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. Susan

    So what particular policy issue do these comments address? What happened to a campaign that focuses on the issues and avoids the typical character charges? Obama turned away from money after law school and worked as a community organizer, even with college debt. McCain has an outstanding record as a veteran and no one argues that. Was his gas tax break for the summer putting the american people first, or pandering for the vote?

    June 26, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Ben

    Great, let's send Obama to Vietnam for a few years so McCain can feel better! Just because someone doesn't actively put his "career on the line" doesn't mean he won't defend his principles.

    So this suggests that McCain isn't putting himself and his party ahead of the country's interests? How do you explain how he's constantly shifted his stances on nearly everything since gunning for the GOP nomination? Obama isn't perfect because no politician is, but he's the only candidate who stands a chance in hell of actually bringing change to the country.

    June 26, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Wow

    Perhaps his time in Vietnam caused more mental damage than we thought. It's sad, I hope he retires soon.

    June 26, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. susanb2010

    Funny hearing Romney, the biggest silver spoon of them all, defending McCain, another silver spoon. It is almost laughable how they are trying to tread water... no, I take that back. It's totally laughable.

    June 26, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. nerakami

    and what of McFlip Flop who changes his position on major issues, depending on the benefits in the moment... political expediency.

    McFlip Flop – whither the wind blows

    June 26, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. LaShanda

    LOL @Romney! The man that compares our great country to running a business!

    I respect John McCain's service, but being in the military does not give him the final word on anything. No one is entitled to the White House. Just because John McCain was a POW does not guarantee anything. I am voting because I am concerned about Americans without healthcare, people losing their homes, children with outdated textbooks, and high gas prices. Sen. Obama is my choice. If the GOP cared about putting America first, they would not use the fear card to win votes. They would not scare off latino and black voters by telling them that if they owe on taxes they cannot vote. They would not allow Diebold to play games with democracy.

    June 26, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. ms.sims

    How can McCain call into to question Obama's character and flip flopping. I hate to rain on your parade repubs but the "straight talk express" is long gone, the Maverick you once new is no longer around. He has flip flopped on every single issue that he once stood against...drilling, bush tax cuts, reforming public financing system, opting in and out of public financing....etc etc! Like they say when you point the finger 4 more are pointing back at you. Why isn't the media calling him out for these blatant switches? that's the more important question. And how can you fault somebody for not taking public financing so he could be financed by the PUBLIC...i guess we "special interest" citizens should be allowed to spend our money the way we want to

    June 26, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. JIM...TX

    I for one am tired of hearing about McCain and his war time heroics...there were thousands of young men in Vietnam, myself included that did our jobs an weren't caught by the NVA's. While his capture was a bad thing it is hardly a reason to be POTUS.

    June 26, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Chris from NY

    Obama is already black. So, the Republicans can't paint him any more black than he already is. They might as well stop throwing things around to see what sticks on Obama. I guess he's beating McCain on the issues so now they'll try to make Obama the referendum on this election. Nice try.

    June 26, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Really I Mean Really

    All I can say is WOW

    June 26, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Change is Coming

    Oh please!

    Today McFlip...Tomorrow McFlop!

    Even if Barack is arrogant, I'll take it any day over McCain's ANGER.

    Make no mistake. McCain will keep this nation at war forever.

    Obama / Clinton 08!

    June 26, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. vjh

    I'd like for the GOP to back up this claim. Give us facts !

    June 26, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Disingenuous

    Desperation breads contempt. Contempt breads mental disorders.

    LOL, I like to listen to Mitt Romney to get the “talking points” of the day. Mitt is so phony, and fake that you know he doesn’t even believe what he’s saying. So when he comes on and gives the party line, because he’s so desperate to be VP, I have to laugh.

    Mitt: There’s a reason that you lost the primaries which can be summed up in one word—disingenuous.

    Obama 08 for people who are smarter than 5th graders.

    June 26, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. Joseph, Los Angeles

    McCain's campaign is getting really sad. For 8 years we have been ignored by the republicans... who generally, think about their own pockets.

    June 26, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. voter

    really McCain, you have put your career on the line for principle instead of politics. when was this in 2000 when you ran for presdient because that is not who you are now. You voted aganist the tax cuts, now you are for it. You voted aganist protecting the everglades and other enviornmental issues, now you are a champion of the enviornment. You voted aganist off shore oil drilling, now you are for it. the list continues of the flip flop. please spare me the flip flop and be honest that you want to become president more than you care about standing on principle.

    June 26, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. McCain08

    McCain is attacking Obama on issues, not on his funny name or being black. Obama does the same thing so stop getting your knickers in a knot.

    Go McCain, we are all rooting for you, your a hero to this country

    June 26, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Nija

    That you were a prisoner of war does not make your resume better tto rule the country.

    June 26, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. Amy


    June 26, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. Alex M

    Hey Romney, I hope you're VP cuz you and your enormous ego is going to lose soooo bad this fall.

    June 26, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. NYC


    June 26, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Rachel

    I read rove's article and most everything he said was true.

    June 26, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. Linda Esen


    McCain; please we want to continue giving you some sort of respect..the way your going , you may not get any , not even for you "service".

    June 26, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Bukky

    Nostradamus June 26th, 2008 12:00 pm ET

    Beware the arrogant one, the one who would make himself king.

    Hmm "make himself king" You should have reminded us of this in 2000. If you are implying that Obama is making himself king please keep in mind that He has more Donors that any other candidate in recorded history. If anyone is making him "king" it is his donors

    June 26, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Delaware Voter

    This great country already had a chance to elect a War hero – his name was John Kerry. And this country chose to go with a guy who has always put himself first before anything.

    June 26, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. Really I Mean Really

    Your people are good a spreading venom throughout the net.

    I'm pretty sure this is more Republican spin so keep going and show everyone what's really going on here when you have no plan to fix that what you have broken you can only fall back on smear tactics so keep going it only proves what Obama said the republicans have no other means or way to keep the White House

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