March 13th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama slams McCain for reverse on tax cuts

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Obama had some sharp words for McCain on his campaign plane Thursday."] (CNN) - Barack Obama suggested Thursday John McCain reversed his position on the Bush tax cuts in order to win the Republican nomination.

Speaking with reporters on his campaign plane, Obama noted the Arizona senator was a onetime opponent to the tax cuts, and said he has since reversed his position for political reasons.

"That was how, I guess, you got your ticket punched to be the Republican nominee," he said. "But he was right then, and he's wrong now."

McCain has said he supports the tax cuts now because of the economic slowdown and the stimulus potential they offer.

Obama also said he is against the tax cuts because they are an example of a "flawed fiscal policy."

"The notion that we would pile up more mounds of debt, literally borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars to pay for tax breaks for people who don't need them and weren't even asking for them I think is unfortunate," he said. "And I think it's an example of the kinds of flawed fiscal policies that have gotten us in such a hole under this administration and a republican congress."

UPDATE: Responding to Obama's remarks, McCain said later Thursday "it’s very clear that I voted to make those tax cuts permanent on several times."

"Senator Obama has stated very clearly his desire to increase Americans’ taxes," he added. "That will be one of the great debates we have if he is the nominee of his party. He wants to raise Americans’ taxes and put more of their money into the hands of the government. I want to keep it in the wallets and purses of the American people."

- CNN's Chris Welch contributed to this report

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. "The Major" in Lorton, Virginia

    Obama has an excellent point, however, he should be cautious on how he communicates this to the American public. His statement has a potential inference of no tax cuts and leaves an open inference to tax increase......and what the American people don't need at this time is more tax hikes.

    March 13, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. George, Dallas, Texas

    In OBAMA we TRUST! Obama has the judgment... He is honest and trustworthy.

    March 13, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Breka

    jhs, when those who you care about fall down by their own carelessness, what do you do? Do you ignore them by not helping them to get up or help? So, think then you know why Obama voted for the welfare of those men and women.

    March 13, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Jude

    Why doesn't CNN every post my comments? Hopefully they have the guts to post this one. McCAIN is also known as FLIP-FLOPPER. This Tax cut was totally a flip-flop position....he didn't like them then, but now he's for them!! Give me a break!

    March 13, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Nuwan Samaranayake

    Get real Obama. You run on the theme "CHANGE" and now you condemn McCain for changing his views. If you don't agree with tax cuts say you don't agree and not saying he is flip-floping. Isn't that what you did when you send your advisors to talk about NAFTA ?

    People has right to change their views and no one should condemn it. I don't agree with McCain on tax cuts. So I will not vote for him. But I don't thin I will vote for Obama either, if he start to act like a hypocrite.

    March 13, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. Breka

    Bison (Anchorage), I quite agree with you about Charlotte being ignorant .

    March 13, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Rick FL

    Finally! I have been waiting for the Democratic candidates to go after McCain. I want to see which one campaigns better against him instead of each other. Our country cannot afford a continuation of this Bush policy, which McCain now seems willing to accept.

    March 13, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Lisa

    "His only base is the youth vote and the black vote. He's going to sink quickly after he gets crushed in Pennsylvania."

    After he loses Penn by 5-10pts, he will still be leading in popular vote and delegates.

    McCain will have a ton to answer, starting with the Airbus tanker deal and the the fact there lead lobbyist is a member of his campaing team, and ending with the Keating 5.

    March 13, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. hillary08


    We want to know the relationship between Obama and his Pastor! Obama and Rezko!

    Where can I find those news!

    Shame on you! CNN..............You just try to attact Hillary by all the ways you could think about!

    March 13, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. John B.

    Nice going Sylvia, cyber courage goes a long way doesn't it ?

    March 13, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Lynn in Iowa

    To Carl: Are you insane or what???

    March 13, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Nik


    I've been reading some of your misinformed and erroneous posts for quite some time now. Where in this article did Obama state a republican MAJORITY congress? Your hatred for Obama allows for a faulty logic.

    March 13, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. Mark, VA

    Concentrate on Hillary you fool.

    March 13, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Carl

    It's fitting that I right a point against Obama in regards to standard economic policy and CNN doesn't print my comment...

    March 13, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Craig

    Is this even a story when ABC, Fox News and Good Morning America are exposing Obama and his pastor of 20 years today.............I think that is a story that all viewers of CNN deserve to hear about.

    We should all question Obama's judgement and expect he will fire his pastor from his campaign today. We should also expect Obama to finally quit that church of his and hopefully to preserve the Democrats he should QUIT the race TODAY !!

    Disgusting !!

    March 13, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. CP


    You should realize that the democratics have become the majority within the last year so you should do your homework before you speak. The republicans were the majority for almost the entire time Bush has been in office. Take your own advice sweety.

    March 13, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Carl

    A tax cut has not destroyed our economy. Please stop blaming someone and blame yourself for overspending, undersaving, and for goodness sakes invented a debit card for you retirement funds.

    March 13, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. Breka

    Goodheart, after the PA primary, Obama will still be ahead of the delegates' votes, popular votes and states win. So, for your information Obama will still be ahead and not crushed as you implied.

    March 13, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. cicero

    Republican Platform

    Foreign Policy: War and Torture
    Domestic Policy: Tax cuts for the wealthiest
    Health Care Plan: "Don't get sick!"

    March 13, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. John, Little Rock AR

    I'm not sure if most of you democrats are familiar how the tax cuts are going to work. The rich aren't receiving any. I beleive it's for those who make $150,000 or less per year. However, I do remember lots of democrats in the Senate who said it should not just be limited to those under $150,000 but for everone. Bush did not have the rich getting any checks, the democrats did.

    March 13, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    McCain was right to oppose the tax cuts. He opposed tax cuts for the wealthy when there was such a tremendous defecit. That was sound judgment and he received a ton of criticism for his stance.

    As a Democrat, I had enormous respect for John McCain when he took this position and I am now disappointed in him. There is a greater defecit and the wars are costing more and more everyday. His logic was right the first time and, other than political maneuvering, there was no legitimate reason to change that position.

    March 13, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. John

    JHS, that comment is silly. Although he wasn't in the U.S. Senate at the time of the vote, quotes from Obama at the time clearly demonstrate he opposed the war. But now that the troops are there, Obama is not supposed to vote to fund the troops? Get a grip. That's not flip-flopping. There's a difference in supporting the war and supporting the well being of the troops.

    March 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. JP, Illinois

    Obama is by far the strongest candidate for President. He always sends a clear message and that's what is needed for this country.

    March 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Jimmy B.

    Wait... the notion that you would increase taxes now, or even send a signal that you would, while teetering near a recession, with the FED throwing liquidy into the market like crazy; is absolute nonsense.

    What economic principles say you should increase taxes while in a hard economic slowdown? Even the Keynesians don't agree with that approach Obama. Who's advising you on your economic policies? Herbert Hoover?

    March 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. rday in va

    Forget the tax cuts
    Let's cut government spending by:

    Eliminating the department of home land security, Education, Health, Commerce, the USDA, FAA and transportation.

    Then let's reduce the salaries of congress and the President and add term limits

    this will reduce the debt by billions in the future and the rich can keep there tax cuts.

    March 13, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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