June 21st, 2008
02:41 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama hits McCain on help for cities, levees


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/21/art.obamamayors.ap.jpg caption="Sen. Obama praises the nation's mayors on Saturday in Miami, Florida."]
(CNN)- Sen. Barack Obama took his campaign to Miami, Florida, on Saturday with a message to the nation's mayors: I'll be your ally in Washington, but Sen. John McCain will not.

Speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate praised McCain's service to the country, but chastised him for not "proposing a strategy for American cities" hit hard by tough economic times.

"Because while Sen. McCain is a true patriot ... he won't be that partner,” Obama said. β€œHis priorities are very different from yours and mine ... he isn't proposing a strategy for America's cities. Instead, he's calling for nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks for big corporations and the wealthiest Americans."
Obama also discussed McCain's trip to Iowa this week to see firsthand the effects of devastating flooding.

"Both Sen. McCain and I have traveled recently to the areas that have been devastated by floods. And I know that Sen. McCain felt as strongly as I did, feeling enormous sympathy for the victims of the recent flooding ... And I'm sure they appreciated the sentiment, but they probably would have appreciated it even more if Sen. McCain hadn't opposed legislation to fund levees and flood control programs, which he considers pork."

Shortly after Obama's speech, the McCain campaign lashed out, saying the Illinois senator opposed and even voted against a bipartisan effort in the Senate by McCain, Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, and Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, to assure levees were fixed first.

"It is beyond the pale that Barack Obama would attack John McCain for actually trying to fix the problem and change the way Washington works. Barack Obama's willingness to continue the status quo pork-barrel politics in Washington, and then engage in political attacks that entirely disregard the facts, once again fundamentally shows that he's nothing more than a typical politician," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds in a press release.

At issue is the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, a $23 billion bill that funded levee and flood control programs along with dozens of other projects across the country, including Everglades and other habitat restoration, emergency water supply storage, lock and dam security and water
quality improvement.

The bill passed Congress, with Obama in favor and McCain opposed, although neither took part in the final vote. The measure was vetoed by President Bush as too expensive, but that veto was overridden, a first for the president. Neither McCain nor Obama participated in the overide vote. The
Senate votes were 91-4 for the first vote and 79-14 for the override.

During the initial debate on the bill in the Senate, Obama voted against an amendment, sponsored by Feingold and co-sponsored by McCain and others, that would have established a commission to prioritize water projects with flood control at the top of the list. Thirty-five Republicans joined 34 Democrats in rejecting the amendment. Although he was a co-sponsor, McCain did not vote on
the amendment. McCaskill, who was not a co-sponsor, voted in favor of it.

Full Story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (242 Responses)
  1. J. Williams

    It would be beyond the pale, if it weren't true that McCain did vote against the bill...!

    June 21, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. Arthur

    This story sounds like a freakin gossip column!

    I thought good journalism told both side of the story then fact checked both side to get to the truth.

    This He said she said stuff is really causing a problem in that false claims by politicians are growing legs because journalist have no interest in the truth.

    June 21, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. BAM

    Listen people! Obama talks about how he's SO different than politicians before, doesn't want to accept money from lobbyists; well, look now! Obama ATTACKS McCain EVERY DAY! He distorts and manipulates the facts and just says whatever the h*** he feels whether it's truth or fiction. ENOUGH of this LYING CRAP!!! I feel now if we don't elect McCain, our country will be LOST FOREVER by this maniac!

    June 21, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Jason, Texas

    you go bama... our government needs to start paying attention to our own internal needs. We used to have the best infrastructure in the world... now, we are falling behind and paying for it.

    June 21, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Vato

    According to Dan Abraham, Macacain was alledged to have said "I really did not love America". This is short but very meaningful.

    June 21, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Marge Hibbing Mn

    You have to remember that what obama says today he will say something different tomorrow. It all depends on the audience he is talking to....he "changes" his mind every which way to Sunday.

    BUT now he is going to start to blame McCAin for all his inadequate statements, instead of Hillary Clinton. And of course the MSM went along with his "blaming" Hillary. But a lot of the MSM is owned by republicans so they won't agree with obama like they did.

    June 21, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. If not Hillary....then McCain

    Seems like Obama is constantly talking about his opponents, what they have done, what they will do etc. I think if he actually had ANY ORIGINAL IDEAS AND PLANS< he would be touting what he has done, and what he will do.

    To go out and misrepresent the truth purposefully is nothing if not dishonest and and lying.

    He makes me sick! (Obama)

    June 21, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    The only Pork-Barrel Projects is the 12 billion a month welfare payments to Iraq. Spending money at home on our infulstucture will help our economy, providing much needed jobs so people can buy products and services. Without jobs people can't spend money.

    Economics 101 in order to have full employment the government has to intervene with an infusion of money. Pure capitalism does not work because the greed of corporations and stock holders. You need a mixture of both to have vibrant and successful economy.

    Obama 08/12

    June 21, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Louis

    Did Mr. Obama supported the levee programs with all his might to prevent the flood? Did Mr. Obama know the flood was coming?

    If he was a Messiah like his supporters make him out to be, he fails at precognition.

    June 21, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Brian-Austin

    Does anyone ever get tired of Obama telling everyone that he will do everything right all the time and that everyone else has done everything wrong? This is getting old...real fast.

    June 21, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. randy

    Yes obama show them that you are not naive the are the one that is naive.

    June 21, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. Down with Obama

    Down with Obama!!

    June 21, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Kenneth

    let us go to the record to find out

    June 21, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. Holly

    Senator Obama jockeys around the fact that he actually voted against Water Resources Planning and Modernization Act!!!

    Hmm....seems that Senator Obama has once again excelled in double speak and looks totally misaligned with his own National Co-Chair, Senator Claire McCaskill who actually voted for this BIll, (H.R. 1495)

    Is Sen. Obama actually blaming Sen. McCain now for the levee's breaking? Maybe Sen. McCaskill is to blame. just for the leeve's in her state of Missouri, of course. : P

    First it was election reform, now the levee issue. Senator Obama is back pedaling almost daily and as well as any politician has done previously.

    Not the same old politics you say? Think again, Obama is as much about old politics as any other politician to come along.

    June 21, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. aware

    Just more Obama obfuscation and pandering to his target of the moment! The sweet talker keeps the mean machine almost hidden unless you listen very carefully! πŸ™

    I agree with Tucker Bounds!

    June 21, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. I used to be a Democrat

    What a joke. Obama is full of it.

    June 21, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. MaryL- Ca

    Obama and McCain should not fight with each other so much. They should spend time reaching out to the American people on their campaign trail. I don't believe that Presidential candidates should be held accountable for the levees that broke in the terrible floods.

    June 21, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Straight Talk Folks

    Sen. McCain and his supporters are only interested in lies and smear tactics. I guess that is how a "civil campaign" is define in their own language. The new thing on the blogs is call ing Sen. Obama a "Socialist", "Racist", "Liar" and any thing evil that can ever dream of, well I have news for you guys: IT WILL NOT WORK THIS TIME! IT WILL NOT SCARE NO ONE! THE MORE YOU DO IT THE WIDE THE MARGIN OF SEN: OBAMA'S LEAD! PERIOD.
    Sen. McCain will loose this ecetion with the largest margin ever and will be disgraced for trying to fool voters!

    June 21, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. cheryl

    WOW! Obama is definately not soft as many had suspected, he is coming out with the big guns based on facts, get em! Obama 08!

    June 21, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Walter

    Will the real BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA please come forth...!

    June 21, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. No - Typical politician McSame

    McCain's method is to fix the problem AFTER it's broken. NOW he wants to fix the levi after they broke. NOW McCain wants the fix Iraq after it's broken – no, actually he wants to CONTNUE the problem in Irqae until America is broken as well.

    OBAMA 08!

    June 21, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Peter

    Obama is clearly trying to distort the truth in order to attain the presidency. McCain as it says in the end of the article above sponsored legislation, an actual bill, that would have fixed the levees. Obama is just trying to legitimize pork spending. Why would someone not put the levee fixing into legislation?? Of course there is some legitimate pork spending but there is no reason to not put it officially in a bill.

    Also Obama's comments in Miami regarding the "expected" republican attacks are absurd. Why do we even need McCain in the race, Obama can just make the attacks that he says the republicans will make and then refute them. He talks about hope and how the republicans are trying to make everyone afraid of him, while they havent said one thing yet. His speechs like the one in Miami I would construe as trying to make people of what may or may not happen. He is currently the one trying to scare people by making the RNC and McCain look evil while McCain has run a clean campaign and the RNC hasnt said anything. Obama is a calculating incredible liberal Democrat who will turn this country into a socialist state if he gains power. That is my personal view after looking at his ideas and I am not trying to scare anyone.

    June 21, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. No - Typical politician McSame

    McCain's method is to fix the problem AFTER it's broken. NOW he wants to fix the leeves after they broke. NOW McCain wants the fix Iraq after it's broken – no, actually he wants to CONTNUE the problem in Iraq until America is broken as well.

    OBAMA 08!

    June 21, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. richard

    i bet mccain is missing the "good ol days" when he was running alone and obama and clinton were occupying each other.

    welcome to the big time, mccain. let's see if you can last another 5 months.

    June 21, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |

    McCain is out of touch. He doesn't have a clue what is going on.
    Becasue of McCain's vote againtst the levees because he considered them pork. I guess the economy, gas prices, jobs, housing and our wonderful military is also pork to him. He doesn't want to do anything about them either.

    I can't hardly wait to see Barack and Hillary together.

    Vote Barack Obama.

    June 21, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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