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

McCain criticizes adviser's terrorism comments

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/23/art.mccainadv.ap.jpg caption="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. Celeste

    Americans have been fed the potion of fear and most of those have fallen into a state of lethargy. They need to wake up before its too late. ENOUGH ALREADY!!! Stop feeding on the hype. The Republicans will stop at nothing to win. And this is coming from someone who whole-heartedly supported G. W. Bush – I am no longer under any illusion, my eyes are wide open.

    June 23, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Shawn, Takoma Park, MD

    McCain can only run on fear because he personifies stagnation, failed policies and a past that we don't want.

    Obama personifies genuine hope, progress and he represents the future and a better America.

    This election is a no-brainer. Anybody who wants more GOP insanity is mentally deranged.

    June 23, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. joe hollins

    well how about that, so should we think they care about the 4000 plus killed in Iraq when they think it would benefit them to see 3000 U.S. citizen killed in an attack? this is the worst thing i ever heard how could i vote for some one with this mine set.

    June 23, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. Pat

    If this is McCain's Senior Advisor all better be wary. I thought McCain was War Hungry, now I've learned he also has Advisors who are also War Hungry and likely have the same ideals! MORE than Scarry~!

    Remind me as to why some Americans are voting for McCain?

    June 23, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Haloalani

    I'd like to see all of McCain's advisors lined up around him just like Obama's were last week. The voters should know who's got McCain's back, if any.

    June 23, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. S. Boatman Warrensburg Mo.

    Republicans Want Another Attack So They Can Say How Much This Country Needs Mccain As President?! SHAME ON YOU MCCAIN! AND SHAME ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!

    June 23, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. Rea

    In the Chicago Tribune today: June 23 2008
    Obama made an outrageous statement:

    He meant it as a joke, but when Barack Obama recently parodied a famous line from "The Untouchables" he also dredged up the reputation of his longtime home as a place that is rough, raw and unlikely to breed reform.

    "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," Obama said during a Philadelphia fundraiser, explaining the Chicago-style approach to hard-nosed politics.

    Obama is risky and scary.

    June 23, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. JustAnObservation

    It was his answer to a pointed question:
    "Asked if McCain would stand to benefit from a terrorist attack on U.S. soil,.."

    He probably should have answered it more diplomatically. Then again, if he were an adviser Obama and said Obama would stand to gain from an attack, Obama supports would be yelling, "telling it like it is" or "keeping it real" or some other biased comment.

    June 23, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. jim in DC

    why would you put Obama 08/12? Wait until he actually serves a term to decide if he deserves a second. It just shows that you are immature and dont pay attention to the issues.

    June 23, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. proud american

    How could that jerk John McCain exploit Mrs. Bhutto's death?

    The GOP is trying to play the fear card, but Americans are starting to fear the desperation and reckless nature of the GOP.

    June 23, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. jim in DC

    oh yeah and its soil not soul

    June 23, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Scott

    Republicans require fear to block peoples logic. Republicans = fear votes, Democrats = logic vote. Choose where your mind stands.

    June 23, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. Jason

    I can't believe any Hillary Supporter envoking McCain. Yuck. I think we should just ignore the ridiculous whining. The primary is over. She lost the POPULAR and Electoral vote. If we counted popular vote in those caucus states she would have lost too. And MI, who knows the actual totals.

    I totally forgot about the primary. Beating McCain and the racist war mongers is much too important for this country.

    June 23, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. TPH

    Charlie Black... Looks like the stuff they discuss internally slipped out to the public. Woops!

    Anyone would be crazy to think that the reminders of terror will get stronger as the election draws closer. Of course John McCain is going to inject fear into the population any way he can.

    June 23, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. Sick and tired of being sick and tired

    It's just like that little slip of the tongue when McCain said the Iraq war was about scuring oil supplies.....i.e. the war was for oil.....which has gone up by over $111 a barrel since we invaded Iraq. Then McCain said he was talking about the First Gulf War, then he said he didn't mean to be talking about either Iraq war.

    Doesn't anyone question this stuff? It's so friggin' obvious it makes me sick. McCain is a liar, and a fake....and now his campaign thinks that terrorists help them.

    Ok, so here's the slogan: McCain's campaign would like help from some of his terrorist 'friends'. Bush, that's your cue to set the wheels in motion.

    June 23, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. Jason


    June 23, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Rick FL

    I have never cared for uber lobbyist, Charlie Black, on McCain's staff and do not trust them either with our national security. Their warmongering mentality is bound to cause more of the same problems we've seen these past 7 years.

    I want a smarter efforts with our military this time.

    Dem '08

    June 23, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Oh yeah, and to those Senator Clinton supporters (voters),
    this is what you want when you vote for Senator McCain, right?
    Come on PUMA voters, it appears now that the Iraq war was somewhat, shall we say, made up?
    And now we have a critical campaign manager saying that an attack on us would be beneficial to McCain?
    Wow. If you really want that, I just hope you aren't part of any attack because it would be unfortunate for your family members to have to pick up the pieces from you being hurt by an attack that in an indirect way, you voted for.

    Get off the pot and understand what's at stake here people.

    June 23, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. DJ, LA, CA

    Sad but true...that people are so gullible that they would be intimidated by political propaganda to vote based on fear

    June 23, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Fitz

    Why do I get the impression that somehow this entire black comment/ McCain response was orchestrated. I've been working tiredlessly sine 9/11 to prevent another attack on America. Well thanks John, you kept us safe. The average Amreican is going to be broke and homeless but thanks solely to your efforts, we will be safe.

    John is so wonderful*

    Wolf, air the video of him saying he really didn't love America until he was captured. MSNBC did, thought you guys had a decent network.

    June 23, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. abram

    you are sick to surround yourself with such people McCain.

    Obama 08

    June 23, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. Sherri

    We must not let those who fan the flames of fear influence our thinking. We do not need four more years of Bush and company in the White House. Vote Obama!

    June 23, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |

    Mccain Probably Wont Fire This Guy Because He Thinks The Same Thing!

    June 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. J.Glenn

    It is no surprise that the McBush campain would orchestrate or allow any disaster to take place in order to keep the Republicans in office. Is this deja vu?

    June 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. Fitz

    So MLG, if you trust McCain 60% and Obama 0%, who do you trust 40%? your imaginary friend sparky with the little red fire engine who screams when you scare him?

    June 23, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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