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. give me a break

    Mcsame is just another Republican who lies, only looking out for the rich and the racist people in this country. It's amazing that people will still vote for a republican other all they have done to this country in the last 8 years. They have rape this country dry and guest who's going to pay all that money back, ( we the tax payers) so go ahead idiots vote for that Republican and watch gas, energy, and everything else to keep going up.

    July 27, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. Victoria

    ALL politicians flip flop. I don't know why people act like it's a new concept. Even BO is flip-flopping on the war in Iraq. They will say whatever it takes to get elected then not do any of it. Look at the last push of democrats in the house – they got the mimimum wage raised and see how well that worked.

    July 27, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. Remy

    McCain opposed holiday for Rev.Martin Luther king Jr. and said he dont know about MLK. Then how can we believe that he stood for Civil Rights? McCain's propaganda is a failure and cannot be reapired by telling untrue statements! He is not a man for trust and honesty!

    July 27, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. Wisest one of All

    Only traitorous scum votes for the racist, United States hating Hussein Nobama. Proven fact.

    July 27, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. Steve

    McBush is NOTHING to offer. He Flip-Flop on everything including his promise not to raise taxes today. He has bad advisor's. He and his wife are filthy rich. He voted again the GI bill and then claims Obama snubbed the troops while Germany. He want Obama to admit that the SURGE in Iraq is working but will not admit he made a BIG mistake in voting to support BUSH to go to war that cost over 4000 American and over 60,000 Iraqi theirs lives. No war, no SURGE McBush. Now all he does is whine about Obama cause he's jealous. His experience is equivalent to BUSH eight years in the White House. Anyone here wants another four??? McBush knows NOTHING about the economy, can't remember what he voted on, knows NOTHING about anything of importance to Americans. All he talks about now is the SURGE, The SURGE this, The SURGE that. Hell! He don't even know when the SURGE actually began. And refuse to tell the truth that the objectives of the SURGE are only 1/3 met and was not just because of additional Americans troops as the main reason.

    If only Americans could get rid of the 800 LBS gorilla in the room..aks..Race. Obama would already be 40 points ahead in this race. An issue that was never ever a problem when blacks only had white men to cast their voted for. They voted their interest and party loyalty.

    McCain=Bush 3rd Term. He's too old. No more. God forbid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Obama...Truth, Integrity, Judgment, Educated,

    July 27, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Rave

    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    July 27, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. Bosworth

    Sigh. If you had bothered to watch the interview at all – which it appears many of the commenters here did not – he was saying that he doesn't support a nationwide affirmative action program, but supports individual states making whatever affirmative action policies they want. Thus, if California (or Arizona) want one, then they should have one. If, on the other hand, Montana or Idaho do not, they do should not be forced to have them. This is a good example of how every time McCain opens his mouth, the MSM completely misrepresents what he said, or otherwise creates misleading inferences. Obama, on the other hand, can say the the US has 57 states, and that he'll visit the other 20 without the press saying so much a word. Fortunately, Obama-obsessed journalists with Democrat/lefty leanings no longer exert total control over the national political dialogue. We have the internet, and blogs like this one to thank for that. It helps skeptics like me – those who are suspicious of cult-like gatherings – to make, finally, an informed decision about who is better suited to act has Chief Executive of the United States.

    July 27, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. Samson

    John McCain flip flop??? Wow, what a story. Oh wait, thats every McCain story.

    July 27, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. Greg, Hamilton Ontario

    He can't remember what he said unless it's about a war somewhere. Any other topic is a hypotheticle that he doesn't want to talk about.

    July 27, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. ladan

    im not surprise at all because he is a mr. flip-floper.

    July 27, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. tumsky

    McCain, consistent attack on Obama has made him to forgot most of the things he has said in the past. I think this has to do with his age, and this could put American poeple in danger....

    July 27, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. linda from South Dakota

    yes in deed a very scarey man,,, mccain,,, you never know what hes goin to say or do,,, we best not elect him,, send him a free ticket to ummmm somewhere farrrrrrrrrrrrr away,,,, go obama

    July 27, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  13. ED ORL

    JOHN can not remember something that he said yesterday so how do you expect him to remeber beyond that. No wonder he can not question Obama . Mccain can't remember countries borders or officials from other locations when he is standing in them. He is coming off as a GW teacher that is why GW can't say or remmber who he is with or where he is at.

    July 27, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  14. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Its incredible that the McCain campaign is in such disarray that it can't even get their stories straight about whether he supports the anti-minorities initiative on the ballot in Arizona – McCain says he supports its, his campaign can't confirm whether he does or doesn't.

    Aside from the obvious flip-flop on this particular issue, its clear that McCain's campaign has NEITHER a consistent message NOR a well-organized team.

    July 27, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. Mike Dallas

    In defense of McCrypt's memory lapse, he is suffering from "cart lag" after all, the poor old man did spend about 20 minutes whizzing about the Bush estate in a golf cart!

    July 27, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Susan

    Flip or Flop? He just cannot make up his mind and be genuine. No more neocons in our White House.

    July 27, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Frank, Atlanta, GA

    McBush has what is called in the geriatic community "diminished capacity". in laymans terms....... when you get old you forget stuff.

    So, don't confuse McBush's flip-flopping with his early stage alzheimers symptoms.


    July 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. DFoster Georgia

    Fred, McCain stands for WAR. That's all. He only wants to start wars ... bomb, bomb, bomb ... bomb, bomb Iran. That's him ... Mr. McWar.

    Come on people! Anyone with a brain can see that this guy is heading for the Home. Even if you don't like Obama he is obviously the best and most fit person for the job. I mean, if you had a forutune 500 company and you were looking for a new President to run the operations, would you choose someone that is past retirement or a person with youth, ambition, and the intelligence to move your company forward.

    July 27, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. Edwin K C

    This confims our fears that J McCain is a dangerous fip- flopper who at at the sunset of his political years should not get Anywhere near the US Presidency which in most cases is the President of the World.

    We do not need a divider but a uniter in the world at this time.

    Obama for US President.

    July 27, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  20. Mike Dallas

    This just in to CNN:

    In defense of McCrypt's "infrequent" memory lapses, his campaign crew has broken the silence and stated he is suffering from "cart lag" after all, the poor old man did spend about 20 minutes whizzing about the Bush estate in a golf cart!

    July 27, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Neal

    McCain is such a liar.

    July 27, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  22. Rave

    This joker still believes that going to Iraq was a right move.
    You want to vote for him... go ahead and watch the people get poor , while politicians like him get richer
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    July 27, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  23. Mike in NYC

    Give me a candidate that's been consistently, and vocally, against affirmative action from day one, steadfast in the face of the inevitable race baiting, and I'd be willing to overlook all but the most egregious negatives to vote for him. McCain certainly doesn't fall into that category.

    Obama once suggested he'd be open to affirmative action for poor whites. While I'd like to see all racial preferences ended, that’s something I could support. Unfortunately, that kind of policy would probably result in more threats to his “manhood.”

    July 27, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. Carolyn

    Why would anyoe watch ABC. It has just come out and endorsed John McCain.

    July 27, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  25. S. Boatman

    Knock Knock. . . . Who Is There. . . . Flipy Flip Floppy Flop. . . . Come On In John!

    July 27, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
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