May 9th, 2008
12:15 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain defends his 'bearings'

CNN

Watch portions Sens. McCain and Lieberman's remarks Friday.

NEWARK, New Jersey (CNN) – John McCain on Friday defended his charge that the terrorist organization Hamas is rooting for Barack Obama to win the presidency - and said voters were welcome to discuss whether his age should be a factor in the fall campaign.

A Hamas official told an interviewer last month that the group approved of Obama's candidacy. Friday, McCain said the group's opinion is relevant - despite Obama's characterization of that opinion as a “smear.”

“It's very obvious to everyone that Senator Obama shares nothing of the values or goals of Hamas, which is a terrorist organization,” McCain said. “But it's also fact that a spokesperson from Hamas said that he approves of Obama's candidacy. I think that's of interest to the American people.”

McCain's campaign reacted with outrage Thursday to Obama's remark that the senator was “losing his bearings” over the course of the campaign - a phrase they said was a dig at the Arizona senator's age. But McCain himself said Friday the language didn't bother him.

“I ignore it,” McCain said. “I don’t take offense to it.”

Asked if the Obama comment was in fact a reference to his age - and whether that topic was a fair issue in the campaign - McCain said voters are welcome to discuss it.

“Any discussion in my view of any issue that the American people think is legitimate is up to them,” McCain said, adding that the topic of Obama’s former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright is also fair game.

“Every issue that the American people want to be an issue, if it's part of their discussions, it's fine with me, it's fine with me,” he said. “Just as the Rev. Wright’s remarks. I don’t believe that Sen. Obama shares his views in any way, but he has said it’s a legitimate topic of discussion. If that’s what the American people want to discuss, that’s fine.”

McCain said he will “display the same vigor and the same energy that I have been able to display throughout this campaign.”


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. proud army and navy mom

    if it's not a big deal, why put out a press release making it a big Deal..ooh i get it ....you forgot

    May 9, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  2. Jan from Boca Raton, Fl/

    Don't the American people think it strange that Hamas supports
    Obama.

    Obama has a very interesting group of friends.

    VOTERS BEWARE.....

    May 9, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. HillarySkank on myspace

    Mr. McCain, just because you were a hero after being shot down in Viet Nam does not mean that you have earned the right to be president over anyone else. The fact that you even let W best you make me wonder if you really have what it takes.

    May 9, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. proud army and navy mom

    if it's not a big deal, why put out a press release making it a big Deal..ooh i get it ....you forgot

    May 9, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. pat

    JOHN LOOK AT HILLARY VERY CLOSLEY SHE WOULD MAKE A GREAT VP. ASK HER PLEASE.

    May 9, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Paris

    John McCain stated the facts, that is all.
    John McCain is a honorable man and he doesn’t use dirty politics.
    The bigger question is why Hamas is interested in Obama and likes him. ****CNN do your job and find out why?****
    This is a very valid and legitimate question. It is not smear politics.
    Or at least ask Obama why he thinks that is?
    That was one my questions send to Wolf and he failed to ask it.
    I wonder why?

    May 9, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Moderate Dem

    How are the opinions of Hamas officials relevant? Maybe they are engaging in Rush Limbaugh style "operation chaos." I bet they want McCain in office because he will continue to antagonize and de-stabilize the middle east like George Bush has done for eight years. Such de-stabilization will allow for Hamas to push its extreme, violent agenda.

    Hamas is trying to outsmart America by putting its cancerous loyalty behind the candidate that would be most harmful to their extremist cause. McCain is playing right into their hands.

    May 9, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. David Goldman for OBAMA

    NO ONE CARES WHAT THESE TWO HAGS HAVE TO SAY.

    May 9, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. HiFi

    Hey Jan from "Rat's Mouth" ...Hamas can say whatever they want. He will deal with them when he becomes president. McCain hasn't just lost his bearings, he doesn't know which end of the microphone to speak into.

    OBAMA '08

    May 9, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. seyi

    LOL... McCain should learn from Hillary right now. Your age is an issue and as it took a while for Hillary to release her taxes, its taking a while for you to release your Health records. You are 72 and it is our right to know the health situation of someone who has half the chance of being president. Your people started this... Obama sisnt say anything about your age. Maybe you are loosing bearing

    May 9, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. M Philllips

    Why is Bill Lieberman always with McCain? Is he a ventriloquist? Who is the puppet?

    May 9, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. Matt

    Since the start of the war in Iraq, al-qaeda recruiting has been much easier. There was no al-qaeda in iraq prior to the invasion. So to say "we're going to stay there for 100 years if need be" is probably welcome news to al-qaeda. Gives them more opportunities to recruit.

    Now, which do you really want? Somebody who, on record, has supported something that has lead to al-qaeda recruiting or somebody who has no connection to Hamas than Hamas stating his opinion?

    May 9, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. American Girl

    Go to Sleep GrandPas!
    Let the next generation who will be alive to deal with the issues your generation created Lead our nation.

    Old Men Make Wars that Young Men must Fight.

    No McSame/Bush/Liberman/Clinton

    Liberman switched sides because of his "Jewish Race".
    We can not just keep fighting everyone. That is not the adult thing to do or the right thing to do.

    For McCain to try to say Hamas supports Barack, is uncalled for... but then again, maybe the Hamas leader is banking on American Fear and trigger happy McCain so that there will be an ongoing war for the Radical Muslim cause. Have you ever thought of that Mr. McSame!

    Obama '08

    May 9, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. Uncle Sam

    Obama supporters do not believe that their candidate should be held responsible for the Hamas endorsement. He is also not responsible for his 20-year affiliation with a black liberation theology church. Nor is he responsible for a close relationship with its militant pastor. And certainly not responsible for his friendship with an unrepentant terrorist. And again, not responsible for his comments in San Francisco. Basically, Sen. Obama is not responsible.

    Americans for McCain '08

    May 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Debby

    Lets see Wright, Hamas, Ayers, Rezko, thats quite a resume of supporters. hahaha

    May 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Joe Regis

    IS HAMAS VOTING TO CHOSE THE PRESIDENT OF THE USA?

    HAMAS IS FROM WHAT STATE/S?

    THE LAST TIME I CHECK, HAMAS WAS IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

    WHEN DID THE EARTH SHIFT?

    OR ARE WE SPREASING FEAR ALREADY!!!

    OBAMA 08.

    May 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    It's a very big deal!!
    A "dove" President like Obama–who may undo most of the mid-east strategy (developed over decades) that is finally achieving some results in the region–is of interest to terrorist organizations and despot leaders (Iran/Syria)–and should be of interest to Americans who are each targets of radical Islamic terrorists.

    May 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. NoBama

    Nine of Ten terrorists support Obama.
    The FARC also is happy that Obama may be president.

    All he needs now is an Osama for Obama endorsement and he is DONE.

    May 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Kenneth M

    DONT WORRY ABOUT OBAMA. YOU HAVE HEARD OF SLICK WILLIKE, BUT YOU DONT WANT TO MESS WITH HIS WIFE SLICK HILLIE. PRAY THAT OBAMA WINS THE NOM OR SHE WILL GET YOU.

    May 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. I used to be a Democrat

    I think John McCain's age is a reason to vote for him.

    May 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. seyi

    To Jan from Boca Raton, Fl/: How naive a statement for you to make. You have a very interesting thought process which doestn make any sense

    May 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA

    THESE TWO LOSERS HAVE BEEN AROUND SINCE

    TIME & MEMORIAL & HAVE GOTTEN ABSOLUTELY

    O DONE. WHO CARES WHAT THEY THINK.

    May 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Independent

    The world and the people have changed. Clinton didn't realize it and played the same old politics and she lost. Now it looks like its McCain's turn.

    May 9, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. VoteforAmerica

    Finally the Hope message has finally bitten the Hamas too!!hahaha. They are also hoping for the great Hope that is going to come on Jan 20 , 2009 after all the years of bitterness and murderous rhetoric. Maybe they will even start peace negotiations with Israel. I am still waiting for Iran's President, "Abadaba" (sorry I cant spell his long name!!) and Hugo Chavez's endorsements.

    May 9, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. FreshAir

    "I'm Joe Lieberman and I'll grandstand for dollars, even crappy American dollar's I've help destroy."

    May 9, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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