May 9th, 2008
12:15 PM ET
14 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. Anne

    I'm a Democrat, and I think Obama's "bearings" statement was disgusting.
    He's negative is a sneeky, sarcastic, elitist way. It's funny that the news media doesn't make a big deal when Obama does or says something negative or nasty. Like when he gave Hillary "the finger" during 2 speeches last month.

    If not Hillary, then I'm voting McCain. Wake up Howard Dean!

    May 9, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Tony

    Why is McCain so influenced by Hamas, is he talking to them, does he want the American voters to listen to them, what is he trying to say? Maybe he should improve rather then defends his 'bearings'.

    May 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. Jesse

    Funny world we live in....people fight and die in wars and are forgotten. People serve tours, and through the grace of God, they are lucky to make it home–some get taken prisoner. Although they are prisoners for a period of time, I am curious how that makes them any more a "hero" or a "patriot" than any other GI?

    May 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. Kimani

    I think it is great that Hamas supports Obamas candidacy. Just like the rest of the world, they see in Obama a chance for honest dialogue. They might not like what he has to say, but at least he will be willing to talk to them, unlike McBush. This is the amazing thing about Obamas candidacy. The world is desperate for an America that is a leader again in honest and even handed diplomacy. If people are paying attention, you will see that Obamamania is rocking all over the world! They, like us, are tired of the same "we don't like you, so we're not going to talk to you" posture from our president and state department. It leaves no room for movement on either side. We are going to be proud of a president who is loved around the world again. Only then, can we have a world where peace is possible. I hope every terrorist organization supports him. That doesn't mean that he is going to allow them to make us any less safe!! But perhaps it means that they will react to us differently than in the past. THAT posture will make us all safer!!!

    May 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Merton Patterson

    I believe that Obama referred to losing one's “bearing” as a term for ‘direction’, IThe Republican Committee apparently interpreted it as "loose bearing." It's going to be a long campaign.

    May 9, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Uncle Sam

    Obama supporters claim that because Pres. Bush endorsed Sen. McCain that means they share the same philosophy. Let's see, didn't Hamas endorse Sen. Obama?

    McCain Democrats '08

    May 9, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. pee-d-feet cause something stinks, indy least when Pres. OBAMA talked of McSame BEARING being off you could conclude it left TWO meanings. (up to interputation)

    McSame's comment tries to place him in the company of 'OUR' enemies and there is something un-American about that.

    ....But, is he sure he's pointed-out the right people this time. He seems to have a problem making distinctions.

    May 9, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. LucieLee

    I hope John McCain stands by what he said.......does that mean that discussing his seeking the endorsement and support for Rev. Hagee and Parsley "fair game" also? Maybe McCain is insecure about whether or not his age is a problem...because what Obama said had absolutely nothing to do with the Arizona senator's age....Obama was referring to the fact that both these men said that they would not run a 'scorched earth" negative campaign....and apparently McCain has renegged on trying to push the Hamas issue in linking it to Barack......The man(McCain) speaks out all sides of his mouth. As for Lieberman.....he's still a loser...~~

    May 9, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. Independent

    Yor campaign manager is a little over zealous. He and the rest of the country knows exactly what Obama was saying, and it had nothing to do with age. Here come the nasty Republican tactics – everybody duck!!

    May 9, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. FedUpDem

    Typical CNN bias still posting 10-1 obama over anyone

    FedUpDem May 9th, 2008 2:49 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Yes yes yes we know that obama is the "probable nominee".
    Yes yes yes we know that the majority of moderates and Clinton supporters will never vote for obama.
    Yes yes yes it will be McCain because not enough people with common sense and intelligence(which beats your degree any day) will ever vote for obama.

    Yes yes yes, I look forward to a new moderate, centrist, middle of the road party that will rise from the ashes of the party the obamians have destroyed be it a third party or a new Dem Party!

    Hey Repubs welcome to the world of childish vile nasty bloggers courtesy of obama!

    We moderate Dems are with you!!!!

    We will never vote for arrogant condescending racist hypocrite liars!!!

    We will never turn so far left we think down is up!

    Moderates of both parties unite after obama goes down in the largest landslide loss in presidential politics!!!!

    And all you young "highly educated " obamians when you mature a little more and have some intelligence and common sense to go along with your BS (hehe) degrees join us for real progress. You can't have change and progress by swinging wildly to one side. The politics of right wingism and left wingism leads no where. With centrist politics you are more likely to have compromise and cooperation. With enough support in the middle things will get done. radicals from right or left will never have enough support to really accomplish anything.

    WAKE UP!!!!!!!

    May 9, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. Brian

    So, McCain and the republicans are listening to Hamas now? Through all of Hamas' chatter, somehow an endorsement for Obama was taken to heart? The republicans need clown costumes.

    May 9, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. Florida democrat

    Why exactly is this the interest of the American people. Are you trying to dig something up that isn't there and make accusations that are not true and should not be made. I have an idea, why don't we have a general election campaign that is positive and that educates the voters on the issues that are important to us....economy, war, safety, security, environment.

    Who really gives a s**t what other groups think?

    May 9, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. Raihan Islam, PA

    It isn't interesting; it's made interesting to spark fear-mongering. Americans are tired of being afraid. It's not going to work this fall. We're not afraid anymore. We won't cling to fear this fall. We're embracing hope. Using the Hamas official's quote followed by "The difference is clear - Contribute Now" in an advertisement– that amounts to fear-mongering, period.

    May 9, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. Paul

    I and other people I know used to be McCain supporters. We thought he was level-headed and moderate. Lately he has done nothing but pander to the conservative base because he know this is his last shot at the White House. He has lost his bearings and it has nothing to do with his age.

    May 9, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. Ben Ward

    So if the KKK and other White Supremacist groups support McCain, we should view that as a reflection of McCain's values??? Give me a break!

    May 9, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Florida democrat

    Jan from Boca.....why is it you say "obama has very interesting friends" in context to the statement made by Hamas. Are people so stupid to think if someone shows a preference for you then they are your friends. Really, can you grow up and stop being stupid?

    May 9, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Joan, Ontario,

    Senator McCain started this conversation. Senator Obama was just defending himself. Where we come from "losing your bearings" means you lost your way or don't understand something. It has nothing to do with senility. I think Sen. McCain protests too much. He smacked Sen. Obama and he got smacked back. Live with it. It should be a very interesting fall.

    May 9, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Diane from Alberta

    Geeze..I saw the interview with Wolf and Barack.. it is a strong man who can take a slam from an old guy calling him a Hamas ally..or close to it.
    McCain is an OLD soldier, he fought in an immoral war, he is supporting another immoral war..he was a honourable soldier. but the makings of a good president.. ?? not so much. McCain deserves a smack on the head for last nights comment.
    Mitt Romney will run the whole show anyway.. McCain is just another puppet like Bush was.He is easy to control and Romney will do that.
    I always write , you never post me.."sigh"

    May 9, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. Felly

    McSame is too old for the job. Obama has dismantled Hillary and the Clinton machine. Obama, the Senators buster. McCain is next.

    May 9, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Ben - Portland

    Praetorian wrote- "A "dove" President like Obama–who may undo most of the mid-east strategy (developed over decades) that is finally achieving some results in the region..."

    What strategy and what results? Do you mean we wanted to destabalize the region and turn all of these countries against us and make Isreal more of a target than it already was? Is that the strategy and progress you're talking about?

    May 9, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. DC Insider

    Obama should confer with reverend wright so he knows how to verbalize his anti american comments more precisely

    May 9, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. Florida democrat


    You are a racist idiot and represent the worst of this country. You are exactly the kind of person that has led the country to be in the situation we are currently in.

    May 9, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Andrew, Illinois

    The shear amount of idiocy that is aroused by this article, and the comments for it, is depressing. You all talk about these issues without looking at them from your own objective view; you read only what is fed to you by the news organizations. Think for yourself for once.

    Disgruntled American #239,738,914

    P.S. all of this "baggage" that each of you speak of is all the baggage that would accompany any presidential nominee; none of this has been truly significant enough to create a void of hate for any specific nominee.

    May 9, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. TONY

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
    Look at where some people with "experience" have led us. After all the dust clears, I hope the cry of most of the American people is not, "I told you so." Seems we just dont learn or are to afraid to take a risk. Dont forget, America was built on risk takers, people learning from past mistakes and caring for others well being. Not just number one and a select few.

    May 9, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |


    May 9, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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