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. Janet, American via Canada

    When you think like a duck you become part of the FLOCK!

    One really wonders why anyone would vote for someone, like McCain?
    Someone who mind set is over 200 years old! And as to those Women who would vote for him, who wants to send them back into the BAREFOOT, IN THE KITCHEN, REVERSES ALL THE RIGHTS WOMEN OVER THE YEARS HAVE WORK FOR, etc.,,,,,,is just beyond me.

    Also, Senator Clinton putting her vocal support during her campaign to Senator McCain, ?????? Someone must have been slipping something in her drink or food? Even those feminist (ECK) who say they won't vote for Senator obama, Well back to the kitchen girls!

    June 16, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Eric from Somewhere

    Read the article again, people. The money was raised from McCain supporters, it wasn't from Williams personally.

    June 16, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Mike Florida

    I find it hard to believe Mccain or he staff were not aware of these statements made by a man running for the govenorship of one of our nations largest states.
    It's quite well known and received alot of media coverage at the time.

    Goes to show you that Repulicans really are out of grasps with the american people and there feelings.

    Go ahead keep the money.

    I think you should use some of the 300Gs and by alot of shovels your hole is getting deep.

    Obama 08!

    June 16, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. rs

    2008 = the year of 6 degrees of separation

    June 16, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. James from NJ

    Iraq a defeat....What on earth did we win(if you believe in 'mission accomplished') or if you don't consider this a defeat...What is our prize? Even more searching and frisking before I take my vacation flight Listen, if Iraq is truly now under control then why do our leaders sneak in under the radar with more military than they would have in an all out invasion????? Truth is the Iraq people never wanted us there and they still don't want us there, and we cannot force the American Flag down their throats. Dumb war bad leadership. Let's pray that President Obama has the answer to start to get us out of this mess.

    June 16, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. obama4life

    wow! im a speechless....i can't believe he took the money from stupid guy who disrespect women, well mccain shame on you!

    June 16, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. Nicole in NE

    I don't think he should keep the money that was raised, even if it was "through" this man. he should turn it over to charity – that would speak more to people than anything else.

    oh well

    Obama 08'

    June 16, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Mary

    BELLE-who says Obama got away with the Rev, fiasco? It was on the news 24-7 for weeks and hurt him in the elections according to all polls. Mc Miilionaire should not get away with this. If he had repect for women (which he does not) he would give the money back. And nobody I know sits in church for 20 years. A few hours a week is more than the average American, who goes to chuch, spends there. People act like he was sitting there for 24hrs a day x 20 years! People change-so to Pastors- some Pastors become alcohlics, druggies, manic by means of bi-polar disorder, etc. If all you self-richess people read you Bible you might recall it is not you place to judge but to forgive.

    June 16, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Jim

    David – get a clue. McBush is a most accurate moniker for this hypocritical, senile old man.

    June 16, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Glenn

    Either McCain is lying or his campaign staff are lying. In other words, either McCain and/or his campaign staff are lying or they are extremely dumb! Either way, just changing the location and accepting the money is an effront to all women and thinking and caring men everywhere. And yet, there are Clinton women supporters who say they will hold their nose and vote for McShame. Shame on them!

    June 16, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Sarah

    As a conservative women, I'm disgusted. If he's willing to take $300k from a man who makes light of rape, I'd say this president is on sale for cheap. What would $1 million buy? A general condemnation of democracy?!

    June 16, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. McSAME is THE BLAME!!!!

    SIT DOWN!!!! June 16th, 2008 2:55 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    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 DO YOU SLEEP @NIGHT WITH SO MUCH BITTERNESS!!!!


    June 16, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. Steve, New York, New York

    What is wrong with John McCain? He should soundly condemn ANYONE who would make such a DISGUSTING statement.

    . . .and I thought his stupid joke about bombing Iran was over the top?

    He is totally clueless if he thinks that any of this will help him lure female Clinton backers.

    . . .and if CNN does not mind me saying, Dana Bash is gorgeous!

    June 16, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  14. Tonya, Richmond, VA

    No one seems to have a legitimate reason as to why Obama will not make a great president. Wait, there is the same "he's inexperienced" excuse. We've heard it all before, let's come up with more reasons please.

    McCain is a dirty man and he will not have my vote in November.

    OBAMA 08

    June 16, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. J, Denver CO

    I see his true colors shining through. Keep it up McSame, keep it up!

    June 16, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. EDW

    Speaking as a woman I am pretty disgusted that he is keeping the money. In this situation, the least he could do is donate the money to a women's shelter of some sort. Also, he has never voted in favor of any women's rights issues. I have a problem with the fact that he dumped his first wife to get with Cindy McCain. Do my fellow female voters really want this man in office???????????

    June 16, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. In California

    PUMA People,

    We are waiting for you to speak up!

    June 16, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Mark Webb

    Simply pathetical !!!!
    How can women vote for such a guy????

    June 16, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. Kelby from Houston, TX

    Give McCain a break, he is old. He is real old. He is so old he still he knows Methusela. He is so old he can't remember what his supporters support or believe.

    Another reason why you should give him a break...HE'S BROKE! HE NEEDS MONEY.

    June 16, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. Dee Tee Gee Arlington, TX

    The McCain supporters are saying McCain's connections with Clayton Williams is no big deal but Obama's relationship with Jim Johnson is wrong, when all he did was get a great deal on a mortgage loan because he knew someone in a high place. There is so much hypocrisy in politics it's ridiculous. I don't think McCain should be held responsible for what came out of Williams' mouth 18 years ago, just as I don't think Obama should be held responsible for what came out of Jeremiah Wright's mouth 7 years ago. This is what's so sickening about this election. It's not about who can help our country get out of this mess we're in, it's about who can smear who the worst. No wonder we're in the mess we're in.

    June 16, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. BeakKnocker


    what was his follow up joke?

    if youre being dragged around by a pickup truck w a rope from bumper to neck, the draggee should just smile and enjoy the thrill ride?

    same mentality.

    pull your head out of your oilcan.

    June 16, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Janet, American via Canada

    I guess when Cindy starts putting on the pounds, or gets looking like that housemother, and didn't have all that money, McCain will be looking for his third below size 0 girl! Of course, she will have to be filthy rich and so proud of her country, while watching illegal aliens clean their house and garden!

    June 16, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. James from NJ

    I think everyone that votes for John McCain should also be registered to fight in the war in Iraq. Hey what's just is just. If you don't want to pick up a gun and fight don't let a naive college kid do it either!

    June 16, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. kingsley

    You should be banned from every blog. you never make any sense of your anti Obama statements. Any woman of self respect won't make such a comment in defence to mcain.. Yous opinions are senseless for the record. The man has yet proven to be the so called MAVERICK. accept the money and dump them afterwards just like the lobybist who got him his nomination.

    June 16, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. Loretta from California

    This "Whitey" comment is a proven LIE, and a Joke. We all know that there is no Tape, and that Michelle Obama has never spoken from the Pulpit at her former church.


    June 16, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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