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

McCain defends his 'bearings'


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. mary

    Are people really that stupid – Let's talk about McCain's affiliation. Did everyone forget the Keating 5 who McCain was always with.
    If he wants to play that game he better get ready for the dirt to come out on him because there is tons!

    May 9, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. ct dem

    Ugh, Lieberman, give up the charade and just become a Republican already. Then, you could be McCain's VP (but run for Senate, just in case he loses (like he did in 2000))

    More to the point of this article/comments, I am sad that people can think the Hamas "support" should make us question Obama, and McCain bringing up Rev Wright YET AGAIN is just unnecessary... Politics of Fear have gotten us to the state we are in today, and I for one, am not very proud of it.

    Do not get me wrong, I am proud to be an American but I also understand we have lost much of our respect and place in the continually globalizing world around us. The way to gain back the respect of other nations is not to be a bully and tyrant, but rather to be diplomatic and have the ability to interact without a rush to violence.

    Dems Unite/Obama '08

    May 9, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. jimmy vekmen



    May 9, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Cece

    We shoulld be happy that these idiot terrorist aren't trying to bomb us and destroy the US. Maybe someone they have respect for can talk some since into them, just a thought.

    May 9, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. Retired Navy Dem

    McCain couldn't beat out the dreadful gWbush. Much older now, but not necessarily wiser, Sen McCain will not be able to get the Repubies to get their fat wallets out to finance any legitimate Swift boat type attacks. McCain has lost before BHO has won the Dem primary. Say goodnight, John Boy.

    May 9, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Dale Wise

    McCain doesn't take offense at the statement? One more reason proving that he's lost his bearings. He's a senile old fool. Call a spade a spade.

    May 9, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Cece

    We shoulld be happy that these idiot terrorist aren't trying to bomb us and destroy the US. Maybe someone they have respect for can talk some since into them, just a thought.

    May 9, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |

    Lil McBush doesn't stand a chance this November. The fearmongers and racist supporting grandpa need to send their kids to Iraq in order for them to get slapped with a dose of reality.

    The experience that grandpa has doesn't mean a thing if he uses it to help the rich and neglect the poor.

    The young and educated will be out in record numbers supporting Obama this November.

    May 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Dave

    I would be so impressed to see a thoughtfull and mature comment from an Obamite for once – one without petty name calling, without paranoid dellusions, and one without the empty slogans.

    Please Obamites, define what "change" really means. Seems like back in the 1930's, the Germans wanted "change" without knowing what "change" really meant. Wow, did they and the rest of the world get it!!!!!

    I doubt this post will make it since it doesn't fawn over Obama.

    May 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. JFive

    Bearings? Would that be the same John McCain that was for the war before he opposed the war before he was against the war again? Bearings? Would that be the same John McCain who admitted he didn't know much about economics just before he launched his Gas Bag Proposal? Bearings? Would that be the same John McCain who benefitted from banking deregulation before he opposed it?

    May 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. KBest

    Poor McCain, you know you don't have a place in the Presidency. Good pilots never gets shot down in the first place. You lost your flight bearings then and you've certainly lost it again, this election circle.

    Why don't you just go home to retirement and beg your wife to share part of her wealthy heir with you?

    May 9, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. mac

    It should be obvious to an old Navy man like McCain. To "Lose one's bearings" means that one has lost direction (bearing in navy lingo). It has nothing to do with marbles or ballbearings! Obama's remarks are accurate and appropriate.

    May 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Shelley, NJ

    Hey "very smart lady",

    I think you need to change your blog name.........because what you are saying is not very smart. Sounds like you need to go back to your 'kkk' friends and get over your racist self! You should be ashamed to even put those thoughts into writing!

    May 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Someone wants to know why Lieberman is always hanging around McCain, well I know. Lieberman is there to remind McCain the metro van is outside waiting to take them back to the senior citizens home in time for dinner and shuffle board, then to bed.

    May 9, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Susan, Seattle

    What Hamas thinks is not of interest to this voter. I'm more interested in why McCain refuses to sign the GI Bill.

    May 9, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Jot

    At first I thought senator Lieberman was wrong to leave the democratic party to become independent. It was the right thing to do thanks for speaking out the truth for what you believe in. Obama is the weakest candidate ever presented by the democratic party, I'm with you and Mcain all the way

    May 9, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Lin Lo

    If anyone looks at the comments in the context in which they were said, they would realize that "losing his bearings" is NOT a reference to McCain's age. It 'as everything to do with him being totally out of touch with the American people. This is media-created nonsense. Give me a f**king break!

    May 9, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. rharrison

    3 points..

    1st – Obama has made it very very clear that he considers Hamas a terrorist group who he will not talk to until they lay down their arms and agree with current peace agreements.

    2nd – Who cares what Hamas says? This is politics of fear. The republicans did the same thing during the last presidential election claiming that Al Queda wanted a democrat in the white house. Who is dumb enough to fall for such stuff?

    3rd – If you read the whole quote it was actually kind of flattering if it had come from somewhere else – they were comparing Obama to JFK. Not too far of a stretch in my mind.

    May 9, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. Nunya

    1. You don't judge people by what morons might be in favor of them. There are morons in favor of any of them. Big deal.

    2. Losing one's bearings has nothing to do with age. It was all about straying from a commitment to run a respectful campaign based on issues instead of smears.

    3. Facts may be facts, but particular facts stated at certain times, in certain ways, in connection with certain other facts or implications or innuendos lead to distortions. When one engages those sorts of tactics, it doesn't matter whether it was only facts that was stated – the intent still was to smear, and that is reprehensible.

    May 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. Corey Ward

    Reading some of these responses is SCARY!! Wow, stuff like this makes you wonder if you really live in the United States of America.
    Some of you need to get a grip on reality and recognize who our real enemies are... And that every time we allow them to put ourselves against each other, they win little by little.
    And it's amazing how much we hate "politics" but that's what we use as a deciding factor when electing a "leader"

    Getting Back Our Respect 08

    May 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Craig- Easton, PA

    Reading Senator Obama's comments in context, I thought the "lost his bearings" comment was more a dig at McCain's consistency or integrity than his age. As in headed in the wrong direction or flip-flopping. And besides, age is an issue on both sides of that argument- arguing that McCain may not have the stamina or that Obama doesn't have the experience due to his lack of age. And those are both reasonable considerations for the voters. I don't see where an attack on McCain's age should be any more "outrageous" than taking a dig at Obama's.

    May 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Franky from Cali

    I really think that John McCain's bearings were lost when he was tortured as a POW in Vietnam. He's damaged goods. If McCain becomes the president I'm sure the VC will have a good laugh. People give McCain too much credit for being a good solder, the fact is that he was caught. That's kind of embarrasing, don't you think?

    May 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. Edu Minnesota

    Why raise unnecessary dust about nothing. Hammas has freedom of speech and they have the right to endorse whoever they want. I see it as a good signal to middle east peace and peace for Israel. You politicians think we are morons without gray matter. Mcain should focus on issues and stop spinning ideas.

    May 9, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Marc rich

    Obama was saying that he lost his moral bearings.

    I contend that his invovment in the Keating 5 scandal shows that he lost them a long time ago and do some googling

    He is too old. He mistaked shia and sunni 3 time in one week. he will not release his medical records. Reagan was Senile his second term do we want the same with Mc Cain. he will not live out his first term (sad but a fact)

    May 9, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Catherine

    I'm sorry but it is the most craziest thing to think just because Hamas would like to see Obama as president it means something negative upon Obama. If anything it shows, that even the enemies of the US see that Obama is good for the U.S. country and maybe the world.

    Come smarter then the voters of 2004. Don't let McCain play into your fears. That's how Bush won last time and look where we are today..100 times worse off and more vulnerable to terrorists attacks. Bush is going to go down in history as the worst US President.

    Supporting The Democrats To The Oval Office!!!!

    May 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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