McCain "Bitch"-Slapped for Not Reining In Supporters
Brian A Kennedy | November 15, 2007 at 04:01 amby
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November 15, 2007 -- WASHINGTON - Republicans and Democrats slammed John McCain yesterday for not slamming a South Carolina supporter who called Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton a "bitch" to his face.
VIDEO: McCain Bites The Question
"I think it's a huge mistake for us to show that kind of disrespect to any candidate," said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).
"We can't encourage this kind of behavior. We certainly don't need to get personal."
The Clinton camp declined to comment.
McCain, a practitioner of "straight talk" on the campaign trail, was caught off guard when a woman asked him at a campaign event, "How do we beat the bitch?"
After laughing and covering his face, McCain responded, "May I give the translation."
It didn't take long for him to understand whom the supporter was referring to.
"That's an excellent question," he said. "I respect Sen. Clinton."
McCain then talked about how he was beating Clinton by 3 points in a recent poll.
The event was caught on camera and posted on YouTube and other Web sites.
"Oh, Jiminy," said Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) about McCain's dilemma. "I think I'd say: 'Next question.' "
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Westchester), a key Clinton backer, called McCain's comments "inappropriate."
"It was unfortunate in my judgment that John McCain wasn't direct in saying, 'Your comment wasn't appropriate, next question.' "
McCain didn't backtrack.
He told bloggers in a conference call, "You would think I was guilty of this behavior, when, in fact, I said that I respect Sen. Clinton. I have an excellent relationship with Sen. Clinton."
His campaign slammed a CNN correspondent who reported on the story, and McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, sent out an e-mail fund-raising appeal.
The appeal said McCain's questioner used a word "I would not have used" and references the "Clinton News Network."
"Well, friends, we are on a comeback. We are the only campaign that can defeat Hillary Clinton, and CNN knows it."
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) said, "I think he tried to answer the question as honestly as he could," "There's only one person to whom that term could remotely be targeted, because there's only one female in the room."
Asked about the McCain incident, Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) responded, "The witch?"
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