John Rich is an outspoken supporter of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, but the country music mogul says you'll never hear him criticize McCain's competition.

"Speak your mind about whatever you want to speak your mind about, Rich tells the National Ledger. "But never in a million years would I bash Barack Obama ... You don't bash people who have risen to that level of prominence in the United States. It's disrespectful."

Rich says it was the Dixie Chicks who displayed the ultimate example of such disrespect when they so famously bashed President Bush back in 2002. He says the trio's actions are likely what caused them to be shunned in the country music world.

"They don't agree with the president, that's fine, most people don't -- just look at the polls. But the way they went about it was disrespectful, and the country audience took offense to it," Rich says of the Dixie Chicks. "Then their apology was basically coming back with a song and flipping the bird to the country audience again. That's not the way to win fans!"

Rich says that even if the Chicks' comments had been made today, when President Bush's approval ratings are at their lowest, it would yield the same results.

"Our fan base is mainly blue collar, middle America, the backbone-of-this-country-type people," he says. "You still would never see a true country artist bashing the president, and if they did, they wouldn't get away with it."

Rich's comments about the Chicks aren't all negative. In fact, he quite admires their talent.

"I love the Dixie Chicks' music. They're such a powerful act and turned so many people on to country music," he says. "But they made their decisions, and the chips fall where they fall."