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. Chicagoway

    OK, only problem is that you have gone after Michelle Obama. Try to practice what you preach

    June 13, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. Jennifer

    Holy Cow, I'm totally blackballed! I submitted a comment earlier, then submitted a follow up saying I was blocked, with a sarcastic comment about how 4 comments must have been too many, in keeping with CNN's statement that due to the volume of comments, not all may be posted....that 2nd entry was actually posted for about 2 minutes then removed. Must have hit too close to home for the news-nazis (I'm sure saying THAT will doom this 3rd message to failure...at this point I guess I'm writing just for my own amusement.

    June 13, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Drew, Central FL

    And what about Carol McCain. I think the American people, especially women, need to here about her. Just 'cuz the guy was a POW doesn't make him honorable.

    June 13, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. John Taylor

    as a Canadian, i think McCain should pick a Canadian as a V.P. and
    then let us Canadians join the USA ...matter of fact, i think McCain is in Canada today in Ottawa..

    June 13, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. al


    June 13, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. R.I.F.

    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 it go please! You guys have nothing to debate in terms of policy so you just keep trying to paint Barack and Michelle out to be terrorist or something. Guess what, blacks are Americans too you know. GET A LIFE!!!

    June 13, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. aware

    Unmoderated joint-town halls are the best idea yet.

    Let's get to know these guys in an unscripted off the cuff format! 🙂

    Quit stalling Obama! 😦

    June 13, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. ProundToBeADemocrat

    Old man know his wife Cindy have much more skeleton in her clsoet than any body. If Repulicans start attacking Michelle by using smear tactic then Cindy's past history will flowing in the Internet like there is no tommorow so repulicans bring it on this is not 2000 or 2004.

    June 13, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Louie


    June 13, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Nicole in NE

    Honestly, I am glad he said this.

    On with the issues affecting Americans!

    Obama 08'

    June 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. RAR

    Appearing to be virtuous by talking about respect while your supporters spew venom is an old Republican trick. Bush did it when his supporters were attacking Kerry for his war record. Let your supporters do the dirty work so you look above it. Nonetheless damage is done. If McCain really believes what he says then publicly denounce his supporters who are trying to blame M. Obama, Barack's "evil half", for "supporting" Rev. J. Wright's beliefs. After all, she join their former church first.

    June 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. Gary Chandler in Canada

    On BLOGS, it says JM was heard calling his wife a c**t, and making a joke that Cheslea was ugly.
    Do what John McCain SAYS, not what he DOES!?

    June 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. Raymond Duke

    It makes me purely sick that the republicans are having to run this man. But unlike the democrats the republicans take the canidate that the voters choose for the party. I am afraid that he is going to keep on playing this lets be nice and lose the election for the republicans by having no GONADS. Thank GOD the republican party thinks and goes out to win and doesn't let their canidate pull the strings and call the shots. The wives of these canidates are going to be targeted. They had no problem going after Bill Clinton. Women are no better than their male counterparts if they get involved. I thought I was a male chauvanist compared to McCain and Obama but I take that back. If you want to be equal then be prepared to take all the licks and quite your whining about please don't pick on our wives. Then keep them home barefoot and pregant and their mouths shut or let them be an equal person with equal freedoms.

    June 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |

    No Can Do Mccain! You Opened That Can Of Worms Now Eat Them! You Are Just Back Tracking Now Because If All The True Stuff Came Out About Your Wife It Would Be Worse For You Than Anything That Can Come Out About Obamas Wife!

    June 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. Vote Nader

    Notice how he didn't have to say "They’re even trying to make Cindy into a scary person. Right?". Sen. McCain doesn't need to sensationalize this "issue" and try to stir up emotion. He can make a statement with maturity.

    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    June 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Jamie

    What???? Hey, wasn't it Cindy McCain who, herself, attacked Michelle Obama with a nasty, catty, bi*tchy little remark about being proud of her country? I suspect that since Joe Liebermann wasn't standing next to McCain and whispering in his ear that Cindy has already attacked the other guy's wife he said such a ridiculously stupid thing.

    June 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. Banko

    McCain has no respect for women. McCain dumped his first for a 25years redeo queen Cindy. What shame?

    June 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. Women In California for Obama

    Of course you want respect. That's so no one will talk about your lovely wife and how the two of you met. Still no apology to Mrs. Obama. Well, I won't apologize for calling your wife "the other woman."

    June 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. dekeburt

    Why was Michelle Obama just recently proud of her country? I can remember since being a little boy being proud of my Country. HHMmm.. Probably not just because her husband has a shot at becoming the President of the strongest nation in the world... Nahh. that couldn't be it..... Give me a freakin break, you Barack Hussein Obama lovers need to wake up.....

    June 13, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Raymond Duke

    If you boycott fox news than you would have to boycott cnn and pmsnbc for kissing Obama's behine.

    June 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. Yes we can!

    He only wants to leave the wives out of it because cindy is RICH RICH RICH with many skeletons.........michelle has already been vetted...only she can mess her ownself up.....OBAMA 2008/2012

    June 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    McCain knows that his wife is very vulnerable.

    Michelle might be portrayed as unpatriotic, but she's not a drug addict, and she's not a homewrecker!

    I bet moveon.org is going to have a field day with this one!

    June 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. PCS / North Carolina

    Yeah, tell this to the "Jim Crow GOP's of Tennessee ", RACE BAITERS and HATE MONGERS (Rush, Sean Hanibal, Ann Coulter, and the arrogant O'Reily) and the FOX news. They still have the Klansmen attitute and the supperiority complexes of GOP.

    GOP = Only about "me and myself" = selfish party of no shame

    June 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Vito, Chicago

    Treat them with what they deserve-whatever that is. Should they be on a pedastal? I think not. If they want to get involved, then they should expect the heat.

    June 13, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. shelly

    HEY MCInsane when was the last time your wife (CINDY) went to a twelve step meeting or worked one of the steps. If you don't work it you can't give it back....................

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