June 23rd, 2008
03:45 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain criticizes adviser's terrorism comments

McCain adviser Charlie Black.

McCain adviser Charlie Black.

FRESNO, California (CNN) - Sen. John McCain distanced himself Monday from comments made by a senior campaign adviser suggesting that McCain would stand to benefit politically from a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

In an interview with Fortune magazine, McCain senior adviser Charlie Black said that the Arizona senator demonstrated his fluency in foreign policy and security matters following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December of last year.

Bhutto’s killing, Black said, was an “unfortunate event.” But, he argued, McCain’s “knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us."

Asked if McCain would stand to benefit from a terrorist attack on the United States, Black answered: “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him.”

Campaigning in California, McCain shook his head when asked by CNN about Black’s comments.

“I cannot imagine why he would say it,” he said at a press conference. “It’s not true. I’ve worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another attack on the United States of America. My record is very clear.”

McCain cited his work on the Senate Armed Services Committee and his role in creating the 9/11 Commission in describing his efforts to stop terrorist attacks on American soil.

“If he said that, and I do not know the context, I strenuously disagree,” McCain said of Black.

On the day Bhutto was assassinated, McCain seemed to suggest the calamity could offer him some political benefit.

“I’m the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment," he told CNN's Dana Bash on December 27. "So perhaps it may serve to enhance those credentials.”

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. David Goldman for OBAMA



    DID BUSH SR. & JR.



    $10.00 GAS & BREAD LINES.

    June 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. silas

    Hmmmmm what does tell us ? uncertainty in his Campaign. Mc Cain is nothing but a flip flop

    June 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Enlightened Voter

    Yeah, yeah we know john mcwar, he wasn't supposed to let us know what you and he really think. Oh well, it wasn't like it was a secret. The repugs are evil, period. You guys true colors are beginning to show.

    June 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. R.I.F.

    This from a guy, Charlie Black, who lobbyied for bad guys all over the worlds. I'm sure he could call up a couple of his old clients and make it happen.

    I stated his comment earlier on the ticker about the polls and each candidates strenghts. I'm glad you picked up on this because if an Obama advisor had of said anything like this it would be covered for the next 10 days.

    Now all you haveto do is shine a little light on Carly Fironia, and Phill Gramm.

    June 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. JK

    Whats wrong with those comments,

    Its CHARLIE BLACK who lobbied for leaders who killed there own people and planted land mines. I wouldnt expect any less from this moron.

    McClown should of never brought this guy on but he is run by lobbyists. The same ones he wants to get rid of .


    June 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Isn't this what McCain's campaign is all about, how he would benefit as long as Americans fear an attack. McCain runs on nothing else and Charlie Black just make it simple for others to understand.

    June 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Concerned INDEPENDENT CT voter

    wow... how, as a repub can you defend or lighten that up? How is this not bigger insight than a REV. wright or a "bitter"-comment?

    How is this at all equal?


    June 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. StacyGA

    We all know that it is true. Another "attack" would help put McCain in office. The Reason??? Because I am convinced there are enough stupid people in America who voted for Bush TWICE, due to fearmongering and LIES, they would also fall in line and believe the same garbage!!!

    Obama 08

    June 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Guy

    there should never be at time that any candidate including Mccain should ever mention the benefits of an attack by terrorist nor should that question be asked of him. This comment just placed a hit on America. Any race or nationality can make it look as through terrorist did this. One has to question the level at which any one would act on this notion.

    June 23, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA



    June 23, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. proud army and navy mom

    "certainly, it would be a big advantage to mccain, to have a terrorist attack on US soil"??????? did the idiot even qualify the comment...NOOOOOOO!

    Just shows you that is no low that the Repugs will not stoop to. Pitiful, shameful..... I hope he is the one that takes the first hit if they manage to orchestra a diaster, just so their candidate can win.

    June 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. NickNas


    He is your advisor for a reason. Just because he isn't smart enough to keep his mouth shut in PUBLIC don't pretend you haven't talked about it with him.

    June 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Anita from Arizona

    If that's not proof enough NOT to vote for McCain. I don't know what is.

    June 23, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. NY FEMALE SAYS MAC IS WACK!!!!!!!!!!

    The comments that this guy made have been made all over the media by the plethora of commentators, democratic analysts, republican analysts have all said that McCain is presently "the underdog" but that things could turn around if there was a terrorist attack.

    The republicans are counting on this type of thinking by democrats that is based on emotion rather than logic or facts like the people who say that they are going to vote for McCain because Clinton lost. That's not logical and neither would be voting for McCain just because there was an attack. He has no more experience in foreign affairs than Barrack and has proved to be far less knowledgeable about the facts surrounding the war on terror. Service in Vietnam make for a man who deserves respect as a serviceman. It does not make for a expert foreign affairs experience

    June 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. getaclue

    really??? Who the heck would vote for this old man??

    June 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Simon Sczywhek

    crazy john mcbush needs to go retire and leave us alone

    June 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. mike

    we know the same now that we did in 04. fear worked then, why is everyone thinking it won't work in 08? i think we got what we asked for in Bush, we will stay the course with McCain, or we will have to make some serious deep rooted changes (which we won't like) with Obama.

    June 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. Use your brain

    I am pro-Obama and anti-McCain, but really, does anyone seriously believe that John McCain doesn't have the best interest of the country at heart when it comes to matters of national security? It is really stupid to try and use this against John McCain, he is many things, but his patriotism can't be seriously questioned. George Bush was the last (and maybe only) President that put America in harms way just so he could get re-elected.

    June 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. blgeorgia

    It's beyond my understanding why anyone would think that McCain is a maverick or capable of being commander-in-chief. As Senators Hagel and Webb both said recently, he really has no idea about military matters. Anyone with his record at the Naval Academy would never have been allowed to be a pilot if it were not for his family connections. And after he got the chance, he had several accidents that demonstrated he should have never been there.

    June 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Patriot

    Keep Americans under educated and ignorant.
    Make Americans cynical about government.

    In this way, it is so easy to prey on Americans' fears.

    Americans, stop allowing your lives to be govern by fear!
    No third term for Bush!

    A leader with vision would know that oil execs can be asked to BE PATRIOTIC, and roll back their excessive over pricing, which is harming low income working Americans.

    If young Americans can be investing lives, limbs and mental health in Iraq and Afghanistan, the SURELY oil execs can ALSO demonstrate some PATRIOTISM and roll back some of their exorbitant profits.

    Who said oil execs and other business people cannot also be PATRIOTIC?

    June 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. flip762

    Something tells me that the GOP's boogyman OBL will be busy in the studio making" let's scare the Americans" into voting for McCain mini-series for this fall.

    June 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Frank

    Here come all the fear mongers....oh yeah....they just want an attack on the US....then they will take over....because....John McCain has the sense to handle such situations....and Barak would throw up his hands and announce defeat!

    June 23, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. JIM...TX

    Not a surprise. Black has been high up in the Republican Party for a long time an knows their thinking. The sad part of this is that they actually believe an hope that they can scare the voters into voting their way...hell it worked before:( People can be and are stupid if they fall for this AGAIN!!

    June 23, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |


    June 23, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. ron canada

    how many terrorist attacks have the us suffered since bush went after them. how many sleepless nights have you lain awake wondering if the will attack again.like it or not if some unfortunate terrorist attack should occur i sure wouldn't want obama trying to talk them to death give me a man not someone who rides other people's coattails

    June 23, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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