August 2nd, 2008
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama's ideal role for McCain? Loyal Opposition

Sen. Barack Obama speaks at a town hall rally in Titusville, Florida, Saturday.

Sen. Barack Obama speaks at a town hall rally in Titusville, Florida, Saturday.

TITUSVILLE, Florida (CNN) –- The last week has left little doubt that the presidential campaign has taken a turn for the negative though John McCain and Barack Obama still insist they respect each other. But would McCain have a role in an Obama administration?

“You're setting me up to get in trouble,” Obama told a Florida supporter who asked him during a townhall meeting if McCain and his stalwart surrogate, Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, would gets jobs in a Democratic White House.

“I would have [McCain] serve in the role of loyal opposition, in the minority,” Obama told the crowd after initially stumbling over a few words, searching for an appropriate answer.

“There's an important function to be served there,” he added, “I mean it's important to have an opposition that is keeping you on your toes and giving you a hard time and calling you out if you're not doing what you say you’re going to do. That's part of what is good about democracy.”

Obama declined to mention whether he sees former Democratic colleague Lieberman as part of the opposition as well.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. Willy

    Obama has no clue. Obama 08

    August 2, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. SaveTheDramaFoObamasMama

    Obama the flip flopper.

    What a sad display he is putting on.

    I love it!

    August 2, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  3. linda


    August 2, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. BK

    water boy

    August 2, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. Rave

    Yes, I think you can give him a job after you become the President.. His job will be to identify all the corrupt politicians during the Bush administration who used up our tax dollars for unnecessary contracts & spending in foreign lands.. But, there is a problem : He himself will make the list.
    He is old, corrupt, weak, fake, jealous, high-school sissy type
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    August 2, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Generation X

    Hey CNN, It really doesn't matter how much you try to promote John McCain because the real revolution will not be televised. Hopefully, some of your main reporters will be on the front lines.

    August 2, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Sean from Orlando

    Obama is never going to win if he does not pick Hillary, I am many people I know here in FL will vote McCain. So, the question should be, what would Obama's role be when McCain is president?

    August 2, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. David Snyder

    It is an unfortunate fact that we all tend to forget our promises from time to time. Overall, this election has proven to be rather interesting, due to the running candidates consistently reminding their opposition of their own past promises, forcing them to remain on track.

    Political accountability is a wonderful thing.

    August 2, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Hi Jack,

    love Obama's answer! Democracy should be fun when being tested by others and thank them for pushing us to become better! That is how we are never scare...of too much pride...we accept with humility who we are because of all the people that are in our lives or are part of our lives even if it just for one day!

    Diane Dagenais Turbide
    Quebec, Canada

    August 2, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. Peter E

    Imagine for just one moment that this quote came from McCain instead of Obama. Can you even remotely imagine that Obama's supporters wouldn't be screaming about how "arrogant" and "condescending" McCain was?

    August 2, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. Fabian Blache III

    I would have stumbled over my words too..because "Hell No" would have been imprinted all over the back of my eyelids and dancing around my synapses for at least a few moments.

    Once again, Obama proves my point. He answers the question. McCain would have attempted yet another poor joke.

    August 2, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Sherry, Atlanta

    Good Answer!

    August 2, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. norml

    secretary of old-timers.

    August 2, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Obama For President

    Obama is wise to recognize McCain would be a thorn on his side when he is elected. Lieberman will switch to the Republican party to join McCain in opposing Obama (sorry .. he already did:).

    Another thought: The whole silly ad describing Obama as "The One", comparisons to Britney and Paris I find laughable. Cindy McCain is more Britney with her history of drug use and poor judgment fooling around with a married man; she is more like Paris for her shopping addiction, jet setting lifestyle, not to mention a heiress. McCain camp should really think before during these ads. While they constrast the more I see how McCain is "Not The One" for president.

    August 2, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. michael

    What he really meant was "under the bus" with everyone else who has exposed Obama for who he really is.

    August 2, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. Marilyn

    Aren't we being more than a little presumptious here??? Obama has to win first! I really don't see that happening.

    August 2, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. mb--texas

    Yes lieberman is the opposition only not loyal.

    August 2, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. elvera

    I was offended by McCain’s remark yesterday that he has so much fun playing his dirty games and will continue to do so. Seventy plus percent of people in this country try to survive, and he is enjoying himself throwing dirt in a hope that some of it will stick. He treats people as though they are retarded and will believe any garbage that he produces. McCain and Bush caused the worst economical situation for us and now want to be rewarded for it. Not only McCain has no idea how to fix this country’s problems (that he and his “twin-brother” Bush created) but he is too stubborn and too arrogant to listen to the people who are smart and competent.
    Another issue; since when “unpredictable” is a good and “cute” streak of a politician? A combination of an explosive temperament and an unpredictable attitude is extremely dangerous. He will involve US in a few more wars in no time. And what can you do? Drop him a line to hell?

    August 2, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Voter

    Please stop with the Obama nonsense. Isn't anything else going on out there? It's an awfully big country, and there will a lot of other races that count, CNN.

    Give us a break – a little genuine news, please.

    August 2, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. xddy4u

    Please CNN. don't start this BS. We're almost over Hillary's controversy.

    August 2, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. pam Eugene OR

    There is no place in responsible government for McCain or Leiberman.
    They both need to retire.

    August 2, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Justin from West Haven, CT

    McCain's role: whining about Social Security, but receiving checks in the mail to use on bingo.

    August 2, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. Chris from NY

    If I were Obama I will not give him any position. After all he trashed my mother by saying I played a race card. That's one thing that has never been adresses during this campaign. Isn't there another name for people from mixed marriages? If that's the case why do we always refer to Obama as African American?

    August 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. TheWeaselMcCain

    CNN closed the comments on playing the race card, so I'll post here.

    Can white people ever play the so-called "race card"?
    Can black people be racist?

    The answer to both of those questions is YES, even though blacks think they cannot be racist, and many whites subconsciously think they never play the race card, both are dead wrong.

    NEWS FLASH: White people play the race card every single day. When you choose your doctor, your dentist, your lawyer, and who you choose to conduct financial business with (often solely based on something as simple as a person's race).

    If you choose to do business ONLY with people who look like you, than you're playing the race card.

    August 2, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. fafa

    t what point will the NY Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and NBC realize that they bear an enormous amount of responsibility for how this country is run?

    They are the ones who promote the ridiculous lies that Obama is playing the race card, or that John Kerry didn't serve honorably in Vietnam, or that Gore is a bore, etc. Meanwhile they completely ignore reporting the facts about McCain, Bush, Cheney, etc.

    The people in this country deserve facts, not sensationalism. The job of so-called journalists like Brian Williams and Wolf Blitzer is to actually report the facts, and to be wise about not giving voice to blatant lies.

    If they can't do their job we are going to end up with another 4 years of Republicans running the country into the ground. And how is Republican rule helping anyone, including the very reporters (and the media companies) who tolerate Republican lies?

    PS: Obama, you need to punch back. Remind the country that McCain is a HUGE Bush supporter. Remind the country that on the day Katrina was destroying New Orleans, those two idiots were eating cake in Arizona.

    August 2, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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