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. Ross- Ohio

    First he was elitist, naive, arrogant , and now he put himself first. Sounds like one of those strategies from the Karl Rove's play book. But for some of us voters who reason critically, those personal attacks just won’t make us to falter in our support for Obama.

    June 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Jose Lopez

    Obama has worked as a community organizer working for the needs of other Americans instead of being selfish and taking a lucrative job and forgetting about the needs of others. On the other hand McCain has flip floped on just about every issue that he feels will get him into the White House. McCain did not feel seniors needed the extra help of the stimulus package, he did not feel that vetarens needed better benefits in the new GI Bill and so forth. The only group that McCain feels needs help are those that are already wealthy by wanting to make the tax cuts permanat for those that do not need it. McCain wants the vote of the average American but is not willing to help out the average American.

    June 26, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. jo

    Obama was funded by the people he works for the people and listen to the people who fund him. Not like MCcain.

    June 26, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Rob Johnson

    Did they even bother to re-write Karl Rove's piece in the Wall Street Journal, or did they just cut and paste it?

    I never thought I'd see John McCain using the Karl Rove playbook, this is a sad day.

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

    Whoever said McCain (mcsame) has more character is totally deluded. mcbush panders to whomever he thinks might get him elected. He has flip flopped so many times that he can't keep track of what he says. His track record is dismal. Because he was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam era does NOT qualify him for anything! He "pretends" to be a maverick, he's NOT, he "pretends" to be a straight talker, he lies! Character, NO, NO, NO! He will say anything, do anything to get "himself" elected. It is mcbush who puts himself first, he does NOT put this country first.

    June 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Geri

    This McCain bashing needs to stop. I'm a democrat but ever since the campaign began months and months ago I have never heard such nastiness as that from Obama supporters. First it was Clinton, now its McCain. Issues need to be discussed rather than nit picking. We all know Obama has CNN and MSNBC in his pocket but I don't think its fair to let them decide who will be president by always printing crap that they know will bring out the nastiness.

    June 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. Lisa

    I'm sure McCain suffered greatly as a prisoner of war, but will somebody please explain how that would qualify him to be president or an expert of foreign policy! Perhaps the lesson he should have learned is that we ought to be very, very, very thoughtful and selective in deciding when, where and why to go to war.

    June 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. Tjaye in LA

    Okay...its becoming COMEDY watching this poor little man try anything to get Obama in a bad light. The republicans would have been better off trying to recruit Hillary to run for them. She was a tougher opponent against Obama than McCain is. I thought the general election was going to get rougher. This is just funny, now!

    June 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. Brad from MN

    Their new way of painting him as an elitist. Good luck painting a guy raised by a single mother, one food stamps at one point, just got done paying off his student loans, as an elitist.

    McCain was practically stamped with "Admiral" at birth.

    And Obama's the elitist?

    June 26, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |

    MR. AMERICA wants just one example of this "Obama first" nonsense.

    Looks like McCain is playing the Torture Card!

    June 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. jaye

    John McCain keeps inserting his POW status every chance he gets, just as Rudy Guiliana has with 9-11. Yes, he's a war hero, blah blah blah, but, this is a presidential election and John McCain is not the man for the job. John McCain will continue losing support every time he uses his POW status in this election.
    I also remind voters that John McCain came home afer the war while many soldiers did not.

    June 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Peter

    Are you crazy?! Obama is trying to fix america from Bush! If anyone is selfish its John McLame! He won't run for a second term he said! So in his "4 years of change" he could screw us even more!! Ralph Nader is selfish! he made it so Gore/Lieberman didn't win! This proves that Obama is not at all selfish compared to these figures!

    June 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. LoSheda Dillard/Obama supporter

    Is it just me why doesnt the news channels say anything about what McCain's spritual advisers are saying, why is the news not talking about the fact that Obama IS doing public fundrising..hint we are the public. Mccain is just mad that Obama listened to what the american people says and tells us what we need to hear and Mccain doesnt have the balls to do the same..

    June 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Kaye - Jacksonville FL

    Oh puh-leeze! Does McBush sound more desperate everyday??? It's laughable....really....I imagine they'll just keep throwing typical political slams and jams, hoping that something will resonate with those undecided voters....I think most folks will scratch their heads and wonder if John McCain is losing his mind!

    June 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. NickNas

    Is it just me or can you tell MAJOR BS is about to be spewed by McCain by the fact that it is preceeded by the phrase " MY FRIEND (S)??

    Really listen for it and take heed. Tell a friend.

    June 26, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  16. Phil, FL

    McWarmonger (the lousy pilot – not hero) that was shot down was "catered to" (if you get my drift) by a bunch of vietnamese women.

    Why should he want to come home? He didn't love his country then – admitted it himself.

    Go Away MCWARMONGER!!!! Go attend more secret meetings, or dream up a terrorist attack fake like Charlie Black said. It might improve your lousy campaign. ZZZZzzzzzzzz

    June 26, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Wondering

    "Success on the ground" from the memo is a subjective term. Granted Obama decided to call the public financing system "broken" rather than admit opting out made better financial sense. I can't speak to OBama's reasoning on town hall meetings. Regarding the supply of energy, he doesn't necessarily have to be against increasing the supply to be working for the left wing. It could very well be due to his own reasons believing it to be right rather than it being a left-wing goal.

    June 26, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. Hispanic For McCain

    whaaa! whaaa! whaaa!

    seriously, let's move on and get McCain nominated!!!

    All of you liberals Moron whaaa! whaaa!

    Face it McCain is going to win big time!!!!!!

    Hispanic will vote for McCain!!!! Not OBAMA

    Liberal Morons

    June 26, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Tom

    “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.” I absolutely agree and it is one of many reasons this former Hillary supporter will vote for McCain.

    June 26, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. Syd

    Typical republican party.
    McCain and his party are nuts!Absolutley nuts.They act like a bunch of school kids calling names.Calling names without any substance.This is almost liable.And why does cnn help them with their name calling.It is shameful

    June 26, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. Xavier

    Romney calling Obama selfish? Thats a contradiction if I ever heard one.

    June 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. Republican for change

    Tactic not working...still voting for Obama thank you.

    June 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Xavier

    Would that make Bush the idiot king?

    June 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. MK

    The GOP is truly desperate to launch such a lame accusation. McCain can't beat Obama and they know it.

    June 26, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Tammy - KCMO

    Seems to me you put yourself first McCain when you divorced your handicapped first wife for someone younger.

    June 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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