WASHINGTON - Questions from the media prompted Republican John McCain to cancel a fund-raiser at the home of a Texas oilman who once joked that women should give in while being raped.
The Texan, Republican Clayton Williams, made the joke during his failed 1990 campaign for governor against Democrat Ann Richards. Williams compared rape to the weather, saying, "As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it." He also compared Richards to the cattle on his ranch, saying he would "head her and hoof her and drag her through the dirt."
Williams's comments made national news at the time and remain easy to find on the Internet. Even so, McCain's campaign said it had not known about the remarks.
"These were obviously incredibly offensive remarks that the campaign was unaware of at the time it was scheduled," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said. "It's positive that he did apologize at the time, but the comments are nonetheless offensive."
The campaign said it would not return money Williams had raised for McCain because the contributions came from other individuals supporting McCain and not from Williams. Williams told his hometown newspaper, the Midland Reporter-Telegram, that he had raised more than $300,000 for McCain.
Democrats said McCain should give back the money: "Senator McCain's claim of ignorance is no excuse for refusing to do the right thing now. Offensive, disgusting comments like these cannot be tolerated," said Karen Finney, the Democratic National Committee spokeswoman.
The flap comes as McCain's campaign reaches out to women and to backers of Democrat Hillary Clinton. McCain began a women-focused outreach effort in recent days, sending a well-known female supporter, Carly Fiorina, a former
"I respect and admire the campaign she ran," McCain said yesterday on a telephone town hall meeting. "Every place I go, I'm told that Senator Clinton inspired millions of young women in this country. And not necessarily young women; she inspired a whole generation of young people in this country."
Campaigning in Pennsylvania, a key battleground in the fall campaign, Obama said he would take a much more hands-on approach than would John McCain
Speaking to about 200 people in Wayne, a Philadelphia suburb, Obama made no new proposals but emphasized earlier ones in light of rising gas prices, inflation and job losses. They include a $1,000 tax cut for most working families; a new Social Security tax on incomes above $250,000; and a "windfall profits" tax on oil companies; a $4,000 annual college tuition credit for those who commit to national or community service programs; and an end to income taxes for elderly people making less than $50,000 a year.