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. Democrats Rule

    Oh lord – next he's going to start bragging about how "spry" he is

    May 9, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. American Girl

    You two look like that comedy movie 'Grumpy Old Men' with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Those two cause a bunch of childish mischief and You two will do the same.

    Go to a retirement center!

    May 9, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. very smart lady

    Obama will never be president of the United States. White people will never allow it. He and Michelle are two angry people, and Obama has too much baggage. I know you blacks think he is a god, but you will see if you are stupid to vote for him. I will vote for Mr McCain. He deserves it. What has Obama ever done to deserve the presidency? No, never.

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. soy

    They approve of his candidacy because he's not a war-mongering fool that thinks the only way to resolve issues is to go to war on it. Whatever happened to peaceful resolutions to problems? I think Hamas themselves might be tired of the fighting and in fact what a peaceful resolution to the problem but they can't with someone like McCain who's only solution to everything is war.

    If the bearing comment didn't bother you then why did u take it as attack you on your age. You're so full of it and you ARE losing your bearing.

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. bill pike

    mcbush lost his bearings a long time ago. he gets countries messed up, wants us in iraq 100 years, and thinks our government has helped america the last 8 years??? his bearings are burned up along with russ to drugs limpbaughs and lou dodge anyone who can think on their own. god it scares me to have mcbush in for another term-BOMB EM, KILL EM, SHOOT EM, BECAUSE I SERVED MY COUNTRY. Well so did I, and my dad, and my uncle tommy. that does not make us president of this country.

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  6. AZM

    Get ready Jon... The Obama camp will start mud slingeing and then blame it on you... they are awesome at that!

    Look at the picks were gonna have this year... America is in trouble.

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. Frank

    Senator McCain is in a different league than Obama when it comes down to experience, knowledge and respect among other leaders. We don't want our country to go down the gutter, whether Hamas does or does not support Obama. The bottom line is that Obama 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? Someone once said that the Islamic Radicals will attempt to destroy our country from inside out. We thought they meant a nuclear bomb going off in our states. But we need to be aware that if there is even a one in a million chance the there is some sympathy between Obama and the Islamic Radicals, that will jeopardize our national security and may indeed result in the destruction of our country "from inside out"! Please think about this. And CNN: if you are a responsible member of our society, you will post this comment.

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Sheryl

    Your "bearings" Mr. McCain simply mean that you have lost what your campaign stands for-"no smear tactics".

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. susie

    Why do all these third world countries want Obama? Is he their relative?

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Terry, Butte, Montana

    So what McCain is saying is that Obama is the better choice if we want Peace between Isreal and its enemies? That is what it sounds like to me.

    Since McCain said that he thinks Hamas should look at him as "their worst nightmare," Does that mean that McCain is a "War Monger" that will lead us into yet another war?

    America has had enough "War Mongering" Time to end the war in Iraq, take out Al Quaeda in Afghanistan (The ones that actually attacked us on 9/11) and work for peace between Isreal and the muslim world.

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. jim

    the world wants change, not a war mongering u.s. president

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. bond

    This just in: CNN has reported that Osama Bin Laden has just released a new video where he stated that he supports John McCain for president.

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Don't confuse this with fact and not fear: Republicans vote for McCain because he is republican but forgets he wants to bomb, bomb. McCain the V.P. and their families go hiding in a safe bunker. My family and I have no bunker, no gas mask and the masking tape I have been told to use around my doors isn't working. Now what am I suppose to do. Vote Democrat.

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. sheryl

    Jan from Boca Raton, Fl/....Remember you dont count anymore!!!! so put a lid on it!!!!!!!! Bitter!!!!!

    OBAMA 08-12

    May 9, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Obama v McCain

    I'm trying to figure out what the hell he is even impying with this Hamas crap? Its bogus. BRING IT ON! as i stated before...its one thing for Sen Obama to butt heads with a fellow Dem candidate..but McCain is fair game(and all that goes with it).. again: BRING IT ON!


    May 9, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. The Maven

    Obama said it like it really is, McCain has lost his bearings. The Washington Post, New York Times have reported that McCain and his trophy wife said that they did not vote for Bush in 2000. However, the old man went on the O'Reilly factor and lied that he voted and campaigned for Bush both times. Its either that he has lost his bearings or he is an outright liar. Americans make your choices wisely.

    May 9, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. skylark

    Shoot first ask questions later. We have had enough cowboy mentality.
    Obama '08
    Diplomacy over Demolition.
    Give peace a chance

    May 9, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Rich

    Let's talk about the issues please. No more distractions please!

    May 9, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. VoteforAmerica

    Yes, I agree with Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain -- Rev. Wright is a legitimate topic of discussion.

    You HEAR that Obama nuts?

    May 9, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Michael in Columbus, Ohio

    McSame have you all stop to think that rest of the world is tired of Washington politics, I get t sick and tired of you trying make it seem like Obama is linked to a terrorist group, how dare you!!!! What is your opinion about Jimmy Carter since he went and talked to Hamas and acted like he had some sense and try to bring peace in the world.

    That is the problem with our "gun slinging administration" shoot now and talk about it later, and that if we decide to not cover it up, i.e. Iraq,and we as americans wonder why they think we are terrorist, butthen again you are embracing the policies of G.W. Bush, and you wonder why they call you McSame.

    CNN you should be ashamed of yourselves "spinning" these comments everyone is making and I sit and watch your shows and wonder why the election cycle and country is a mess.

    May 9, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. Michael, Canada

    Anyone with any intelligence would see that it was an obvious smear attempt against Obama. Is it pure arrogance on McCain's part to backtrack from his initial comments? Or does he think the American people are not intelligent enough to see through his smear attempt?

    Same old Washington politics.

    May 9, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Vickie

    And John Hagee approves of your candidacy!

    Their are idiots everywhere.

    May 9, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Lois

    Poor McCain, he can't seem to even speak without Leiberman hanging around to make sure he doesn't make another mistake. At least Obama knows the difference between Sunnis and Shiites. Hamas endorses Obama? Perhaps they SEE too, that he would make great changes in the US and the way we handle foreign affairs. I see nothing wrong with that. A change for the GOOD. Not idiots who want to bomb, bomb, bomb.

    May 9, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Barbara,

    McCain was the one that said "just because someone endorse me does not mean I share their beliefs, they endorsed me I did not endorse them". Does this agrument only apply to you?
    You have to come with something better than this.

    May 9, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. This has NOTHING to do with age!!

    Peter Hamby,

    You know as well as anyone that Sen. Obama comment had nothing to do with age! He said McCain is losing his bearings as a reflection of how McCain is losing touch with the American people and the "Maverick" values he had at the beginning of his career.

    Mr Hamby, if you and your colleagues give any credibility to McCain's lie that Sen. Obama was insulting his age, then you have no credibility as responsible journalists.

    A responsible journalist would have noted that Obama's comment had nothing to do with age.

    May 9, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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