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. BettyBoo

    Maybe McCain and his camp thought Obama said...
    'LOSING HIS HEARING' instead of 'Losing his bearings'
    McCain thinks he's so slick, he knows that Obama was not playing the 'age-card'. McCain is just another dirty poilitc who keeps claiming that he wants to run a clean campaign. I just lost the little respect that I actually had for McCANE!!!! (and I tried to spell it that way)

    May 9, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Femi

    You know, if a felon decides that he wants McCain as president, does that make him equally suspicious. All this banter about what someone is saying about another person is nonsense. If we all went by what we heard we'd ALL be a bunch of nitwits.

    FACE THE ISSUES. I HAVE SEEN THAT PEOPLE WILL READ ANYTHING INTO ANY STATEMENT MAKES. I EXPECT MORE OF THIS KIND OF LANGUAGE TWISTING.

    Really childish indeed!!!!!!!!!!

    May 9, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. "OLD MAN MCCAIN"

    It's true. McCain is an old fossil. He speaks of his 50 years of public service as if we are supposed to bow down to him. Old Man McCain’s extensive and prolonged seat in the senate will be his downfall.

    McCain embraces many of the Bush policy's that have destroyed this country. McCain wants to stay in Iraq for another 1000 years. How come old men are always in a hurry to send young men off to die.

    McCain suffers from PTSD as a result of his internment and torture as a POW, 40 years ago. He is in no mental capacity to be president. Besides: JOHN MCCAIN IS WAY TOO OLD!!!

    Go Obama!!!

    J. Martin

    May 9, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Jeff, Chicago

    1) America has been in trouble for the last 8 years
    2) I support Obama... but in the event that he should lose, Dems. should unite
    3) Republicans are to thank for the last 8 wonderful years... please don't let thank you for another 4...
    4) What HAMAS thinks should matter because for those of you who didn't know... Hamas has 3 superdelegate votes

    GOBAMA!!..

    May 9, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. Obama 08

    Not for nothing I've lost my bearings many times and I am only 38. The GOP obviously want to pick dumb flights. How about sticking to the issues that matter to me & America.

    I don't care that Hammas likes Obama. SO WHAT!
    I don't care that McCain is OLD! SO WHAT!
    I don't care about that,

    I care that McCain wants to stay in Iraq for "25, 50 100 years even as long as it takes"
    I care that McCain wants to take away a women's right to choose by bringing in those ultra conservative judges.
    I care that he will double or triple this country's debt. I care that he will be McSame McBush and My beautiful America will be hated throughout the world, well I say NO MORE! Cut out the distract and attack and let's talk about what America needs!!!

    Also, to the Clinton supporters that say you will vote for McCain. How is it you will vote AGAINST your best interest? Barack and Hillary have voted exactly the same on all issues so it cant be about policies and politics. So what is it?

    If you vote against Barack because of the color of his skin then you (YOU ) will hurt this country. So cut it out!

    God Bless America! (PLEASE)

    May 9, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. Chuck, Oregonians for Obama

    I do not care how old you are Mr McCain. What I do care about is your politics. You could be 90 as far as I am concerned.

    May 9, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. NY RICAN American

    one more thing I am not your Friend (and you are not the Pope, waving your hands like that!!!!)

    No McAnt not know not ever! this buds on me:)

    May 9, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Brian

    The KKK and neo-Nazi's have pledged their support to McCain!

    May 9, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. "OLD MAN MCCAIN"

    It's true. McCain is an old fossil. He speaks of his 50 years of public service as if we are supposed to bow down to him. Old Man McCain’s extensive and prolonged seat in the senate will be his downfall.

    McCain embraces many of the Bush policy's that have destroyed this country. McCain wants to stay in Iraq for another 1000 years. How come old men are always in a hurry to send young men off to die.

    McCain suffers from PTSD as a result of his internment and torture as a POW, 40 years ago. He is in no mental capacity to be president. Besides: JOHN MCCAIN IS WAY TOO OLD!!!

    Go Obama in 08'

    J. Martin

    May 9, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. franco

    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.

    May 9, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. SHIRLEY-OHIO

    Release your medical records first and then we will talk about age.

    May 9, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Dana in north Carolina

    Well maybe Mr. McCain is trying to settle it this way because he knows what he said was out of bounds, and he even looked uncomfortable while saying it. He also understood the context of what Mr. Obama said in his response yesterday. Let's all take our big girl/big boy pills and grow up.

    May 9, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. Rick LA

    And if the Amercan people want to discuss whether John McCain was responsible for the death of 130 sailors on the USS Forrestal, is that then a completely unsubstantiated rumor and smear? or is it "a legitimate topic of discussion"?

    May 9, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. David in Illinois

    John McCain has indeed lost his bearinga many times in recent weeks. As in not knowing which party is which in Iraq - Al Qaeda vs. Iranian-backed militias; The economy? huh? What's an economy? Talking into the wrong end of a microphone. Is any of this age-related? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe he's just not as knowledgeable and sharp as the next leader of the free world needs to be.
    These are legitimate issue/questions.
    And he shouldn't be concerned about what Hamas thinks of our presidential race. It's what the American VOTERS think.
    Jeesh!

    May 9, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. BIFF, BIFFINGTON...

    I didn't know Rove was working the McCain campaign....

    May 9, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. reygee

    In another blog, Lieberman stated that he checked McCain's bearing and that they are all still there. Perhaps he also gave McCain a good lube job when he checked it.

    May 9, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. Marlie:

    Hamas said they would want Obama as president Because they feel he would deal with them honestly. Not unlike every country on the planet. Obama said he would NOT deal with Hamas.

    May 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. jon

    man, lefties, you all gotta read some books or something, none of ya have a clue of what is going on in the world.
    &
    Your talking points are weak: anything said about Obama is a smear, 100 years, too old, war monger, mcbush...

    I hope you got more then that. This is your election year and you guys are going to blow it. Man, you cannot make this stuff up. lol

    May 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. Obama 2008

    McCain should ask Hillary to run as his running mate. The two will have fun reminding each other of good old times and help each other with memory lapses, in the senate, not in whitehouse.

    I have no qualms about their age. I love my old parents. But, the reality is that we do lose some part of the memory bank in our brain due to age. That should not come to anyone as a surprise, nor should it be considered an attack. It is just a fact.

    Proof – Hillary's Bosnia fairy tale, McCain's fairy tale about Iran training terrorists for Iraq. By the way, Hillary also thinks her husband ran the country better than anyone in this century. She forgets that his extracurricular activities in whitehouse and misguided economic policies were the reason of the tech bubble and stock market crash in 2000.

    May 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  20. Enough

    You don't ignore it, McBush – you don't get it. The bearings comment had more to do with your pandering and flip flopping than your age. Are we going to have to explain everything to you twice?

    It was awful juvenile of McSame to even mention the Hamas issue – anyone with two live brain cells knows it's crap. So much for a clean campain from Mr. Straight Talk Express Maverick. How do you stay upright without a spine mr. mcsame? How does it feel to sacrafice your core beliefs to gain the gop nomination. Feel cheap and dirty?

    May 9, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. WIll

    Lieberman has always been a closet Republican.

    Anyway, America is a WORLD leader. The policies that the president enacts affect the whole world. Obama has the personality, judgment, and diplomatic character to move the WHOLE WORLD forward. Who knows, maybe he can promote changes in the middle east that will take away Hamas' reasons for fighting, bombing, and promoting terror. I'm certainly for that.

    May 9, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. charles

    Is McCain grumpy or what? Both Mccain and Hillary called Obama "out of touch" in Philadelphia. (same phraseology, different words). Is Obama to construe that as refering to his age too. Were they saying that he is too young, a little boy etc .... The RNC's comments are so obviously bias and determined to misrepresent. Why would anyone even bother to give their gibberish any urgency.

    May 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Jason, Omaha, NE

    The fact the McCain has to defend his bearings is not a good sign. I think people in the middle east will be more willing to negotiate with someone who has a name more like theirs and doesn't like like most "western" people. Is that simple thinking? Yes, but we are talking about extremists so that makes sense. I don't think that having our enemies support him more is necessarily a bad thing. I think our greatest chance of peace is with Obama. I don't see how 100 years of war will bring peace, do you?

    May 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. Republican for Obama

    Traitor Joe & McSame–the two great flip-floppers of all time. They both have party-identity issues.

    May 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. Dave in Atlanta

    So basically, you KNOW that Obama is not a terrorist sympathizer, but you figured you would bring it up because you hoped some voters would be dumb enough to seize on it and use it to form an opinion.

    McCain you are as bad as the person who circulated the pic of Obama in the Indonesian outfit.

    May 9, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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