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. Enlightened Voter

    mcwar just voted against a bill last week for equal pay for women. The week prior he voted against extending unemployment benefits. Too much stuff is coming out about him and its all negative. Besides the fact that I think he has a touch of dementia or maybe he is just plain evil, he'll never get my vote.

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

    McCain takes this guy DIRT MONEY!!!

    Oh well, this is just another FACT CHECK in McCain's winding road from straight talk to double talk

    June 16, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Jeff, AL

    If he had returned the money, he could have potentially swayed some of those women voters that everyone needs to win in the general election. Never ceases to amaze me how some candidates fail to see the big picture.

    June 16, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Eli

    This money did not come from Williams it came from other people supporting John McCain. Im a Democrat and I know that. I cant believe Obama had anything to say about this, it took Obama twenty years to break ties with a hatemonger and racist and he has only done it now to try and win this election. John McCain was not friends with this person and as soon as he found this out he stopped the fundraiser at his home and moved it some where else. Shame OBAMA did not do that with his mentor and friends. Hey have you read dear ole Michelle's thesis from Princton. Why dont CNN issue he thesis. I know i write this in vain since CNN does not put comments that show the Obamas in bad light, but the other websites print it.

    June 16, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Jon

    Does anybody here actually believe that their comments are swaying anybody ? Does anybody really go "Oh wow – I was on the fence on who to vote for, but because Bobby so-and-so says McCain is a jerk it MUST be true – thank goodness for these forums !"

    Everybody here is posting just to hear themselves sound witty. Myself included I guess 🙂

    June 16, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Tim

    Now I see why women would vote for this guy. He definitely has your best interests at hand. Now that's real change you can vbelieve in...NOT!!!

    June 16, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    i can understand politicans needing to raise money, and there's probably stink money with all candidates. but this was called out and is now in the public eye, so it shows a lack of character on mccain's part. it makes him look pathetically desperate too.

    the fact that mccain has such a hideous record with women's issues and his big fat mouth gets HIM in trouble with women too, he should be a man and give it back. it's not true that all of those people gave money to the loser b/c they support you. they might not have contributed to mccain if loser hadnt asked him. we all know people give money for unsavory reasons, especially when you're talking people of this low caliber; no doubt loser made promises to some of them and that's why they donated to mcsame.

    mccain has ZERO integrity, credibility, reliability (his flip-flopping is monumental in politics), and his stability is very questionable too. he is a dishonest disaster and should never be POTUS!!!

    June 16, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Marie in California

    Nice move for McCain. He did the absolute right thing.

    As for the Obama camp, they should keep their mouths shut. Obama has more dirty baggage than than a homeless hobo.

    McCain – 2008

    June 16, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Independent in DC

    LOL @ feminist Hillary supporters voting for McCain out of spite...

    June 16, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. LaShanda

    I've been raped and this is NOT funny! I am tired of the media's complacency over John McCain. Barack is raked over the coals for comments and actions made by other people, while John McCain gets a free ride. The man could be friends with a murderer and the media coverage will never compare to Hillary's "Bosnia" gaffe or Jeremiah Wright or "Bittergate." I'm tired of Teflon John!

    June 16, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. John

    Looks like McCain is again proving he is a Red faced bad tempered angry warmongering mysogenistic loony, who cannot remember what he or anyone else said yesterday and beyond.

    Is this the Republicans best heaven help the country if he becomes president.

    McCain makes GWB look intelligent.

    And we all know what a great dummy GWB is.

    June 16, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. RIF

    The funny thing is that TRUE American wmen who've been fighting for women's rights for decaddes like Gloria Steinem, EMILY's List, ot behind Obama the day Hillary dropped out because they know that there is a HU GE difference between McCain and Obama on almost all of the issues that women care about deeply. It's these women who've done nothing for women's rights who are still stirring the pot and threathing not to vote for Obama. McCain thinks he can roll out Carly Frionia and women will just line up behind her. She's about elite as you can get. This lady ran HP into the ground, laid off thousands of workers and then took a $21 million pacage when she got the boot.

    June 16, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Eric

    McCain took the money because if he gets in office, which he wont, he plans on having this guy as a lobbyist for his party. So much for all his talk of getting rid of lobbyists.

    June 16, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. GWB

    Go ahead Hillary/McCain supporters spin this one to Obama!

    June 16, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Max

    I hate the way he speaks. It seems not from his heart.

    June 16, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. RoundLegs

    These remarks equating sex with weather sounds like a voice from under the table at last call. If Williams wasn't wasted when those words dribbled from his gaping mouth, there is no excuse. It wasn't even an amusing comment if it were said with an alcohol soaked brain.

    June 16, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. Democrats Unite!!!

    This should surprise no one...

    Democrats 2008

    June 16, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. D.C.

    TEFLON JOHN. McCain=Bush Third Term

    No Bush Third Term, whether another Bush or McBush.

    June 16, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. wycliffe, NJ


    June 16, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. blitz

    Wake up call
    This man has no morals and will also sell us out for a rape date and God knows what else for 4 yrs.
    Please democrats and America vote for Obama.
    We need America back with some morals., respect for women, men, childern, animals, enviroment and our sanity and reputation

    June 16, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Michael

    I'll preface this with just saying outright that I am an Obama supporter.

    Now; I don't think you can truly hold McCain responsible for what this idiot said so many years back. However, that leeway has to be granted by both sides. McCain just came out last week, complaining about one of Obama's VP vetting team members because he was for a pardon during the Clinton administration. Mad a lot of hay of that one, all while he continues to keep Charlie Black on staff. I think if you're going to hold a standard that you believe everything that everyone connected to you believes as McCain has tried to do, the turn about is fair play. Thus if as JC states that Obama is for killing whity, then McCain is okay with rape, he thinks 9/11 and Katrina was God's judgment and that Hitler was doing God's work....Yes people this is ridiculous to it's very core! I do however agree with "OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT" that perhaps McCain should donate the money raised to a battered women's shelter. But that's totally up to him, I just think if you're going to throw the mud and link a candidate to every person who has ever crossed paths with that candidate, that you're on a slippery slope. Given the number years McCain has been a politician I think that's a slope he doesn't want to get on....

    June 16, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. beverly

    mccain will try any way he can to win this election, this mr. claytie is a skunk a smelly one at that. since macain found out about claytie giving mccain the benefit of the doubt how could he still take him money. OH! I GET IT NOW IT WAS A FUND RAISER, AND THEREFORE THE MONEY WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO GIVE BACK TO THE CONTRIBUTORS. IN THAT CASE OH! WELL

    June 16, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Christopher in TN

    What a hypocrite! Why does he not just donate the money to flood relief in Iowa and elsewhere in the midwest? That would be an appropriate use for such tainted funds. And where is Bush? Taking tea with the queen while much of Iowa is underwater! Katrina redux but, thank God, without the huge death toll.

    June 16, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. Jamaal Kansas

    Mcsame should be ashamed of himself but want to question everyone else on people they may have brushed up against it is your time Mcshame you are in the Kitchen Now it is no more watching from the sidelines.

    June 16, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. D.C.

    TEFLON JOHN. McCain=Bush Third Term

    No Bush Third Term, whether another Bush or McBush.

    June 16, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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