January 9th, 2009
05:01 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain defends Obama's CIA pick

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/18/art.mccainreelect.gi.jpg caption="McCain spoke warmly of Obama on Friday."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - John McCain said Friday that his former rival Barack Obama has put together an "excellent" national security team, and defended the selection of Leon Panetta to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

"I'm not here trying to argue that this president is perfect and that there aren’t still disagreements, but I do think his national security team is an excellent one," McCain told Fox News.

He described his post-election conversations with Obama as "cordial" and said he has spoken with the president-elect about the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Asked about Obama's decision to name Panetta to run the CIA, McCain defended Panetta against early criticism that the former Clinton official lacked sufficient intelligence experience to lead the spy agency.

"Leon Panetta has great experience as chief of staff of White House," McCain said.

He called Panetta "highly qualified" and added: "In all due respect, I think it's not bad from time to time to have someone from outside the intelligence community, but with strong experience in the White House."

On the topic of Obama's economic stimulus package, McCain did not promise to support the plan, but said it deserves consideration.

"These are extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures," he explained. Despite the recovery package's hefty price tag, McCain said the tax relief measures included in the plan made him more inclined to examine it.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. GuyInVA


    Read the comments on this thread again, and ask yourself if it's the REPUBLICANS that are haters that you should concern you. Right, Woman In California?

    January 9, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. catmom

    Maybe if McCain had been advising Bush we wouldn't be in this mess.

    January 9, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  3. Ken in NC

    Now this is the honorable McCain I know.

    January 9, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  4. Chris in Va.

    Seems Senator McCain is the only Republican who knows how to lose an election with dignity, too bad the same can't be said of Palin, Coleman, Limbaugh, Hannity, and their inbred followers.

    January 9, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. leland18

    yeah... people care about what john "mcloser" says. MORON!

    the man has been at the forefront of american politics for the past 25 years and he served his country with honor. yeah he lost the election but dont even bring bush into this. bush gives republicans a bad name.

    john mccain made me proud to be in the GOP

    January 9, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. Naturaly born US citizen

    I voted for John McCain.

    January 9, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Monique, Honolulu

    Although I voted for Obama, I still think John McCain is a great gentlemen. Too bad his own party wasn't more supportive of his true nature.

    January 9, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  8. Chris

    Finally, the real John McCain is returning.

    January 9, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  9. John Kellermeyer

    Who cares what this reprobate thinks?

    January 9, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  10. FreeNLovIt

    What a great role model!

    January 9, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  11. Jon

    Perhaps if McCain had been so genuine during the election he would be No. 44.

    January 9, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  12. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    John McCain's hateful campaign devoid of substance but burgeoning with hateful innuendo and accusations, eliminated for me what little credibility he had remaining. His choice of Palin made clear he was driven by ambition and NOT "Country First". His legacy will be a tragic one.

    January 9, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. cobra

    McCain the closet democrat.

    January 9, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  14. empty heads voted for an empty vessel

    A Woman In California For Obama January 9th, 2009 5:46 pm ET

    So the old bigot devil has spoken… who cares?

    I am thrilled to know that even you are allowed to vote, too bad you lack any intellect or facts to support your posting.

    January 9, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  15. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Texas Teacher January 9th, 2009 6:43 pm ET
    Whomever Obama chooses, it has to be better than Bush's choices!

    You mean like Gates?

    January 9, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  16. arc, Lugano CH

    Larry January 9th, 2009 7:21 pm ET
    Typical Democrats—"-
    And who would you categorize as a typical Conservative or Republican? Surely not the xenophobic bigoted isolationists for whom Senator McCain reconfigured his campaign strategy into a crusade of fear and racial and religious hatred in hopes of gaining their vote?

    The ones who cried out to 'Kill' the 'Arab' 'Terrorist'. The true values voters 'Red State Patriots' like yourself.

    January 9, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  17. Simmy

    Bless you Sen. McCain, you seem to be back on point. Unlike your running make, the Rogue VP. She is now being used to bash the media, and indirectly, PE Obama. I kept trying to figure out why the media refuses to release her back into the wilds of Alaska. I finally came up with an explanation. She and Gov. Blagojevich are both oxymorons. They are both annoying yet intriguing – AYI. Brace yourselves people, they're here to stay. If Gov. goes to jail, he'll still be making news from his jail cell.

    Thank you God for a breath of fresh air that is PE Barack H. Obama. I am so happy with him. Prayer truly does change things. Oh la la!

    January 9, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  18. Peter

    Finally, the real John McCain that this Clinton-supporting, taxes on the rich raising, universal health care-advocating democrat so liked and respected, has dumped his evil twin and seems to be making a full recovery. That's great, because we need more like him, genuine public servants who truly believe in doing what's right, and speaking the truth. What a formidable and worthy opponent he would have made for Obama if he had not let the handlers and political operatives and dirty tricksters take over.

    I'm glad you're back, Sen. McCain! (But I'm still elated that Sen. Obama won!

    January 9, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  19. kim

    What a bunch of mean nasty lemmings, you contine to try to tear down this mans charecter to make yourselves feel good about your pitiful lives. Your man won and you still choose to spew venom when we should be trying to pull the country together. Get the heck out of the USA if you cannot deal with a system of government representation for all dems, repubs, indep we all have a say in our Government if you don't like it go to Canada and stop trying to degrade our American heros and statesmen that are out here working for usan bunch of idiots.

    January 10, 2009 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  20. EZ

    Could it just be that McCain is seeing the demise of the current Republican Party and is thinking of jumping ship? It would not surprise me.

    January 10, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
1 2 3 4 5