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

McCain defends Obama's CIA pick

McCain spoke warmly of Obama on Friday.

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. ken

    Please mccain and Palin go away!

    January 9, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Juan Grain

    McCain is back! The real McCain is back!!!

    January 9, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. Ken

    I love reading all the "love" McCain is getting from the same people that were tearing him to shreds a few short months ago. I guess as long as he is towing the Obama line, he's a gracious and experienced man. Such hypocrites.

    Absolutely hysterical! Keep going dems, your conquest of America is almost complete. The re-education camps are right around the corner.

    January 9, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. Benn

    Great, who didn't expect McCain to lock-step. I feel more and more each day he ran for and won the GOP nomination so he could throw the election to the Libs. He's one of them more than he is a Conservative anyway. If Mr. Reid needs a fillabuster margin, here comes the OLD maverick to the rescue (or should that be defeat).

    January 9, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |

    If McCain can move on, the rest of the Republicans that are haters ought to be able to let it go.

    January 9, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. Donna

    McCain regained the honor he lost in the race. Too bad he was'nt himself during that time! Now if the other Repubs could follow along? Forget it! Im wasting my time with that one! Their too busy discussing facebook! LOL

    January 9, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. ga.

    thank you john mccain, now could someone plese tell palin that she cost you the election, and the more she hollers the worse she sounds, it's so plain all she wants is attention, with our country falling apart and she's whinning about the questions she was asked during the election, this is so selfish of her.

    January 9, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. Juan Grain

    This is the deal. We are the United States of America. That is a fact whether you like it or not. The key word is United. We all have our preference, and so we vote our choice. But my one vote is one in millions that make up a greater cause, the United aspect of this country. And while I might not always get my way or win an election. I still win because I am part of something greater than me alone and that is the United States of America! A land where we can agree to disagree and still extend our hand to one another in times of need. A house divided against itself cannot stand. So if a thing like a house/family cannot stand divided then how can something much greater like a divided country stand? The Divided States of America? Does not even sound right, or any place you want children to grow in. In fact that describes parts of the middle east at this time. So all that being said, here are the rules I go by.

    The United States of America first Political Party second. No matter who wins the election. Being an American is a team sport! A rough and tumble team sport but a team sport non the less.

    January 9, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  9. Observation from SC

    I actually agree with John McCain. Its good to see him working for the good of the whole country. By the way I voted Obama!

    The best thing everyone can do with this economy, is to work with excellence if you have a position. I work in the steel industry and I know each day... I not only work for my family...but I serve my country.

    January 9, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  10. Larry

    Typical Democrats-"-Now "you are capable of LISTENING,sadly you have been so biased you have been deaf to truth,justice,and the American way.

    January 9, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. KB From Co.

    He was my guy in 2000 but he chose to exclude us independents when he chose the hyper partisan path that so many republicans rally behind.

    January 9, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  12. Hammer

    McCain was a setup for the Democratic Party. He sold out to the Dems so there would be no opposition in the general election.
    He refused to take up any real issues with Obama so he could have a cake walk into the White House.

    January 9, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Eric

    Its no wonder that the candidates have to run such polarizing, partisan campaigns with the likes of some of the posters on here that clearly can't think for themselves. The politicians know that unfortunately, much of the country is incapable of comprehending a political concept and just votes based on negativity towards the other side. Thanks MK, WHO, and Woman in CA for making this country so great!

    I applaud posters like Betty and Ian that may not agree with McCain but are able to articulate why, instead of coming up with clever nicknames and endless negative rhetoric.

    January 9, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. Apples for sale

    Let me be the first to say here,we will get new taxes and we will need them.Living on credit wont work,the bills are due and someone has to come up with the cash,just like your own house.

    January 9, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. Heather from Seattle, WA

    The campaign seemed to bring out an ugly side in John McCain. I am really glad to see that he is regaining the fair and middle of the road attitude back that he was so known for before the election.

    January 9, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  16. Do we seriously have four years of this hatred?

    To the woman from California – enough with the hate. No one is impressed by your bitterness. Not Dems. Not Republicans.

    I voted for McCain. I'm over the loss. I'm ready to move on and hope that Obama does a great job.

    So why aren't you ready to move on?

    The biggest problem facing our country today is our divided we are.

    You are not helping.

    January 9, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  17. Solid Voter

    Sorry John McCain you are wrong on this one. Seriously.

    January 9, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. Jack in DC

    Mccain is a grown up and knows he needs to salvage whatever self-respect he has left after the disastrous bigotry-filled presidential campaign he run.

    From the way he has handled himself since the election, he might go all the way and gain all the love and appreciation back.
    If only Palin would follow suit.

    January 9, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  19. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    So he says he thinks Obama has put together an "excellent team"...his endorsement matters now why??? This from the man who chose an undereducated, attention grabbing, vitriol-spewing hate magnet as his running mate? Obama did not have to go far to beat McCain's taste in people with whom he wants to help him run this country. Not news, just an attempt to put a benign face on a very ailing Republican party and its members.

    January 9, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  20. A Woman In California For Obama

    To Fred:

    If I am the most partisan person on these blogs, I guess you are either a) blind; or b) stupid as you are definitely missing out on your fellow bloggers "Welcome To The Obama Show and TCM" these people are way out there and I have NEVER criticized their opinions because those are their opinions and I know they seek attention so quit being a hypocrite. McCain was awful, low down and pure dirty during his campaign and I don't respect him at all. However, I do thank him for his military service.

    January 9, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  21. B-Jud

    I'm a liberal Democrat but I like McCain a lot, maybe not policy-wise but generally speaking. He's a good guy. If the Republicans had let McCain run his own race maybe he could have won it.

    January 9, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. Pat J

    REAL-EYES January 9th, 2009 7:11 pm ET
    If McCain can move on, the rest of the Republicans that are haters ought to be able to let it go.

    We're not haters, REAL-EYES - we're REALISTS !!!!!!!! THAT is the Republican Party - WE ARE REALISTS! WE don't support HYPE. WE support FACTS!!

    YOU - REAL–EYES, have blinders on your forehead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    How truly sad for you !!!!!!!!!!!

    January 9, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. The Old McCain

    He's back!! What Happen?

    January 9, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. TC in PA

    This is the Sen. McCain I used to know.

    January 9, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  25. bsmith171

    one word to describe mccain: STUPID!

    January 9, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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