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. Rob K

    You know, Sen. McCain, it is really easy to point to a military career as "serving your country" when you are having the red carpet rolled out for you by Daddy Admiral. Your access to the Naval Academy was based on your father's legacy (like Bush with Yale), your rank was determined, in part, on that same patronage, your POW decision to stay was based on the Navy Code of Conduct (and maybe a fear of besmirching Daddy Admiral's name??), and your entry into political life was based on those same connections combined with what is, admitttedly, a great campaign angle. You've been riding it ever since, and are benefitted further by marrying into a TON of money you & Cindy never had to actually earn yourselves.

    Here's the point: Was it really a decision of putting country before yourself? Sounds more like following the paths of least resistence laid out by the hard work/sacrifice/merits of others before you. Maverick?? More like petulant, spoiled child!

    June 26, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. NYC


    June 26, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    What a bunch of baloney! I can't think of any political candidate who is LESS arrogant than Obama. Compare him to McCain who always begins his remarks stating, "Well, my friends. . ." in a patronizing manner.

    June 26, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. John, Brooklyn, New York

    The McCain campaign is falling APART! Is the best that they can come up with..."Obama is self-absorbed!" ??? If you're going to resort to name-calling, you can at least come up with something that feels a little less like a playground taunt.

    June 26, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. carol

    God have mercy! This is what you can come up with? Sorry. It won't work.

    June 26, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. The V-Child

    So... let me get this right...

    OBAMA: A guy who forsakes a prestigious job at a top law firm to move to Chicago and become a community organizer on a salary less than $30K... and literally puts his life on the line (being the first African-American prospective president) to advance the interests of America...


    MCCAIN: A guy who married rich, deserted his disabled wife, and while being a self-proclaimed maverick, has seemingly aligned with Pres. Bush (in some instances more conservative than Bush) and makes all attempts to consolidate his base by pandering to the Republican Right, and whose campaign was (up until recently) swarming with lobbyists

    ...and Obama puts his interests ahead of Americas?

    Yep... makes perfect sense. *note sarcasm*

    June 26, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. James from Toronto

    How anyone like Mcfrog who dumped his injured wife to a very young rich girl; can dare accusing a humble guy from a poor family who has devoted his entire life fighting for voiceless and call him allogannt and elitist? This shows how Carl Rove's book is running out of craps

    June 26, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Dem 08

    Obama puts himself first? Really?

    As a graduate from the university instead of landing a job in wall street, he went to main street to organize and work with communities affected by jobless. Made less than $20;000 annually. That was putting himself first I guess.

    Does services to ones country only limited to militray services? What about the teachers, doctors, nurses, etc. Are they unpatriotic.

    I am sick and tired of this garbage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am sick of all these ridiculously attacks .

    June 26, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Jen, Gainesville

    I have already lost respect for McCain. McCain is also boring. The coming 5 months is a torture to the observers.

    June 26, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Michael

    McCain is right. Obama never puts himself of line. Remember when he publicly spoke out against a very popular war in 2002 right as he began his senate campaign? That wasn't courageous at all!

    June 26, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Jeff D, South Bend, IN

    As opposed to John McCain himself, who flip-flops at his own convenience so fast most Americans don't even notice.

    June 26, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Lynnette

    I love how the Republicans have the nerve to say that Obama puts himself first. Well if helping people on the South Side of Chicago is putting himself first, I'll take it.
    It's not Obama's fault that McCain and his campaign sat on the sidelines, hoping that the primary fight with Clinton would beat up either candidate, and they wouldn't have to do anything. Well, now, what do they have? NOTHING.
    I think Clinton did Obama a great service by throwing the kitchen sink strategy at him because now he's prepared and the Republican Machine is literally a joke.

    June 26, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. sadie

    This is amazing comment - and total bull. McCain's people are grasping and straws - fearmongering. They should be ashamed!

    Anyone who has listened to ANYTHING Obama has said knows that his message is the we (as a community and as people) need to work together to address our and the worlds issues - not soley rely on government. This is the root of a community organizing message - which is very similar to JFKs message.

    Obama's message is not about "him" but about us. "Yes, we can." It is a message about you and me.

    June 26, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Crush Rush

    Yes John,and you put "BIG OIL"first,just like Rush Limbaugh.You are both bought and paid for.John,Limbaugh wants me to ask you why you now believe global warming is not a left wing conspiracy,like he does.

    June 26, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. John from LA

    Amen to that McCain!!!
    -arrogant Obama-Pride comes before a fall!!!-

    To bud who posted earlier-If BO's work in the inner city was so great-why the spike in gang violence in the Chicago area????( I work with kids in gangs) and his communtiy service...what did he organize that is actually stuck and has helped the Chicago area???-BO likes to tout his accomplishments, but nothing to really show for it.

    June 26, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Chad, Wisco

    I truly believe that Obama is a product of politics. Everything he has done in his career has been strategically done. Whether you believe that is good or bad it would be hard to argue otherwise. I worked for very little pay on good causes because someday it will help make more money in the future.

    June 26, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Steve, Madison WI

    WOW – from the party of true "elitists" – the top 1% Americans hold 90% of America's wealth and vote Repub!

    "Arrogant" describes the Repubs who ignore the 70% of Americans who want us out of Iraq!

    And McCain's "filp-flopping" and pandering on the issues do not count as "working across the aisle".

    Luckily, America is finally on to Rove and his minions!

    June 26, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Dan, TX

    ummm, he told you that you were an idiot for supporting the Iraq war when he was running for the Senate. Didn't that put his career on the line?

    June 26, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Salina

    These republicans are shameless. They throw out accusations with no back up, proof or examples, as if they should be belived. Just because something is said (by a bunch of idiots no less), doesn't make it so. Now, Obama puts himself before his party, then later he puts himself and his party before the nation..??? Which is it? Any examples to back this up or are they just talking out the side of their necks as usual. In another article they're calling him arrogant! People please, these ridiculous republicans and so-called conservatives are grasping at straws and still avoiding the real issues. They're a bunch of talking bobble-heads, insignificant.

    Obama '08/'12

    June 26, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. Obama worshipper

    We're not worthy!!!

    June 26, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. Ian

    These Republicans will do ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING, to keep the talk off the issues because they know they cannot win that debate. Instead, they do what they did in 2004: they smear their opponent with lies and tell you he'll let a terrorist attack happen.

    I just don't think the American people are gonna fall for it again, not this time. Bush got in again in 2004 and look what's happened since then. We're not gonna fall for it.

    I do think it's funny, though, that the Republicans seem to be constantly changing their line of attack. First it was "HUSSEIN OMGOMGOMGOMGZOMG!" and that didn't work. So then it was "CRAZY PASTOR OMGOMGOMGZOMG!" and that didn't work. So it became "ANTI AMERICAN ELITIST HATES AMERICA BITTER?!?!?!" and that didn't work. So it was "COUNTRY CLUB LOL?" and that didn't work. Now it's "ZOMG SELLLLLFISHHHH!!!!!!!" and that one's not gonna work either.

    They just don't know how to handle him. And it's great.

    June 26, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. Jim

    He is the only person to take no Lobbiest or special interests money, which NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER DONE, but because it actually worked we are to think he puts himself first, are you kidding me! This guy and his republican party are pathetic!!

    June 26, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. Sweetie

    I agree!

    The way that his camp with the help of the "DNC" Leaders destroyed Democracy is criminal!

    I'm still shook from what we have witnessed from BO's camp.

    McCain 08

    June 26, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Venus


    They don't have anything to work with!!!

    Look at where Mitt is – also any reasons why none of his sons are in Iraq? He has 4 or 5 sons!

    It's also funny considering McSame can barley get 250 people to attend his small townhall meetings while thousands attends Obama's with thousand more outside!

    Go Bam! They don't know what to do!

    June 26, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Poor ole' McCain! He's desperate! He'll say anything to get elected!! LOL!

    June 26, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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