15. georgia

    And Madam Billary is helping him attempt to discredit the candidate
    who wants to run an honest campaign.
    Voters stay alert & focused. you will see many sleight of hands & smoke screens !!

    April 27, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  16. Gaby

    McCain is old politics

    April 27, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  17. Grif

    You Begat what you Get.. THis is Not the Beginning of the end, But it's close.. A Melting Pot... Without the Pot..

    April 27, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  18. Umpire

    But, didn't McCain help write the law that contained the particular loophole he has taken advantage of? Not every candidate has a spouse who has a jet to lend.

    April 27, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  19. Rational Thinker

    I can think of word starting like "hyp" and ending in "crite" to describe JM

    April 27, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  20. Coleman R. Brice, Asbury Park, NJ

    Obama's out of touch?

    April 27, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  21. WT

    If it was legal and cheaper......BRAVO!!!...........the man is using "good sense". That's the kind of man this country needs to lead it.

    April 27, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  22. Ohio Citizen

    It certainly was perfectly legal......and elitist.

    April 27, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  23. Jason from Colorado

    Hmmm.... and Obama's the elitist?

    McCains' Net Worth: 45 mil
    Clintons' Net Worth: 41.4 mil
    Obamas' Net Worth: 1.3 mil

    Am I missing something?

    April 27, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  24. Jason

    Wow, it must be a slow day on the McCain campaign trail.

    Isn't there some other more interesting incendiary anti-Republican soundbyte the media can play up?

    April 27, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  25. Fly Boy

    Good for him. Go ahead and use the plane.

    April 27, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
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