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. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    "Alice June 16th, 2008 2:32 pm ET

    Where are all the usual PUMA posters?"
    I keep hearing about PUMA. Who are they?

    I thought PUMA was a sneaker! 🙂

    June 16, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. David Goldman for OBAMA



    June 16, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. Becky

    McCain already has tons of reason why women shouldn't vote for him. This is just another. McCain loves da money no matter who it's from.

    Obama '08

    June 16, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Rob from California

    Winston –
    Al Fraken isn't running for president. McCain is.

    June 16, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. NYC


    June 16, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. David

    Give them back there money.
    You will be Judas Mr McCain if you don't give back the money.

    June 16, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Debbie,NJ

    I'm a woman and I'm sorry but you can't compare verbal racism to rape. The comment made by that man was as sexist as you can get. ANd if McCorpse doesn't think so then he doesn't need to be running for office. He already wants to outlaw abortion which should be at the discretion of a woman. I'm not saying I'm for abortion personally but if women are going to get them anyway we need to cover their safety from people like this McCain backer.

    June 16, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA



    June 16, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. John McCain For President

    so those remarks were 18 years ago? its a shame that obama supporters can't find anything else to use as fire power...good luck left wing liberals

    June 16, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Dave in Houston

    Your people must be really stupid! The Clayton Williams meltdown in 1990 was huge news here in Texas and I am sure that it made waves nationally.

    It's hard to believe that McSame's people studied 20 years of Jeremiah Wright video to dig up the GD America rant, but a scandal that decided the governorship of the 2nd largest state in America escaped their notice. I wonder if they are stupid, or just dishonest.

    June 16, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Fee, Philadelphia

    I am no defender of of Rev Wright or his sermons, but please tell me exactly when he said that he hated white people? The idea that people try to use the so called '20 years' of attending Trinity as some form of Obama being racist or against anyone who isn't black is far fetched. First please learn the difference between racist and prejudice. There is a difference and we are all capable of prejudging or stereotyping. Second of all, I believe most people on these blogs are guilty of making negative remarks or having bad thoughts about someone or something else, even things you love. Imagine if someone took those remarks and painted you a person who thinks or acts that way 24/7. Would it be an accurate reflection of you are or what you stood for? Again, I am no promoter of Rev. Wright, but I find it hard to believe that he preached negative or hate spewed sermons every Sunday over 30 years. If that was the case, YouTube would have more than just the 4 or 5 sermons.

    I stopped attending church because I found some preachers to be hypocritical and judgmental towards other religions and other people. But if someone were to take the words of those preachers and somehow tie them to my way of thinking, I would consider them liars. I have seen preachers baptize members and marry members of the church and I don't think that somehow makes them two minds that think and act alike (Pastor/Congregation).

    Now to McCain and his campaign. I don't hold John McCain responsible for what the Texas Oilman said in the past, but I do believe it would have been beneficial for him and his campaign to return the money. It would have gone a long way to show that he truly cares about accountable...and it's not as if he can say he is unaware of this statements. But what do you expect from a person who thinks like a caveman.

    Women...read up on your McCain history and his voting record on multiple issues that are meaningful to you and me. Read up on his treatment of his first and current wife. Judge him by his own actions, not by the actions of others. You will find plenty to be up in arms over.

    Obama '08

    June 16, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. HYPOCRITE!!!!!!

    JC.............. Oh please. Lets see how much money Obama is getting from the church of "kill whitey" so he can become president and tries to turn Iraq into a defeat.................MCSAME is a HYPOCRITE and Clayton Wms is an IDIOTIC and what a friend they have in................... JC.............THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD!!!!!!

    June 16, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Bup

    I'm an Obama supporter, but don't dump on McCain because of this. "Gotcha!" politics won't play this year.

    McCain didn't know who the guy was. He's been removed.

    If you want to judge McCain on women's issues, you can do that (fairly) by looking at his (McCain's) actual record. Not this tangential jerk.

    June 16, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Foreign observer

    He is the man to learn from how to become rich. You marry a rich lady, you keep money that´s not yours, you become choleric when you disapprove things and don´t care about intelligent argumentations.

    June 16, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. After further review,Texas.

    Its time for your nap Johnny.We will wake you after the election.

    June 16, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. DJ, LA, CA

    The Republican BASE shows its ugly face.

    June 16, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Brian Knoxville, TN

    An Obama spokesperson wants to talk about what's insulting to voters and what constitutes proper expression of the citizenry in our democracy?!?!

    I'dd be rolling on the floor in laughter if it weren't for the fact that the Obama campaign and its enablers–the failed leadership of the newly undemocratic Democratic Party–hadn't stepped all over, spat at, and tossed the principles of the Democratic Party out with the trash.

    This Obama's spokesperson has got to be joking. What a joker. Not funny.

    Hey, Dr. Dean, can you hear us now? Not yet? Sorry to have to tell you that the true Democrats aren't falling in line with the selected nominee of the undemocratic Democratic Party.

    You'll be hearing us when it counts. Count on it.

    Puma Democrat

    June 16, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. Ratgurl

    JC, Obama doesn't take money from the church... churches collect money from the people. Do try to keep up with the rest of us!

    June 16, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. Republican for Obama

    While I don't think you can tie McCain to something this jerk said, you can however expect him to donate the money to charity. The fact that he is cashed strapped and is keeping the money shows a lack of moral backbone. Had he a shred of decency he would have done the right thing even though it wasn't good for his campaign.

    June 16, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Diane Panama City Fl

    Bear in mind this Clayton Williams used direct sexist remarks against former Texas Governor, Ann Richards, when she was running against him for Governor of Texas, comparing her to a cow that he was going to rope and hog-tie. AND, he compared rape to the weather, by saying, "If it's inevitable, just lay back and enjoy it." So, PUMA members, is this the kind of mind-set you agree with by aligning yourselves with McBush?

    June 16, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. David Newport, OR

    There you go PUMA....this is who you will be supporting.

    June 16, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Vanessa

    Lets see if Sean Hannity reports on this

    June 16, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. Upstanding Gentleman

    Rape is never something to joke about. I am a man. If Clayton Williams had a daughter and she had been raped, then I do not think it was funny. It is one thing to use poor judgment in private. Williams said this is public. In private is bad enough, but in public that statement is much worse. McCain needs to try to defend dealing with Williams to a roomful of women while that joke is posted on a screen. McCain should then ask the women if that joke was funny. Somehow, I believe he would have to make a quick exit.

    June 16, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. judy

    His values regarding women and not surprising–I heard McPain dumped one of his previous wives while she was terminally ill and married a better prospect (i.e.rich), then announced it on TV–oh sorry that was the announcement by Rudy, he was the repub that dumped one of his wives on TV.

    June 16, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Mary

    Your wife and daughter are women and what he said goes for them also. Will you sell them out for the money? This man has no respect for women and if the price is right neither do you.

    June 16, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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