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. Alex M

    The last 8 years really show the republicans actually care about the american people..... NOT

    June 26, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Brennan - Seattle, WA

    The McCain camp is struggling hard to gain traction. Everything they try has not worked and the polls continue to slide Obama's way.

    Not being overly sensitive here, but is there anyone that can say this is a policy argument? It is clearly a personal attack. This has nothing to do with Barack it is just a blantant attempt to damage hi character.

    Let's hope that this gets ignored just as much as everything else McCain has been saying.

    Obama 08'

    June 26, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Jennifer

    Replublicans: the grapes are sour, aren't they?

    June 26, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Rational1

    gurarro, I agree with you on this one. They've got no where to go and straws are all they can grasp for. Unfortunately for them, their kitchen sink was Obama's full name, Rev. Wright, and lapel pin. The transparency is almost blinding.

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

    I'm not sure how to comment until I know which McCain made the statement. Was it the so called maverick, the neoconservative or the McCain without a clue

    June 26, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain put himself first when he ditched his sick wife and kids for a younger woman. McCain put himself first when he and Keating 5 stole millions from Lincoln Savings and Loan investors and Charles Keating and his son went to prison, McCain walked. Don't get me started on the history of John McCain in your attempt to make him "holier" than thou. Arizonians will never forget who the real John McCain is. How dare Schmidt or any other to slander Obama in a blanket of lies by using McCains POW experience as an argument. We have brave young men who will never see their cheerished and unborn loved ones because they were killed in McCain and Bush's senseless war and won't be returning to their families. How dare you.

    June 26, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. tigerakabj

    Obama putting himself first? How about turning down mucho-money to work in the inner city after college. How about speaking up about the forthcoming war when it was very unpopular to do so.

    McCain you are an idiot and will go down in flames along with your party. Get ready for a south-side Chicago whoopin' come November.

    June 26, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Patrick Henry, Ft. Myers


    Obama's legislative record as a representative for his state and as a Senator to our nation–clearly shows when a controversial issue is to be voted on–he abstains, is absent, or just votes present( neither for or against).

    His political, leadership, and religious has been pretty much the same things.

    His ideals–are those that will give him the most traction towards his own personal goals–his value system is that of selfish and self-serving politician–except perhaps with his family. But no necessarily–I see his wife is enrolled in the intensive DNC finishing school–so even her own ungarnished commentary–will now be twisted to fit Obama's objectives.

    It's incredible to me that with such a clearly unprolific record and resume that so many beguiled citizens are really considering him for the presidency.

    John Adams, if he were alive today, wouldn't even consider this charlatan as a vialble candidate for a town Mayor–much less President.

    June 26, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. George from Minneapolis

    McCain and Romney are living in a dream world if they think the American people are going to believe that Obama who gave up a lucrative career as a corporate lawyer to do community work in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the nation is guided by self interest.

    I was born and raised in Chicago and I can tell you, the housing project Obama worked in, Artgeld Gardens, Romney or McCain would not only have NOT interacted with the residents, they would not of even been in the neighborhood.

    Romney and McCain have no moral authority to question Obama's character.

    June 26, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. Obama = Overrated

    AMEN McCain. From Hillary to you! I would NEVER vote for the Arrogant snob. He thinks he is better then everyone else and has used rasicm to get where he is.

    June 26, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. McCain08

    Bridgette. he has photos because his father was an Admiral in the navy (thats really high up in case you didnt know) and they used him as propoganda. they offered to release him early for secrets. he stayed and endured 5 years of hell for this country, proving what a tough character he is.

    I love reading all these posts as you guys have SO much hatred for anybody other then obama. What will you do if he loses ?

    June 26, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. A CANUCK


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

    The presidency is not a lifetime achievement award for former POW's. McAncient is not inspiring to anyone, and he's getting his chance eight years too late.

    June 26, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. Alice in Florida

    That's not an "attack" – it's the truth. Obama puts himself above everything and everybody. I can't wait for the clown to be brought down in November.


    June 26, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Obama = Overrated

    How many times did Obama vote Present? Thats right...

    June 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Nova from NV

    Dear CNN,
    Why is this news? The MI and FL democratic voters should know this better than anyone. Obama is a politician from "CHICAGO" and very much entangled with dirty money of Rezko before he came on to the national radar. John McCain is a maverick and has great quality to be a great leader. Obama just have good rhetorical skills to brainwash people.

    June 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. k

    is this the same john maccain who took an ardent stance against the bush tax cuts that he saw as morally reprehensible because of its disproportionate advantage to the wealthy???

    where does he stand on that today?

    John Mccain and the republicans, principles before politics...riiiiiight

    June 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. insanity

    McSame is really loosing his bearings.
    Choosing on pragmatism over personal beliefs is what we need in a leader. Of McSame chooses based on personal values, what's stopping McSame from choosing something that HE thinks is right and not what's best for the American people?

    This kind of stupid rhetoric is a waste of time, and we have come to expect those from McSames' camp.

    June 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. John Meyers, Philadelphia

    To echo others: this is a typical Repugnican attack tactic - Ad Hominem, attack the person because they're creaming you on the issues, and then spout vague claims with no proof, no examples. Very Roveian, and I believe most voters are tired of this crap

    June 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. WisCon

    Bud, Did Obama ever have a chance to vote against the war before it started. It looks like progress is beig made in Iraq, but Obama wouldn't want that. Progress only helps McCain because Dems have wanted defeat since we entered the war.

    June 26, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. Patrick Henry, Ft. Myers

    We do not need our politicians to take care of us.

    We should be doing that ourselves.

    The role of the President is to negotiate international treaties for security and trade, to represent the U.S. as head of state, to perfom as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

    Where in documents describing the duties of President does it say ANYTHING about him taking "care" of us????

    Get a grip!!!

    June 26, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. An American Celt

    Does anyone besides me think that the POW line is getting tired? If that's the onlly claim to fame he thinks he has... ME THINKS HE DOTH BLOW HIS OWN HORN TOO LOUD!

    June 26, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Chut Pata

    Correct me if I am wrong. McCain is showing sympathy with Democratic Party.

    Here is what he can do for Democratic Party. Concede before General Elections and join the Democratic Party.

    June 26, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. It's A Wrap

    The political graveyard is filled with politicians who underestimated our candidate. Barack will win, and the political playbooks will have to be rewritten.

    Too bad John is working from the 2004 game plan. It's a new day with new rules, and a new vision. Barack will win, and McCain will retell this story over, and over to his grandkids. This election, mark my words–is a wrap.

    Obama 08

    June 26, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Cindy

    The Republicans act as if McCain is the only man in history to be a POW. What about the other men and women who have been in that position? Are they bing treated with respect and honor? Thanks to people like McCain they struggle everyday to get the help they need....WHAT.....oh yeah, he voted against the GI bill.

    June 26, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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