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. “His 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. Rob indetroit

    Straight talk is the biggest flip flopper . whenhe and Bush flip flop or just lie we get war . and people die

    June 21, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. matthew

    i would have be very happy if cnn can publish most of those bill, for and aginst for the whole world to know were they satand, rather than criss crossing.... independent

    June 21, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. California Voter

    who's speaking the truth . . . ????

    June 21, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  4. Frank

    John McBush....ahh...John McShame...oops..John McBlame...oh well you all know that old fart, out of touch, Bush league Senator from Arizona will do nothing for Middle America nor, for that matter, anything good for the rest of America.

    Obama is the ONLY real chance for America to become strong and credible world leader, again.

    Just google " Mcain Keating five" or " McCain Silverado" or "Mcain Savings & Loan scandal" to get the truth about John McLobbyist.

    Vote for Barrack Obama 2008....It's the right thing to do !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 21, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. who cares

    Before you jugde Kenneth let me ask you what have you achieved in your life atleast he is a senator and may become president where are you in your own life.If i am you i will aim to leave a legacy that people will talk about when you are dead not hate. Let me ask you this if we check your own record what have you done for a fellow human i am so sure your score will be zero if you are not sure about what he has done then go check it out cause the last time i checked he is just a senator not a governor.

    June 21, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Jj24

    Isn't the truth refreshing !!! And the people of Iowa probably would have liked it if McCain had actually pitched in and done something while he was there instead of using the visit as a photo-op. Yes, I know he's old and has physical ailments but he could have at least served food to some of the volunteers. But that's ok, WE UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY. And to those questioning Barack's use of gloves while sandbagging: He shakes thousands of hands a day and I'm sure no one wants to feel dirty, blistered hands. Get real and think for once.

    Thank you Barack for keeping it real – we got your back! In fact, I think I'm going to go send you some more $$$.

    June 21, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. NickNas

    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."

    No 527s Needed. McCain has so much REAL wrong with him he will be his own undoing. I would bet the GOP wishs it could do a Nomination Do Over.

    June 21, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. Ken, LA California

    McCain voted against it and he has said he will veto every pork barrel spending once he is in office, the bills only come as pork barrells and you cannot just veto everything. You cannot teach an old dog new tricks.

    June 21, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. @everyamericans

    looking at this record, McShame does'nt stand for anything!

    he always accuses Obama for not having any experience; yet he opposed a legislation to fund levees and flood control programs!

    visiting flood victims is just political posturing for McShame!

    June 21, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. Linda

    You too Mr. McCain are just a typical politician!

    June 21, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. Puzzled

    Hey, folks,

    I live in New Orleans. 90% of our problems were caused by two people: a dysfunctional Democratic governor and an unstable Democratic mayor.

    June 21, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. Rob indetroit

    For over a year SEN.Obama has been saying we needed to invest in our infrastructure. but no every one was treating him like he was slow. Now WE have Leevies falling apart. Obama's change we all should believe in.

    June 21, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  13. nick, houston

    And so Obama voted against the ammendment, while McCain opposed the entire bill but supported the ammendment....and neither one voted for or against it.

    Therefore, it seems Obama is saying the truth, McCain is telling a partial truth, and in the end, Hillary Clinton is still full of crap.

    June 21, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. Hmmmmm . . .

    Funny how very, very bloggers there are today, Saturday. Guess they save it for doing it Mon-Fri - on paid company time!

    June 21, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. IsThisTheObamaBlogSite?

    When was the last time that a Non-Obama favorable news was posted in this Ticker site????

    I think that an excesive biased press for Obama might have a back lash in the public. Please be carefull.

    June 21, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. cbenji in NYC

    well, Obama's actions speak for themselves. he was on the scene filling sandbags and making people aware of the devastation before it hit in certain areas. he also set up fundraising for flooding on his own website. in comparison, Mccain showed up several days later to tour the area after the damage was already done. this shows me how the two candidates approach difficult situations. Obama is thinking twenty steps ahead (which is why he opposed the war from the start). mccain doesn't seem to have the capacity to think like that. i rather have Obama in the white house.

    June 21, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. s.positive

    Another reason why McBush is in big trouble...

    June 21, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. raheen

    thats Mcbush for you and republicans there all for the wealthiest americans and the big corporations.Go Obama yes you can and yes we can for you.Go Obama08

    June 21, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. Kiran

    Obama helped to fill the sandbags weeks before McCain went for the visit to the flooded area despite objection by authorities and came back pointing fingers and criticizing Obama.
    Obama is for real.
    McCain = George Bush's 3rd term

    Obama '08

    June 21, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  20. Gerald for Obama

    Obama should of put in the final vote.

    June 21, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  21. Love you HILLARY

    I'm looking forward to seeing Hillary again... because she is cool and great and has strength and grace and poise. I love her now more than ever before.

    But even Hillary won't get me to back Obama at this point. I spotted him for what he is right from the start... and he proved himself to be even worse than I anticipated.

    So... the democrats can all go down together.

    Hillary, you are the only democrat I will EVER vote for again. The way they trashed you made me ashamed of the democratic party. I left the party in protest.

    For the first time in my adult life, I was ashamed to be an American... or should I say REALLY ashamed? Does that change my true meaning?

    Lets hope the democrats return to those lofty ideals they keep talking about. Their actions towards their best candidate, this primary, was anything but idealistic and noble. The hatred was so thick that they were spitting out the vitriol.

    Richardson gave one of the ugliest, nastiest, negative speeches about unity and positive campaigning that I have ever seen. He could not find a way to be positive about Obama, without trashing the Clintons. And who feels entitled? I'd say the over eager Obama who fast tracked himself into a presidential nomination would fit that bill.

    God bless you Hillary. What goes around comes around. The nasty new democrats will learn that lesson.

    June 21, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. get lost

    Obama... you lost my vote when you messed with Hillary.

    Some clean campaigner you turned out to be.

    You pulled every nasty, sleazy, dirty trick to knock your competitor out of the race- well, not innocent you, your vitriolic supporters and nasty campaign did that bidding for you.

    You did not strong-arm your caucus wins either... but your fans sure did it for you.

    Take a hike buddy.

    June 21, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. not so charming

    I think Obama over estimates his own ability to charm and inspire.

    I saw him for the weasel that he is after the second speech... which was a rehashing of his first speech... which was a repeat of exceprts from other people's great speeches.

    I never came back once I saw the light of your manipulative charms.

    June 21, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. onyekaba nnaemeka

    i know you would be a man for all. obama 2008!

    June 21, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. Greg

    So McCain DID NOT vote for the original BILL, and John McCain also DID NOT vote for the Amendment either.

    June 21, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
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