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. Mikey

    Let's see if this helps, or if people keep going after Michelle Obama. I'm sure McCain does not want this to continue, becasue it would lead to open season on Cindy McCain, who has her own set of skeletons and issues.

    Best to make this campaign about the future of our country and not about wives, flag pins, age, middle names, and the like.

    Jan from Boca Raton: Anyone with half a brain knows that is not what she meant (all of us reading your posts know that's a standard you cannot meet). Tell me, is Boca Raton spanish for "Rat Mouth"? If it is, how appropriate!

    June 13, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. James, Redlands, CA

    This coming from a man who publicly referred to his wife being painted like a trollop and called her a cu–.

    I just think he has realized that the 527's on the Democratic side are just as ready to smear his wife with her history of past drug abuse and other issues.

    I also think he just wants the appearance of staying above certain things while he can still refer to them.

    The Obamas have been married for years with two lovely daughters. He divorced his ailing first wife to marry a millionaire.

    Great family values McBush.

    June 13, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Steve

    Whatever the history, whatever has been said, I do not think it's appropriate to target a spouse in an election, unless the spouse is in the middle of the game. Bill Clinton would be fair game, since he has been actively campaigning for Hillary as an ex-president. Standing beside the candidate, and saying a few words does not warrant attacks from the other side or the media.

    Calling Mrs. Obama a "babymama" is hugely offensive (but something I would expect from the Fox Noise network). Referring to Mrs. McCain as the "Botox Queen" is also offensive. Calling Hillary "Arkansas Trailer Trash" is hugely offensive, too (she was called that during Bill's campaigns).

    If you yourself can stand up and have no faults, and you yourself are squeaky clean, then maybe you can take a shot (if you have terrible manners). Leave the childish shots to Fox News or Rush "Oxycontin" LImbaugh. The rest of us shouldn't lower ourselves to this nonsense.

    June 13, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Alex

    Respect yes! But they are fair game as to any public statements on public policy, beliefs or especially like the one made by Michelle Obama about being proud of her country for the first time.

    June 13, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. 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 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Sarcasm here,
    Senator J Mac, you already have those 527's lined up and ready to go don't you?
    Seriously, I hope he's going to abide by this, but I only have seen the smiping coming from his side of the ledger. And as someone mentioned earlier, it was Cindy McCain, the one who had that little issue a while back, who pounced on the Michelle Obama comment.
    For the record, Mrs. Obama said "for the first time in my adult life, I'm REALLY proud of my country." I think putting really in there means she's extra proud (and why wouldn't she have been considering her husband was a very serious, legitimate presidential candidate). She did not say she was NOT ever proud of her country in her adult life. Rather, REALLY proud. That is a profound difference. If you don't believe me, and that's fine, just ask your kids english teacher the next time you visit with them. No, not your 11th grade teacher, the 2nd and 3rd grade teachers.

    June 13, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. donna4hillary

    michelle and cindy. one of them will be th efirts lady of the USA and I want to know everything about her before I vote in Nov. whoever she is, she will represent this country and ALL of its millions and millions of citizens. What that first lady does and says needs to be known at all times because it also tells us what kind of man we would elect in novemeber. we already know that michelle wears the pants in that household, that she cant help but say mean spirited things, is racist, an elitist and that her first and only priority (according to her thesis) is the african american community. why would we even begin to think that she will all of a sudden like EVERYBODY if she becomes the first lady? shes got alot of hate for alot of people out there, it wont chnage overnight. as far as cindy goes, we know she had a problem with script drugs but she is drug free now and you can never say that a person who went through treatment and is drug free now is nonetheless still a bad person. i admire anyone that can beat the drugs and or alcohol. and so what if she has money? anyone can have that kind of money if they work hard enough for it and want it bad enough. why not? only jealous and non creative people would make a big deal out of it. onhappy people...ya gotta love 'em i guess. but i do say that both women need to be vetted big time, lets get to the truth of the matter, the first lady, and all that she does and says, matters to me and the rest of the country as well as the world.

    June 13, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    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.”

    John, I think most of the Obamabots already have.

    June 13, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Darth Vadik, CA

    Tell that to the Republicans John.
    There are a lot of things in Cindy's past that Democrats can throw at you, but we havent.

    June 13, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Debbie

    Yesterday, Senator McCain said Senator Obama should have been at the town hall in New York City.

    Senator Obama was in Wisconsin yesterday, where we have been experiencing tremendous flooding damage.

    Thank you Senator Obama for showing true leadership and visiting Americans who are hurting.

    Senator McCain could learn a thing or two.

    June 13, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Uncle Sam

    Should I support a candidate for whom a majority of his supporters can't name any of his accomplishments?

    June 13, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Rick in Rochester

    Speaking about presidential candidate's wives, we all know that most of his money is really her money. Money made from the sale of beer. You know, that stuff that is addictive and kills 250,000 people in alcohol related accidents in the past 10 years. I wonder how many diamond necklaces Cindy owns that came from the same beer sale that resulted in the death of an all American family or small child playing on the side of a road. While Obama's babies mama was studying law, exactly what was Cindy up to? How much money does she donate to MADD?

    June 13, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. Dirty brown teethed Old Man called McSame

    Obama will not hold any joint town halls with the old moroon... you call McSame. Check out the color of the old man's teeth. I don't want to see the desperate limping coconut head called McSame spitting toxic saliva at our president in waiting.

    The old man wants cheap publicity and crowd, knowing there is nothing enticing about him. So people don't turn up to hear the dull, slow old man, who actually thinks he's wise.

    June 13, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    By the way, does anyone have a link to the the quote (or video) where Senator McCain called his wife a 4 later word that begins with c and rhymes with a change of possession in football?

    Also, same question for when a questioner from the audience referred to Senator Clinton as a ***** (rhymes with a lady who rides on a broomstick around halloween) and Senator McCain responded with "That's an interesting question?" Is that true?

    June 13, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Belle

    And once again Obama plays the blame game. If no one says anything about you say they did anyway (make everyone feel sorry for you). Say they called you (and your wife) black. There are always rumors and false statements made about candidates for national office. Other candidates must deal with rumors; why is he so so special and we must feel so so so sorry for him because someone is being mean.

    If Obama wants to set up a website, who cares. I looked at that website; I was not impressed. He has no proof of any of the believable rumors; just "it is not so".

    If that is his birth certificate, it has less information on it than any birth certificate I ever saw (not that I have ever seen an official Hawaiian birth certificate).

    However, I know that I could have done a better job about denying the quotes from his book. Which "quotes" are incorrect; what page in the book will we find the real quote. A better answer would have been simply to say "read the book."

    There is a video of him not placing his hand over his heart while the national anthem plays-he needs to explain that. Just saying it is not so is not good enough. Clearly it is true for that one time; nothing he can do will change that.

    Once he excuses his (or her) action, he needs to stick with that excuse; don't excuse (or denounce) by degree. (Rev Wright and his church)

    There is no way to excuse her "proud" statement. I don't care if there is a video of her saying "whitey" or not; I can feel her hatred when I watch her speak. She is not proud of America; she does believe white people are to blame for all her ills.

    June 13, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. AJ


    June 13, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    To FedUp-

    That is not true. Senator Obama has been doing town hall meetings for several months and has been great, but the TV media has not been airing them. The only place to see them is usually in the mornings on CNN online streaming video.

    June 13, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |

    With all due respects... If you would like your wives treated with respect, then may we suggest having them STAY OUT of politics!!! If they are to open their mouths and have an opinion, then they should be subject to the same "respect" as ANYONE else... You are all fair game!!!!

    So do NOT tell us what we should say or think sir...

    June 13, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Patrick

    Didn't he call his own wife the C-Word?

    What a hypocrite. This crook should NEVER be elected. Go back to Arizona with your lobbyist buddies.

    June 13, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. John in Missouri

    this is interesting...I just sumbitted a comment. and it is not even on here with the words "your comment is awaiting blah blah" hmmm I guess when you criticize the news media for something your comment gets burned.......

    June 13, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Republican for OBAMA!

    All who voted for bush should hang their heads in shame. The only way to redeem is to vote Dem. I know I and all I know will be.

    June 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. JJ

    And this is coming from someone who called his current wife a very disrespectful name just a couple years ago and dogged his first wife. May I add this is coming from a person who wants to take away women's rights.

    Ok McCain....We believe you'll won't disrespect women..NOT!

    June 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Jim

    Now if only the rest of the trailor park trash republican party like Hannity and limbaugh felt the same way...

    June 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Jj24

    Hey, McCain, when did you decide this?? Wasn't your botoxed second wife the one that started this?? I think we need to hear from your first wife before we believe a thing that comes out of your disgusting mouth. American Hero?? Yeah right.

    (Shelly – Have you noticed how those conserv. talk shows idiots are now trying to back track everything they've been saying for months. )

    June 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Anita from Arizona

    Thank you, Senator McCain for your kinds words. Lets see if your fellow Republicans supporters will follow suit. Don't hold your breath.

    June 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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