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. PCS / North Carolina

    .Also, McWar voted against MLK holiday.


    McCain voted for the Iraq war = quagmire

    McCain voted for troop surge = he did not have to vote for a troop surge, if he did not authorize the iraq war in the first place

    McCain voted against the GI bill = is he really a vet ?

    McCain voted against VA hospital funding in 2003-06 = Then ,why is he sending our troops to war ?

    McCain is against Roe vs Wade = he will change the supreme Court balance to overturn the roe vs Wade

    Democrats, do not let the GOP attack machine bully Obama and let their 527 do the "Name calling" and attack jobs. This McWar is a puppet who left an ailing wife for a pill popping beer baron.

    The GOP understands only power, money and arrogance. Just like their followers FOX News, Rush , Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Bigot O'Reilly = the GOP cult.

    July 27, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Venus

    Ah... no wonder McSame didn't show up!

    I am waiting to hear from the McCheese attack dogs!!!

    Way to go Bam! Welcome back home!

    July 27, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. joe

    Senator McCain has flipped-out about alot of things lately.

    July 27, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. New Yorker

    Obama's cronies are fabricating stories so they can pretend that McCain is a flip-flopper like Obama, and it's just not true.

    July 27, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Connie

    I wonder if anyone is keeping score on McSeniles flip flopping ,OH! I forgot its the old white man talking.What I think is even more interesting is he turned down an invitation to the Unity conference, but everyone needs to remember that John McSenile does not work on weekends.Old white women from Indiana. OBAMA 08
    Connie from Indiana

    July 27, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. SCOTT


    July 27, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. Sean from Orlando

    Like Obama, who is the king of flip-floppers, has any room at all to talk about McCain flip-flopping. What a hypocrite, this is just giving me even more reason to be a Dem for McCain.

    July 27, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. Young Republican

    Breaking news: Obama condemns McCain for opposing racism. Left wing rejoices at Obama's progressive thinking.

    July 27, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. High School Students for Obama

    We all know McBush is a hypocrite – that is why he will loose, that and he is just like "W" !

    Obama/Clinton '08 !!!!

    July 27, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. Carol, Lansing MI

    McCain is against anything that would help level the playing field for everyone. Whether it's minorities, women or any other group that has been discriminated against. He has repeated voted down and against any measure to insure equality.

    July 27, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. TheTruthHurts

    Look, we all know that this maverick stuff went out the window when he decided to run for president.

    I'm sure they'll be an add with quotes from McCain on these very issues and all the other flips. Obama and MoveOn are holding their ammo. They know what they're doing.

    July 27, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Ronald Roy

    I think it is important for some one to lead,He or she must demonstrate good character that is said I think the people of even Arizona will make History on november by choosing "jugment and character " over sonship or one of the on what ever you want to call it in order for America in due time can meets the needs that are await a head of us.God Bless America specially senator John MCcain and His family.

    July 27, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. interesting

    Please CNN don't let your Obama bias stop you from getting obama a pillow

    you guys should really be ashamed of yourself – the media has just lost all level of respect

    July 27, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Kay

    I liked the Mccain of 2000. The Mccain of 2008 leaves a lot to be desired. He flip-flopped on all the major issues in order to get the support of the neo-conservatives. Mccain will do anything to become President. His claim of country first does not ring true!

    July 27, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Rob indetroit

    John Mcnuts can't remember what he had for lunch today, so how can you exspect him to remember something he said years ago. I mean if he's president, he may wig out and push the button the end of us all .

    July 27, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. ex republican

    john "oil spill" mcCANE wants quotas for rich, white men. that is all that he fights for, rich white men. jesus would be ashamed at "oil spill" mcCANE....

    July 27, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. smile :-)


    July 27, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. 100DaysLeft

    YEP !

    It doesn't matter to me because I never believed for a second that John Mc Cain was being honest the first time. So, I'm not surprised.

    July 27, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. aaaa

    mcshame stop the flip flop we need actions not talk. people are sick and tired of REPUBLICAN lies and try to screw people another four years. we need help not warsssssssssssss mcwar.

    July 27, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Kay

    Sen. Mccain will loose the general election because the neocons are forcing him to take positions that his heart does not believe in. I still believe Mccain is a good man but he must be true to himself!!!

    July 27, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Marty

    That's what McBush does, flipflop.

    July 27, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. Lance

    John McCain, more of the same old same old. he goes around and around in circles so much that I don't think he can even truly remember what his original stances are.

    This guy's truly scary.

    Barack Obama, on the other hand, has held consistant positions through the years and there's documentable accounts of where he stands. The press wouldn't let Obama get away with one tenth of the amount of b.s.ing that McCain has been doing daily.

    Thank goodness there's such a strong candidate in Obama to make us pay attention to all of McCain's obvious pandering.

    July 27, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Pat

    Just another of McCain's very overt signs of Senility! And some Americans are still willing to trust him on the economy, vital decision making, achieving victory in Iraq and restoring America's Image!! Would you trust your senile Grandfather to look after and keep your toddlers safe from harm? If you can't remember what you said yesterday or a week ago how will you remember what course of action you planned to take on any given issue or if it was accomplished?

    We had a leader with no experience or intelligence and a mind that was questionable at best. You lived through the results. Do you want to try another four years with a Leader with no exprerience, no mind, doubtful intelligence who considers your last leader a successful President? Even our enemies would renounce such stupidity!

    July 27, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. ex-Republican for Obama

    Yes Grandpa McWar flip-flopped and he has shown he lacks the judgment and knowledge needed to be a good commander-in-chief. He has PRESENTED NO DOMESTIC POLICY AND HAS OFFERED ONLY CRITICISM AND PERSONAL ATTACKS of Obama over and over and over and over. This is a man of honor? He is not worthy of the presidency.

    July 27, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. Fred

    Well, well, well..John McCain is just like a fish out of water trying to catch air, he flips and flops...just like a fish does out of water...Now why am i not suprised in the McCain flip flop...He's still trying to find some substantive air to breath. What does this guy stand for?..Could someone tell me?

    July 27, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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