June 16th, 2008
01:30 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain defends controversial Texas fundraiser

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/16/art.mccain.6.16.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain defended his decision to postpone a fundraiser Monday."]
(CNN) – John McCain on Monday defended the decision to postpone and move a fundraiser that was initially to be hosted by Clayton ‘Claytie’ Williams, a Texas oilman who joked about rape when running for governor in 1990.

“My people were not aware of the statement that he made 16 or 18 years ago,” McCain told CNN’s Dana Bash. “So when we found out that this was planned there we said ‘Nope, we’ll reschedule it and do it some place else,’ and I understand that he’s not attending. That’s pretty much the sum of it all.”

McCain added that the campaign will keep the $300,000 Williams has reportedly raised for him, arguing, “the people who contributed are supporters of mine, not supporters of his.”

He did not answer how he thought this might affect his outreach to women.

“The only thing more insulting than John McCain’s willingness to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash raised by Claytie Williams is his attempt to get away with it by simply changing the venue of his fundraiser,” an Obama spokesman e-mailed Monday morning. “It’s clear that John McCain is more concerned with dealing with a ‘perception problem’ than in condemning these despicable remarks or in living up to the straight talk reputation he brags about."

Williams had compared rape to the weather, saying, “If it’s inevitable, just relax and enjoy it.” He later apologized.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Women Decide

    John McCain is anti-choice and anti-woman. He vowed to make abortion illegal and votes against breast cancer screenings.

    He dumped his first wife after she got seriously injured and permanently crippled in a car accident.

    He joked at a GOP fundraiser that Chelsea Clinton was so ugly that her father was actually Janet Reno.

    Women make up a majority of voters in America, and women will never put that jerk McCain in the White House.

    June 16, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Venus


    This is great!

    So... lt's see!

    We will have Bitter-Gate and Rape-Gate!

    We also have "Rope her like one of hs cattle-Gate!

    Go Obama!

    June 16, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Kalifornia

    It is not a proven fact that she never said "whitey", chose your words accurately. The only fact is that it has not been proven that she has said it for now. It will come out.

    June 16, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. WFK

    Just make sure that all those women who said they intend to vote for McCain since Hillary lost the nomination to Obama know what they're voting for: an anti-choice gentleman, supported by hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by a Texas oilman who makes misogynist comments while running for public office. Charming..

    June 16, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Tammy - KCMO

    The only thing McCain is sorry for is getting caught with his pants down for accepting the money. He at one time I'm sure knew about the statement, even if due to old age he's forgotten about it now.
    Maybe he ought to think about donating it to a battered woman's shelter or rape crisis center.
    Any woman stupid enough to vote for this idiot in November deserves what they get.

    June 16, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |

    Everytime I See You Smile Mccain I Will Know You Are Thinking About That Joke!

    June 16, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. The Bush Twins : George and John

    They'll just "reschedual it and do it some place else" ?. Something tells me this Clayton Williams guy will still be involved with McCain some way or another. These oil people find it to their benefit to hang with the repubs. and visa versa. And he claims his campaign people didn't know anything about the comments made by this jerk. Right.

    June 16, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. consultantaz

    Never ceases to amaze me – JC says "never call Iraq a defeat" ! REALLY! We got suckered into this because of our fears; Congress went along with the lies, the deception and allowed us to be engaged in a war to which there is no "win". We cannot sustain the bleeding of funds to support this major folly and the rebuilding of this pile of sand while Katrina victims still have no communities, Social Security is in serious jeopardy and our National Guard is guarding a foreign country ! The dollar is so devalued because of extreme debt that Sax Fifth Avenue is merchandising in Euros right in Manhattan ! Not sure what you would call it but sure smells like that proverbial "duck" to me. It's 1968 all over again – most either don't care, don't see it , are getting rich off of it or are just plain stupid.

    June 16, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. Belle

    Before you start criticizing McCain on a fundraiser, you might want to check out Rezko and Obama's relationship. A 17 year friendship, not some unknown fundraiser that made hateful comments.

    June 16, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Martin Wilson

    Looking at things from Canada, I can hardly believe that McCain is even being taken seriously as a candidate for President. This dinosaur has political views that were obsolete in 1975 and sees the bankrupting of America in an immoral war for the next hundred years as the only way to go. Yet here he is with 43% of the polling results. Incredible! I watched with disbelief as Gore and Kerry were shunted to one side for George W. (Warmonger) Bush, so it would seem that picking the wrong guy is the new American tradition. Good luck America.....you'll need it.

    June 16, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. fred flinstone

    What's funny is he hammered Obama about his V.P. searching team. Which was a bunch of B.S. because the person did nothing wrong he said nothing wrong yet he had to resign to not let this distract Obama. Now McShame is keeping the money from a person who said the things he did. when Obama made the DNC give back money and is changing the Fundraising plans of the DNC. Mcshame is doing nothing to change. Give the money back and stop attacking Obama on meaningless things.

    June 16, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. Cosmo

    Ok, so what if McCain denounced the man and didn't accept the money? Then those supporters would contribute it a different way. HE DIDN'T ACCEPT MONEY FROM THE GUY. Why do all you knuckleheads miss the point all the time? If I'm McCain, I say no thank you to the funds that were raised by him and then just tell those same people to donate online.

    June 16, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. Ding, Washington, DC

    Keeping 300k is an insult to all women. Here is my advice to Senator McCain, donates that money to Susan G. Kumen. Stop speaking from both sides of your mouth. anyhow, you donate 300k but still loose big time. Women are more smarter

    June 16, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. All58

    Ah love the bias...
    "McCain defends"...
    exactly WHERE did he defend what was said?

    Almost choked reading Obama's response. That's rich. How much money has he gotten from questionable characters?

    You think he's Mr. Honorable, try looking up his Chicago friends. As if Rezko isn't bad enough... try Todd Stroger. That being the hack that Barack "Change" Obama supported over the reformer-challenger Claypool...

    Anyone want to guess who is now a superdelegate backing Obama?
    Hint: his initials are T.S.

    The hypocrisy of BO is positively nauseating.

    June 16, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. To the insane Hillary supporters

    Funny, isn't it? The guy you want to vote for is accepting money from people who think rape is 'inevitable'.

    You hillary supporters are blind and stupid!

    June 16, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain, go ahead and pick Jeb Bush and see how much faster your ship will sink. McCain has a new ad out talking about the same old warmed over story, the Vietnam war. Vietnam was never a threat to the U.S. and he compares that to him being best to serve our country. If McCain wants to continue to relive the Vietnam era, let him, but don't let him destroy and kill our young men and women serving in the mideast.

    June 16, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. Beverly, NYC

    That straight talk is fully off the rails now. Ever hear the saying birds of a feather flock together. Since when is rape something to joke about? What do we expect from the man who wants to abolish Roe V Wade.

    And JC for the 2 millionth time Obama money comes from regular people giving what they can. Look it up on his website before you show your ignorance.

    June 16, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Peggy - Tx

    You can tell a lot about a person based on who their friends are. Sexist comments from a powerful Houston player are a true window into the culture of Houston, where sexism is not only pervasive in the arenas of power and money, but often standard, accepted practice by even the disapproving.

    June 16, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Republican for OBAMA!

    How appropriate this has to do with McCain. After all it is his mentor and roll model bush who did exactly that to each and every american. Should we just relax and enjoy our economy, the Iraq war, our healthcare system in shambles, our education system completely wrecked. Sure, why not. Let’s just add another 4 yrs of misery to it while we're at it.

    Obama 08!

    June 16, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    the SMARM factor never leaves the GOPPERS does it?

    OBAMA '08

    June 16, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. David Peter

    Clinton junkies, McBush is a sexist womanizing-warpig! He had two affairs when he was married to his first wife, then divorced her and married his present trophy-wife (18 years younger than him). And now this!! Did I mention he is anti-choice??

    June 16, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |

    This Shows Mccains True Character!

    June 16, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Semps, Chicago

    McBush should not take the money.

    June 16, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. Larry Sinclair

    I would just like to go on record stating that there is no incriminating videotape of Michelle Obama. Of course, even if such a video existed, she did not say those things. And even if she did say those things, she was taken out of context. And even she wasn't taken out of context, she did not really mean them. And even if she did really mean them, it doesn't matter.............

    June 16, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. JK

    You make me sick.

    What if those words were directed to your wife or daughter.

    June 16, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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