June 13th, 2008
02:45 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain: Treat our wives with respect


Watch portions of Dana Bash's interview with John McCain Friday.

(CNN) - John McCain said Friday that every candidates' wife "should be treated with respect and if there's any disrespectful conduct on the part of anyone, those people should be rejected.”

“I have the greatest respect for both Senator [Barack] and Michelle Obama. … I've never met her, Mrs. Obama, she's a talented and a very effective person. And I admire both of them. We have stark differences in views,” he told CNN's Dana Bash in a one-on-one interview.

Earlier: Obama expects Michelle to take heat

“Americans want a us to have a much more respectful campaign than the kinds they've been seeing recently.”

The comment comes a day after Obama’s campaign launched a new Web site, Fightthesmears.com, which aims to debunk rumors against the Illinois senator and his wife.

McCain also touched on his own vice presidential vetting process - and whether he's considering former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as his running mate.

"Not yet," he said.

Romney, who had clashed with the Arizona senator during the Republican primaries over economic issues , has campaigned for McCain since suspending his campaign.

McCain, however, sought Friday to downplay the negativity between the two during the hard-fought primary.

“There were specific comments and times that are made in primaries, but overall, I'm proud of the kind of primary that all of us waged. It was - with a few exceptions - a very honorable primary, which allowed us all to come together," he said. "And as I have gotten to know Mitt better, and his wonderful wife, Anne, we have become quite friendly.”

The presumptive GOP nominee also said that it’s important for the vice presidential vetting process to play out.

“One of the things about this is that sometimes, if you aren't careful, we've seen in history, that it's harmful to the ticket. And that's one of your first criteria, to make sure that there's nothing out there - the people who you are really considering that they would not have a harmful effect on the ticket, or some - so that is one of the reasons why you look very carefully early on at just about everything and try to get some help in doing it.”

McCain also touched on his proposal for joint town hall meetings with Obama, saying “I think Americans, one of the reasons I wanted so badly to have the town hall meetings, so they have a chance to look at us and respond to them, rather than the soundbites and the spin and the Web sites and the 527s.”

He has called for a total of 10 unmoderated town halls between now and August. The Obama campaign, however, rejected the proposal.

McCain’s campaign recently sent a letter to the Obama campaign urging the debates after receiving invitations by the Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Libraries to hold joint town halls meetings.

In a statement Friday, Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe responded to the letter saying the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate offered to meet McCain at five joint appearances between “now and Election Day” – which would include three traditional debate “plus a joint town hall on the economy in July and an in-depth debate on foreign policy in August.”

“That package of five engagement would have been the most of any Presidential campaign in the modern era – offering a broad range of formats – and representing a historic commitment to openness and transparency.”

soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. Truth Be Told

    looks like sen. mccain speaks on both sides of his mouth.

    June 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    "Jan from Boca Raton, Fl. June 13th, 2008 3:12 pm ET

    Why does Michelle Obama deserve respect from the American
    people when she is not proud of our country????"
    At least she wasn't arrested for stealing prescription drugs, like Cindy.
    At least her husband wasn't a member of the Keating Five.

    You wanna throw dirt? Let's throw dirt!

    June 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Swampy

    Jan from Boca Raton, Fl. June 13th, 2008 3:12 pm ET

    Why does Michelle Obama deserve respect from the American
    people when she is not proud of our country????

    Go back and read, Jan. Michelle's statement was that she *is* proud of our country (OK, that's a bit disngenuous, but no more so than Jan's deliberate misinterpretation of Michelle's remark in the first place).

    Respect her, don't respect her - your choice. The article is about how the campaigns and candidates will conduct themselves, not about the American people.

    June 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. bayouboy

    jan from boca ------- i see you on post constantly -- your weird --– REALLY REALLY WEIRD!!!!!!

    June 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Chris from San Antonio

    McCain to the American people: Leave her alone.

    McCain to his GOP cohorts: Let her have both barrels.

    June 13, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Paul

    First everyone should've treated Hillary better!

    June 13, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. KMAN

    Too little ... too late and simply BS at that! Serial adultry is not the way to show a mate respect 'my friend'!

    June 13, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Chris, American in London

    Ofcourse McCain is going to say this now, because his wife is as much of a potential liability as Obama's, and she hasn't been dragged through the mud quite so badly yet. Where was he on this when Cindy McCain had her little moment of mocking Michelle in that speech. Bring it on, millionaire Heiress. If the Republican's are serius about this why don't they denounce Limbaugh and his"whitey" remarks. Obama exposed them w/his rumor page and this is why their trying to take the high road now. Typical.

    June 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. Robert in Toronto,ON

    I'm sorry...this coming from the guy (McCain) who called his wife and explesitive (worse than the b word, btw. Think lower) IN PUBLIC in front of the media (who for whatever reason other than HuffPo don't report on)

    The guy is a HYPOCRITE and he will be exposed as such by November.

    June 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Paula

    Considering Mcain's wife's past he certainly doesn't want this to start.

    June 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. tom, boston

    only if he could practice what he preaches to others.

    Insane Mccain is having another senile moment, i guess.

    June 13, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Oregon

    The Party of Swiftboating won't get this . . . at all.

    June 13, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. No More Clintons, CA

    Is John McCain bipolar like Clinton too?

    Did not Cindy McCain long ago jumped in to twist and smear Michelle Obama?

    Cindy McCain should APOLOGIZE for her vicious attack on Michelle!

    June 13, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. Independent for Obama

    I appreciate McCain saying this. I completely agree that the wives aren't running for office, and even though it is easy for people to say something nasty about them, it really isn't appropriate.

    I can think of a lot of good people who would never go into politics because their family would get trashed for no reason – if we want better politics and better politicians, we should monitor ourselves and refuse to support news organizations that slam the family of a politician.

    June 13, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. dr nowweknow

    This is his was of saying

    "lets not talk about my affair with Cindy or her durg addiction or her criminal activites related to her attempts to get drugs"

    June 13, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. Sarah

    If McCain wants the wives to be treated with respect, then why did he say "I can't keep track of every ad" when asked about the reporting that the RNC, et al is going to go ahead with a smear campaign against Michelle Obama? Mrs. McCain has an awful lot (and so does he) to go negative on but I don't see or hear the Obamas doing that. Why do the Republicans have to always go dirty to win? Mr. McCain should also be going after FOX news for all the dirt they are throwing out that is not true and making up their own dirt. Those people should be thrown off of television just like Imus was. They are SO unbelievably racist. Why are there no guidelines for this? It makes me sick and so does John McCain for not nipping all of this in the bud and to the head of FOX for uging the filth to continue. He, too, should be eliminated from the world of television.

    June 13, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  17. Glenn

    What a wimp! McBush has done absolutely nothing to stop the GOP "attack mongers" who have vilified and attacked Michelle. McBush has done nothing to stop the GOP "hate mongers" who spread false rumors and lies about Michelle. But now that his wife and daughter are being attacked he tries this pathetic plea. McBush and the GOP brought it all on. They can reap what they sowed.

    June 13, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. Sheri

    Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain are smart and good ladies who I RESPECT. Michelle is may gal though. That comment was terrible about her. She's had more to endure because of her color. And who cares if Cindy McCain used drugs That's the past we all have a past.

    June 13, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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