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. Ron--Texas

    Why does McCain think it's okay for Hamas to decide who our president is? I find that bizarre. He says that Obama doesn't agree with Hamas, but he then says that the American people should think about it. So, I take that as the McCain thinks we should choose our president based on what Hamas thinks–who knows, maybe they are lying and really want McCain.

    May 9, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. Drew, Central FL

    Looks like Lieberman is going to be McSame's choice for VP. Figures. Lieberman's really a Republican. At the very least he'll stay close enough to correct McSame when he loses his bearings.

    May 9, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  3. RealityKing

    Hamas is the terrorist organization, funded by Iran, currently terrorizing and killing civilians on the west side of Beruit, while publically supporting Obama's liberal presidency...

    May 9, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Jason - KY

    Here we go again, McSame believes that if George Bush can scare these idiots into voting for him I should be able to do it to.

    The americans are so gullable.

    May 9, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Eric

    Pretty sad.. you can see what a lot of the McCain supporters care about. Not the country..not the economy..not gas price. None of that.
    They just wanna bash Obama as much as possible..

    May 9, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Matt In Utah

    HAHAHA!!!!! All of these McBush Supporters... His name is Obama he must be affiliated with the radical islam!! You people amaze me... McCain used to be respectable until he started swinging from under George W. Bush's belly button... You should all take notice that this country is in the begining stages of a falling empire and if we go with McCain we will become the fallen empire.

    May 9, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. American Girl

    Bible Verse for all of my Fellow Christian Americans =


    McCain = Spirit of Fear, Spirit of weaknes unless Military force, Hatred for other nations and a mind that has lost it's bearings.

    OBAMA '08

    May 9, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Peter Damoah-Afari

    He is actually loosing his bearings. He is not even saying anything about his pastor who has said many evil things about american people that even what Rev. Wright had said. Wisdom has been said to be something proportional to age, but McCain is acting otherwise.

    May 9, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. joe

    funny, only pro-obama comments allowed by these moderators. big surprise there.

    May 9, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. Ed from Florida

    Have some of you skipped school so often that the only people with smarts are Bush or McCain? Can't some of you intepret the fact that the whole world – and that includes the good guys and the bad guys – look at this election as a turning point in America's history to once again become the great leader it once was? Is it conceivable in some some part of your brain matter that having a great leader with wisdom and intellect, toughness and resolve, can inspire many – good and bad – to lay the groundwork for peace.

    Are you that hopeless and afraid?

    May 9, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. DJ

    It is obvious that others, meaning other McCain/Bush supporters feel that his age is a problem. Senator Obama was not talking about his age, however I personally feel that we need someone who is younger who can draw in the younger generation along with fresh ideas and someone who can bring together all people. The real problem is those you who are racist and envious of how intelligent and blessed this "black man" is, get over it, and remember, "what GOD has for Senator Obama, is for Senator Obama"!

    May 9, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    I would beg to differ with Franco here by rephrasing his statement, "The former is an intelligent lawyer who did good work as a community organizer for many years and is now inspiring millions, and the latter is a respected war hero who has lost his touch! Now you choose who should run this country."

    May 9, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. johnny

    Before you all tear down McCain:

    Robert Malley, one of Obama's middle east policy advisors, just stepped down from the campaign a couple of hours ago. Why? BECAUSE HE HAS HELD MEETINGS WITH HAMAS

    May 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Obama 08

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    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!

    May 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Bob

    Oh, poor McCain! Trying to make something out of a comment that wasn't there. He can dish it out but he can't take it. McCain's comment trying to link Obama to Hamas was politics as usual from the Republicans. This is their stock-in-trade and it's all they know. Keep it up McCain because Obama isn't Clinton and he will rise above it every time and still end up beating you. Take a lesson from Clinton, why don't you.

    May 9, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Joe in MTL

    I think they just want someone sound running the most powerfull country in the world instead of a jesus-crazed war monger or anyone who voted to attack a country that had nothing to do with 911.

    Also, a comment for so called "very smart lady".
    That is the most racist thing I've hear in a long time. How would you feel if I said: Men would never allow Hillary to be elected. Seriously, change your name when you comment, because there was nothing smart about your comments.

    May 9, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Jon V

    I have been debating on whether or not to vote conservative or liberal in this next election, is imperative to look at the leadership capabilities of each candidate.

    John McCain is a terrible choice for both liberals and conservatives. He will retain the same do-nothing attitude as our current administration, and I believe this will continue to depress our country.

    Barack Obama has the potential to really make a different and restore the sanctity of our great nation. We are the United States...we should help people with all of our power. We should not turn our backs on them like the current administration. John McCain will continue these horrid policies.

    Obama '08

    May 9, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. Julie

    Please. The American people are sick of these tactics. Who cares if Hamas wants Obama to be president. John Hagee, his anti-Catholic, anti-Judaism, anti-everything but blind evangelical idiots wants John McCain to be president.

    Whats worse, Hamas, a terrorist group of underprivledged young Muslims in a foreign country rooting for Obama so that maybe he can bring new life to the peace process, or a group of hate espousing Americans who make no apologies for their crimes against intelligent thought?

    May 9, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. Sam


    May 9, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. LT for Obama

    First of all, the comment by Senator Obama was not about his age. The fact that Sen. McCain's campaign interpreted that way was just amazing to me.

    I say let him and Hillary keep talking. The more they talk the more negative they go, the better.

    Hillary was brought down because of negative behaviour, McCain will be brought down for the same reason.

    May 9, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Ed

    After seeing McCain with the mike upside down ...he has lost his bearings



    May 9, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. htownombian

    the fact that people actually think this is an issue is sickening. no matter who you support, if this is an issue to you i feel sorry for this country. crappy reasons to vote get you crap government enjoy

    May 9, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Voter

    Lets see, Farrakhan likes Obama. Hamas likes Obama. Rev Al Likes Obama, Rev Wright likes Obama That little falling out display was just for the benefit of the public. Remember Obama IS still a politician.

    May 9, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. Susie

    Hey, get the old men canes! They look like they are about to collapse!

    May 9, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  25. Charlotte

    We stupid white, low income people would like to know if Obama has any connection whatsoever to Islamic terrorist. They most likely perceive him as a pushover. Someone who will bow down to there demands. " We will destroy you from within?" Sort of like, you keep him talking while we set up shop. The strongest nation on earth is only as strong as its leaders.

    May 9, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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