July 28th, 2008
06:23 AM ET
10 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. Jose

    Here the game again...McCain "flips" while the cute boy Obama does not do anything wrong... If he does, it is interpreted that he might have meant the other way.... ...I see the "Ticker" as opposed to McCain as it was to Hillary... I would wish to see a more fair Press coverage in all of this, but sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case...

    July 28, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  2. fat john

    I like wearing flip- flops

    July 28, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  3. blaising

    YES!! McCreepy-Bush '08 FLIP-FLOPPED!! AGAIN!!

    July 28, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  4. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Its going to all catch up to Teflon John.....hopefully sooner than later. This man has been in Washington for 30 years and has not addressed any of the needs required by minorities. Our 'experinece' with McCain the Maverick , has now become anything but progressive or one of CHANGE. I wish the election were tommorrow so we could end this NEGATIVE Campaigning from the Republicans. WE ARE SO TIRED OF IT................Please stick to policy and policy differences. Believe me the American voter kind find the Negatives ourselves. Safe your money for negative POINTLESS advertising and use it constructively. Remember you are the ones complaining about not having as much cash as Obama, use in a way that will beneficial toward our decisions.

    July 28, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. Steve

    If he did . . . So What??? At least now he stands with truth. Affirmitive action is wrong!

    July 28, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  6. Not surprised.

    Just another McCain flip – is anyone even paying attention to him anymore?

    July 28, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. Rob

    Seriously, people, name ONE Obama accomplishment – something he has actually DONE?

    July 28, 2008 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. Spencer

    You could be the SMARTEST person on any site
    Amen brother!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 28, 2008 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  9. Kathy in Michigan

    Well any of the African American and Hispanic vote he was counting on he officially NOT COUNT on them.

    Mr. Wilson is of the generation that he thinks he knows what is best for these two minority groups. That is shy John McCain (I am calling him Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace) , is so angry about Senator Obama's trip.

    First he wanted Sen Obama to book ten town halls with him and change his schedule to help draw a crowd to himself. The past few town halls he has had he couldn't fill the room. Obviously, Senator Obama's campaign has a schedule and they run a professional operation. Secondly, Mr. Wilson invited Senator Obama to go to Iraq with him so he could show him around. Well, Barack decided to go it alone (AND HE INVITED THE PRESS TO GO, WHEN MR. WILSON WAS TOO CHEAP TO INVITE THEM). Now the grumpy old guy wants to criticize him for visiting the same people he visited (he actually also had visits to Mexico, Columbia and Canada).

    He is of the generation of those who were opposed to MLK Day, Integration and he is quietly upset that this intelligent man of color is probably going to be the president of the united states.

    July 28, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  10. KENNETH M.

    Some mavrick.

    July 28, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  11. Jim in Orlando

    CNN. Deliberately not posting many reasonable posts supportive of McCain. Meanwhile, posting all the pro-Obama, and more accurately, anti-McCain gutter stuff. Half the posts above this one include a play on McCain's name. Its this way with every comment thread.

    How about pictures of proud new daddy John Edward's and his new baby !! If it were Mitt Romney or Rudi Guiliani ducking into a hotel bathroom at 4 AM, I think you'd still be camped there !

    Thanks God McCain has the backbone to stand up against the discrimination we label "Affirmative Action".

    July 28, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  12. Nick, NY

    Sen. McCain is Opposed to abortion [or did he flip on that too?], Opposed to Affirmative Action, Opposed to MLK day, and Opposed to Veteran's Issues. Are only wealthy, conversative, mostly caucasian people left to vote for him? He certainly does not, and would not, represent me.

    July 28, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  13. Unity

    I respect McCain's service to our country, but let's face it people, McCain is not fit to be president of the United States or anything else for that matter. Everyone keeps tipping around his age, let's face it, McCain IS OLD, it happens to all humans, we get old; we don't think the same as we did when we were younger; we don't act the same as we did when we were younger. Age does affect our brains as well as our bodies. I'm really starting to feel sorry for McCain, he's showing signs of senility. McCain supporters are in denial, McCain is not the same candidate that ran in 2000/04, it's clear that he has declined, it's natural, that's what happens when we age. At this point, it's not flip-flopping....it's simply age.

    July 28, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  14. Denise Groves

    Why would McCain be for affirmitive action? he was against the MLK holiday, and against funding for Headstart! Anything that helps people who are not rich, he is against. That is what the GOP are like!

    July 28, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  15. Esther

    Why is no one in the MSM reporting this as dailykos.com did? This is why/how McSame keeps it up in the polls. My fellow americans, I have always known without the fact that the election is being stolen and was stolen for Bush too but its so sad to actually see the facts printed:

    In swing-state Colorado, the Republican Secretary of State conducted the biggest purge of voters in history, dumping a fifth of all registrations. Guess their color.

    In swing-state Florida, the state is refusing to accept about 85,000 new registrations from voter drives – overwhelming Black voters.

    In swing state New Mexico, HALF of the Democrats of Mora, a dirt poor and overwhelmingly Hispanic county, found their registrations disappeared this year, courtesy of a Republican voting contractor.

    In swing states Ohio and Nevada, new federal law is knocking out tens of thousands of voters who lost their homes to foreclosure.

    July 28, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  16. Carolina girl

    JCH in Philly-You should really do some research before you make idiotic statements. First of all, White women (not Blacks!!!) have been the primary beneficiary of affirmative action programs. Try doing some research before you come on here.

    July 28, 2008 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  17. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    I don't care if he flips.......I just care that he keeps flipping to the wrong side of so many issues.

    July 28, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. Democrat

    Give McSame a break. He's an old man. He doesn't know what he's saying half the time. ROFLMAO.

    July 28, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. John

    Rob: The Lugar-Obama nonproliferation bill. Works to keep WMDs out of the hands of terrorists. I've got more. In the Illinois State Senate he got broad bipartisan support for a bill requiring the police to videotape interrogatings of murder suspects, as the cops had just been beating the stuffing out of innocent people and making them confess. And there's more. You just have to not be willfully ignorant and actually look for them.

    Name me one thing McCain has done in the Senate.
    "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.
    Aren't you supposed to wait at least a few hours before directly contradicting something you just fricking said?

    July 28, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  20. Lorna, NY

    The more McCain speaks, the more I dislike him. PLEASE can someone shut him up? Thank God we have a least one intelligent person running for president.

    July 28, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  21. William Spivey-Merritt Island, FL

    He doesn't understand. That's called senility.

    July 28, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  22. DEBBY, NJ

    CNN...where is the story regarding McShame's teeth falling out on Thursday, July 24th???...if it was OBAMA it would be world wide news

    July 28, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  23. Femi

    Look this issue is not about Flip-flop. You are giving Mccain too much credit. The fact is that he has opposed "quotas" from the very begining. Especially when its in Arizona. Hes only pandering to his Arizona natives and exposing his weakness as a politian.

    To that indivudual who says "get trained and stop using race to get a job" well you obviously dont know your history. The foundation of the United States of America has been about giving opportunity to Whites because they were...Whites! call it reverse discrmination all you want, but with the unequall opporunity and the benefits "most" whites get today, Affrimative action will be a main stay.

    July 28, 2008 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  24. Ian

    Watch how he actually votes.

    July 28, 2008 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  25. Irene

    Is it the fact that John McCain is FLIP-FLOPPING....OR...could it be he just CAN'T REMEMBER what answer he gave the last time he was asked!

    July 28, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
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