Sen. John McCain, who ran for president in 2000 and 2008, said today that the race to determine the 2012 GOP presidential candidate is “the nastiest I have ever seen,” CNN reported.
“It’s gone way too long and gotten way, way too personal,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” National Journal reported. “Attacks on character and all of that have been very unfortunate. And, again, who has benefited from it? President Obama.”
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The Arizona senator is somewhat of an expert in nasty campaigns, CNN reported. In the 2000 presidential race, rumors flew that he was the father of an illegitimate African-American child.
McCain, co-author of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation that limited corporate and private donations, placed some of the blame on super PACs, which have funded hours of negative ads, CNN reported.
“Super PACs have played a key role, unfortunately negative in my view, because they've driven up the unfavorables of all candidates and frankly made it more difficult to win an election in November," McCain said, according to the Hill. “If you have a Las Vegas casino mogul – by the way who gets part of his money from Macau – pouring $20 million into one campaign and most of those are negative ads, obviously that drives up people's unfavorables,” he added, alluding to businessman Sheldon Adelson’s donations to Newt Gingrich’s campaign and super PAC. (McCain is a Mitt Romney supporter.)
McCain also suggested that GOP candidates needed to drop their attacks on the Obama administration's push to have all employers, including religious institutions, provide birth control coverage to employees.
"We need to get off of that issue, in my view," McCain said, according to the Hill. "I think we ought to respect the right of women to make choices in their lives and make that clear. And get back onto what the American people really care about: jobs and the economy."
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