At debate, McCain needles Obama over faux White House seal

September 27, 2008

OXFORD, Miss. – It’s the seal that just keeps on giving.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain needled White House rival Barack Obama again on Friday for using a seal earlier in his campaign that mirrored the one used by the U.S. president.

original.jpgThe exchange was prompted by ribbing from Obama over McCain’s refusal to commit to a meeting with the prime minister of Spain if he wins the November 4 election.

“(McCain) even said the other day that he would not meet potentially with the prime minister of Spain, because he — you know, he wasn’t sure whether they were aligned with us. I mean, Spain? Spain is a NATO ally,” Obama said.

McCain, who was in the middle of criticizing Obama for being willing to meet with U.S. foes, reacted sharply.

“I’m not going to set the White House visitors schedule before I’m president of the United States,” he said. “I don’t even have a seal yet.”

The Obama seal, which the Illinois senator used at a campaign event in June, had a picture of a bald eagle on it and an inscribed phrase that read “Vero Possumus,” a Latin expression that roughly translates to the campaign’s slogan, “Yes, we can.”

The seal drew some ridicule for being presumptuous and the campaign never used it again.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.


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In all honesty, the issue was so far in the past I didn’t make the connection to the short-lived Obamaseal until the media made it for me. All I kept thinking was that McCain was trying to make an obvious flub into an intentional act. Or did they move Spain?

Posted by Christopher Chopin | Report as abusive

I’m an avid democrat and Obama supporter, but when the debate ended I was worried about the results. Then, the first post-game rewiew I saw was Pat Buchanan, who of course chose McCain as the winner–but not by much. Ouch. But Pat’s reserve made me feel a little better. I dragged myself away from MSNBC, and was heartened to see that all network and cable news polls claimed Obama the clear victor. (Except FOX, who had it 80-12 for McBain!)

So I felt great.

Then I realized that whatever the outcome this debate would not change much. But that’s okay, since Barry O still has an edge in the national polls, and all swing states except Nevada and New Mexico seem to be trending blue. So all-in-all it was a good night for the Obama crowd. Yippee.

Posted by bob skye | Report as abusive

Senator McCain refused to look at Senator Obama. Even when Senator Obama directly addressed him by name, Senator McCain continued to stare straight ahead. Is anybody else bothered by Senator McCain’s failure to engage. Was he afraid to look the guy in the eye or what?

Posted by Old Tom | Report as abusive

Obama will be a pacifist like jimmy carter & the

terrorist will prevail. We never got another 9 11 with

Bush & we’ll never get another with Mc Cain. Leave it

for Obama to cut all security for our civil liberties.

Posted by Rodney | Report as abusive

(quote from Old tom)Senator McCain refused to look at Senator Obama.Even when Senator Obama directly addressed him by name,

EXACTLY it made me feel as if McCain was to good to even look at him. As an undecided I have to say I really hated this. We will see how the next two play out, but right now I have to lean toward Obama. He really played his cards right tonight and McCain really should have answered the statement about Spain instead of this comment.

Posted by Shaon94 | Report as abusive

Rodney, 9/11 happened under Bush, who had most of a year to prepare. Under Bush, even more Americans haved died in Iraq than in 9/11 when Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no ties to 9/11. Thanks, Bush. And, wake up, Obama is tougher on national security than McCain, who wants to talk about winning in Iraq (not even how or what that means) rather than killing Bin Laden and actually defeating Iraq. Is McCain still flying a plane? He keeps referring to 20 or 30 years ago. Hello! It’s a much more dangerous world… and Obama will protect us by getting rid of the threat, not just deflecting it somewhere else to make it stronger.

Posted by Daniel | Report as abusive

“I’m not going to set the White House visitors schedule before I’m president of the United States,” he said. “I don’t even have a seal yet.”

And yet he’s willing to pretend he is the president already, as if meeting about the economy would change something. He ended up irritating other world leaders in the end and his plan to bolster his image backfired on him. He’s lucky Bush even tried to help him cover it up. If you watch him carefully, he does all the presidential posturing etc. So he’s a hypocrite. Next thing you know he will be waving like the president. Watch and see.

Posted by jz | Report as abusive

Obama’s reference to McCain’s comments about Spain were absolutely in character with McCain’s tempermental reactions to different countries which to him are suspect in their total submission to United States government views and desires. The idea for McCain is ‘country first’ and that means in the world. The stark anger in McCain’s eyes really portrayed his aged reinforced partiality in this thinking, his inflexibility to have anything except tunnel vision and his constant need to justify to himself and others, the credibility and iron clad approval of his own philosophy. His philosophy is something between the Beverly Hillbillys and Alexander the Great.

Posted by Evelyn H | Report as abusive

Spain’s socialist leadership is Not a friend of the United States and abandoned us in Iraq when we needed them. I would not meet with Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero either.

Posted by Ruger | Report as abusive

Go John! an independent for McCain… since 2000

John McCain is not a person who just talks about change he is a person who has been working toward change for many, many years.

Obama talked in verbal filler-word circles with statements starting with wording like “not whether or not” why not just say whether or not? Then Obama agreed that he said he would meet with people like Ahmadinejad without pre-conditions and stated Henry Kissinger later said the same thing. John McCain clarified that Kissinger said lower level state department officers should engage in talks with Iran like the United States already does and not the U.S. president and so Obama says, well of course no one is saying the president should talk with Ahmadinejad … what!? Does he confuse himself too?

McCain: “Look, Dr. Kissinger did not say that he would approve of face-to- face meetings between the president of the United States and the president — and Ahmadinejad. He did not say that.”

OBAMA: “Of course not.”

The whole topic was about Obama saying as president that he would meet people like Ahmadinejad without preconditions as president of the united states. Obama said specifically that he would talk with people like Ahmadinejad in the democratic national youtube debate.

John McCain calls for an end to pork barrel earmarks of which Obama has asked for what John McCain quoted as $932 million dollars worth. Obama indicated he would at his discretion (at his discretion, sounds like a dictator) sort through the bills and decide which ones are worthy for financing and which ones aren’t. What!? McCain wants all earmarks to end and all projects requesting financing to be voted on individually by congress so the representatives of the people can decide what projects deserve to be passed without attatching them to more important bills as thousands of earmarks. Obama doesn’t want congress to have the say, he indicated he will go through and decide what is worthy. Obama: “And when I’m president, ‘I’ will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely. ” I will? Power hungry much? Obama says HE will go through and make sure we are not spending money unwisely. Instead of fixing the system and making sure the representatives of the people (congress) are the ones who make sure.

McCain was clear and to the point.

And Obama does not have the experience or judgment to be president of the united states and effect the life, health, happiness and security of 300 million people.

Posted by CJ | Report as abusive

Obama doesn’t have the experience or judgement to be President?? Does Sarah Palin? She’d be a heartbeat away from a 72 year old man! How good is McCain’s judgement in choosing her? I think in a debate, each speaker, out of respect for the other, will look directly at his/her opponent at some points in his/her speaking points. McCains refusal to even look at Obama was both condesending and purely rude! Shall we assume that he is a racist who was trying to appeal to our lowest common denominators or that he is ignorant – we don’t need another ignorant, arrogant President! Look what we have after eight years of one!! ENOUGH! God bless Barack and help all of us who are sick of Republicans like McCain!

Posted by Jeanne-Independent for Obama | Report as abusive

[…] for us, however, he doesn’t have that presidential seal. He could have some fun with that presidential seal, stamping it all over important documents like […]

Posted by Another Dead Canary » McCain is a maverick but he’s no Miss Congeniality | Report as abusive

I think Obama should play to McBush’s tendency to explode…just needle him enough on issues so he fogets to resist…mcsame can not handle being ignored and Obama did not bite on several attempts to pull him into a jab..

But mccain has no such internal monitor…short man –short fuse— old and snarky and condescending..

Posted by Docb | Report as abusive

Frankly, both candidates impressed me as 3rd-raters with aspirations to rise to their highest levels of incompetence. The overall behavior they exhibited to each other can best be described as “mine is bigger than yours”.
Maybe its time for an independent party to pick candidates worthy of the office of President and show quality instead of quantity.

Posted by schmendric | Report as abusive

Let’s revive the Bull Moose Party. Cum’on back, T.R.!

Posted by schmendric | Report as abusive

I am sure that most you that are from the south, I am from Memphis, Tn…..and you would not know back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s whites were taught not to look directly into a black (then colored) eyes because it would seem like they are on equal footing, but to look down when talking to “blacks” because they are inferior.

As you can see, McCain never look directly at Obama and don’t forget, he is from the “jim crow” days, fought hard not to make Martin Luther King a holiday in Arizona.

McCain is probably saying to himself why is the “N….r” even on the same stage with me.

Posted by Viola | Report as abusive

CJ, ya need help pal. Your rant was untrue, unclear and actually pretty racist. Not surprising. Good thing this country is waking up to the attitudes of people like yourself. Maybe you’ll leave the good old U.S of A if Obama wins. That would be a relief

Posted by Paul Rafael | Report as abusive

Pinocchio McCain could not look at Obama as he was spewing his lies in fear of his nose growing so long that it would go off camera (or stab the moderator!!)

Posted by Victoria | Report as abusive

to rodney who said: “Obama will be a pacifist like jimmy carter & the terrorist will prevail. We never got another 9 11 with Bush & we’ll never get another with Mc Cain. Leave it for Obama to cut all security for our civil liberties.”

9/11 happened on YOUR man’s watch.

The part of the founding of this country was based on our civil liberties and inalienable rights. “Give me liberty or give me death”… If you want abject safety and no civil liberties, N. Korea and China await you my dear.

NO more drama, Vote for Obama!


Posted by Lisa From TacWA | Report as abusive

Rodney, regarding McCain’s elimination of earmarks, this is from the Washington Post fact checker:

McCain’s talk about eliminating $100 billion a year in earmarks is largely fantasy. His advisers are now promoting a more realistic plan of eliminating $100 billion in overall spending. But it is difficult to take even that promise very seriously given the fact that the senator refuses to identify exactly which projects he will be cut. To use a phrase coined by George H.W. Bush, this is “voodoo economics,” based more on wishful thinking than on hard data or carefully considered policy proposals.

Perhaps this is the change he has been talking about – changing his position. Although change is Obama’s platform and McSame stole it.

Obama has been running a good and honorable campaign. That is the kind of leader I want to see in the White House.

Here’s something interesting for everyone to ponder:

* What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
* What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class (894 our of 899)?
* What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said ‘I do’ to?
* What if Obama were the candidate who left his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards
* What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
* What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?
* What if Obama were a member of the ‘Keating 5’?
* What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive
qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when
there is a color difference.

Posted by Marilyn | Report as abusive

It is sad to read these copy-n-paste, tit-for-tat rantings by the Obama-ites. No one on this thread is interested in facts about Obama, but would rather make things up about McCain. I find it interesting how they even find time between Jerry Springer and Judge Fill-in-the-blank episodes to post to a News site.

“If Obama is not elected, it will prove that America is racists”??? Wouldn’t only Democrats be racists since Republicans will not be voting for Barack Hussein Obama II?

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Americans who cherish their country must recognize that we are now on a long slide down into second-rate status. With McCain that downward slide will be even faster.

After seeing the mind-boggling dishonesty of McCain and his Rove-team this past week, it should also be clear to all of us that they will stop at nothing to steal this election. We must secure a landslide victory for Barack Obama to secure a victory at all.

We need a massive voter turnout in this election for President, and we need an overwhelming majority of votes cast for Barack Obama.

I urge every reader of these lines to take his or her responsibility as a citizen in a democratic country seriously, and register today to vote, if not yet registered.

I urge you to convince your friends and family to do the same.

And I urge you to take your electronic calendar or appointment book, and allocate right now, well in advance, a sufficiently large time block to be able to tolerate waiting lines, and cast your vote on election day. Or, alternatively, to set wheels in motion today to vote in early elections or by mail ballot.

No one can do this for us – we must each make the effort needed!

Posted by fbla1805 | Report as abusive

What’s not to like about Barack. He wants to start a civil defense army using the same amount of $$ we spend on defense. (let them wear brown shirts) He’s for more gun control-(disarming society is always a good idea) His preacher is Anti-America, William Ayers and his lovely wife wish they could of done more bombing-If you don’t know much about diplomacy, know some home grown terrorists! Tony Rezko/Emil Jones, Jr can teach him everything he needs to know about finances. Annenberge Challage taught him everything he knows about Education. ACORN taught him everything he needs to know about “fair” voting practices. And more deaths in South Chicago then in Irag during the same time frames tells him everything he needs to know about the Defense Dept….please your all a bunch of lemmings.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

This is all smoke and mirrors and humbug from a desperate McCain.

Truth is that Obama is the president in waiting. Oh yes he is folks!

Get with it America, vote Obama in and let him do what McCain cannot.

Let him heal America!

Posted by TheTruthIs… | Report as abusive

Truthis…Obama has no sustenance. Zero “meat-and-potatoes”. He is all rhetoric with a “Martin Luther King” complex. With our Nation’s current state of affairs, I am not willing to trust this country to someone who will not salute the flag of this nation, respect the National Anthem, or visit the wounded troops in Landstuhl, GER. (to name a few of my favorite things)He is not a leader, no matter how you dress him up, or what words you put in his mouth…the only thing he has led is a community service group.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive