October 11th, 2008
08:44 AM ET
9 years ago

McCain to crowd: 'Don't be scared' of Obama presidency

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/11/art.mccainfri.gi.jpg caption="McCain called for the crowd to cool its rhetoric Friday."] LAKEVILLE, Minnesota (CNN) - John McCain heard boos at a town hall meeting Friday night after the Republican presidential nominee called for the crowd to be more respectful towards rival Barack Obama.

“We would like you to remain a true American hero,” an elderly military veteran told him. “We want you to fight.”

“I will fight, but we will be respectful,” McCain said. “I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments and I will respect him.”

When the crowd began to boo, McCain told them “No, no. I want everyone to be respectful.”

Watch: McCain tries to calm the crowd

Along with the veteran, four others pleaded with McCain to put up more of a fight against Obama.

One woman who said she had a lot of undecided neighbors said she wanted McCain to “go to the mattresses” on in his third and final debate with Obama on Wednesday.

While McCain said “I got my marching orders” from the supporters, he still seemed to resist their red-meat rhetoric.

One man said he was scared of an Obama presidency.

“My wife and I are expecting our first child, in April 2nd, next year,” the man said. “And frankly, we're scared. We're scared of an Obama presidency.”

McCain told the man he should not fear Obama.

“I want to be president of the United States, and I don't want Obama to be,” he said. “But I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared as President of the United States.”

McCain's response was met with more boos from the crowd.

A McCain campaign senior adviser later denied that there was a change of tone at Friday night's town hall.

“I believe someone called (Obama) an Arab Muslim, which is factually incorrect, and he corrected that person,” said Mark Salter. “We’re going to campaign hard against this guy. I don’t think he pulled any punches on any issues.”

Since last weekend, when Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin first accused Barack Obama of "palling around with a terrorist" - a reference to 1960s radical William Ayers - rowdy crowds have called Obama a liar, terrorist and worse.

Asked about these outbursts, campaign manager Rick Davis said that he didn’t know who those people were, and if they were there as supporters or to disrupt the rallies. He said while people are “incredibly frustrated” that he is “very confident that it has nothing to do with what our candidates are saying or doing on the stump because I think that if you compared the rhetoric of Barack Obama on a daily basis with the rhetoric of John McCain and Sarah Palin, you’ll find that our rhetoric pales in comparison to what Barack Obama says about John McCain every day.”

And while McCain may be trying to tamp down the rhetoric on Obama, he may be walking a fine line, careful to not extinguish the enthusiasm he needs to win.

"Now, I don't mean that has to reduce your ferocity, but that just means it's got to be respectful. Ok?” he told the crowd Friday.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain • Minnesota
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Peter of Oregon

    What...? McCain are you embaressed by what your campaign's brought to your life? A campaign about fear and hate... that's what you're wife, runningmate and other surrogates have been preaching from the campaign pulpit. Don't act surprised. Having said that it's good your try to do something to control the wild fire now seeing the fruits of your labor first hand.

    October 11, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. White Trash

    Notce the loud angry booing among McCain's supporters, when he corrects false accusations against Obama. Look at the faces. Observe the anger and resentment. It's a complete portrait of White Trash.

    October 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Dom M. DeFazio

    This makes me have respect for McCain again, though I am Obama all the way. I feel sorry for John and if he keeps this he will lose with honor rather than disgrace. This man gave a lot for his country and I am proud that he is putting those ignorant supporters of his in their place. Thats a good man folks. He ideas are wrong, his VP choice is disasterous, he is going to lose, but he has a chance to do it with honor.

    October 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. White Trash

    Notice the loud angry booing among McCain's supporters, when he corrects false accusations against Obama. Look at the faces. Observe the anger and resentment. It's a complete portrait of White Trash.

    October 11, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. No Country For Old Men

    One man said he was scared of an Obama presidency.
    McCain told the man he should not fear Obama.
    McCain's response was met with more boos from the crowd.

    These are the same people that McCain & Palin pump up that will
    try to harm Obama and Biden families.

    October 11, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Lila

    OMG!!! Is McCain throwing in the towel?? :D:D:D About time Sen.McCain. I was seriously getting worried about the level of hatred that is being stoked in the Rep. rallies. I consider my self an independent and your choice of Sarah Palin appalled me. I had not decided until that moment. GO OBAMA!!! Obama-Biden 08/12!!!

    October 11, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Matt, Las Vegas

    If McCain wanted people to be respectful, why is his campaign attacking Obama trying to say "you can't trust him", "he doesn't care about America", etc......Now all the sudden McCains hard core supporters have gobbled up this crap about Obama being Muslim or pals with terrorists, and they are demanding that McCain stand behind his and his campaigns words about this stuff.

    All the sudden, we saw the real McCain yesterday, a guy who can't really stand being a liar, but has no choice if he wants to win. You could see the pain on McCains face when these people asked these questions. McCain is no longer talking policy at these so called "town halls", he's getting lectured by his own supporters (whom he has scared the hell out of) for not going after Obama harder for being a terrorist.

    Se what happens why you cry wolf and it's only a poodle?

    October 11, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. From LA, CA

    Now Mr. McCain is coming to his senses, next please indorse Obama and let’s get back into fixing our economy. You can serve your country better as a senator.

    October 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Susie oklahoma

    I'm glad McCain tried to calm ppl down but to be honest John and Sarah started it to begin with, saying Obama pals around with terrorists does nothing but bring fear and hate to the forefront. McCain's camp should know that in general ppl aren't exactly kind when it comes to saying stuff like that. Hopefully McCain and Palin will start being careful with what they say but due to what they have already done my vote is staying Obama/Biden, they are the future for America and I'll be proud to have voted for 2 upstanding men to go to the White House.

    October 11, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Orlando

    Egg is harder to clean off your face once it had dried. McCain should have stop this before it started down this path.

    October 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Jill (Oregon)

    I hope McCain is proud of what he has created in this country. Another round of racism, fear mongering and hate mongering. McCain is not "Country First," McCain is "McCain First At All Costs To The Country!"

    October 11, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Willow, Iowa

    This is the first time since this campaign started that I feel some respect for McCain. The negative campaigning, all of the rhetoric that has nothing to do with the issues is definitely turning people off. In my opinion, McCain yesterday acted more like McCain of 2000, a well respected man. Just wish he'd come back for awhile longer.

    October 11, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. ENE M DIAZ


    October 11, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Rashida for Obama 08!

    How low. How low and primitive.
    Beautiful how reality shows us so comically and disturbingly the nature of Mccain and Palin's words for the past 2 weeks expressed in a group of misinformed ignorant mobs acting archaically.So much for the 'team of mavericks' as Palin calls them. Which by the way, by definition a maverick is someone who does not belong on a team/group. Therefore a team of mavericks is the biggest oxymoron ever.

    Those angry mobs yelling to cut Obama's head and McCain having to correct the people about Obama speak volumes. He started a fire and he is going to have to put it off or he will burn with it (if not already).

    October 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Anne

    we arent unlike how frightened we are of the hate mongering woman hating palin

    October 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. your Mom

    Oh, so now McCain is trying to make nice????? What a joke.. Too little, to late.. If he's trying to be respectful, then he should apologize publicly for all the slanderous attack ads and comments..

    Obama/Biden 08!

    October 11, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Anon

    The republican base's true colors are finally being shown on national television.

    October 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Deb, Allentown, PA

    Are you kidding, McCain? You, and especially that witch of a running mate of yours, are the ones that originally put the fear into your crowds. You've opened up a can of worms and you're going to have a hard time closing it back up without some of those words escaping and trying to act out on your behalf. When that happens, I hope you and Palin are both held accountable.

    October 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. robin

    I guess I am frustrated too that John McCain has put too much emphasis on not offending or being called racist , thinking whatever he said will be twisted ( it has) or attacked by democratic media . They and their opinion is a given , they have been adulterous to the high calling of unbiased media , and openly apply for even a smile from their Obama . This should be shaming to them , and that McCain has cared to address them cordially , has made us angry , beacause so much is at stake . Better to take them on NOW , instead of trying when they are in the control of state owned government information centers .

    October 11, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Ryan Kr

    I guess McCain is now ready to lead his angry campaign followers that 're full of hate and bigotry. McCain's campaign is a complete joke, and Sarah Palin is a seasonal cancer. incompetent and fake human.

    For older and uneducated white Americans-- is all about race even though the candidate they 're supporting might be dumb and stupid, but for young and educated ones is all about candidate competence, intelligence, and our nation's future. 2008 is a year of change we will not allow old generation to detect our future generation

    October 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Vern Edwards

    I'm sad. I used to admire and respect John McCain. I no longer do. However, I'm glad to see that ambition has not yet killed the last shred of decency in him. While I hope that all will be well for him in the future, I do not want him to be president.

    October 11, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. Ray from CA

    Mccain really doesnt know what to do anymore

    October 11, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. toosmart2playpolitics

    You mean no one can see that those people are planted?!?!
    As if John McSame needs prompting to mudsling. Who's been prompting him thus far?

    October 11, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. LT for Obama

    This should have been done on the first day that this all started. Instead, he waited until he was confronted with the hate directly and FORCED to deal with it.

    When this first was brought to their attention, instead of talking to their supporters to tamp it down, they attacked Obama. That is not the way to handle this situation and it shows just how McCain would handle foreign leaders and opposition he runs into during office. Not very presidential.

    October 11, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. Mike

    McCain/Palin should be a trapeze act for Ringling Bros. with allof the flip-flopping they do. Do we really need a leader who's this erratic?

    He allowed this to get out of hand. What a scummy campaign he's ran lately.

    October 11, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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