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John McCain Comes to Southern Ohio to Make Peace with Conservatives, and Promptly Throws Bill Cunningham Under the Campaign Bus

February 26, 2008 01:44 PM

The same Bill Cunningham who has worked tirelessly for Republican candidates and conservatives causes for years--usually using the same kind of rhetoric that he used today.  From the Enquirer:

Cunningham came out on stage to whip up the crowd as he often does at Republican campaign events in Cincinnati. He repeatedly referred to Obama using his middle name -- Hussein -- and said that Obama was a product of the "Chicago-Daley mob."

Nothing untrue, and nothing unusual there.  Willie had similarly direct comments for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. 

So what does the McCain camp do?  His aides get all bent out of shape, and have McCain (who didn't even hear the remarks) trot out after his speech to "repudiate" Willie:

Only minutes after his campaign rally ended, McCain apologized for remarks by WLW talk show host Bill Cunningham that McCain said he thought were offensive to Obama.

"I take responsibility and I repudiate what he said," McCain told reporters after the rally.

Not the way to make Republican friends in Southern Ohio.  Oh well.  Who needs Republican friends in Southern Ohio?

McCain went on to explain the approach his campaign will take:

"I will not tolerate anything in this campaign that denigrates either Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton,'' McCain said.

And what does that remind me of?  Another 700WLW personality, Marty Brennaman, who got in hot water last year for comparing one of the Reds' West Coast roadtrips to the Bataan Death March. Because that's what this campaign with John McCain is going to be. 

One long Bataan Death March.

UPDATE:  Clerk of Courts Greg Hartman is now on Willie's show blaming "the media," and saying this goes to show how Republicans won't get a fair shake this fall.  But the media weren't the ones who apologized for, and repudiated, one of the region's most prominent conservative voices.


Was McCain introduced as John "Sidney" McCain?

I can just see Willie jumping up and down shouting "Hooray for Sidney".

Do you personally have a problem with Obama's middle name?

Do you think a middle name makes the man?

This is ridiculus. There are plenty of issues more important about Obamamania that scare me. His middle name does not.

And as usual, the only thing that impresses me about Cunningham is his ability to still spout crap with foot firmly inserted in mouth.

Anonymous   ·  February 26, 2008 02:41 PM

Just face it. John McCain hates the base of his own party.

Anonymous   ·  February 26, 2008 03:30 PM

If the "base" of my party was Willie Cunningham, I would either leave it or find a way to eject the mouth of Cinci.

jackscrow   ·  February 26, 2008 03:42 PM

Perhaps we can get the guys and gals at NPR to be McCain's warm up act next time. Seems more his speed.

Mark McNally   ·  February 26, 2008 04:19 PM

More my speed too, and I've voted 'pub all my life. And I will this time, also. Despite asses like Willie.

No wonder we don't do well outside "our" demographic.

How did Willie the Mouth get on that stage, anyway? We got no black 'pubs anybody respects anymore? Somebody stupid enough to invite him? Yeah, that's the guy I want talkin' to America for me.

As for NPR, I'd take Juan Williams over Willie any day. Any day.

jackscrow   ·  February 26, 2008 05:06 PM

Barack Obama didn't choose his middle name. I agree with McCain on this one. If Senator BO's middle name was Omar, you could call him "BOO!" but so what?
My middle name is Julian, who I only recently discovered, was the Roman emperor who tried to revoke Christianity and restore paganism. Does anyone think this is relevant to my political views?

Lots of things wrong with McCain, but refusing to go along with some infantile rabble-rousing is not one of them. To name two: 1) McCain-Feingold campaign reform act, 2) his belief he has friends in the liberal media.

Antoine Clarke   ·  February 26, 2008 05:41 PM

I liked Marge Schott personally but disagreed with her on a number of important issues. Willie represents the Marge Schott of listeners of Cincinnati radio. America as a whole has moved on. Even Ronald Reagan had moved on 30 years ago.

carsick   ·  February 26, 2008 06:40 PM

Off topic but...
Is this an example of Jumping The Shark?
"The truth is that political reconciliation in Iraq is going better there than it is here at home because of better security."
-Lindsey Graham

carsick   ·  February 26, 2008 07:14 PM

I heard Willie the Mouth of Cinci on 700 this morning.

The exact quote was "well, they call Bush, Cheney, etc... everything but a WHITE MAN...".

There was a little skip and a I swear I almost heard Jim Scott choke a little.

What an idiot. If the 'pubs lose, a part of it may be that the general public thinks that all conservatives are like that puke.

jackscrow   ·  February 27, 2008 08:27 AM

The McCain camp invited him to be a rabblerouser, and to stir up the crowd. Just as he does for other politicians all the time. This was not supposed to be some high minded policy speech.
And as for whether Barack's middle name is relevant, you're right that it's not a major issue. But John Forbes Kerry and George Herbert Walker Bush were routinely mocked for their elite, waspy sounding names--the suggestion being that it said something about where they come from. That's exactly what is going on with the Barack Hussein Obama situation. Not a big issue, but in the context of a tough presidential campaign, quite normal.

Jackscrow--if the Republicans lose this fall, it will be because John McCain hates the base of the party, and they hate him.

NBS   ·  February 27, 2008 09:04 AM

What makes you think McCain came here to make peace with conservatives?

Anonymous   ·  February 27, 2008 09:26 AM

Wrong. The numbers say so.

Republicans will vote for McCain across the board.

Hardcore 'pubs will be desperate to put aside all differences, and so will John "Sidney" McCain.

The people that McCain HAS to attract to win are the same people who would be put off by wingnuts like Willie The Mouth.

I'm a Ron Paul ultra-conservative who will fall to McCain out of desperation and I am put off by figures like Willie.

(Heck, I can't even stand Rush, simply because he says so many things that are easily proved false.)

Anonymous   ·  February 27, 2008 09:33 AM

Someone used the exactly right word above to describe what Willie Cunningham did -- "infantile."

You radio show-style conservatives need to get it through your head that most Americans are tired of the politics of personal destruction, and actually want to focus on issues for a change.

That's why the conservatives' pet candidates -- Romney, Giuliani and Huckabee -- gained no traction.

Interested Observer   ·  February 27, 2008 10:04 AM

Where did Huckabee traffic in "the politics of personal destruction"?

jackscrow   ·  February 27, 2008 10:31 AM

For crying out loud, the man's middle name is Hussein. It is also not an issue. All McCain needed to do was to say he preferred to stick to the issues, and that he doesn't think a name is an issue. It was unnecessary for McCain to turn this into an issue and unwise to do so in a way that further alienates the conservative Republican base in Ohio.

Admittedly, hardcore conservative republicans will probably wind up voting for McCain in November- if he manages to inform conservatives about Obama's positions. However, we conservatives will not find the time or energy to ring doorbells, put up yard signs or man phone banks for someone who has been on the wrong side of so many issues- like McCain-Feingold and Immigration.

Adelaide Leitzel   ·  February 27, 2008 01:45 PM

Just found your blog--a fellow Cincinnatian I see.

We all know Willie is a loud mouth, but amongst his hyperbole every once in awhile, he hits the target squarely.

To me, it is funny that McCain can be disappointed with the NYT's hit piece on him, but he "repudiates" a fellow conservative.

theMachiavellian   ·  February 27, 2008 07:00 PM

Excellent point, theMachiavellian. Excellent point. He doesn't know who is friends are, does he? Perhaps it is some kind of latent Stockholm Syndrome?

NBS   ·  February 27, 2008 09:17 PM