September 15th, 2008
01:39 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain camp accuses Obama camp of 'Swift Boat-style' attack

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The McCain campaign accused Obama's campaign of encouraging 'Swift Boat-style,' attack in a new ad."]
(CNN) - John McCain’s campaign accused Barack Obama’s Monday of encouraging a “Swift Boat-style” attack ad, produced by an independent group, that debuted this week on national cable.

McCain-Palin spokesman Michael Goldfarb pointed to news reports as evidence the spot from Brave New PAC and Democracy for America had been launched “apparently at the behest of the Obama campaign.”

In the 30-second ad, McCain’s fellow prisoner of war Philip Butler describes the Republican nominee as “unfit to lead” – making the spot one of the first to mention McCain’s POW stint in a negative context.

"The prisoner of war experience is not a good prerequisite for president of the United States," says Butler. "He was known as a very volatile guy and he would blow up and go like a Roman candle. John McCain is not someone I would like to see with his finger near the red button."

The ad’s release comes amid reports that the conservative American Issues Project is planning a multi-million dollar negative ad buy aimed at the Democratic nominee.

None of these groups are allowed to communicate or coordinate with the campaigns in any way because of federal campaign finance regulations.

“It's unfortunate that Senator Obama has fallen so far, from opposing outside expenditures and supporting public financing at the beginning of this race to opting out of public financing and now ‘looking the other way’ on independent expenditures - no matter how vile,” said Goldfarb, in a statement on the campaign’s Web site titled “Obama Unleashes 527.”

Goldfarb criticized the media for reporting Obama campaign attacks on McCain’s honor, amid a concerted Democratic effort to paint McCain as ‘dishonorable.’ He also charged that Obama had also questioned McCain’s patriotism, although he did not provide an example.

In the news stories cited by the McCain team, unnamed sources within and close to the Obama campaign - which had publicly called for liberal groups not to run negative ads on his behalf – said they would no longer be raising those objections. The reports also noted a recent public silence from the Obama campaign on the issue. The Illinois senator’s campaign has publicly denied a shift in their position. John McCain’s campaign has not made a similar request of conservative organizations.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Danielle

    Well, as they say...what comes around goes around.

    From the text version of this ad, nothin in it appears to be false. Therefore it isn't close to what swift boating is.

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Carol for McCain all the way

    Some guys can't stand not being the war hero. SOUR GRAPES Mr. Butler ! You are just looking for your "15 minutes" Go pound sand.

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. therealist

    Who is allow these ads to air on the stations? ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox are all accountable for taking this political blood money. We will not forget..

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. Shari, NY

    Shaky and Flaky started campaign smears first and so Obama and Biden have no choice but to say "two can play the same game".

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. Lorna, NY

    Are they serious?? These people are insane!

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. beevee

    Is the kettle calling the pot black now? What is the matter Mr. McCain, can't you take some heat. Now the cry baby tactic.

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. Jerry Ohio

    McCain I bet is running scared and he is trying his best to make Obama a bad person,,,,,Look I am doing bad because of the economy. McCain people are losen jobs like crazy I hope you lose your jobs in November

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. McCryptKeeper/Cruella 08

    ....and their evidence is.....??

    "He also charged that Obama had also questioned McCain’s patriotism, although he did not provide an example."

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Reform-Yeah Right

    Palin was in Colorado today and said that she will "reform government" but offered no specifics. She and McSame are talking this "reform" stuff but are not giving any specifics on what they will reform.

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. Go Sarah

    Don't you people get it by now ... Obama will not win.

    Period, case closed, end of story. Not in my lifetime.

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. Al

    There is only truth about the Bush + bad temper in this ad, told by a guy who served with him and was POW even longer. (and this guy does not seek presidency based on that).
    Now, if you don't afraid Bush + bad temper as a new president and Bush + even more extremism as a new VP, then you are mad.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    September 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Reed

    I'm a vet and I have always stood up for a fellow vet. However, McCain has lost touch with most of the population and doesn't understand our economic failures. He avoids the tough questions and issues such as healthcare and foreign policies. John, vet or not, I have to vote for Obama.

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. Kurt in PA

    Aww can't handle it McCain? Maybe your tools Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham can help out?

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. Voter

    McCain trying to distract us from his "economy is strong" gaffe today??

    McCain looked the other way when similar ads were run against Obama during the primaries. (his honor/respect and leadership out the window)

    Lipstick on a Pig – oh wait, only McCain can use that line on Hillary 3 times!!

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Former Hillary Clinton Supporter

    How has Obama criticited his patroitism when he and Joe Biden say in every speack we honor his service to this country.. Right Mccain lies, lies lies....Mccain is the one being dishonest one ad after the other is lie after lie.. Thats not attacking your patroitism Mccain it makes you a lier... .. Shame on you Mccain.... Shame on you.....

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Mikey

    So, after throwing buckets of mud at Obama and trying to set records for lying smears, now McCain is going to whine that he might get hit back?

    Sounds like a guy who throws a sucker punch in a bar and then cowers when the other guy goes to hit him back. They should have not dished it out if they couldn't take it – and you can bet the negative stuff thrown at McCain will be 10 times more truthful than all the absolute lies that have been going the other direction.

    The economy is not fundamentally strong, but the McCain economic program is fundamentally stupid. Vote McCain if you want 8 more years of out-of-touch leadership.

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. CitizenS

    Why does McCain think only he can give all the negatives of his opponent?? If you can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen McCain. Obama is going to win this election no matter how negative you are because he took the time to educate himself (magna cum laude) and work in the community he now serves. Unlike you, McCain, who played in school to barely get out of the Academy, threw your loyal wife under the bus to make your life easy and marry BEER money. No, not this time, not this year. We will rise up as we have before in defense of the American people for the love of our country and defeat those like you who would drag our country in the mud! Obama/Biden '08!!

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. MEP

    John McCain: It's the economy, stupid. Haven't you picked up a newspaper or read about what's happening on Wall Street? Forget about your cartoon distortions of the Democrats. You are a Republican . Period. This election is about accountability for the past 8 years of fiscal mismanagement. All of this ongoing nonsense from the McCain campaign is meant to make people forget that he is the leader of the party that made this mess. How is he going to unmake it ,exactly?

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. psittacines

    Everyone take time to read or watch the Phillip Butler interview....

    It is very fascinating and revealing about McCain...

    Butler was a friend and co-student with McCain for all the years at the Naval Academy and he knows him quite well....he was a prisoner of war along with 600 others in Hanoi and was there two years longer than McCain....

    Cheers! 🙂

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. texas voter

    These are your tactics Johnny boy, can't take the heat, toooooooo .Bad

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. Annette

    What a hoot...calling saying Obama is using "Swift Boat tatics". This from the ones that started them all 8 years ago. How funny. Maybe McCain should have joined Obama at some of his town hall meetings then Obama wouldn't have gotten so mean to him. Isn't that his excuse for the negative tone he has been using??

    Get used to it McCain, it may just get worse before it gets better.

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. RealityKing

    McCain puts America first. No swiftboating about it..

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Matt in Austin

    Boo Hoo!!! McCain's group is such a bunch of crybabies. The can dish it out garbage and lies, but can't take anything (especially the truth) - they are so sensitive. Cry me a river!!!

    It is about time McCain gets his comeuppance...
    Keep this stuff coming.

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. gene

    I just can't take it anymore! McCain has not done a single ad about the issues. McCain has slammed Obama in every ad. He's done NOTHING but negative campaigning. When someone questions him about it.. he cries that he's being attacked.

    Forget about not voting for him.. If I saw McCain at a bar.. I don't know if I'd be able to keep myself from punching him in the face!

    This guy is beyond lacking honor. At this point he's more like the tattletail child bully who takes shots on the playground at everyone else and then puts on the innocent act whenever the adults (in this case the media) come askig what happened. This guy makes me want to heave.

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. A Woman In California For Obama:

    It's about time. We all respect his service to this country. However, his POW days are not a good enough reason to elect him to be president. As a matter of fact, G.W. looks real good to me compared to what the republicans are offering right now. McCain is a hot head who is not very smart at all. Everything he's achieved in life has been through the work of someone else. He even had to marry a rich woman just so he could take care of himself. Not presidential material by any means.

    September 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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