June 13th, 2008
02:45 PM ET
11 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. Matt in Cleveland

    didnt mccain call his wife the c word in a book?

    June 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Pat Long Island NY

    Personal attacks on the wifes is wrong. But, for example, noting that Cindy McCain is an uber rich beer heiress with a private jet which McCain takes advantge of, is ok to talk about, as well as why she says she won't have any real involvement as a first lady. Also, all her money connections are relevant to.

    June 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. Carl

    Spouses should be left out if they stay away from the limelight and stay away from helping her husband/wife win the election.

    If they speak on her husband/wife's platform, then they DESERVE all the criticism that can be bestowed upon them if necessary...

    stop making this a democrat vs republican issue... those that do so DESERVE nothing....

    June 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Will of Arkansas

    Obama is running for Jimmy Carters second term!! LMBAO!!!!!

    June 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Ben

    leapfrog June 13th, 2008 3:09 pm ET

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Cindy McCain jump right in during the flap over Michelle Obama's comment about pride with the quip, "I've ALWAYS been proud of being an American." Keep spouses out of it only if the spouses stay out of it. If they enter the public forum, they should expect to be analyzed and discussed by any and all pertinent parties.


    Does than mean both MO and CM are open to be analyzed and discussed by any and all pertinent parties. I there is a difference in being out on the trail hitting it and making a comment. I do not think either wife is out there on the trail working the voters. Both should be left alone inless they jump in and start bagging on people. The comments they have made have only been how they feel as far as I have seen.

    June 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    really? is this coming from McCain. Surprised. what about all the information you have to drag Michelle down. Guess you know what's in your corner!!!!

    June 13, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Kenneth

    you can comment on what a wife says but you can not get in the gutter and make up stuff also the minior childern must be off limits.

    June 13, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. Enlightened Voter

    Why don't you tell your evil repub party that, huh mcwar?

    June 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Cynthia

    Will he reject Fox News? They seem to really have it in for Senator Obama.

    June 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. jr

    Honorable man, honorable observation.

    June 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    It's really self-servng for McCain to say this after he stood smiling alongside George Bush, the man whose campaign insulted and trashed Mrs. McCain during the 2000 primaries.

    June 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. RESPECT!!!!

    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..........
    THANK YOU Mr McCAIN .............REPECT is WHAT we NEED !!!!!!!

    June 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  13. jen

    Jan your a moron!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 13, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. Helene

    Tell it to Fox News and others who support your candidacy ! Let's see if your words are followed with action, for a change.

    June 13, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. Jeff D, South Bend, IN

    Except for leaving his crippled first wife for a younger hottie, and then calling that younger hottie a c**t in public in front of numerous witnesses. (true story, google it).

    He's losing his mind.

    June 13, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. Shelly in IL

    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????

    Let's not go there Jan, OK? We really don't want to get into that aspect of the conversation now do we?

    June 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  17. FactCheck

    You mean the kind of respect you showed your first wife when you cheated on her many times over and then divorced her because she suffered disfigurements after a car crash?

    June 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. Jeryl

    McCain gets +2 points for that.. i agree.,

    June 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. Beth - Florida

    How can you respect someone who doesnt respect their country!

    June 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Chelle

    FEDUP – that is such a tired argument....He has already done many town hall type meetings very successfully. Want to try something else?

    And it seems to me that now that he realizes that criticism of Cindy McCain would also be in play, he's now willing to speak up about how wives should be treated? That's comical.

    June 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. sandy

    Well, now, isn't that speeeeecial? The man who calls his own wife a c**t and degrades her in the presence of his military cronies ... talking about being respectful to wives. This guy is old, befuddled, and off his rocker!

    June 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. WALKER

    More lies from satan personified.....as always, talking out of both sides of his mouth...and I agree w/leapfrog about Cindy McCain having her unwarranted say about Michelle's proud comment...As if Cindy McCain will ever know what it is like to be an African American..She really needs to talk about what she knows (ie,born wsilverspoon, not having someone judge you by the color of your skin)
    ..and we don't even need to mention the tax release (6mil)..what an insult to the intelligence of the American people...talk about integrity issues..come on people, are these the kind of people we want to continue leading our country

    June 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. The Bush Twins : George and John

    Of course he would say the wives should be respected, that way when the repubs do come out and attack Michelle Obama he can then say he had nothing to do with it. OR it could be that he just doesn't want people to take a good close look at Cindy. Very clever McCain, but people just aren't as stupid as you think they are.
    Things that make you go hmm...

    June 13, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. EDW

    Come one Shelly, let's say it straight. All Dems should boycott the Fox News Network, plain and simple. Their reporters will say anything to bring down our candidate and call in real news. Then apologize later for it.

    Dems '08

    June 13, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    you, my friend, are a weak, hypocritical neocon!

    it is the ULTIMATE in hypocrisy for MCCAIN to lecture on respecting wives. McCon, look in the mirror as you say that, cuz you, my friend, NEED HELP!

    it is a weak, angry, ignorant man who calls his wife the vile names YOU DID!!!!

    just keep listening to your idiotic advisors who send you out with these ridiculous statements. we are waaaayyyy too smart for you neocons, your silly tactics are just pathetic now.

    you dont fool anyone, coming out to say "respect our wives" DOES NOT fool us into believing you do!!! you dont even support equal pay for women, you old codger!!

    buying a diamond bracelet may work for cindy, but we arent stupid enough to fall for your hypocritical, flashy words!!!

    June 13, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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