July 28th, 2008
06:23 AM ET
6 years ago

Did McCain 'flip' on affirmative action measure?

John McCain's comments on affirmative action led Obama to charge that he 'flipped' his position.
John McCain's comments on affirmative action led Obama to charge that he 'flipped' his position.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Sen. John McCain said Sunday he supports an Arizona ballot initiative aimed at ending race- and gender-based preference programs - an announcement his rival cast as a reversal from his previous stance.

Sen. Barack Obama - speaking to an auditorium full of minority journalists at the Unity conference - accused McCain of having "flipped."

But McCain's own campaign refused to say whether it stands by the candidate's announcement that he supports the ballot initiative.

In an interview broadcast on ABC's "This Week," host George Stephanopoulos asked McCain if he supports a referendum on the ballot in his home state "that would do away with affirmative action."

"Yes, I do," he responded. "I do not believe in quotas. But I have not seen the details of some of these proposals. But I've always opposed quotas."

Stephanopoulos asked, "But the one here in Arizona you support?"

"I support it, yes," replied McCain.

McCain did not indicate that he had a standing opposition to such initiatives, or that he was changing his stance by supporting the initiative in Arizona.

Contacted by CNN, McCain's campaign sent a statement from spokesman Tucker Bounds.

"John McCain has always been opposed to government- mandated hiring quotas, because he believes that regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, the law should be equally applied. He has long stood for the protection of civil rights and equal opportunity for all Americans," the statement said.

But pressed about whether McCain indeed supports the Arizona initiative, the campaign would not answer. In 1998, McCain called a similar ballot measure "divisive."

Obama told attendees to the Unity conference that he was "disappointed... that John McCain flipped and changed his position. I think in the past he had been opposed to these kinds of... initiatives as divisive. And I think he's right."

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, a prominent Obama supporter, issued a statement accusing McCain of having made "a stunning reversal on his respectable record on affirmative action."

soundoff (663 Responses)
  1. sick of cnn moderators

    you wont post anything.my fingers are tired from retyping.im going to huff-post,and never returning to your blogs.you suck.

    July 28, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  2. Janey/Michigan

    to what if?–you got it wrong, pal. McCain never encouraged Obama to spend millions on any European tour in the middle of a campaign. He told him repeatedly that he should visit the war zones and troops. Ended up, the war zones and (not) visiting the troops was a very small part of his trip! Mostly, it was to suck up to the Europeans and look as though he had already won the election. In other words, for his ego and to win.

    July 28, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  3. Cheri

    Why not flip flop on this issue he has on every other issue.Lynne Obama went on this tour because McCain harped on him to do so and Obama called his bluff .

    July 28, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  4. I agree

    I am glad to see I am not the only one who feels it should be done away with. Come to think of it: names, race, and sex should be removed from all job applications and it should be based purely on experience and qualifitcations. I say names because when you hear some of them today, you know what their ethnicity is..ie Shanika, Tyrome, Shaniqua...you get the picture.

    Noboma '08 and I'm a registered Democrat

    July 28, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  5. timber

    Does Obama still think we have 57 states?

    July 28, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  6. Sarah

    Yes...He can do any thing to win
    Tomorrow he will forget what he did yesterday and the media will just skip this frequent serious problem

    July 28, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  7. Peter

    Grandpa McCain seems to off his rocker....just like when he had his "Vision" of 2013 after his first term

    July 28, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  8. Mark Webb

    Yes, McCain constantly changes his mind. But for this one, he is absolutely straight. He has always been against women and minorities. His plan for America is just "divide and reign". What a shame!!!!

    July 28, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  9. TheLeftNut

    McWhine wil flip on anything if gets him elected.

    "Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran"

    A brilliant foreign policy.

    McWhine needs Rove, but America needs neither!

    July 28, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  10. Esther

    Oh my o my! Why is the media favoring McSame so much and yet they ask why the polls are so tight – isnt that what they (the media) want?!

    McSame has flip-flopped on every single issue and he talks about judgement and the media lets him get away with it. The alarming issue is the Iraq one which MCSAME ACTUALLY NOW AGREES WITH OBAMA and says a 16-MTH TIMETABLE looks good?! And the media lets him get away with it by calling it CONVERGENCE!!! Why cant this be presented to the american people as a proof of MCSAME's LACK OF FORESIGHT AND JUDGEMENT which Obama has plenty of.

    July 28, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  11. JimBlanco

    End racism by ending Affirmative Action.

    July 28, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  12. Bayousara for Hillary in November

    I haven't been on the blogs much since the primaries (yep, Oregon actually got to vote!). Seems not much has changed.

    Hillary's supporters are still being lectured and bashed by the Baby Obamas, and we still don't have a vp candidate from Obama himself.

    I am writing in Hillary in November, come what may.

    I am sick of this two-year long campaign, and I don't think much of anything will improve with Obama. He is already back-pedaling on a number of issues.

    July 28, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  13. Bulldog

    No, McCain is allowed to shift his positions.

    It's only Obama who not allowed.

    Get it straight.

    July 28, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  14. JS

    To Ula Nenad:
    Your quote: "Obama's parents would have done him a great favor not only for him but his father, his grandfather, his mother and America. Why? Because he would simply be a great President for Kenya".

    "HUH, what kind of comment are you trying to make here". I am so tired of people stating things like this......just because you are black or you have an African descendent that somehow you have a strong connection with Africa's culture.

    I am black and I don't know anyone in Africa and never have been to Africa. I am American and that is all I know how to be. I am of American culture.

    Obama is an American. He was born in America and this makes him American. He is not running for president in Kenya. He was not raised in Kenya. He has just as much right to run in America than any other American citizen.

    What a crazy suggestion!!!!!

    GOBAMA :) for American!

    July 28, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  15. TESAP; SAVANNAH, GA

    YES HE OPPOSES QUOTA'S, CIVIL RIGHTS, WANTS TO REINSTATE A DRAFT SYSTEM, GAY MARRIAGE, INTER RACIAL MARRIAGE................. ETC.

    July 28, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  16. Tony

    McCain (cBush) flip flops all the time like a fish out of water.

    I hope the American voter is paying close attention and realizing that McCain is an old man with old ideas, a Bush clone when it comes to the war in Iraq and many of Bush's other policies.

    McCain will say and do anything necessary to win in November, but if the American voter has learned anything in the last 8 years, McCain will be a two-time loser coment November.

    July 28, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  17. Mike, TX

    The simple fact that Obama is the democratic nominees shows that Affirmative Action is no longer needed.

    What is needed is more remedial education for Obama supporters.

    July 28, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  18. Tony

    McCain (cBush) flip flops all the time like a fish out of water.

    I hope the American voter is paying close attention and realizing that McCain is an old man with old ideas, a Bush clone when it comes to the war in Iraq and many of Bush's other policies.

    McCain will say and do anything necessary to win in November, but if the American voter has learned anything in the last 8 years, McCain will be a two-time loser come November.

    July 28, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  19. proud army and navy mom

    The only flip flopper is Obama
    1 NAFTA
    2 Iraq pull out
    3 FISA

    And the list goes on

    July 28, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  20. darrell brown

    John McCain is starting to sound more like an adolescent then a politician. His accusation of Obama for not visiting the injured in Iraq is a childish move. Does McCain thinks these ploys will garner him any support. Each week he shows americans he is not a worthy candidate for president. His spin on so many situations during this race makes him look small

    July 28, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  21. Veteran in Kansas

    McCain did not flip he just cann't recall what his stance is suppose to be today.

    July 28, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  22. Gary

    He also flip-flopped on gay adoptions. He's getting pulled to the right to shore up his base. Meanwhile, Obama is masterfully moving to the center. Conventional wisdom says you move to the center in the general election. I'm not sure what mcCain is doing, but he's certainly not going to win this election the way he's campaigning now. And the negative attack on Obama that calimed he didn't visit the injured troops when he clearly did shows how desperate McCain has become.

    July 28, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  23. chas alabama

    Why won't McCain release his military records?
    Could it be that it would prove he is not the American he says he is?
    Is he afraid his anti American statments will come out?
    Will there be photos of McCain and Hanoi Jane holding hands and condeming America?
    Will it prove he is not an American citizen.

    July 28, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  24. Joeny Bui

    Let the flip flop battle begin.

    July 28, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  25. obama is unfit to be president of this country

    No,he did not.

    July 28, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
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