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. No More GOP corruption/incompetence

    Wow, this is the best they got? McBush and the rest of the GOP can't attack Obama on any substantive issues so they are just going to keep raising non-issues? Do they really think this is gonna turn around a 6-12 point deficit in the poll?

    How many short buses will it take to service the Republican national convention this year?

    June 26, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. steinway

    true

    June 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Jim

    So sick of these Karl Rove tactics, once again straying from the issues...pathetic...

    June 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. independet OBAMA supporter

    I think Romney wants the VP that is why he is saying all this.
    Romney you will not be happy if MCcain did not chose him as his VP.
    Romney respest yourself please.
    OBAMA08 12

    June 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Rick FL

    What nonsense this is from the McCain camp.

    Obama gave up lucrative careers on Wall Street to become a community organizer. He has more than put his career on the line to serve the American people ever since.

    Regarding bipartisan efforts, Obama worked with Rep. Lugar on nuclear proliferation legislation and voted with the bipartisan majority on the recent GI Bill, which McCain sided against on his positions with Bush AGAIN.

    Give me break, Schmidt.

    June 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. Paul

    A Harvard-educated lawyer who could have landed an awfully sweet job in a high-paid law firm anywhere he wanted decides instead to live in Chicago's South Side and work at a relatively low salary for the betterment of good Americans who have been marginalized. Yeah, that sounds like someone who puts himself first.

    A man who is 100% devoted to his wife, children and community - compared to his political opponent who dumped his disfigured wife for a younger, prettier, wealthier woman - is not the mark of a selfish man.

    June 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. TJ

    PUMA(PAC) going strong. GO PUMA.

    June 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Laughable

    This is laughable. Not only has Barack NOT put himself first, he has millions of people to prove it. The people would not give their hard earned dollars if they thought Barack's campaign was all about Barack.

    I understand John's frustration because nothing he says against Barack seems to stick. How do you run against an honorable man who's thinking about the people, and not himself? It's hard. So this statement is laughable, in fact I'm going to laugh all the way to the White House, when Barack wins.

    This movement is bigger than McCain, and he doesn't seem to grasp that–we are taking our country back. Maybe it will sink in when he attends Barack's inaugural.

    June 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. wan

    I love the Mccain campaign through it all they continue to get it the wrong. When Barack Obama served as a community organizer after getting out of school to help the communities of the southside have a voice is that not serving a cause greater than yourself . Organizing people to take part in their own communities and to stand strong against others who feel like they should be silenced. Thats the greater good for democracy right.Since when does serving your country considered putting your country first your entire life. What does that say to people who didn't serve in the military as if were less than them.The person who has put himself and his party first is not Barack Obama does George W Bush sound familiar. Since when did someone like a Mitt Romney become relevant. Romney couldn't even by himself the republican nomination please. The Mccain campaign will do anything to win. Even if it's tarnishing John McCains so called civil campaign. Then again people of America will rise up and realize that we can't afford a John McBush in office. "The urgencyof now" Obama would say.

    June 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Beltway Insider

    As usual, the depths of GOP hypocrisy would be funny if it wasn't so scary.

    June 26, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Lionel

    I am confused by this report. There is nothing in the report that proves what McBush's team is claiming. So why is CNN adding this to the political ticker and not adding the fact that McBush said that the draft may be in play if he is elected. There are several documented quotes by McBush on the draft, yet I have not seen it on the political ticker. How could CNN claim to have the best political ticker on the internet when they do not report the hottest news of the day. Is CNN working for the McBush campaign or is their function to report the new fairly.

    June 26, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. JT

    Any other candidate that runs with the confidence of Obama is considered just that... Confident.

    Yet, when Obama himself is confident in his ability to lead America it is called arrogance?

    That's easy for the losing campaign to say isn't it.

    Keep up the negativity McCain. Obama will keep stating the facts, talking about issues.

    June 26, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Michael, Lorain Ohio

    “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.”

    You mean like GWB did??

    June 26, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. ANGIE

    i thought mccain wanted to run a clean campaign and not use attacks did he or did he not say that oh but thats right mccain flip flops so much he probably forgot he said that i dont know about you folks but i cant keep up with john i really dont know what his policies are he keeps changing i dont know what kind of president he will be probabaly a horrible one i just cant vote for him i will be happily voting for obama in nov along with all my family and friends mccain is just to unreliable for us we tried to give him the benifit but he flip flops way to much!!!!!!!!!!

    June 26, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. not important

    McCain puts Phil Gramm first and Charlie Black. Wendy Gramm used to work for ENRON. Post this comment and don"t hide the truth. Public has a rigth to know about Mccains economic advisor Phil Gramm.

    June 26, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Texas Trail Dog

    YOU'RE RIGHT ON JOHN – HE WILL DO ANYTHING, SAY ANYTHING, MAKE DEALS WITH THE DEVIL TO GAIN THE WHITE HOUSE. THIS IS HIS MISSION. BIN LADEN DIDN'T PICK HIM FOR NOTHING. HE HAS BEEN PREPARED TO DESTROY AMERICA.

    June 26, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Emily

    Obama spoke out against the war in Iraq at the height of support for it. Had he been wrong–had we succeeded–that would have been very hard to overcome, considering the difficulty Democrats have anyway with being viewed as "soft on terror." And that's just one example.

    It really does seem like all McCain has is his time a POW.

    June 26, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. McCrazy

    If McCain wants to continue to bring up his 5 year capture, why doesnt he just go back into the military. We appreciate your service, but it in no way qualifies you to be president.

    June 26, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Norma

    Talk about "Self Interest" thats what McCain is doing by always reminding us about him being a former prisoner of war.

    As a military wife I never heard my husband or other soldiers going around and saying they are soldiers who fought in Iraq. My husband has been in 2 wars now. Desert Storm and now the war in Iraq but he never goes around saying that to the American people for "Self Interest" that is what McCain is doing to get elected.

    Everyone has known that about McCain and if that was so important he would of been president years ago.

    June 26, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Heather in SoCal

    Romney's obviously angling for the VP slot. A loser siding with a loser.

    June 26, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. JJ

    We have seen Barack Obama forced choose between principle and the interests of himself and his party. He has always chosen the latter,”

    Uh, can you provide us with specific examples of how Obama did this? What is your basis for this claim???? I don't think you can come up wuth anything.

    Can we please just stick the issues at hand and stop trying to attacl every little chance you get!

    June 26, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. sk

    Obama was setting his foundation to be in politics, hence community organizer. Are you people blind? He has no interest in law. But now he is using his Civil Rights law backround, in other words if you don't agree with him, you are a racist.

    June 26, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Julie Thomas

    Funny how Romney now thinks McCain is the best thing since his own failed run for presidency, and now he will compromise everything he said, back peddle, and do what Romney is so good at doing – pointing the finger the other way.

    When Romney says Obama puts himself 'ahead of the interests of the nation' perhaps really Romney and his own guilt was speaking about himself.

    June 26, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. McSame Has Flipped His Lid

    How dare McBush talk about someone putting themselves above the interest of a nation. We are trillions of dollars in the hole because his buddy, GW did just that. We are fighting GW's war now, and over 4,000 soldiers have been killed because his buddy, this idiot president put himself over the people.

    So bring it on McSame–we are ready for you.

    June 26, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. wallmond

    now that takes the cake John McCain flys his wife's jet he left his first wife for trophy wife. Senator Obama could have taken the high profile law office job. But no he became a community organizer. Now John McCain left the service to get ahead for his own gain and married into money and has done nothing since.So you Rethugs get it right with the Straight talk Express your man McCain has been thinking about himself all his life including missing 61 major vetos in the Senate.

    June 26, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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