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. John

    That's sweet. We need a man that's been opposed to ethanol, for campaign finance reform, for offshore drilling, and someone that was right about supporting the surge.

    An Obama presidency is starting to look more like Clinton centrism.

    Still voting McCain 🙂

    August 2, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. sophiek

    i cant wait til obama's behind is sent back to chicago!

    August 2, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Media darling

    Amen to Bayou Joe for this:

    The only ones using the Race issue are the Obama supporters and Obama himself. I have seen many blogs, insinuating that if you are not for Obama you must be a Racist. Many Texans experienced the
    hatred and intimidation when they came to support Hillary at the Caucuses. The media hoopla surrounding Obama and the failure of the mainstream media to challenge Obama on issues during the debates also was handled as if they are afraid of the Afro-American
    Many people that I know have expressed the idea that if Obama does not get the nomination, there will be riots in the streets of our major
    cities. So tell me who is using the Race issue to divide America.

    August 2, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. john

    shouldn't the premise of this editorial be "win or lose McCain AND Obama have a job" or is this more of the media's "Obama is the obvious winner" spin?

    August 2, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Gabe

    lieberman shouldn't be allowed in any administration, he's scum.

    And as far as a minority leader, I think we deserve more than what mccain offers, Chuck Hagel would be much better, or any of the few respectable republicans.

    August 2, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. Beto

    Your CCN Ticker has quickly become an Obama website. A run up this mornings headlines is nothing but Obama this, Obama that, Obama, Obama, Obama. It no longer gives any information about the presidential race but what Obama is doing, saying, eating, thinking, etc.etc. As long as it has become Obama's website, I'll look elsewhere when I want some news about what;s going on in the world of politics.

    August 2, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. That's Reality

    Well, CNN you usually don't post my comments but I'll try again.

    Obama said , “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.” So, why does he whine when McCain gives him a hard time and keeps him on his toes during the campaign? Of course Lieberman is part of the opposition; he's for finishing the job in Iraq.

    August 2, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Lee

    How is this news or even interesting? If McCain loses, he will still be a Senator. The same can be said for Obama. Come on, CNN. There's got to be real news to report.

    August 2, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. sacto joe

    After a week in which this fine gentleman has been labeled a "socialist" by the right wing media, it's time to remind people that the Bush administration has taken this country as close to becoming a fascist state as it has ever come.

    Now, I'm not saying that Senator McCain is a fascist, but I do think that the powers behind the Republican Party, and thus behind the election of Senator McCain, have many of the earmarks of fascists.

    The question then becomes: Who do you want for President: a man supported by proto-fascists or a man whom those proto-fascists have labelled a "socialist"?

    August 2, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. bill for barack

    I'll give McIdiot a full time job – kissing my butt like he has the neocons.

    August 2, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. Mauri

    As the U. S. continues to spin out of control as far as our madcap spending and borrowing, national debt, unbalanced budget, sky-high prices of gasoline, groceries, education, all the Obama switcheroos, and the haven't-a-clue administrations of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, close your eyes and imagine which of the presidential candidates can get us out of this dangerous downward spiral. I, for one, feel we have no choice, and that's why I think John McCain should, and will be, our next president.

    August 2, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. maria antbring

    Obama...He must really think he is the one!!
    With so little little to say..
    He has been to a projektion of others whishes..
    Who is he really inside..empty??

    August 2, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. Josh, NY

    Well CNN--it;s 4:12PM, CST, and The Ticker does not have one positive article about McCain. You are still Obama central, totally biased, and therefore not to be believed.

    August 2, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Dan , TX

    Capital Gains Tax – from the Tax Policy Center (Google it)

    Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has proposed to reverse most of the cut in capital gains taxes since 1997 for individuals in the TOP TWO RATE BRACKETS, increasing the rate from 15 percent to 20 percent or more. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona has claimed that higher capital gains taxes would affect millions of middle income Americans.

    Fewer than one in seven individual taxpayers report taxable capital gains in any year. In 2006 just 13.4 million out of 138.3 million taxpayers reported taxable net gains (which are taxed at favorable capital gains rates) on Schedule D, and another 4.6 million reported capital gains distributions from mutual funds on their Forms 1040. Many taxpayers with gains had modest incomes, more than half (52 percent) of those with taxable net gains or capital gains distributions had incomes below $75,000 (And their taxes WOULD NOT INCREASE UNDER OBAMA'S PLAN). But high-income taxpayers accounted for the overwhelming share of capital gains. The 0.3 percent of returns with AGI exceeding $1 million reported 15 percent of AGI and 61 percent of capital gains. Capital gains represented less than 4 percent of AGI for gains recipients with income less than $200,000, but about 40 percent of AGI for those with income exceeding $1 million.

    Many more Americans accrue capital gains on corporate shares they hold within tax-deferred employer sponsored retirement saving plans or individual retirement accounts. But capital gains from stock sales within those accounts are NOT subject to capital gains tax. Accruals within those accounts are tax free until distributed and then are taxed as ordinary income.

    August 2, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. The Obvious Choice

    Yea... McCain has a job planting Tulips!
    For her to ask that question she like everyone else knows but dont want to admit it.. Sen Obama is the right choice!
    McCain empty 2 thumbs up suit campaign took a turn for the worst by goin negative NOT what we Americans are looking for and why is it McCain only want townhall style debates? Can't read a teleprompter?
    He can't speak he has no plans for the economy he is just like Bush why is he even in this race?
    Drop out McCain give it up! After the first debate in October it will become clear!!
    Obama 08/12

    August 2, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Puma-SF

    Obama's role will be sitting at home. If the super delegates have a brain they will vote for Senator Clinton during the roll call at the convention. Obama's numbers are only going to get worse. Hillary has suspended her campaign and she is still beating McCain. She is the only one who is qualified enough to be president. She would be both if she ran as an Independent. Obama isn't even qualified to be a senator much less president.

    Puma Power

    August 2, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. Anna C

    Hooray for DEMOCRACY!

    August 2, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. darth

    Well, it looks as if CNN has already elected Obama to
    the next president. It is appalling that CNN is so blatantly obvious
    in it's support of Obama. God help us if Obama gets in, we'll see
    how high taxes can go now. think you are paying quite a large sum
    now, just wait. What surprises me is how fooled the American
    people can be. But when Obama, is basically funded by liberal
    opposition and has bought his way into our political system one
    can see how corrupt and stupid the American people have become.
    McCain is not like Bush (although I have a tremendous respect
    for President Bush) and the people can only think Obama yet
    his record reflects his record, liberal and yet can he lead the country?
    Just check his record you'll see where we will be headed.
    Naive Americans, you think Obama is going to make you way easier
    just wait, you'll see. God helps us.

    August 2, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  19. norml

    no moderators on weekends?or just slow ones?

    August 2, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. The Independent One

    Obama.....please don't pull a John Kerry while thinking you're pulling a John F. Kennedy. McCain belongs in a retirement home. I know you can't say that but geez dude, don't give him an inch. He's an idiot. Kerry gave many inches to a certain idiot we're all very familiar with, and look what happenned. And Obama, for the love of 18,000,000 votes in areas you aren't popular in, PLEASE PUT HILLARY ON YOUR TICKET!!!! At the very least make her a cabinet member. Obama you also need to up some negative ads against McCain. He has plenty of character flaws himself. Don't wimp out on this, don't be docile like Kerry. I know negative campaigning is not your style but you have to do it before those idoits make another Dukakis out of you. Call him out of touch with America. And most of all STOP FLIPPING ON CORE ISSUES like NAFTA, FISA, and now on offshore drilling. Too much compromising shows that you havve no courage to your convictions.

    August 2, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. Butch Dillon

    Obama will not answer the question about Lieberman, but I will. He needs a one-way ticket to where he's appreciated....Tel Aviv. Lieberman's primary objective in politics is to protect and serve Israel from inside the US. His act has grown wearisome, he belongs over there.

    August 2, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. John McLaughlin

    Clean coal technology and windmills are just more republican enviornmental chatter that never materializes upon arrival into the white house. Of course off shore drilling will occur much to the delight of big oil in America who continue their war on American citizens inspite of their sinful, recordbreacking profits.

    I am an independent voter and have always admired Sen. McCain as a fine American. It is unfortunate that he has now become another talking head, using negatives on the stump. Under Sen. McCain we are headed down the drill hole to more of the same suffering we have endured in recent years. What are we thinking America? You do not want change? Then God help us all !

    August 2, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. get real


    August 2, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. Jon

    The reason Sen Obama will not debate Sen McCain in a town hall format is painfully clear. He sounds bad when he has to speak off the cuff without a prepared speach. Listen to any of his one-on-one interviews and they are painful to listen to, uh, um, uh, um,um yeah, uh, well. Let me be clear, uhh, um, I've always said, uh, um yeah.

    August 2, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Bob, Dallas TX

    I have to hand it to Mr. Obama. Through all of McCain's ridiculous shenanigans this week, he's managed to show that he not only doesn't back down but also knows how to lead.

    This republican will be voting for Obama this year.

    August 2, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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