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. gina

    ha ha republicans crack me up. they have no problem smearing (or in McCain's case standing idly by and allowing others to smear) Obama but can't take it when the smear is launched on them

    By the way McCain – real original. You are looking at what Obama is doing so you can plan your own moves. Now THATS a leader

    June 30, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Cheryl

    Wow everyone is upset about Clark speaking the truth. Well I was always told the truth hurts sometimes.

    June 30, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Jillian

    What Wes Clark said is true! Why is everyone (especially in the media) so indignant?

    June 30, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Rick FL

    Alice FL, I thought you were for Clinton "originally," but then, you proceed to attack Wesley Clark, an avid Hillary supporter, just like a McCain Republican–busted! No one was buying the PUMA front anyway.

    Do you think McCain will reveal the truth behind "PUMA" with this new squad? I hope so.

    June 30, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. CitizenAJ

    Is this a play on Senator Obama's web site that addresses rumors and lies about him? I tell you, the republicans and John McCain's campaign in particular have NO ORIGINAL ideas. They steal everything from the democrats, specifically Senator Obama's campaign.

    Senator Obama's campaign slogan has been "Change You Can Believe In", from day one and what does the McCain campaign do at the start of the general election campaign? The come up with "A Leader You Can Believe In". Ridiculous. This is what a McCain Presidency will be like, copying everything from someone else's playbook? What happens when he has to come up with an idea on his own?

    Get real! Senator McCain, his campaign, his supporters and surrogates and the republicans have been making false accusations against Senator Obama since the primaries. I applaud Senator Obama for being able to not only win a contested primary but fend off the other party's nominee at the same time.

    June 30, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Vb

    First, all POW can be president? For a lot of veterans coming back from Vietnam and from Irak, they are happy if they have a home. A lot of them are in the streets not in the white house. And they also served their country and we should be proud of ALL of them and take care of ALL of them.
    Some never came back. I am thinking about all of them, not only the son of his daddy that married a very rich woman and live a very confortable life after the war. I think about ALL of them!
    Second, Kerry was also a Vietnam veteran and he took the heat in 2004! So take it and stop to cry.
    Finally, in the military you should respect the hierarchy and Clark had a higher military position than McCain.

    June 30, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. mike

    I heard an old navy pilot explain something about John Mccain not being a decent pilot at all. He said that if it wasn't for his Grandfather and father he wouldn't have never been allowed to fly planes in the service.

    June 30, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. nitro

    Wes Clarks comments are no more sad than that Vietnam houseguest calling President Carter a lousy president. But this idiot got shot down , what a lousy pilot which makes him a lousy military gump.

    June 30, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. Jack from California

    Vietnam was a lifetime ago and what has John done lately? Well let's see; he has supported the Iraq war for his oil buddies and let the bad guys get away in Afghanistan, he has supported his friend Keating in bilking ordinary investors in the Savings and Loan scam, he has supported giving the rich like his wife a giant tax break while running the country into a 3 trillion dollar debt, etc, etc, etc --–let's hear the truth about those things!

    June 30, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. EQ

    He should be careful what he wishes for. The real truth may come out about his time as a POW – a time when his captors were more than willing to let him go because of their respect for his father and grandfather. A time when he, himself, years ago admitted he was treated well as a POW – amazing how that has changed now that he's running for President.

    And is anyone else sick and tired of hearing McCain go on about his military service? He's acting as if he's the only one to ever serve!! Millions of Americans have and are serving and have come home, STAYED with their families (not run off with a much younger and richer mistress), and gone back into the working world and have gone on with life without making millions by writing books or using the wife's inheritance to get into office.

    No, McCain's record should be question. Not that he served, but his 'memories' of that time served versus the facts.

    Military service does NOT equal experience necessary for being President. Especially when that candidated can't even work a computer in the 21st century!!

    June 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    Honestly... if your reaction to someone make an OPINION statement about the relationship between military experience that ended over a decade ago and presidential qualifications... is THIS strong... well, I'm frankly shocked.

    Retired generals are entitled to their own opinions... just like retired nurses... or retired zookeepers.

    So Clark thinks the two don't correlate... he had experience at higher levels, himself, he has a somewhat educated OPINION... it doesn't make it TRUTH, any more than the position "McCain is ready on day one because he has military experience" is true or false.

    ... it saddens me that the petty bickering has progressed so far, so fast.

    – A Disappointed Independent –

    June 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. donna

    And I suppose this makes Obama qualified. Spiffff I think not. That was like putting his foot in his mouth. What qualifications does Obama have? What President is qualified?

    June 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    WHO CARES. MOST YOUNG PEOPLE 45 YEARS OR YOUNGER DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT VIETNAM AND DON'T CARE TO KNOW. YOUNG PEOPLE LIVE IN TODAY AND WANT THIS IRAQ WAR ENDED AND AREN'T INTERESTED IN JOHN MCCAIN'S WAR STORIES. JOHN MCCAIN'S WAR STORIES ARE FOR HIS GRANDCHILDREN WHEN HE PUTS THEM ON HIS KNEE AND TELLS THEM ABOUT THE WAY THINGS USE TO BE. MCCAIN JUST DOESN'T GET IT, NOBODY CARES.

    June 30, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. DJ, LA, CA

    Will their version of the truth match the facts though?

    June 30, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Amy

    Funny thing here is that McCain has been one of the biggest questioners of Obama's patriotism! Guess it's not as much fun when the tables are turned, huh?

    June 30, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    MCCAIN NEEDS TO APOLOGIZE TO FORMER PRES. JIMMY CARTER, PUT THAT IN YOUR AD.

    June 30, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. twiggy

    the media puts the spin on these comments; we need responsible journalism.
    thank god people are wise enough to see past the hype to real issues and the truth.
    the political process has been raised to a new level of consciousness, thanks to barak obama!
    we, the people have a say in what happens in the goverment, and it is refreshing to finally be able to be part of the process of change.

    June 30, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. bill for barack

    If McSame wants an active, full-time Truth Squad, all they'll have to do is follow his own distortions, flip-flops and outright lies.
    That should keep them busy.

    June 30, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Vb

    Some people should look at Clark records: he was responsible for a war and came back with NO american casualties. Seems better than the actual Irak war!
    so yes he has the experience and can speak!

    June 30, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. david yacker

    John McCain's military experience is the following: graduated in the bottom 1% from the Naval Academy, multiple training crashes, almost burned on the Forrestal after 'wet-starting' his plane, and shot down over North Vietnam. Thirty plus propaganda tapes for the North Vietnamese during 5 year captivity. So how does any of this qualify him to be Commander in Chief?

    June 30, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Dan Tana

    What about those Obama is gay rumours?

    Any more info on them?

    June 30, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. BRIAN FROM GREEN COVE SPRINGS FL

    ONE HAS TO WONDER.....SO MANY POWs LEFT BEHIND......IF MR MCCAIN DIDNT COME FROM A WEATHY FAMILY AND HIS FATHER WAS NOT A US NAVY ADMIRALWOULD HE STILL BE IN VEITNAM..HOW MANY POWs AND MIAs DIDNT RETURN HOME...WAS MR. MCCAIN A PRIORITY BECAUSE HIS FATHER WAS A UNITED STATES ADMIRAL...DO WE REALLY NEED ANOTHER WEATHY SILVER SPOONER IN THE WHITEHOUSE.....YOU TELL US SAVING PRIVATE MCCAIN

    June 30, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. LF

    The tobacco industry had a "Truth Squad," too. How Orwellian can McCain get? Having carried the tobacco industry's water in the 1990s and trying to get them an immunity deal from litigation and prosecution, he ought to know his tobacco hall of shame history better.

    June 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. follow the money

    It sounds like McCain is trying to swim upstream. and if you want to see a lot of news channels, what you see on tv, and also they try to fool you to thinking, what is real?
    check out this website: "TVNewsLies.org"...it will teach you, that when a political party owns a news site, they can fool you from what is really the "truth", or "lies"...check this out:

    "TVNewsLies.org"

    and follow the money
    ($$ka-ching$$)

    June 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Vig

    Poor choice of words. Sounds too much like those Death Squads of South America. McCain needs some of the young white guys who are running Obama's show – people who know how to hype-up an empty suit and put on pep rallies.

    June 30, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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