April 11th, 2008
11:15 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama, McCain clash on CEO pay

At a press conference in Indianapolis, Barack Obama said that when it comes taking action against excessive CEO compensation, John McCain is all talk.

The McCain campaign quickly responded, calling the comments a "cheap political attack."

(full exchange after the jump)

Key Obama excerpt:

"I know Senator McCain had some sharp words the other day about what some CEOs are getting paid. And I was glad to hear it. But when he’s had the chance to do something about this problem, he’s opted for continuing the do-nothing approach of the Bush years. And this seems to be a trend with Senator McCain. Yesterday, he finally proposed some steps to deal with our housing crisis. And I’m glad he’s moving in the right direction, but what he’s proposing isn’t enough to really help struggling families.
"So I respect John McCain. He’ll be a worthy opponent. But we can’t afford another four years of policies that don’t make a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans, and that’s what John McCain is offering."

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds' response:

“Once again, Senator Obama’s words don’t match his actions. Apparently Senator Obama thinks cheap political attacks and typical Washington shenanigans substitute for real leadership. Corporate boards have the power to serve shareholders and make CEO pay match performance. John McCain believes cozy relationships with boards should not allow irresponsible CEOs to rake in millions on the backs of small investors. John McCain is committed to using the bully pulpit of the presidency to hold them accountable.”


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Sharon Minnesota

    Typical Obama crap. If not Hillary then McCain in 2008 and beyond.

    April 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. Obama will be President

    Cheap? Maybe, but if its true .....all's fair in love and war.

    April 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Stacy Clarks, TX

    ******************CHALLENGE TO DEMOCRATS***********************

    OKAY, STARTING TODAY, I AM CHALLENGING EVERY OBAMA SUPPORTER, AND HILLARY SUPPORTER TO SAY SOMETHING POSITIVE ABOUT THE OTHER CANDIDATE (YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SUPPORT THEM, BUT JUST SAY SOMETHING NICE) AND FOLLOW IT BY SAYING 3 NICE THINGS ABOUT YOUR CANDIDATE, AND WHY WE SHOULD VOTE FOR THEM….(POSITIVE CAMPAIGNING)

    LET'S TURN THIS WAR WE HAVE STARTED ON EACHOTHER IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY INTO POSITIVITY!!!

    I ENCOURGAE EVERYONE WHO THINKS IT WILL BE A DETRIMENT FOR THE REPUBLICANS TO WIN TO COPY THIS POST, AND PASTE IT ON EVERY BLOG YOU WRITE ON

    LET'S GO DEMOCRATS!!! LET'S GO AMERICA!!!!!

    *******************CHALLENGE TO DEMOCRATS**********************

    April 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Veterans for Obama

    Oh suck it up Grandpa.....this is a political campaign aimed at changing the disastrous course this country has been set on by the Republicans....ANYTHING GOES!

    April 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Nick from TX

    The McCain campaign quickly responded, calling the comments a "cheap political attack."

    I would say the American people disagree!!

    **

    Do we really have to wait ALL THE WAY until November for McCain to lose??

    April 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Stacy Clarks, TX

    Everything now is a cheap political attack, what kind of race is McCain running?!?!?

    are you running for president, or kindergarden hall monitor?!!??!!??

    DEMOCRATS 08!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Cooper

    Really John? Ummmmmmm

    April 11, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. vic nashville,Tn

    Obama you busted again you have very close relationship with William Ayers
    Hillary 08

    April 11, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. April in Texas

    Well McCain wants to give a tax break to those who are wealthy and to heck with the middle and lower income people.. Can you say the rich get richer and the poor get poorer..

    Nuff said!!

    Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. Mark, NC

    Obama or Clinton – we will give the little guy a voice with some power to back it up.

    McCain – I will wag my finger at the CEO and tell them they should do better while stripping the little guy of any legal recourse.

    April 11, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Liberty

    I'm waiting for Hillary Clinton to start attacking McCain as well, because he is her real enemy.

    Maybe she knows she has no chance at getting to the general election, so why bother?

    As far as the disappointed Clinton supporters who claim they are going to vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee...remember that John McCain once voted to toss the Clintons out of the White House two years early (remember the impeachment trial?) He also reportedly joked that Chelsea Clinton was so ugly that her father must have been Janet Reno.

    April 11, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Christi in Canada

    Republicans don't understand even the most basic ideas of what makes a fair campaign. Discussing what your opponents views or positions are IS NOT being negative!!!!

    Lying, decieving, and outright shameful swiftboat tactics are what defines a negative campaign.

    SO BECAUSE OBAMA SAYS HE DOESN't WANT TO RUN A NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN MEANS HE HAS TO GIVE McCAIN A FREE RIDE FOR STUFF McCAIN HIMSELF HAS SAID??? G'me a break!

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Missy M

    Welcome to the wonderful world of socialism. What a CEO is paid is between him or her and the company's stockholders – the government has NO business whatsoever in the equation. As for the housing bill not doing enough to help struggling families – let's be real. Many of these families are in homes that they could never afford to begin with. Most are losing homes that they shouldn't have bought . While the government steps in and "saves" them, allowing them to stay in their homes, those of us who were more responsible with our finances and bought homes we could actually afford, will continue paying our mortgages and our taxes, so that we may bail out those who were not as responsible. Doesn't anyone see anything wrong with the government dictating how companies should compensate their managment while at the same time bailing out irresponsible homebusyers???

    April 11, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Jim in San Jose

    Actions speak louder than words. John McCain has consistently left corporations alone to do what they will and saying that corporate boards have the power to do something isn't the same thing as actually doing it.

    Tucker Bounds has great command of the English language, but if you read and understand what he says, you'll discover that he doesn't say anything at all. Have the power is not the same as exercising the power, could and should are no substitutes for real actions like do and are.

    What you have from the McCain campaign is words without meaning, intentions without follow through, and proposals without merit. Just the sort of thing we've had for the last eight years, but hardly what we need going forward, unless of course, that direction doesn't appeal to you.

    April 11, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. Chris from San Antonio

    Perhaps we should define what a "cheap political attack" is.

    April 11, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Brendan D, Niles, IL

    No, really, is John McCain really going to try to play both the "experienced" and the "outsider" cards? Johnny, this isn't 2000, man; you sold your soul to the conservatives within your party. In 2000 you were Arnold Vinick, the idealized Republican candidate; now, you're a hack. Stop pretending and be whatever kind of Republican it is you want to be this week.

    April 11, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. dave, michigan

    This is just another example of the Obama being high and mighty on the one hand and doing the same inside the beltway bs on the other hand.

    April 11, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Darth Vadik, CA

    John McCain is only paying lip service to the CEO's, you know he wont do anything about it..

    AND POINTING THAT OUT IS NOT A CHEAP POLITICAL ATTACK

    April 11, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Patrick

    Obama is all hype no talk. McCain has a history of actually working a bipartisan way. I beg all Obama supporters to actually look at both candidates records.

    April 11, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Fendley

    Obama is just plain common. There is nothing extraordinary about him. He really isnt very intelligent if you listen to him. I wonder who writes his scripts? We will be in a bad mess if he wins. But God is still in charge, and I dont think He will allow Obama to win. I think He will give Anerica another chance to get it right. And that is NOT Obama.

    April 11, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. JBilly from Fl

    i love the way Obama says McCain will be a worthy opponent,
    isn't he taking things for granted? As far as I knew Hillary is still in the race. We shold all listen to Obama on the issues after all he voted
    present over 130 times.

    HILLARY 08

    April 11, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. Ed

    Please do not ask Mccain more than one question a day. { HE Might/Will] givea stupid answer and you will tie up CNN and Msnbc for a day trying to cover it up for the old man. It is disgraceful that a was honorable profession has become shills for [not the american public] but for there selection or favorite choice to run the country. This is the lowest level and quality of REPORTING that I have witnessd in my 78 yrs. No wonder forieigners fight so hard against our present day values and ideals.

    April 11, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Randy - Denver

    I soo agree with Mr. obama on this subject why should we make minimum wage so the CEO can make 15 million!!!! Imagine if they took a pay cut to a paltry 5 million we could afford to pay those who now get minimum wage about a $3 per hour increase HOWS THAT FOR AN ECONOMIC STIMULUS!!!!

    April 11, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Scott L

    Obama is "all talk" – no more public financing for him based on his speech today.

    Add it to his growing list of lies, back tracks and re-statements of things he said.

    – Former John Kerry supporter who now supports John McCain '08!

    April 11, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. MC- Atlanta,GA

    Lets face it- Rebublican's are soft on corporate cronyism, period. McCain is no different.

    April 11, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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