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.

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

    Kevin, I agree with you, the only way to know who is telling the truth. Will someone pull the file so we will know?



    June 21, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. mj

    Obama college supporters strip down to their underwear and marched in the streets in support of Obama.
    Scary, these are the people who may select our next president.

    June 21, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. bored of obamanation

    I am so sick and tired of hearing, seeing Obama.

    Even if I wanted to...which I don't... I would not vote for him and have to listen to his lectures and watch his posturing and finger pointing for 4 more years.

    Lets consider this long primary season as the time of Obama and now return to our senses and elect a true leader.

    That would be Hillary.... oh... eliminated her, you say?

    Well then... ANYbody but Obama.

    June 21, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. independent

    another mccain capitulation to gw bush.

    June 21, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. headache

    This pompous windbag is giving me a headache.

    I could never sit in HIS church (Obamanation) for 20 years... or even FOUR years.

    Sorry, Obama you lose.

    Sick and tired of you already.

    Where is Hillary?

    June 21, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. 1 of the 18 million who voted for Obama

    Nothing but the truth.

    Obama 08

    June 21, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. call me racist.

    Are there any Black people out there that he can appeal to?

    I think he already has the 12% of America, Black vote.

    Why bother with the race card again? That war has been won... to the detriment of the democratic party... which will now lose in NOV.

    You can not pick the most left-leaning and least qualified candidate, with no merits- but his blackness- and install him as nominee and expect to win.

    Call me racist if you want... but I am a voting realist.

    June 21, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. lupercal

    john mccain's response: haha really funny. does he even realize what he's saying? lol


    June 21, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. Umpire

    The record speaks for itself. Obama voted for the measure, on the record, and McCain was against. Now McCain remembers it the other way around. Another senior moment.

    June 21, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. JonRoss

    Mr. Obama, an honorary member of the Smart Set, may win the election using this type of balderdash, but he is selling his soul to Satan and Soros. The country will pay a price for this.

    June 21, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. A one-time Clinton Supporter

    Unite as one Democrats so we can take McShame down!!!!!

    June 21, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  12. Mike

    McBush says he is trying to 'change politics' in Washington. He has been in Washington for a long long long time, what has he changed? He is married to a Corporate multi millionaire. He has over one hundred corporate lobby crooks working for his campaign. He has already pledged to stay the course of four more years of war. And he has by his own admission, no knowledge of economics. What change? Just a third Bush term in disguise.

    June 21, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  13. Jerry, Florida

    I only have one question: What is this guy doing in Florida? He definitely has no respect for anyone but himself.

    If he does not need Florida to win in November, show a little bit of respect and stay away from our state.

    On the other hand, what else can we expect from him and his feel-good, misguided supporters?

    June 21, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. TexasLady

    Yep, the obamanation will bring change – a complete lack of bipartisan politcs. At least the current congress will try. It's OBVIOUS that he won't...and only wants HIS AGENDA...not what's best for the US

    DOWN WITH THE OBAMANATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 21, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  15. Wedge

    Second attempt to post this...First wasn't even marked for moderation.

    Why did Obama and a majority of the Senate oppose the commission to decide on priorities for water projects? Were they worried about their home pet projects not making the cut, or was it something to do with the extra few thousand bucks it would have added to a $23 billion bill? Either way, this bill shamefully did nothing for those of us in the Midwest suffering through the flooding right now.

    June 21, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. Paul

    How is it scary that college-educated people might finally pick our president. Its good to see young educated people taking a stand against the ignorance that got us 8 years of the worst president this country has ever seen.

    June 21, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. JF

    Seems like a very inappropriate time for Obama to sink to the low of using talk of the levees and floods to scare people into voting for him.

    June 21, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. peakarach,des moines,IA

    MCCAIN 08!
    HILLARY 12!

    June 21, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  19. amtFresno,CA

    McBush will Never do anything that will actually help the average American people. He offers them sympathy, and offers the wealthiest people and the big corporations trillions in tax breaks. That is the typical Repubs Washington as usual. NO THANKS MCBUSH. OBAMA FOR PRES. 08

    June 21, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. Get real people

    Why is Obama talking to city mayors about what the federal government will do for them? Isn't that what the governors of each state are supposed to do? That's the problem with this country, one state has a crisis and the federal government steps in and foots the bill to clean it up or fix it up. Which means the tax payers in all of the other states have to pay for it.

    This flooding is a perfect example. Ummm...gee, it happened what, 15 years ago so what did people do? Lets move right back to the same place and we will just cry for help again and again. Its like poking a stick at a big dog; you're bound to get bit eventually!

    If you choose to live in a flood plain you might get some water every now and then. You choose to live along the coast in hurricane territory then be prepared to get run over by a hurricane. If you choose to live in a place that has earthquakes and wild fires (namely California) then expect to possibly lose your home to one or the other.

    We don't need to build bigger and better levees along the Mississippi; we need to learn from the last two floods. How do you think all of that land became so fertile and great farmland in the first place? It isn't magic or rocket science McFly!

    Obama will say whatever he can to make people happy. I pay a lot of attention to the news and I've yet to hear much about his plans. He just keeps saying the word "change" and "yes we can". Well why don't you tell us HOW then? Let's not forget many politicians have promised great things in the past and ended up not delivering. Please do not get sweeped up in this "Hope" thing without something a little more concrete.

    June 21, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. JEFF


    June 21, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. Obama in '08

    Wait a minute, wasn't Kerry the most left-leaning candidate? Wasn't it Clinton before him? How do we keep nominating the most liberal ... it's un-canny how we do that!

    That talking point is so old. Obama is actually I think #18. So be it. America is calling out for change. McCain is more of the same.

    June 21, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  23. independent

    call me a racist.you are a racist.have you seen the monkey dolls?have you seen the 'white house' buttons.republicans have already begun their racist game ,and there are a hell of a lot of white people out here,that wont tolerate it,anymore.yes,u r racist.ur party is racist,and this hillbilly,white boy doesnt like it one bit!

    June 21, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. Obama Plays Race Card Again

    Q: How do you know when Obama is lying?

    A: His lips are moving.

    David Axlerod = Karl Rove

    I want my campaing contribution back. I was defrauded.

    June 21, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. fred

    Every bill has a good intention and has a good name. Obama could say that McCain rejected a levee fixing bill, but no bill just says "let's fix the levees." These bill tend to be about 100 pages long, if not more. There is a lot in them, and just because they have good intentions doesn't mean they are actually good legislation. I'm sure McCain is not opposed to fixing levees, and I'm sure Obama isn't either.

    If I was Obama, I wouldn't have made a dumb remark like the one he made because it's not fair to say that McCain voted against a levee-fixing bill, when we really don't know the details of the bill. McCain just wanted a different one, with a different approach. All in all, both bills would have fixed the levees. What we need to know is what extra junk was in the bills that would just be wasting taxpayers money.

    June 21, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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