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. Obama v McCain

    "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."

    my sentiments exactly!!great minds do think alike

    May 9, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Ignorence is bliss

    If Hamas really wanted Obama to win, would they ever come out and make a statement like that. They are militants, but they sure are not stupid. It is amazing how easily voters can be manipulated with such disinformation. Anybody can say anything.. You should just listen to the candidates and make your independendent judgement.

    May 9, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. frustrated in PA

    The way everyone is putting down a HERO like John McCain is disconcerting. I'd like to see some of you survive in a POW camp for five minutes let alone five years. Most of you couldn't survive without your latte in the morning. If you don't agree with his politics, fine. I don't agree with Obama's politics but think he's actually kind of a likeable guy. Hillary has likeable moments as well. I used to be quite ardent and downright spiteful in my political comments but thanks to these blogs I have moderated my tone. I know some of them are fake and meant to instigate, but really CNN, print the people who are actually trying to have a civil discourse. I'm sure you actually get more intellingent blogs than some of the trash you print. You are further perpetuating the myth that Americans are ignorant and stupid.

    May 9, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    John McCain hasn't lost his bearings.

    He has, however, misplaced his walker. 🙂

    May 9, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. mimi de la cruz for OBAMA

    OF THESE TWO, I DON'T KNOW WHICH IS CRAZIER.

    May 9, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Jerry

    Why CNN is not talking about McCain tries to stop MLK national birthday holiday and his state the only one does not recognize MLK birthday

    President Obama 09

    May 9, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. al snyder

    “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.” So, anytime some idiot says something, it is of interest to the American people? It is not, unless you are trying to imply something.

    What is McCain trying to imply than? Can we please get some real reporting. Why aren't the candidates pressed to clarify what the hell they mean. This softball crap may be good for headlines, but in the end, it is bad for America.

    May 9, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. tidho

    “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.”

    Difference between McCain and Clinton...Clinton wouldn't have said the first half of the quote above.

    May 9, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Woooo, I'm really afraid now, NOT

    On May 9th, 2008 2:26 pm ET Jan from Boca Raton, Fl says:

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

    Obama has a very interesting group of friends.

    VOTERS BEWARE…..

    The only thing we should be aware of is IGNORANCE!! You and those like your make me afraid...more afraid than Senator Obama.

    Fearmongering is not a flatering article to wear, my friend...

    May 9, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. James

    Another kitchen sink strategy. McCain's supporters throws the kitchen sink, if it does not stick, then McCain can publicly deny it.

    May 9, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Marie in California

    Good going, McCain! You're an honorable man of sound character, and you have a good and impressive track record that is mostly positive.

    If Obama gets the Democratic nomination, you WILL get my Democratic vote....and you WILL be our next president. This country needs to be saved from the likes of pathetic Obama.

    May 9, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Politically Incorrect

    Whether Hamas supports Obama, McCain or whomever!!.. What difference does it make!!!....

    Ppl act like these terrorist groups are idiots...!! Just because they are willing to inflict harm or die for a cause foreign to others does not mean that they are any more or less educated or naive in the american ppl!!.. Many times in fact they are MORE AWARE of the Issues that face Americans they Americans themselves!..

    With that said, maybe Hamas realizes if in fact they do support Obama and would rather have him as President is because they realize that it takes more than BOMBING ppl, lies, and War to bring PEACE to the most volatile Region in the world.!! Maybe a conversation or two wouldn't be a BAD Idea since Clearly BOMBING ppl works so well!!...

    We all know good and well that ignoring ppl until they agree with you makes matters soo much better.. Just try doing that with your wife!!..

    I'm willing to try or have these politicians try anything else because clearly what ever they are doing/have done to this point isn't working out so well!!...

    Whoever '08!!!!

    May 9, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Renee Osterwalder/Expat Winterthur Switzerland

    I believe, if my memory serves me right that both Saddam and Bin Laden supported and hoped for Bushes second term.

    And how do we know that McCain is not the real "Manchurian" candidate that , that skank Ann Coulter was referring to! After all we do not know what methods were used to brainwash him during the time he was a POW!

    Now that last statement makes me sound totally unpatriotic and paranoid ..right? Well.............................

    McCain makes himself sounds like a geriatric old fool , who forgot to take his meds! He cannot be serious about this. If this is all he has on Barack , well I say good luck and good night John! Its time for you to take a nap! Your sounding a little cranky!

    May 9, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. GL

    This man lost to Bush.. If that doen't tell you something right there, I don't know what does.. How is he suddenly the most qualified? Just the thought of McSame being prsident scares the hell out of me.

    May 9, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. Collin

    I would support someone who is willing to sit down and talk like civilized human beings rather than someone who wants to wipe non-whites off the face of the world.

    May 9, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. ELM

    As an independent I may have to decide between McCain and Obama.

    It does seem to me that this Hamas thing is yet another cheap shot. I am frustrated about these mindless attacks which dominate the media and consequently people’s minds.

    May 9, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Ken

    The comment from Hamas, apparently supporting Obama, only proves one thing - Hamas is smarter than your average [R]. They are a terrorist organization that I certainly do not support - but they ARE smarter than the people who voted for the current disaster-in-charge, and cetrianly smarter than the people who want to continue the mess with McBush.

    Is it no wonder that the "red" states vote with the reactionary right-wingers? - they are the most vulnerable to a clever enemy that uses religious demagoguery.

    May 9, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    NoBama,

    I don't think you understand Obama's strategy. Yes, the terrorists will be campaigning for Obama.

    And as soon as he holds that "last" rally, all the terrorists will be in the stadium, and Hillary will be wearing an explosive belt.

    As soon as he says "Yes We Can", that's when she lights the fuse. 🙂

    May 9, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. Willis, Texas

    You Clinton supporters are messy!

    The whole world (from Japan – onward) was pulling for Obama! If you have been keep touch with international matters, you will note that the Japanese women have been naming their children after Obama, so what? It shows that the world is paying attention to US politics!

    I think it is great because we are in the process of regaining respect around the world - something we have not had since John Kennedy!!

    What do you think about that???????

    May 9, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Mike

    yes Please pick either Hillary or Mrs. Rice as your VP. 2/3 of Clinton supporters would vote for you if Osama gets the nomination.

    May 9, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Obaminator Supporter!

    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything!

    Obaminator 08!!!

    May 9, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    Great! Now Joe Lieberman has lost his bearings!! Oh, I forgot- he lost them a while ago!!

    May 9, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. Oregon

    Hamas must have a real tide with John McCain if it wasn't true he will never talk about them to try to downplay Obama. One of the Hamas leaders will come out soon to tell you what kind of relationship that they have with McCain.

    May 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. Stacy Clarks

    what a flip-flopping old grandpa!!!

    so that is the game, get his campaign managers to throw all the mus-slinging, word twisting, in-correct accusatins, then have mccain go out and look like an OLD angel!!!

    THE REPUBLICANS ARE SOOOOO GOING DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Disappointed

    Please understand what you are reading. Senator Obama does not support Hamas. They said they support him. He has categorically called them terrorists.

    May 9, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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