Senator Jay Rockefeller on McCain’s Vietnam service (MORE: APOLOGY ISSUED)

Posted by: ST on April 8, 2008 at 1:48 pm

The junior Senator from West Virginia, fresh off of endorsing Barack Obama for president, had this to say about the man who will be Obama’s opponent should he get the Dem nomination (via Jake Tapper):

Rockefeller criticized Sen. John McCain, the presumed Republican nominee for president. “Senator McCain does have a temper. But today, he speaks in a monotone on the campaign trail.”

Rockefeller believes McCain has become insensitive to many human issues. “McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit.

“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.”

West Virginian Don Surber has the full quote, which was provided by Rockefeller’s office. It reads:

Question: “…I’ve heard stories on his hot anger. Wondering what sort of a stable guy he is, and if you have any impressions.”

Rockefeller: “I do, I’m not sure I want to say them. Serve on Commerce together… he does have a temper. Out on the trail, everything’s sort of been monotone. Everything is tamped down. I don’t think that will survive the general election.

“Frankly, other than hot-button issues like campaign finance reform… he isn’t grounded in issues that affect people. All of a sudden he’s for all the tax cuts he was against. He’s a fighter pilot. He flies at 35,000 feet and drops laser-guided bombs, missiles. He was long gone when they hit. What happened down there, he doesn’t know. That’s unkind, because that’s fighting for your nation and that’s honorable. But you sort of have to care what goes on in the lives of people…. “

Don thinks the complete quote makes a difference in what Rockefeller said. I don’t, but believe the Charleston Gazette should have posted it in its entirety nevertheless. Your thoughts?

Update – 5:03 PM: The Senator has issued an apology:

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.


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  • 12 Responses to “Senator Jay Rockefeller on McCain’s Vietnam service (MORE: APOLOGY ISSUED)”


    1. G- Monster says:

      They should post it in it’s entirety, because you can see Rockefeller cleaned up his own quote in the same paragraph. Had he made the statement and cleaned it up a day or 2 later, you are thinking he cleaned it up as an afterthought, under some pressure or guilt.

      By cleaning it up in the same statement, it’s still an afterthought, but he realized immediately what came out of his mouth wasn’t all that nice. People reading the paper will come to the wrong judgement on his statement, and may never see the second part.

    2. I think they should have posted the whole thing, but I still think it’s a slimy comment by Rockefeller. Typical for him and what passes for his “character,” however. Just review his work on the Intelligence committee since the Iraq invasion to see what I mean. :-w

    3. G- Monster says:

      Here’s my afterthought though. The military is doing what they are told by the U.S Government. That includes pilots.

      So, for Rockefeller, who represents the U.S. government to imply that being a pilot is not an honorary position in the military, he is an idiot, and even he realized very quickly what a moronic statement that was.

    4. Lorica says:

      Just because I completely despise Jay Rockfeller the traitor, I have to say this. The US Air Force didn’t start using LGBs until after John McCain was a prisoner, who was in the Navy.

      Laser-guided weapons were first developed in the United States in the early 1960s. The USAF issued the first development contracts in 1964, leading to the development of the Paveway series, which was used operationally in Vietnam starting in 1968.

      John McCain’s capture and imprisonment began on October 26, 1967.

    5. Do we know the statement is even true? McCain was captured on Oct. 26, 1967, and while Laser Guided bombs development started in late 65 to take out targets like the Than Hoa Bridge, it is not clear how many planes had them in October ’67. The Air Force began combat trials of the bombs in 1968, after McCain was captured.

    6. david foster says:


      Also, the two versions of the statements are not consistent…you can’t get to the Tapper version by excerpting the Rockerfeller-office version. So I have to wonder if the office version was “improved” after the fact.

    7. Tango says:

      I have nothing but the deepest contempt for swine like Jay Rockefeller. He can’t even get the facts right. John McCain was NEVER a fighter pilot. He was an attack pilot (the difference is substantial) and he flew the venerable A-4 Skyhawk (hardly a “fighter” aircraft).

      Ten cent sophisticates like Rockefeller will never get it. His comments about McCain’s military service would get him a bloody nose in many locales. Those of us who were consigned by our goverment leaders to all manner of miserable, dirty, and dangerous jobs in ‘Nam have almighty looong memories of the experience. For us to have to take cheap shots from someone like Rockefeller now – more than thirty years later – is infuriating.

      And I say that as someone who’s not enamored of John McCain the politician.

      The left continues to hold our military in contempt – and Rockefeller’s stupid comments are just another reflection of that. Small wonder why our people in uniform regularly cast the lion’s share of their votes in favor of the GOP.


    8. NC Cop says:

      Not surprised a bit. Like ST always says, you shouldn’t apologize for it, if that’s the way you really feel. I think the dems are fighting hard to hold back what they really feel. If they had their way, I believe they would be spitting on soldiers as they return from Iraq.

      God help us all if one of them inhabits the White House after this year.

    9. Lorica says:

      Ohhhh Nooooo Jay Jay found out that his comment didn’t go over so well, so now he is saying he is sorry. If he really didn’t believe what he originally said then why did he say it?? The lie is the apology. Lowlife. – Lorica

    10. John Tisue says:

      Personnaly I will contribute to anyone who rruns against Rockerfeller. He really does not deserve to be a American much less a Senator with an atitude like that.