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. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Does McCain really want to start making an issue out of who endorses who? He has already had some real corkers come out in favor of his candidacy.......and there may be some unsavory foreign characters that support him in the coming months. I don't think this is a bed he really wants to lay down in.

    May 9, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Extinct Snipe

    Regarding approval. McCain's accusations are balogna. Is there any civilized global society that wants to approve his plan to remain entrenched in foreign lands for 100 years? Put Obama next to McCain and ask the world, Who do you want to represent the U.S. in the world, a self-pronounced searcher out of evil or a mender of relations? Isn't it common sense that nobody inside or outside the U.S. would want McCain.

    May 9, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. American Politics

    I thought Sen. John McCain is suppose to be the all old good american boy who doesn't play dirty politic? where he did he go?? Certainly, you can not teach an old dog new tricks.

    Leave Obama alone.

    May 9, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Jeff

    Careful McSame! If it is your policy that we don't talk to them, why is it relevant to pay attention to what they say!

    May 9, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Bryan

    So McCain seems like he's taking the higher ground while his campaign pushes this Hamas thing. I get it.

    The fact is, this is a complete non-issue. Just becuase Hamas holds controversial views doesn't mean its leaders aren't smart enough to recognize good foreign policy. Obama would do WONDERS for our standing in the world. Just ask...well pretty much anyone outside this country.

    As for Obama supposedly playing the "age" card - I didn't even make that connection until McCain's campaign did it for me. It's a stretch to say the least.

    May 9, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Mark M Kansas City

    ........THIS JUST IN........BREAKING NEWS......

    ~~~The KKK, Charles Manson & cannibals from a small island in the Carribean all support John McCain.~~~

    Shouldn't we hold him accountable for their support based on this kind of faulty logic?

    Please take your lame smear tactics and go home, and if you are too stupid to recognize these type of ridiculous non-issues then you should turn in your voter card.

    Independent for Obama

    May 9, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Sharon Minnesota



    I had that very thought too. Two moderate mavericks on the Grand Old Party's ticket. Yeah!! Then we have a real team that can win in November. Comon Hillary defect, you can do it.

    The party's over for the democrats. Too many of those new and nasty types invading.

    May 9, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Has anyone here actually read the statement from Hamas? They compared Barack favorably to JFK...does this suddenly mean that Kennedy was a terrorist sympathizer?! McCain threw his comment out there knowing that people would jump on it without taking the time to read or hear the original statement and the comments so far have proven him correct.

    May 9, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Aces full of Kings

    Obama vs. McCain – let the battle begin!

    May 9, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Teri

    To Debby who wrote:

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

    My response?

    Let's see...over 1.5 individual donors (most of them small-time) and millions of American voters from all walks of life – old, young, rich, poor and every different race and're right! That IS quite a resume of supporters. I have yet to see another candidate showcase such a coalition!

    May 9, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Neutral

    McCain is a TRUE PATRIOT who love this country. It is Obambi who has lost his bearing, he's like a dog going in circle chasing his own tail.

    May 9, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. Texas Voter

    Age is a concern of mine. It will make McCain's selection of VP much more important to me.

    May 9, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Ed Scanlin

    McCain's comments on Hamas relating to Senator Obama are
    what you would expect from a poster boy Republican that has
    never been sure that he is a Republican.
    McCain will be anything the highest bidder wants him to be.
    Ask his shipmates – the ones that are still alive.

    May 9, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. A.K.

    Oh, Crazy War Bucks, way to bring up Rev. Wright again in your clean, reasonable campaign - oh, sorry, I meant your "vigorous and energetic" campaign which in no way is referring to your age. If you were full of "straight talk", you'd hammer Obama on why your stances are stronger/better than his; except you can't, because you have no idea how to run the economy and you have no intentions of ending the war. And I have hated that slimeball on your arm "from day one" – Lieberman and his pandering to soccer moms over his video game restriction laws.

    May 9, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. mitchell from arkansaw

    reverend wright is a great man.

    May 9, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Obaminator Supporter!

    Obama picks up 5 superdelegates, union nod ...

    Real News, while the other kids play in "Quick-Sand!"

    May 9, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. Venus

    Pretty touchy about his "bearings"!

    Ah yes, Mc Cain!

    Maybe Hamas said that – but I doubt it!

    I think a lot of people in the Middle East would preferr to see some one other than a war-monger as president!

    It's true this county doesn't respect a lot of countries in this world.
    Look at how some took Obama's middle name and tried to make it an issue – forgetting that a lot of kings have that name – you know the ones we are getting our oil from.... many members of the OPEC!

    It's funny how the US is paying money to a lot of groups to keep them from attacking our army.

    Also – how many people have been killed in Iraq? How many babies, kids, women and men?

    May 9, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. Democrats

    You're just silly... so fickle. The reality is you're completely idealistic of every situation... espicially you obamabots. The real world is a harsh reality that many of you are to young ans weak to understand. What happend when diplomacy fails? Obama would shake Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hand and believe him when he says the enrichment of uranium will be used peacefully, or that there is no Irani militants training shiites in Iraq. Obama is about as unamerican as they come, and you supporters are willing to call yourselves Real Americans?? LOL ahh to be young and naive. Are you that simple or are you just that radical?

    May 9, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Kate

    Wow. Reading some of these comments really brings it home to me. I really thought that after the 2004 election Americans would see the blatant fear tactics used by the administration to keep their positions, but I guess I put too much faith in Americans. It was just a matter of time for the scared conservative Republicans to start their campaign of fear. So many called this game before it even began. And my fellow Obama supporters be strong because it is only going to get worse. I can almost guarantee with 100% certainty an add is in the making that uses "Obama" and "Osama" together in one misleading add. For those of you who are scared so easily, look at the current handling of the war, of which McCain intends to persist in. We have thousands of our young men dying because of miscommunications and mishandling. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose and al Queda is still very much a presence. For those of you wanting a president that relates to you and would sit and have a beer with you, wake up. I personally want a president who is smarter than me, more educated than me and more wordly then me. Call it elitist if you must but do you really want a senile old man who calls for 100 years or more in war? Get with it before more of our children die needlessly.

    May 9, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. EC

    Three OLD foogies.... what a surprise here.

    This doesn't even warrant a response it's so lame.

    Let's move on....

    May 9, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Paris

    No one said Obama shares the same values as Hamas.
    McCain defended Obama on that.
    Why is it that Obama supporters are so afraid of fact findings?
    Instead of attacking John McCain go find out why? Very simple.

    For those of you who didn’t know Ahmadinejad of Iran also likes Mr. Obama for the presidency.
    It could be that hey have a wrong perception of Mr. Obama.
    But what ever it is why can’t we investigate and find out WHY.

    May 9, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Republican for Obama

    ...or it could be that they see Obama like most of the rest of the world, as a voice of reason who will try to stop the fighting and cowboy politics that have gotten us into this mess. People don't need to come up with ludicrous reasons not to vote for Obama, just come out and tell the truth. I won't vote for Hillary because she is dishonest, I won't vote for McCain because he has flipped his whole belief system on it's ear to appeal to the right wing nuts in the party. Honesty is such a great attribute, just makes one feel good. The only reason McCain put out a press release about this old news was to stir up trouble otherwise he would have put out a release on his policy issues, oh but those are unpopular so best to distract, sheesh.

    May 9, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. Bryan

    "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."

    Why did CNN allow this obviously racist comment through its filter? You obviously aren't a "very smart lady" or you wouldn't be spouting these gross generalizations and falsehoods.

    On the other hand, Obama supporters should take some comfort knowing the biggest McCain backer in this thread is a racist.

    On to the general election. This is going to be cake.

    May 9, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Carmon

    Hillary supporters I was willing to vote for if she was the nominee at first but all this race-baiting, greed, and powertripping she is on has made me change my mine.

    Also do you think you Mcsame Dems will try to ruin Baraks chances in Nov. and think that everyone will just forget about it if Hillary tries to run in 2012. Yeah right. She will not only have so many Republicans lining up to vote against her but all the Baraks supporters will come out in droves to make sure she will never win another election. She wont even be able to win a potatoe sack race let alone become the President of the US. Karma comes back 10x over for people like Hillary.

    May 9, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Obama girl

    Think about it, who wouldn't want Barack over McCain and Clinton?? We do!!! And just because Bush has labeled people "terrorists" that just means they don't agree with his tactics. What about Hagee, Parsley, and that other "christian", what was his name , Robertson? I f somebody has to tell me they are a Christian, look out!!!

    May 9, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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