McCain Shows Poor Sportsmanship

Update: Stephen pointed me to this video that shows Obama and McCain shaking hands at the very end of the debate. Thanks for the link.

Although I’ve publically supported Barack Obama, I’ve come to respect John McCain. I listened to all the speeches given at the Republican National Convention and was most impressed by McCain’s acceptance speech. I may not agree with him on all issues but there’s no denying he cares about this great country.

But tonight I saw McCain do something that disappointed me and, I’m sure, many Americans.

I grew up playing various sports and was taught that no matter how mean and nasty things got out on the field, I always respected my opponent by shaking his hand at the end of the game. There were many times this was not easy to do, especially after a bitter contest with a rival where my team come out on the losing end. Win or lose, all team members were expected to exhibit good sportsmanship.

Tonight’s town hall debate was informative. It also became heated during several exchanges between the candidates. But McCain should have had the class and dignity to shake Obama’s outstretched hand at the end of the debate. McCain was able shake the hands of various citizens in the crowd so why not Obama? Kudos to Cindy McCain for showing her husband how it’s done and setting a good example for the youth of this nation.

During the debate, McCain referenced the need for a bipartisan solution to many problems facing our country including the economic crisis and meeting our nation’s health care needs. It’s hard to imagine McCain leading a bipartisan charge if he’s unable to shake the hand of a rival.

Tonight, McCain’s outright distain for his rival got in the way of good sportsmanship.


  1. I didn’t like how he attacked during the debate. I hadn’t noticed this lack of respect and I have to say … it surprises me that he would even go this far. Sarah Palin has said it is going to get a lot dirtier … I expect it will and what a shame that we can’t just have each candidate state his own issues and leave us to make our decision. I hope the citizens of America can see through what is coming our way as below the belt campaign smears.

  2. I think it is important to note they did embrace and shake hands at the end of the debate. it was a bit hard to see on the coverage from the channel I recorded but I was watching with great interest when I saw your tweet on this.

    McCain did not here, but not being the one there in the moment on the floor, perhaps he forgot who this person was standing across from him.

  3. It looks to me like maybe he just didn’t see it…? If he did, that’s complete disrespect and that’s too bad.

  4. We totally agree. In our opinion, McCain acted like the stereotypical “grumpy old man” throughout the debate. His attempt at humor in response to Tom Brokaw’s question, “Not you Tom” went over like a lead balloon. Some may argue Brokaw could do a better job than our current Treasury Secretary. We’re a little torn because we’ve never voted for a democrat, especially a liberal democrat, but it appears Obama will have more success uniting our nation than the grumpy McCain.

  5. Stacy Nordquist says:

    I think McCain’s reputation for character predates this campaign. Of course, some might dispute it. He dumped his first wife for the much younger (and richer) Cindy. At the time, he was well regarded by the Reagans but after the dump, he was never welcomed in the White House again and Mrs. Reagan was noticeably cool to his campaign this year.
    His performance in both debates, however, has been quite civil compared to the antics of his surrogates on the campaign trail. Mrs. Palin, who seems to fare particularly well with the uneducated masses, has used some strong language to describe Obama and has managed to whip some of her followers into a frenzy of sorts. At one rally, a supported called him a “terrorist”. At another rally, “kill him” was the suggested course of action. Does lynching come to mind? So while it may be the custom for the presidential candidate to take the high road and let the vice presidential candidate get down and dirty, I think it is unappropriate for McCain to allow this type of dialog to continue at rallies held in support of his candidacy. Hopefully in a few weeks he can return to some house but not the White House and Mrs. Palin can go home to Alaska.

  6. still think you should get a grip :P

  7. They shook hands immediately following the debate, though it seems most broadcasts missed it, leading to the false impression of a snub.

    The video is here:

  8. I was raised to show respect towards others. Some of the ways to be an honorable man was to look people in the eye, speak the truth, and shake people’s hands. To refuse a hand that was extended to you was a sign of disrespect. For McCain to refuse to shake Obama’s hand reveals McCain’s lack of character.

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