November 3rd, 2007
08:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Where's Obama?

Watch Jessica Yellin's report on Sen. Obama's attendance record in the U.S. Senate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Since the U.S. Senate returned from its August receess, Sen. Barack Obama has missed more votes than another other Democrat running for the White House - nearly 80 percent since September. Congressional Correspondent Jessica Yellin has this report from Capitol Hill.

Click here to see CNN's new political portal:

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Chris Dodd • Hillary Clinton • Joe Biden • Senate
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Sarah

    First of all Jessica Yellin-

    Your facts are wrong. Senator McCain did not make the vote either.

    I'm not sure how many times people need to post the transcript from the Senate Floor on the evening prior to the vote, but it said that the vote would be postponed indefinitely.

    I'm sure some Senators did get notice. Harry Reid's son works for the Clinton campaign. Joe Biden had legislation that he was staying around to promote.

    The record shows that the vote was called for at 12 noon on the day after it had been postponed indefinitely. The vote was completed by 12:44 pm.

    This is inaccurate and biased reporting.

    November 3, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Dave, Queens NY

    "I'm sorry to burst your little bubble, but if you read the thread even YOU would be able to see how bad Obama's record is, whatever parameters you choose…"

    I checked your links, and it looks as though Obama has the second best record on missed votes of all the Senators currently running for President. That doesn't seem so bad to me.

    November 3, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. June, Florida

    Obama is experinced and has good judgement ?

    Here is a comment I copied from a different site and you guys do the thinking.

    "He was lousy as a State Rep here in IL and is even worse as a Senator. He even voted to confirm Condi RIce as Sec of State, so that shows just how little judgment he really has."

    That will explaine the reason why he did not vote for Iran issue. HA...

    People comment a lot on Hillary's driver liscence issue a lot, including Hardball "round table" so called experts, intensionally missed to mention the last part which Obama, including Edwards, both totally agreed with Hillary on this issue, said same thing. HA .... Same bottle, different labels.

    Here is another comment I copied

    "Most of all, I have no respect to anyone who refuse to put his hand over his heart and say the pledge of Allegiance. If you love this country, you do as an American."

    I couldn't agree more.

    Edward ? Big joke. He should really give up his chance by now. If my leader spend $400 just for a haircut, I have no respect for that leader because he can not represent me. How many people here work the whole week to get that 400 dollar paycheck for the family ? How many parents try hard to save 400 dollars to pay their childrens tuitions, their parents nursing home fees, their houses.... Speechless. So please do not tell me you are ther for working middle class !

    Last, I do not think Hillary play womens card, gender card. At our local Girls Incorporation, Girls Scouts, parents are encouraged to guide their daughters to be agressive and prepare to face today's chanllenge. If you have daughters that age, moms all understand how important for them to educate and guide their daughters to be tough and strong to face and deal with the society, deal with world. I can give you tons examples like this, female CEO, female lawyers, female world leaders, female soldiers.... If you have a daughter or you yourself are daughters, you will understand the meaning. Well, Edward use Elizabeth, Obama use his look, they all play that "card", so do not point that to Hillary. Anyway, she is a WOMAN !

    I hope we all try to be a good listener first, listen to what they say, how they say it, do they do know 1,2,3, or just talk the talk, then do our homework, think well and think deep. We are here trying to choose a president, so please put our country first. Do not play tricks to each other, Dems and Reps. People are NOT stupid. They are well educated and informed. America has already lost big face and reputation in the world. We need to gain our respect back.

    Someone said this before: How often in life that person never gets attention because he never looks like a prince. But when he talks, every one listen.

    November 3, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    Why are all the Obama fans bashing CNN??? Is it their fault that Obama didn't show up to vote????? Too funny!!!

    Even funnier that of the 5 "presidential" senators, the only one that did not cast a vote on Iran was Obama.

    P.S. To those who insist that it was Reid's fault for supposedly not giving him enough warning on the vote because his son works for the Hillary campaign, I ask: Does Reid have 3 other sons who work for McCain, Dodd and Biden?

    November 3, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Dave Queens NY

    TheInsider - I followed your link to the Washingpost section, and found that, at this point in 2004, John Kerry had missed 195 of 212 votes (91.9%) and John Edwards 127 of 212 (60%) compared to Obama's current 133 of 403 (33%). Just to reiterate, from Jan 2004 – Nov 2004, John Kerry only voted 17 times.

    Include those statistics in there, and of all seven Senators to run for President in the past two election cycles, Barack Obama has the 2nd best record.

    Kerry: 91.9%
    Edwards: 60%
    McCain: 52.6%
    Biden: 34.7%
    Dodd: 33.3%
    Obama: 33%
    Clinton: 17.4%

    The previous Democratic nominee for President was absent three times as often in his cycle up to this point than Barack Obama has been.

    Missing votes is an inevitability of any presidential campaign, it can't be avoided. Hillary Clinton deserves praise for her good attendance, but to smear Obama with these missed votes is to ignore the history of Senators running for president.

    November 3, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Nice try to help Hillary with DAMAGE CONTROL, CNN!!!


    November 3, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Dave. Queens NY

    "Even funnier that of the 5 "presidential" senators, the only one that did not cast a vote on Iran was Obama.

    P.S. To those who insist that it was Reid's fault for supposedly not giving him enough warning on the vote because his son works for the Hillary campaign, I ask: Does Reid have 3 other sons who work for McCain, Dodd and Biden?"

    John McCain missed the vote on Iran.

    November 3, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Patrick, Tulsa Oklahoma

    As an Obama fan this does bother me and I think it should also bother other fans, we shouldn't be blinded to the errors of our favorite politicians. I also like McCain and would like to see his voting record compared.

    November 3, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. colony14 author, Mt Prospect, Illinois

    All talk, no walk.

    November 3, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. judd,boston,ma

    Harry Reid is Clintons friend. Because Obama is clean and nothing to pick on him, he didn't inform him on time about the vote till late in the evening and he was in NH with scheduled campaign there. Now, they have something against him,
    connect your dots people
    Bush campaining for clinton,
    Clinton acting like she is already the nominee and ignoring other democrats
    Reid informing Obama about the vote very late so that he can not have a chance to adjust himself,
    I think myself I know Obama is a man of integrity and will be there to vote if needs be....
    Isn't this OJ kinda of thing(setup?)
    Wake up America!

    November 3, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. Dave, Queens NY

    "I also like McCain and would like to see his voting record compared."

    See above. So far this campaign, McCain has missed 52% of his votes (including the vote on Kyl-Lieberman), about 60% more than Obama.

    In comparison to Senators running in recent political history, Obama fares well.

    November 3, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. David, Dallas Tx

    And how many of these votes were to support Country Music Month, recognize professional athletes and name Post Offices?

    You ran the story on how trivial many of the matters before Congress today really are, CNN. Why fault a presidential candidate who skips out on them?

    November 3, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. Linda, Edmond, OK

    To Arshad – well said!

    Obama 2008!!!!!!!!!!

    November 3, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Uriew, CA

    oe Ossai, Bedford, NH
    How is Obama doing on the ground? tell us more about NH. I know the polls are very insignificant but you are on the ground and I am sure you know Obama will win NH after winning Iowa. Dont mind all the Clintonistas on this site like TheInsider and a.thomas who can defend anything until it is DEAD and on the ground which is what will happen with Hillary's chances of winning the primaries.

    November 3, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Juanito, Washington, DC

    In response to the post By TheInsider : November 3, 2007 10:47 am.

    Interesting link you posted there, and it shows Obama missed the 5 most recent votes (3 of which were essentially procedural cloture votes) between Oct 30th and November 1st. I checked out Hillary's voting record on those same 5 votes, and Hillary missed 4 of them.

    Funny how you failed to point that out...I'm glad to help. Also interesting is that Obama is rated as more moderate than Hillary, who is described as a "radical".

    November 3, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. TheInsider

    In comparison to Senators running in recent political history, Obama fares well.
    Posted By Dave, Queens NY : November 3, 2007 5:27 pm

    Except that he's missed TWICE as many votes as Clinton and he's TWENTY points behind.
    He's doing equally well in funds. Never has anyone raised so much money to be so far behind. He has never been above 27% in any national and hasn't seen 25% in a while.
    He will have a chance to have a perfect attendance record in the senate as he completes his term and we should all wish him good luck and good health in that endeavor...

    November 3, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. TheInsider

    Posted By Uriew, CA : November 3, 2007 5:34 pm

    You do KNOW that your guy leads NOWHERE, never has, right? It isn't Clinton supporters who're wishing and hoping, claiming polls don't matter, CROWDS do, or tossing out last-ditch, death-spiral strategies like the Obama and Edwards' camps.
    Remember what I told you Urine, there will be a shake-up in the BO camp before Dec. 1st, and a raft of defections.
    As Michael Ray Richardson said about the Knicks, those many years ago,

    "The ship be sinkin'"

    November 3, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. Dave. Queens NY

    TheInsider -

    I meant "faring well" in terms of his attendance record in the Senate. If Hillary Clinton's attendance is great (83%) then Barack Obama's is good (67%), John McCain's is pretty bad (48%) and John Kerry, the previous Democratic nominee, was very bad (8%).

    Every Senator shifts focus away from their duties in congress to run for President, which is too bad but a fact of life. Luckily, by way of historical comparison, Obama is doing a better job attendance-wise than most. His attendance record is not a knock against him, it's just the opposite.

    November 3, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. Marie VanDyke Royal Oak Michigan

    My Point Mr Obama Is So Busy Bashing Senator Clinton He Forgot To Clean Up His Own Problems Which A Great President He Doesnt Make. Remember Mr. Obama Every Vote Counts But Clearly Not Yours

    November 3, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. Joseph

    Senators shouldn't miss no votes. What do they think their job is? Their only job is to vote. So, because Obama has a 20% voting record, that is very poor job performance indeed. Just because other Senators miss votes, doesn't mean that it is right. Besides having zero executive experience, Obama is performing very poorly as a Senator too. And he expects us to select him President on what basis? His job performance? No thanks. He dosen't even show up to work!

    November 3, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  21. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    "Even funnier that of the 5 "presidential" senators, the only one that did not cast a vote on Iran was Obama.

    P.S. To those who insist that it was Reid's fault for supposedly not giving him enough warning on the vote because his son works for the Hillary campaign, I ask: Does Reid have 3 other sons who work for McCain, Dodd and Biden?"

    John McCain missed the vote on Iran.

    Posted By Dave. Queens NY : November 3, 2007 4:18 pm

    I double checked and you're right. I stand corrected!

    Although my point remains just as valid, the other 3 senators were there to cast their vote. I find it disingenuous for the Obama campaign to allege that Reid didn't give him enough notice of the upcoming vote.

    November 3, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. Jim Bremer

    When you hear Obama and observe his various antics, you get the feeling " Something doesn't add up"

    And true enough it doesn't. This guy doesn't even do his present job at the Senate, but wants to change the world. Hello Obama, you're a US Senator. That's a powerful post to bring change. Why don't you start bringing change now?

    The trouble is, Obama is like a loser-magnet. He attracts all kinds of malcontents, with his wishy-washy message that means everything and nothing at the same time.

    Look through some of the Obama groupie messages on this board and you will find a pop-idol type of adulation. Unthinking, uncritical, and patently unrealistic.

    Obama groupies – please grow up and understand how the real world works. This is not a DIPAK CHOPRA book where you can lose yourself with vague banalities.


    November 3, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  23. me again, tampa florida

    QUOTE: "Obama is big on criticizing other candidates for their votes, especially Hillary. At least they bother to show up and take a stand. Where does Obama stand? He is a blank slate, refuses to do or say anything even remotely bold or controversial, and yet he accuses Hillary of being evasive."

    wow. what an unfulfilling post.

    seriously. so a POOR decision in judgement (kyl/lieberman)by hillary
    is somehow better than a no-show by Obama? even though he stated, clearly, before the resolution was on the floor, that he opposed it.


    i wish a clinton fan had anything other that blatant rhetoric or regurgitating talking points to offer to the table.

    November 3, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  24. blacksforhillary

    The President thing went to his head,so he'll ignore his 80% that is 38 missed votes,I knew about in the first month of september, I live in chicago,the people are talking especially students and history buffs,I for one don't think his reponsiblity issues are for the most important Job to thee American People.everthing his says is me me 'me me'His gonna turn the page in washington Congress will change the page.he hasn't turn his papers over yet either hypocrite,chicago sun times.he doesn't get my vote

    November 3, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  25. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    This is extremely encouraging for the Obama campaign. One would expect Hillary and the Media to attack Obama for his pointing out the differences in this campaign. We would expect that to be absolutely ruthless. The fact that this ridiculous vote percentage survey is all they came up with speaks volumes. Obama and Edwards just began to read from a BOOK of reasons not to vote for Hillary and Hillary and the media come up with this vote NON-Sense…No one even mentioned Clinton scandals or infidelities yet.

    November 3, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
1 2 3 4