Just got this from B.J. over at the McCain campaign:
Hey Mr. Warthen –
I think you might be interested in this. Here’s the deal: On Monday in Hilton Head at a Meet & Greet, some lady asked McCain, “How do we beat the bitch?” He responded. (See Video 1) Last night, CNN’s Rick Sanchez stooped to new levels of sensationalism in reporting the incident. (See Video 2). This morning, we released a statement from Buzz Jacobs, SC Campaign Manager. (See Below) Today at noon, McCain is holding a national blogger call and this is sure to be the hot topic. I thought you might want to get on that call, so if you’re interested, please let me know ASAP and I will send you the call info.
I told him, yeah, I might want to listen in on that. Anything y’all want to share prior to that? Personally, my immediate reaction is that I have but one complaint about the way Sen. McCain handled it: he spoke of the nomination of the "Democrat Party," not the Democratic Party. And I think the guy on CNN talking about it makes an ass of himself.
Also, here’s the release to which B.J. referred:
STATEMENT FROM SC CAMPAIGN MANAGER ON CNN REPORT
For Immediate Release
Contact: SC Press Office
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
COLUMBIA, SC — U.S. Senator John McCain’s South Carolina campaign manager Buzz Jacobs issued the following statement in response to a report aired last evening by CNN’s Rick Sanchez:
"It is disappointing that Mr. Sanchez would choose to engage in sensationalism in the hopes of generating a story. It not only reflects poorly on him, but on CNN. If Mr. Sanchez had even the faintest perspective on the race for the White House, he would know that Senator McCain has expressed his utmost respect for Senator Clinton numerous times on the campaign trail as he did at Monday’s event in Hilton Head."
The correct response Senator McCain should have made was, “I’m sorry, madam, but that question is offensive and I will not dignify it with a response.” Unfortunately, since he is desperately seeking donations from people like that woman, he has to play along with the joke.
It’s funny to see the McCain campaign getting all bent out of shape about this trivial issue. Anything to get some free publicity these days, I guess.
I wonder how the Fox/Rush/Hannity/O’Reilly wing of the Mainstream Media would respond if a questioner asked Hilary, “How do we beat that son of a bitch?” and she responded in the same way? The bombastic rhetoric would be off the charts…
Anyway, how did McCain know the questioner wasn’t asking about Fred Thompson’s wife?
And just to be clear – I will vote for Hilary Clinton in 2008 under only one condition – if she’s running against Rudy G.
… The conference call is going on as I type this, and I’m relieved to report that thus far, this silly tempest has not come up. So far, we’ve touched on Pakistan, Iraq, “medical marijuana,” and health care costs…
… now he’s talking about contingencies for Iran, and stating the obvious to those familiar with military ways — that of course we have contingencies for going in there, or someone hasn’t been doing his job.
He’s talking about his hopes that Sarkozy and Merkel can be helpful in imposing sanctions… can be helpful in changing Iranian policy… but “happen to agree with the president” that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable.
“That’s not my only problem with Iranians”… they’re importing IEDs to Iran that are killing young Americans. “Let’s have no illusions here with regard to what’s happening”… thousands of years of Persian ambition to dominate the region. Would be glad to “dial back the rhetoric” once we figure out how to change Iran’s course. For now, has faith in strong sanctions, if they can be applied…
… he just brought it up himself, and notes that he said “he would have a respectful debate with Sen. Clinton,” has had a lot of respect for her for some time, and that’s his position.
This was brought up by a question about the “quiz show” satire deal on his Web site, which I have not seen…
Did you expect McCain to stand up for Hillary Clinton when he didn’t have the guts to stand up for his own child against Bush/Rove pushpolling in 2000? The guy, having shown guts and principle his entire time as a POW, shows himself as just another sellout when it comes to his own political ambition.
The lady’s comment was offensive. McCain, caught off guard, did not respond very well. He should have been more strident in repudiating the comment. This episode really says more about Republican voters than John McCain.
I thought he did pretty well, for a regular guy who isn’t given to uttering the kinds of priggish statements that the idiot on CNN offered up so self-righteously. That guy made me more sick than the woman who made the initial comment.
After a shaky moment in which he didn’t know WHAT to say, he made a very strong statement about his respect for Mrs. Clinton, and he said it with deep sincerity, which to me is a greater rebuke than all the finger-wagging in the world. When’s the last time you heard someone on either party speak that respectfully to a partisan crowd of someone on the other side, especially someone that the partisan crowd particularly loves to hate?
And you’re right, it says something pretty awful about Republican voters. It says the same thing about them that stuff like this says about Democratic voters. And the country’s just got to get past all this garbage.
Brad, your last comment was ridiculous. The lady’s “bitch” comment was by far the most offensive aspect of this rather non-story. McCain really did not do very well in dealing with it. You must have seen a different video than the one I saw. He belatedly acknowledged his respect for Senator Clinton after bumbling along with the joke for about a minute. McCain’s inabilty to respond apppropriately in this episode demonstrates yet again why he is not up to the job of president.
Your comparison of Republican voters with Democrats is not valid. All the comments on the “hate Bush” post were respectful and spelled out exactly why we dislike George W. Bush. The “bitch” lady was just being hateful. There’s a huge difference.
Here’s another aspect of this story. McCain is using the incident to raise money! How shameless and hypocritical can you get:
Yesterday,CNN journalist Rick Sanchez raised the question of whether Senator McCain should have admonished the woman.
“Most people who have seen it are looking at it as a real mistake on his part in terms of the way he handled it,” Sanchez said on the cable network’s Out in the Open.
Hours later, the McCain campaign was using the controversy to raise money for his candidacy.
Campaign manager Rick Davis emailed supporters, saying, “We are asking you to help us fight Rick Sanchez and CNN and stand with John McCain. Please make your most generous contribution from $US25 ($28) up to the maximum limit of $US2300 to the only candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton.”
OK bud, now you’ve finally hit on an aspect of the candidate’s behavior worth discussing: His campaign’s effort to use this ridiculous incident, and its highly offensive treatment by that obnoxious prig on CNN, to bring in some cash brings up the age-old question of what is legitimate and what is not in the arena of campaign fund-raising. As I noted on this post, the only person who brought up the incident on this blogger conference call was John McCain himself. And I’ll add that the unenthusiastic, dutiful way he brought it up gave me the impression — and maybe my imagination’s running away with me here — that it was something he’d promised his fund-raising folks (or somebody) that he’d do, but he wasn’t crazy about it.
Of course, no one has wrestled more with the issue, or done more to try to reduce the negative effects of money on campaigns, than John McCain, but that only leads to a phenomenon that I’ve seen before with him: Everybody expects him to be better, and purer, than anybody else. So everyone obsesses over motes in his eye, and shrugs at beams in the eyes of others.
For months, I’ve been hearing about how McCain is supposedly out of it because he can’t get the job done on raising money. Now he uses this to try to raise money, and we all (me included) look askance at him.
Ultimately, what this brings us to is the question I’ve raised in the past, with regard to everyone from Jimmy Carter to Mark Sanford to myself: Is it more important to be right, or to be effective?