June 26th, 2008
10:20 AM ET
13 years ago

McCain camp: Obama puts himself first

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/05/art.obamamc.gi.jpg caption="Obama and McCain have been locked in an increasing war of words."]
(CNN)— In what appears to be the latest line of attack, the McCain campaign released a memo Thursday accusing rival Barack Obama of putting his own “self-interest” ahead of his party and American citizens.

“[Obama] has never put his career on the line for a cause greater than himself,” Senior McCain advisor Steve Schmidt said in a memo released to reporters. “We have seen Barack Obama forced choose between principle and the interests of himself and his party. He has always chosen the latter,” Schmidt wrote.

Calling upon McCain’s early days as a prisoner of war, Schmidt explains the presumptive Republican nominee has put his country first throughout his life.

“When John McCain was offered early release as a prisoner of war, he refused,” Schmidt said. “Subjecting himself to torture rather than give a propaganda victory to his captors.”

Watch: McCain talk about putting his country first

Mitt Romney, who has been a fervent McCain supporter since suspending his own presidential bid, reiterated the position to CNN Thursday.

“People recognize they need new leadership, strong leadership,” Romney said. “Not somebody who is consistently putting himself and his party ahead of the interests of the nation.”

Watch: Romney says Obama puts himself 'ahead of the interests of the nation'

The two presumptive nominees have been locked in an increasing war of words over their different policy stances since Obama all but secured the Democratic Party’s nomination.

While Obama has worked to brand McCain has a continuation of Bush’s presidency, the McCain campaign pushed further Thursday, saying Obama represents failed politics.

“While Senator Obama is certainly a fresh face, his campaign offers more of the same old typical politics that have broken Washington,” Schmidt said.

Update: In another clear sign the McCain campaign is pushing the message of loyalty to the country, the presumptive Republican nominee reiterated the language at a town hall event in Cincinnati.

“I promise you as president of The United States I will always, always put my country first above party and above every other consideration. I have had the honor of doing that since I was 17 years old and entered the United States Naval Academy,” McCain said.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. sara

    Yeah,I saw that McCain voted against equal pay for women.
    And I honor his service but geez,to use that as his sole reason as to why he should be president is disgusting.Obama didn't take a job on Wall Street and was a community organizer for years.He's donated thousands to charity,etc.I think the republicans went way to far on this one.I think it will turn people against them.They've gone way too far.
    I don't think either candidate is evil or doesn't care about their country so for them to say this is way out of line.McCain needs to denounce this comment.McCain is no maverick because this is just a smear campaign.

    June 26, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. BTHogan

    When Obama voiced his opposition to the Iraq war, he was a voice in the wilderness. There was, at the time, absolutely no political upside to taking that position. This attack is ridiculous.

    June 26, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Hey

    How is this true Grandpa? He voted no for the war when the countrys feelings at the time were to attack Iraq!! Insert foot in mouth!

    Obama 08

    June 26, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. susie

    Obama changes his promises at each rally. If Obama is so wonderful, why won't he debate McCain?

    June 26, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Sean

    “People recognize they need new leadership, strong leadership,” Romney said. “Not somebody who is consistently putting himself and his party ahead of the interests of the nation.”

    Which party should he be saying that about? How about the one that has hijacked our government and run it into the ground over the past 7 years? The dismal economy, oil prices, two wars that have gone on longer than Vietnam, domestic spying, outing CIA agents, a backwards education system, windfall profits, torture, a housing crisis.

    Give me a reason NOT to elect Obama.

    June 26, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. tomas

    Look for cnn to help promote this smear on behalf of John McCain.
    They are like the gossip columinsts when it comes to this stuff.
    McCain and the repub's are a joke on this one.Obama was a volunteer in Chicago,hardley gets to see his kids,etc,and to say he puts himself first is lie.

    June 26, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. Phil, FL

    Oh – this guy can't even answer a blackberry?

    He wants to be in charge of the red phone? Keep us under control with all his fear-mongering?

    Give his wealthy friends tax cuts?

    No Thanks McIdiot !!!!!

    June 26, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Robert

    Do these McCain hacks ever check any facts before they slander or is it just slander first and apologize for misspeaks later.

    McCain 2 weeks ago: I never loved my country till I was deprived of her' McCain yesterday: 'My entire life I have put my country first'. No media outrage about these statements but this old codger gets all the coverage he wants telling blatant lies about Obama. His 'campaign' is outrageous and doomed if this is all he has.

    June 26, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Republican for Barr


    Ahh yes....the benevolance of the Republican Party in the past 8 years is just overwhelming, isn't it John?

    Let's see...who was it that used their office for personal gains, and when called on it – stonewalled Congress for the past 8 years?

    If that's not self-serving, I don't know what is.

    Sorry – the neo-cons ruined my Party, and until they fix it – I'm voting for Bob Barr, the real conservative.

    True Republicans for Barr in '08!

    June 26, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Dwayne - L, OH

    That was pretty weak McSame. You definitely belong to the repubican party. Wait...they don't even like you. 🙂

    June 26, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Sherry

    How interesting that McCain's group came up with this ONLY after it was reported that Karl Rove said the same thing. This just shows McCain is just more Bush. McCain is counting on American's patriotism and support of troups, which is why he and his supporters continue to bring up his being a POW. McCain obviously believes being a POW entitles him the presidency. While I applaud his service to our country, I do NOT believe it makes him more qualified to be president. I am guessing his efforts to smear Obama, is to try to distract from the fact that he doesn't really have any real position on any issues...except for the war. His people say that Obama "flip-flops" on issues, however McCain flip-flops so much he'd make a great fish!

    June 26, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
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