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. Arkansas Undertaker

    Down with Ward Connerly and John McCain on Affirmmative Action

    July 27, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    So what's new John McCain has flip flopped on almost every issue he's dealt with either as a Senator with his voting record or as a candidate depending on his audience and what he figures they want to hear.

    To cover up his constant changing he accuses Obama of doing this when it is really him that changes with the wind. The only question is whether the voters can see the truth.

    July 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. kim hussein smith

    mccain FLIP-FLOPPING isnt even news anymore. if he opens his mouth now, he's either making frightening mistakes and showing his complete lack of knowledge on FAR too many important issues-or he's flip-flopping. it is laughable how often mccain has switched his opinion, he will do ANYTHING to win.

    and now he's WHINING about obama's press coverage, first of all, it is YOU, my friend, the press is in love with and vice versa (by your own admission) and secind, they know a WINNER when they see one. gee, what's a better story, an intelligent man who wants peace and prosperity for all, or a forgetful, uninformed old man standing in front of a wall of cheese??

    mccain's absolutely ridiculous campaign is like one giant episode of punk'd, it's truly pathetic!

    July 27, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. truth from detroit

    cnn.... cnn.... we know mc main is a mouthpiece of rightwing dogma!!!

    he, foxnews, hannity, o'reiley, your own lou dobbs & glen beck!!!

    your hillary supporting, blitzer,brown & cooper!!!

    obama is running against the white media!!!

    so called white liberals like cnn & white coservatives like fox!!!

    blackpeople & people of color know you ALL HAVE YOUR OWN AGENDA!!!! WHITE CONTROL!!!

    Cythia McKinney/Rosa Hernandez 08/12

    PS: Obama better respect her too, because hillary's puma's can swing it to Mc Cain as well!!! SHE WILL GET AT LEAST 5% OF THE POPULAR VOTE!!! Bill Schneider can chew on that & talk about it's impact on a tight november race!

    July 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. JUNIOR

    Mcflip will be the worst president ever! He does not get it in any of the issues, remains anti women and is already showing signs of Altsheimer. He has stressed he needs education on economy ! He must go to school at least to learn how to write an e- mail! Presidency of today is not business as usual. Americans can´t afford a worse president than Bush ( Mccain ) at this time!

    July 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. obama in london

    CNN hasnt been fair on Obama at all, and thats a big shame!!! They monitor Obama's speech with utmost carefulness and diset every bit of it. Last month the headline was 'Obama the Flip-flopper' when Obama was only trying to explain his stance on Irak. Now Obama has attacked Mccain for flip-flopping, and what the CNN would say is Mccain and Obama accuse each other. Thats nonsense!! Grow-up CNN and stop being in the dark.

    July 27, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. Vig

    McCain needs a split screen of Obama vs. Obama – talking out of both sides of his mouth, with the last 9 flip-flops he did or a picture of a circus with an acrobat.

    July 27, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. Marie Canada

    What's the big deal McCain is a Republican and has to appeal to the extemists in his party to get their support.

    If he doesn't change his position and abandon the just causes he'll go down in flames in November and that is just a fact of life in America.

    July 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. obama in london

    CNN hasnt been fair on Obama at all, and thats a big shame!!! They monitor Obama's speech with utmost carefulness and diset every bit of it. Last month the headline was 'Obama the Flip-flopper' when Obama was only trying to explain his stance on Irak. Now Obama has attacked Mccain for flip-flopping, and what the CNN would say is Mccain and Obama accuse each other. Thats nonsense!! Grow-up CNN and come out from darkness.

    July 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Judgement over experience

    And that's not the only thing mccain has flip flopped on. What else is new?

    July 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Bill, Covington

    Screw the obama, the sharpton and afirmative action.

    July 27, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. John in Iowa

    These are Obama’s friends:

    William Ayers (Anti-American Radical)

    Larry Sinclair (Homosexual Drug Addict)

    Jeremiah Wright (White-Hating “Reverend”)

    Tony Reszco (Chicago Slum Land-Lord)

    Louis Farrakhan (Muslim Fanatic)

    What else needs to be said?

    Anybody but Obama ’08!

    July 27, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. Aaron

    Someone tell John McCain that quotas are illegal.

    July 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Rich Dickerson

    Of course McCain has changed his position on affirmative action! He has to adopt the conservative agenda if he has any hope of getting the Bush base to support him. He's done this on taxes, too.

    July 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Willy

    BHO POTUS is NOT an Affirmative Action position. Unlike the free education you got you need to gain some life experience and being a community organizer it not real time leadership job but merely a babysitting position.

    July 27, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. bev

    Do not tell me you are surprised that McCain has flipped, we all know he does it all the time. I do not trust him!

    July 27, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Rock Johnson

    Affirmative Action is a thinly-disguised program to get unqualified people into jobs or schools where they don't belong. Like Michelle Obama, for example. Didn't have the grades or the test scores to get into Princeton, but got in anyway...to help 'diversity'.

    July 27, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. jennifer dantas

    McCain, will do anything to become the next president even if it means telling LIES..Way To Go Mclie

    July 27, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  19. Independent

    Yet another Flip-flop to satisfy the far right....I'm deeply disappointed.
    Where's McCain of 2000?

    July 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Elizabeth

    Well, duh. The media and Murdoch owned Media wants McCain to win! McCain has flip-flopped all year and no one points it out because McCain is a GOP Bushy who will continue to ruin this country!

    July 27, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. David, Mississipi

    obama and mccain,

    what are the CONDITIONS under which you suggest the US should withdraw from Iraq?

    please, specify for christ's sake.

    July 27, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. PUMA-Jessie

    Its the pot calling the kettle black. Obama is a seral flip flopper. He has flipped on FISA, the war and troop deploymemt, abortion, gun control, death penalty, church based funding for services to the poor, the social security tax, public election financing, etc.

    July 27, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. aware

    Look who has the audacity to talk about flipping! :)

    Give it up Obama! You drift in and out of so many positions from one moment to the next that it is impossible to know what you think about anything! :(

    McCain 08 – a man of integrity! :)

    July 27, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Susan

    Truth hurts, does it not McLame? Hey CNN, where is the video of McLames interview with Stephanopoulos this morning, He denigrated gay and lesbian parents, fumbled his way through every single issue George soft balled to him, and looked like a total chump!

    July 27, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Mike, Surrey BC

    Doesn't remember what he said or was afraid to answer just like the Viagra question. Need the weekend to get experience to respond the way it is written on paper notes as the telestrater is hard to read.

    Go McCain, no I really mean GO AWAY. Stay on your ranch.

    July 27, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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