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. Don

    it is of great interest to the American people. We are happy that organiztions like Hamas see one of our candidates as a possible person they can sit down with and negotiate with. McCain is giving us good information to strengthen our support of Senator Obama.

    May 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. raven

    It’s about time the AMERICAN people understand that everybody at one time they migrated to the US for better conditions of life. White, yellow, blacks all type of nationality.
    Do not forget THAT.
    GO OBAMA you will be our PRESIDENT, for all people in AMERICA

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

    This is simply a preview of the general election. McCain will tacitly support attacks on Obama while claiming he is running an honorable campaign. This so called "outrage" is cover for their impending negative attacks they plan to unleash.

    McCain if he choose to raise the Wright issue, will need to answer for Hagee and Parsley.

    May 9, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |

    This is simply a preview of the general election. McCain will tacitly support attacks on Obama while claiming he is running an honorable campaign. This so called "outrage" is cover for their impending negative attacks they plan to unleash.

    McCain, if he chooses to raise the Wright issue, will need to answer for Hagee and Parsley.

    May 9, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. leta

    4 years ago McCain said he was too old and sickly to be president.
    I guess senility has made him forget it.

    This smear of McCain more than his age is why he is losing his soelf called "maverick" mantel. He is nothing but a slimy politicia

    May 9, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Please use the full statement as it relates to "bearings." Taking the statement out of context is misleading

    May 9, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Word Bomb

    Goggle: the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and any of the following names: Obama, Clinton or McCain. These people do not care for the American people.

    Go Ron Paul!!

    May 9, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Krissy, FL

    Rev. Wright said a lot of things too, and you dismissed it as hogwash, but now you believe everything coming from the Hamas. You really are too old.

    May 9, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Don

    Lieberman needs to check his own bearings, they are stripped.

    May 9, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Got My Bearings

    I fail to see how "losing his bearing", which is a term for losing one's direction can be translated into "attack on my age". This is typical of hate politics. Attack and deliberately twist your opponents words until they appear to be true.

    Well what Obama actually did was use a very polite term – "losing his bearing", rather than a more true and less diplomatic "showing desperation and hatred and a willingness to use fear politics".

    It is a sad day in America when a man like Obama, who has tried hard to keep the discussion civil, is STILL swift boated by the Republican (and Clinton) machines.

    VOTE OBAMA and vote for a nuanced and intelligent view of the world!

    May 9, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Danny Blake

    I'm sure the Klan supports McCain, but is it relevant, when McCain does not share any of their beliefs?

    May 9, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. Iakavous

    Oh here's another one for you who try to link Obama to terrorists. Since 15 of the 19 attackers on 911 came from Saudia Arabia, and bush is so close to the royal family, maybe he is connected to this breeding ground for terrorist. Duh, think about it. You people who try and link Obama to terrorist are morons.

    May 9, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. latone

    Senator McCain get over for goodness sakes. McCain talks about negative attacks, but denounces (with a wink) the negative campaign ad about Senator Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Please stop playing these childish political games and get with the real issues. You don't even know a Shiite from a Suni.

    May 9, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. Mark Anthony - Lake Elsinore, CA

    If Hamas had said no, they would be asking "why don't you like Obama?" It didn't matter what the answer was. So here we go again, with the "Linking" this is like that Kevin Bacon game, lol, pretty soon they will link Osama to Obama, get it Osama/Obama. OOPS, did I give away the next weeks news.

    May 9, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Got My Bearings

    "Let's see, Obama next to McCain: The former is a slick lawyer who never served in uniform, and hangs with a Chicago terrorist, the latter is a war hero and a real man! Now you choose who should run this country."

    Dude. Just wondering. Do you move your lips when you read?

    May 9, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Ken

    You gotta be amused by Frank. He makes the following comments about a current [D] presidential candidate: "is not qualified and with some of his past relationships, it is too risky to place him on the top position in our country! What are Americans thinking really? Are we that naive and that easy to fool?"

    Of course, those same comments fit [R] George Bush to a tee back in 2000, and old Frank clearly wasn't that concerned about these issues back then. And as to the question: are Americans that naive and easy to fool - that boat already left the dock back in 2000, came back and ran into the dock in 2004, and left again. And here we have Frank in his speedos with a Bud Lite in his hand driving the boat towards the battered dock again!

    There is a not-so-mild streak of retardation or insanity that runs in the American voting public.

    May 9, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Nick

    I don't understand. Obama didn't solicit Hamas' support. Why should I worry about it or think that it has anything to do with his character? On the other hand, why should I presume that McCain has lost his bearings?

    I will say that I believe McCain fired the first shot on this one. Implying terrorist ties to Obama, albeit very veiled, is still a bit of a smear tactic.

    May 9, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Mark Ferbet, Grain Valley Missouri

    Yes, Mr. McCain... and there are many in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other countries that are cheering for you... there are those that want WAR to continue, in the middle east, that are cheering for you... but what really scares me... is that a McCain Presidency will weaken our National Security... will continue to weaken our dollar.

    WE, should be very scared of a McCain Presidency... when it comes to our National Security, Economy, and our Reputation in the world.

    May 9, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Onyx

    And you can believe that Rev. Hagee and Gordon Liddy are going to be fair game as well.

    May 9, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Christopher, Madison, WI

    So let's sum up "Uncle Sam's" thoughts...more war, tax breaks for the rich, fearmongering, lying, smear tactics, Limpaw chaos, and well more lying. Sounds like he is voting for the right guy...Grampa Goiter McBush. See some idiots never learn from 8 years of the worst administration in the history of the US. There should be an IQ test required to vote. This guy would never be able to vote, let alone be left unattended in public.

    May 9, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. Stezo

    You think thats something?!

    Did you know that Obama has 2 BLACK babies!!!

    Oh wait that ones not going to work this time.

    Back to the Neo-Con Smear Machine distract from the issues we suck on drawing board.

    May 9, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. The Deep Thinker

    First of all people, the word bearings is very much unrelated to age! STRICKLY FOX NEWS MEDIA HYPE!! But, that’s Fox News, always taking nothing and twisting it to their benefit to solicit viewers. Second of all why should we look at Hamas endorsement of Obama as a negative issue? It just puts him in a better position than McCain for implementing peace tactics. McCain has a hot head and an appetite for war. So yeah, let's put him in the kitchen so he can eat. War!! That will solve all our problems. And as for Obama's relationship with Ayer, IT"S NOT A RELATIONSHIP!!!! Obama strictly stated that they were friendly, not friends. That doesn't mean that he comes to Obama's house and down a few beers while watching the playoffs. People let's stop the Media hype and BULL!! It simply means that they have spoken to each other or interacted at some point in a calm, respectable manner!!! Just b/c you share the some of the same thoughts as others doesn't mean that you are the same as them. That’s why couples argue. I'm Catholic and I know that Catholic priest have sexual molestered young boys. Though I don't find that conduct acceptable, I’m still Catholic. What should I do now, change religions? No!! So let’s stop with the Ayer and Rev. Wright thoughts that Obama must share the same beliefs as them. Obama 08" Get with it or get dragged into another eight years of George W. (What Happened) Bush!!!!!!!!!!

    May 9, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. Stezo

    What about the Saudis? Not only do they support Bush they hold hands with him.

    Listen up Neo-Cons puppets. You cant hide from facts.

    15 of the 19 hijackers of Sep 11th were from Saudi Arabia!!

    Where is your outrage? Maybe we need to come up with a clever slogan so you morons can understand.

    May 9, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. Christopher, Madison, WI

    Could you pseudo Hillary supporters (Chaos) stop posting already. No real Democrat would ever vote for McCain even if they were water boarded. The game is over we picked our candidate not you! Obama all the way. It's amazing how many excuses people will come up with not to vote for a person because of the color of their skin...(Wright, his name, elitist...) Come on we know you own a Klan robe stop making excuses.
    Here is the new policy...All Racists Left Behind. Let's have all the adults progress into the future and leave the hate of the Repukes far behind!

    May 9, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. Big C

    Hey the KKK just supported Obama, does that make him a white racist... He can't stop people from supporting him. So where do we go now, what's the next issue.

    Lets talk about the issues that are a concern to this country and try to find a way out of this sadden economy.

    May 9, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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