Jay Rockefeller Apologizes To McCain After Military Service Remark
Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Barack Obama supporter, apologized to John McCain Tuesday for suggesting to a West Virginia newspaper that the Arizona senator does not care about “the lives of people” caught in the wars he champions, dating back to his Navy service in Vietnam.
The apology came after Barack Obama’s campaign swiftly criticized the West Virginia senator for the remarks quoted Monday in his hometown newspaper. Rockefeller told The Charleston Gazette that McCain is too far removed from the repercussions of war to deal with them.
“McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit,” Rockefeller told the newspaper, which published the article on the interview Tuesday. “What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn’t know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues,” he is quoted saying.
On Tuesday, Rockefeller issued a statement, saying, “I have deep respect for John McCain’s honorable and noble service to our country. I made an inaccurate and wrong analogy and I have extended my sincere apology to him.
“While we differ a great deal on policy issues, I profoundly respect and appreciate his dedication to our country, and I regret my very poor choice of words,” he said.
McCain spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and last week highlighted his military service to the country in a cross-country biographical campaign tour.
He told FOX News he was “unfamiliar with that rhetoric by a U.S. senator” and wanted Obama to reject it.
“I do believe that if Senator Obama is going to maintain the type of campaign that he says that he is — a respectful campaign — and this is one of his closest and strongest supporters, then I think he should repudiate Senator Rockefeller immediately.”
Rockefeller’s apology came on the same day Obama, McCain and Hillary Clinton were grilling Gen. David Petraeus on Capitol Hill over military and political progress in Iraq. An advocate of the Iraq war and proponent of last year’s troop surge, McCain has fought any efforts to characterize him as a candidate obsessed with the glory of war.
The apology follows another jab at McCain by liberal radio talk show host Ed Schultz, who called the presumptive Republican presidential nominee a “warmonger” while introducing the Illinois senator at a North Dakota campaign stop on Friday.
The Obama campaign distanced itself from the remark, as it did Tuesday with Rockefeller’s comments.
“Senator Obama has a deep respect for Senator McCain’s service to this country and doesn’t agree with what Senator Rockefeller said,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a prominent McCain supporter, told FOX News shortly after the Rockefeller apology that McCain actually dropped bombs very close to the enemy before he was shot down and taken as a prisoner.
“John didn’t drop bombs at 35,000 feet in Vietnam. The bombs were not laser-guided,” he said. “I’m glad Senator Rockefeller apologized, but at the end of the day behavior like this basically comes from wanting to win too badly. We don’t need to manufacture issues in this race.”
What was this Moron thinking? And Rockefeller is an OBAMA supporter!