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. Winston

    Everyone should calm down.

    "McBush" refused to hold the event at the guy's house but still took the 300K.

    Obama denounced his pastor(s), who he previously mentioned as being "the largest religious influence(s) in his life".

    Meanwhile in the land of 10,000 lakes Al Fraken has been making jokes about raping women on and off for the last decade or so.

    June 16, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Barack the Vote in RI

    To "JC" :

    Do you believe EVERYTHING you hear? If you don't like Obama, at least have a legitimate reason.

    June 16, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. David

    Susan – McBush, Clever. How old are you 12?

    June 16, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. Tim in California

    With all due respect to Belle above and other cry babies. McCain is only doing what he needs to do to raise money.......he's groveling in front of all the right wing loonies. If he was a little more coherent and had a plan that made sense...he wouldn't have to grovel.
    The fact that he is running to the right wing power brokers...tells you what kind of a guy he is.......for sale!
    Remember, boys and girls.....if it wasn't for John McCain...we would have had the Keating Four!

    June 16, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. MoveOn

    There you go again, Cnn. Selecting only "Bash Bush, Bash McCain" stories.

    Too bad you lack 1% of the integrity of Tim Russert.

    (It would help if you got rid of Michelle Obama as your lead reporter!)

    June 16, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. ohio voter

    Senator McCain, you didn't see this coming?? You need to fire all of your advisors...Better yet, you should pick your VP real soon. Make that will take some of the heat off of you...Get a Staff!!

    June 16, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. Kris In Atlanta

    How can McCain expect to reach out to women after this? And this article left out some of the more sensational aspects of the rape "joke" . McCain supporters are attempting to downplay the matter when rape is the most heinous crime that can ever be perpetrated against a woman. And accepting money from someone who would refer to a woman as a cow who needed to be dragged through dirt is a huge disgrace and the ultimate insult to women and makes John McCain an enabler of this type of sick thinking.

    And by the way, to the Hillary/McCain supporters, I hope you're keeping score. This is the man you want as your president. Enough with the Republican status quo, senseless violence in Iraq, "lost" White House emails and other cover-ups! No more Bush, and no more McSame!
    Obama 08

    June 16, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA


    June 16, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. David

    Obama was a member of a racist Church for 20 years and old dropped out because he was running for President. So...Whats the point?

    June 16, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. Raoul

    In other news not being covered by mainstream media, there is also a link between the McCain campain, "Freedom Watch" and Turdblossom Rove. Allegedly Rove is being paid 6 figures by "Freedom Watch" (aka- Watch Your Freedom Disappear) and is also advising the McCain campaign...

    I think you need to visit a different political news website to get that information.

    June 16, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. 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.

    June 16, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. josefromsantafe

    I am concerned that money always seems to come before principles with McCain. I believe he should give that money back on principle.

    birds of a feather...


    June 16, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. axt113

    McCain, from Adulterer to Rape supporter

    June 16, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. MD

    That is so typical of this "hero's" personality.

    He DUMPED is sick wife to go after Cindy. Doesn't that say enough about McCane?

    If the Devil himself had raised the $300,000, McCane would not return it. Are you kidding me? That is the Republicans' way: Get money, any way you can!

    McCane has no political prowess. He is a mechanical dummy in the hands of a few Republican Party die-hards, and does as he is told. The more we go on, the more the public will get to know the "REAL McCane."

    June 16, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    Everybody makes mistakes in life........that's part of living......it is the response to the error that counts......McCain is finding it difficult that individuals of power and wealth also have skeleton in their closets. And McCain resolve, "keep the money" and dump the sinner.

    June 16, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. Why try 08

    Belle so let me get this straight. You see someone using an affectionate statement like "sweetie" the same as a man saying "that if you are going to be raped you might as well enjoy"

    Well that's why we have Bush in the white house because it has nothing to do with the issues or what Rev Wright said. You hate Obama for whatever reason you hate him for. That's fine though

    June 16, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Looks like John McCain is in a bind.

    If he gives up the money, he's at a huge financial disadvantage.

    But if he keeps it, then he will be labeled a hypocrite.

    I guess he needs the money that badly, so we'll just have to wait to see what has to happen before he actually gives the money back...

    June 16, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. TonyNJHC

    Someone should do a back round check on some of obama's campaign contributors. I think one made the news recently. I wonder if obama will help his friend out, or forget him. It must be nice to be able to forget when you wish to. Most Americans would find it a bit hard to forget, much less cut links with a church they attended for the past twenty, yes they say (20) Twenty years. I suppose obama is lucky in that way. But the folks of the ancient city of Troy were not so lucky. In either case, my vote will go to LANDSLIDE MCCAIN! He stood up for America, and he does not wish to change our America. If someone is so concerned with changing America, let me give you some advice. There are Millions and Millions of Americans who love this country and don't wish to see America changed. If you do not like it here, if you think something needs to be changed, then I suggest you go to another land, where the majority of the citizens want change. Your "services" may be needed there. So Run, don't walk, and help out those folks on some distant shore, and explain in great detail to those folks in great need, as to how you will make their life better.

    June 16, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. RR

    Some of you people who respond to this are very ignorant and need help!

    June 16, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Michael

    That was 20 years ago when Clayton Williams made that comment. Can the man move on ? Is this the best CNN can do to tear down McCain now that Hillary is gone so that women voters will not vote for him.

    June 16, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Hey Hillerites, this is the boy you want to vote for to "honor" Hillary? Guess you want women's rights turned back about 60 years, huh? GET A FRIGGIN' CLUE!!!!

    June 16, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Jennifer

    Don't you think the headline of this piece is misleading? He didn't defend the guy. He defended his change of venue and date. Why do you even bother with the pretense of being impartial when you are going to do that? It's obvious to anyone with half a brain that this is misleading at best and down right dishonest at worst.

    June 16, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. McCain 08

    We do not need Clinton or her screaming women to win this election.

    McCain 08

    June 16, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Yogi

    Show me the money-Screw the women! Hillary supporters who vote for this guy are setting back women 60 years. Wake up and smell the roses.

    June 16, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Kenneth M


    June 16, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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