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)

    Mccain Cant Return That Money! . . . . He Doesnt Want Anyone To Think That He Thinks Rape Is Not Funny!

    June 16, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. Donna

    That fits right in with the "You're on your own" mentality of the "tax and WAR" Republican message.

    And while you're relaxing, American, keep in mind that the GOP will want you to raise that child, whether from Rape or not.

    No thanks.

    McCain = Bush Third Term

    June 16, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Ms Hudson

    I agree with Jason's post. Pure and simple....

    June 16, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Average woman

    Whoa!!!!! As someone who has been sexually abused, I can tell you its not something to joke about!!!! I hope all Hillary supporters who are now for McCain are taking notes.

    June 16, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. ReMiWa

    And this is the candidate that the fanatic Hillary supporters say they will support!

    June 16, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. SIT DOWN!!!!

    No Socialist, NY ................................................................................

    All you McCain haters are so ungrateful. He sat in a POW camp because he chose to serve in the military to protect your freedom, (including your right to freedom of speech ).............. I KNOW MCSAME REGRETS and 18 million + ......... THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO SPEAK BY THE WAY HOW IN HELL DO YOU SLEEP @NIGHT WITH SO MUCH BITTERNESS!!!!

    June 16, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Citizen

    There goes that "Hillary Clinton feminist voters" bloc. McCain is so dumb that he can not even get out of his own way.

    June 16, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Ed in Dallas

    Everybody please chill out. I was living in Texas back in 1990 when Clayton Williams made his rape comment. It wasn't the only stupid thing he said, but it was enough for him to go from clear front-runner to clear loser in the election that resulted in Ann Richards becoming governor of Texas.

    Now fast forward 18 years. I didn't even realize the man was still alive. People who are outraged make several fallacies of logic to get to that point. First, they hold McCain accountable for Williams' comments, second they place the comments in the present day, and third, they ignore the 18 year-old apology from Williams. Three errors in logical thinking to be able to justify moral outrage.

    Be careful casting stones. If each of us were held accountable for everything our acquaintances had ever done in their lives, what kind of world would we live in? Hold McCain (and Obama) accountable for their own actions, not those of people they probably didn't even know years ago when something stupid and offensive was said. He distanced himself, so let's move on to something important like the economy, Iraq, health care, inflation, global security, education or a hundred other issues more relevant than what some private citizen who happens to raise money for a candidate said 18 years ago.

    June 16, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Concerned

    Attention Democrats, Republicans, and Independents!

    Before voting for Senator McCain, check out how he treated his first wife. The information is readily available on the Internet. I almost cried after reading about the events that led to the end of the marriage of John and Carol McCain. A mid-life crisis is no excuse for a divorce. A man can not trade in his wife for a newer model when he feels ike it. This information gives us a clear indication how he feels about women's rights and women in general. Marriage vows are to be honored in sickness and in health and so forh. How Senator McCain treated his first wife concerns me. Is this really who you want as the next President of the United States?

    June 16, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Bob

    Wow . . . I can't believe this is news 18 years later.

    Williams is an idiot who should not have been governor – not because of this stupid phrase but for his bad policies. This "quote" is created from two separate ideas he uttered back to back, 18 YEARS AGO! He never supported rape and used rancher analogies – admittedly stupid ones – to try and appear confident, not misogynistic. Thankfully, Ann Richards (w00t!) beat him handily.

    Go back and read what Williams actually said and you'll see what he intended, not what CNN says he said. He bungled his words, but he never said rape is good or that he wanted Richards to be hog-tied. His career is over and has no bearing on McCain.

    June 16, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Linden

    And here I thought McCain WANTED women to vote for him...

    June 16, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. Casey - Sebastopol, CA

    @No Socialist, NY

    That war was illegal and a mess, too. It took the public to force us out of Vietnam. We can be sorry and have respect for a person who served the country – that doesn't mean he's Presidential or that he'd make a good commander in chief.

    I think it shows exactly where McBush is morally and ethically. He's proven that he message is whatever it takes at the time, from his "ethical conversion" on the heels of the KEATING 5 issues to his "family values" when dumping wife #1 to marry the rich woman he was dating on the side. McCain's integrity is BS.

    And I think we can safely say that "I will NEVER surrender" is coming directly from his Vietnam experience. NO, I don't want this guy anywhere near the phone at 3am or the red buttons.

    June 16, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Theresa in Minneapolis

    @ No socialist NY –

    Are you actually saying that because McCain was a POW that he deserves to be elected? Well... I'm sure there are other POW's that would like to have the job, too. HEY! Maybe McCain can just fill his whole cabinet with former POW's.

    June 16, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. carlo

    No Socialist in New York:

    My step-dad and two of my uncles (one of whom was a POW) also fought for us, too, but they're black, so I guess that being veterans and/or POW's probably isn't enough for them to run for President, is it?

    There is no excuse for any man to condone rape. It was a well-known statement made a while back, so either McCain is stupid or he thinks that everyone else is to fall for his okey dokey. Why not just give the money back? Obama gave Rezko money back, why can't McCain?

    June 16, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Kenneth M


    June 16, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. indianapolis

    This guy "Claytie" is obviously a pig. You don't have to listen to this guy's comments to see how john mccain really feels about women. Just look at his record.

    June 16, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Where in the world is Hollary Clinton?

    Where is all this promised support for Obama? Was it just another lie?
    What full support was she talking about? Her silence speaks volumes.

    June 16, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, when you need the money, many people justify many things including taking money from questionable sources. I am guessing that McCain can't refuse any money at this point.

    To say that any kind of violence is permitted only smacks of disrespect for another person (or group of people). How should any president accept that from people that support him?

    June 16, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  19. are we in a civil war?

    I bet people reading these posts from other countries with no knowledge would think America is in a civil war between Republicans and Democrats.

    In terms of politics, I guess it could be a never ending war.

    However, the problem is the definition of what people call Republicans and Democrats are changing.

    Old school republcans wanted small government, no foreign wars, low to no taxes, etc.

    Neo-cons want wars, spending, and no taxes... they closely resemble President LBJ in the late 1960s....

    Old school Democrats also believed in small government, but also favored exapansion through military conflict. This can be derived from democrats prior to 1900.

    Since 1900, "new-age liberals" or still Democrats have become very socialized in their polices. You could call the democratic party the socialist party and you wouldn't miss much of a beat.

    So what I am trying to say is this. You may be Democrat vs Republican in a political war.

    However, the meanings of these terms have simply been removed from today's definition.

    It's more of the socialist vs. neocons. Either way, the government is bigger and spending more money, which hurts the taxpayers way of life more.


    June 16, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |

    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.....................SOMETIMES it is best to
    SHUT UP ESPECIALLY when YOU dont have any to say that make sense...........CLAYTON WILLIAMS IS AN IDIOT,McSAME IS OLD and you are LOST

    June 16, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. Unbrainwashed by media

    How is McCain defending the fundraiser?

    June 16, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. grain of salt

    Clatyie made that joke when a storm was blowing in during an interview on one of his rances. The joke is an old, tacky joke that compares rape to Texas weather, and he thought it was appropriate at the time. Obviously, that kind of joke is never appropriate. That said, Claytie is a good person who has given millions of dollars to education and has helped many people–male, female, and all colors–without ever seeking credit. He wasn't a politician, and he said something that was politically suicidal. It's sad that people think that the ones who have avoided making such statements in public are automatically better than the ones who haven't filtered themselves as well.

    June 16, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Don in Florida

    For all the negative posts against Obama, it's probably Republicans trying to start mischief and divide the democrats. Don't fall for that. We democrats are united and will send the republicans back home for the next 24 years.

    And for those (true) Clinton supporters saying they will vote for McCain. oh well, you do that. it's your choice. But it won't help because Obama will pull just as many disaffected moderate republicans and independents.

    By the way to those (true) Clinton supporters threatening to bolt the party for McCain because she didn't win, you're falling for a bag of tricks. Do you really think that the republicans would be saying such nice things about Hillary if she were the nominee? think again. And also remember this, Hillary probably wants to get re elected to the senate and she will need Obama Nation to accomplish that. So think through carefully about bolting to McCain just because she didnt win. If you feel McCain has better policies then Obama then that's a different story, but to bolt just because your candidate didnt win, not a good or very smart reason. Think about that awhile.

    June 16, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Bukky

    We should send Clayton to jail and tell him to "relax and just enjoy it"

    June 16, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    Rape may be inevitable... so is GOP defeat in November.

    Advice to Big Mac: "Just lie back and enjoy it!"

    June 16, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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