June 30th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain campaign launches new 'Truth Squad'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/30/art.mccaintruth.ap.jpg caption="McCain is launching a truth squad."](CNN) - John McCain’s campaign announced Monday it was launching a new Truth Squad to defend the presumptive Republican nominee’s military record after controversial comments by former Gen. Wes Clark, an Obama supporter, who said Sunday that the Arizona senator’s service in Vietnam did not mean that he was qualified to serve as commander-in-chief.

Leaders of the latest group include McCain’s fellow Vietnam prisoners of war Air Force Col. Bud Day and Marine Lt.Col. Orson Swindle, along with former Navy pilot Carl Smith, who served with him.

Earlier in the primary season, the campaign created a similar effort in advance of the presidential primary in South Carolina, where McCain’s 2000 White House bid was derailed by rumors spread by supporters of then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

The South Carolina group included Adjutant General Stan Spears, state Attorney General Henry McMaster, House Speaker Bobby Harrell and Seventh Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy.

Earlier this month, Barack Obama’s campaign launched an aggressive effort to respond to and discredit e-mail rumors about the presumptive Democratic nominee, including a new Web site that gives supporters the ability to upload their address books for rapid response messages and a chart that lays out alleged sources of misinformation.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (272 Responses)
  1. Tired of the B.S.

    So, McCain's tenure in Vietnam does not give him the right to be the President of the U.S. O.K. Fine. Who said it did? This is just another useless ploy by the DNC. It's no wonder Obama has to raise over $300 mil. The way they waste the tax payer's money it's needed. Obama hops all over the country blowing hot air in his speeches, spending millions on fuel and travel expenses and McCain wants to spend a little of his $85 mil, it's a problem for the DNC? Give me a break!

    June 30, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Kevin

    It's funny that McCain wants to talk about truth. If he really wants to talk about truth, I think a good topic for him to start with is the truth about how he abandoned his first wife. His first wife was badly injured in a car accident while McCain was in Vietnam . When he returned home and saw that she was crippled and had gained weight, he started running around with other women; looking for an excuse to leave his crippled wife. That's when he met Cindy. So if McCain wants to talk about truth, why doesn't he start there?

    June 30, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. JoeMamma

    I want the truth on 9/11 and the 5 dancing Israelis.
    I don't expect to get it under McLieberCain.

    June 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Jan from Michigan

    Nothing else is relevant if we have no national security–and McCain is the better person to carry this through. I cannot believe all of the people who put down the military and the brave, patriotic people who give us all of our freedoms including free speech. As long as we are a world power, there will be a terrorist country who will try to take us out. It is not fear-mongering, it is fact. Those terrorist countries do not care about Obama's soaring rhetoric written by Patrick and others. They just laugh and plan. Think before you vote. I do not care who "rocks". I want a President who will go the distance. Michigan Nurse

    June 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Peter of Oregon

    It's good that John Keating 5 McCain is taking proactive measures against attacks regarding his character and his temperment.

    Obama has taken leadership in de-railing the blogs and I'm glad McCain is following Obama's leadership on this matter.

    June 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  6. sPoNgEbOb sQuArEpAnTs

    I hate to disagree with McCain….
    ….the truth is serving in the U.S. military as a BOMBER PILOT, does not necessarily make you more qualified to run for president.

    Yes, it is true you’ve flown many fighter planes, and used precision guided explosives to bomb many places. We know your plane was shot down, and you were taken as a POW in Vietnam.

    Thanks for serving your country, but that is not a prerequisite for president.

    June 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Joe

    "truth squad" hahahaaha mccain grab libermens hand and go to Cindeys house have a hot tea and enjoy your time because you dont have much time left to live. obama 08!!!!

    June 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |

    Saw the new plane. Nice gift from Cindy.

    June 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. Alice in Florida

    And as for Wes Clark, just what EXACTLY is it about Bam Bam that qualifies him to be President? Clark sounded ridiculous when he said that McCain did not have EXECUTIVE experience during the war. What executive experience does Bam Bam have? Oh, right, he was a community organizer in his racist Chicago neighborhood......and he voted "present" almost every time he voted while in the Senate. WOW – that's EXPERIENCE you can count on – NOT!


    June 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. JD

    This is weird. People spread blatant falsehoods about Obama (rich kid, muslim, etc) and he has to respond with a way to set the record straight. Then the moment people question whether McCain's military experience qualify him to be Prez (not questioning his experience, just whether it is applicable) and he has to organize a gang of folks to shout down the questions? Struck a nerve, eh?

    June 30, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. MikeH

    McCain was a fighter pilot for the USAF.

    He saw action over North Viet Nam.

    He had the misfortune of having his aircraft hit by an American missle while sitting on the the deck of an aircraft carrier, and had to awkwardly walk out to the nose of his aircraft and jump off just before the plane was engulfed in flames, and evacuate the flight deck as munitions started exploding, killing many flight deck personnel.

    He was shot down over North Viet Nam and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner, presumable tortured, although no concrete testimony by any Vietnamese prison guard exists to support that claim (I believe he was tortured).

    That, in a condensed form, sums up his Military record.

    He did say that he didn't love America until he became a P.O.W., if that counts as part of his military record.

    June 30, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. The Truth

    Old man couldn't think of this "truth" strategy by himself so he just copied Obama. Barack did this a month ago and is consistently ahead of political the curve.

    June 30, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. RSR

    Clark may be a general, but he's an idiot and an Obama stooge. McCain was a Naval Officer, flying bombing & fire support missions in Viet Nam. Thats not military experience? He was shot down, thats not being in combat? He was held prisoner 5 years. I guess thats not being in war??? He has over 20 years in the Senate (Obama has 2) he has traveled to many countries conducting foreign affairs with leaders & dignitaries and built up good repor for America. Obama needs creditable military people to try and chop down McCain because Obama knows his experince is NIL. Obama wasn't ever in the miitary...he wasn't even a Boy Scout.!!!!

    June 30, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. BudInTexas

    Flip Flop McSame would not know the truth if it hit him in the face.

    June 30, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. go away mongers- Ventura ca

    MCSame having a truth squad is like gwb having an intelligence meeting...The two don't go together!

    June 30, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. independent chris

    I'm confused....what's heroic about bombing civillians and getting shot down? I don't get it.

    June 30, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Jan

    How sad when people put down military heroes who gave them every freedom including free speech. McCain is your man–please think before you vote

    June 30, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. Independent in DC

    NEWSFLASH: Clark is correct. Serving in Vietnam and being a POW, no matter how heroic, DOES NOT qualify you to be president.

    June 30, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. MikeH

    Correction, he was a pilot for the US Navy.

    June 30, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. NickNas

    Their first duty should be to find TRUTH in anything McCains says. That should keep them buy for YEARS!

    June 30, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. Hussein

    Mc Cain & Truth is an Oxymoron

    June 30, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    I didn't find offensive in Clark's comments. I have asked myself the same thing, "How does being a fighter pilot shot down in Vietnam make you an 'expert' of foreign policy?"

    They had wanted to release McCain because he was the son of Admiral, but he wanted to stay with locked up with his fellows. Lot's publicity for the time. Showed a lot of grit, courage and determination.

    I wonder what "truths" Camp McCain intend to promote to dispute Clark's opinion.

    June 30, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. Donna

    Was a whole campaign staff devoted to this really needed? UNLESS he expects more challenges to his military record/history...Clark is just one person and if they already responded to his comments, why worry about it...mmmm MUST BE SOMETHING going on that we don't know about...YET...

    Swift boats can sail the other direction to Republicans...

    June 30, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Norma

    Whats so wrong with what Gen. Clark said... I agree with him.
    Thats all McCain runs on him being a prisoner of war.

    Hes not the only one who has served his country.

    If that was so important McCain would of been president years ago.

    As a military wife whos husband has served his country for 22 years and still serving.

    Stop using the military for your own politcal purposes!!

    My husband is NOT for McCain and theres alot military soldiers who are not of him.

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. SDunn

    Wow McCain can you ever be original and think of your own ideas? There were many soldiers who were tortured a lot longer than him and who were captured for a longer period of time than him. Does that make them more experienced to be President than him?

    June 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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