McCain Repudiates Backer's Anti-Obama Rant

Radio host attempts to smear likely opponent; candidate quickly disassociates himself
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2008 3:20 PM CST
Local radio talk show host Bill Cunningham speaks to Sen. John McCain supporters before the Republican presidential hopeful's arrival at a campaign event at Memorial Hall Tuesday, Feb 26, 2008, in Cincinnati....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – John McCain is distancing himself from a conservative commentator who introduced him at a rally today and launched into a tirade against Barack Obama, CNN reports. Talk-radio host Bill Cunningham called Obama a “hack” and used his middle name, Hussein, three times. McCain called the speech “disparaging” and vowed, “It will never happen again. It will never happen again.”

Cunningham blasted the national media as liberally biased, sniped at Hillary Clinton, and painted Obama as un-American, saying, “The world leaders who want to kill us will simply be singing Kumbaya around the table of Barack Obama.” McCain begged to differ, calling his fellow senators “honorable Americans.” An Obama spokesman offered thanks and said McCain's reaction was a positive sign about general-election discourse.