July 18th, 2008
10:40 AM ET
15 years ago

McCain: 'I don’t know' if Obama is socialist

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/10/art.both.gi.jpg caption="McCain said Obama's Senate record was more liberal than a self-described socialist's."]
WARREN, Michigan (CNN) - John McCain on Thursday described Barack Obama’s Senate record as “more to the left” than Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont - an independent who caucuses with Democrats but has described himself as an “independent Democratic socialist.”

During his town hall meeting with voters in Kansas City yesterday, McCain said, “Senator Obama has the most extreme record of any member of the United States Senate.”

In an interview after the event, The Kansas City Star asked him to clarify the remark.

“His voting record … is more to the left than the announced socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont,” McCain answered, according the paper.

Asked if he thought Obama was a socialist, McCain answered: “I don’t know. All I know is his voting record, and that’s what people usually judge their elected representatives by.”

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (275 Responses)
  1. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    McSame, you should be worried about your own voting record.

    Basically, would I vote for the person who has voted 96% of the time with the Bush administration or the person who has voted a majority of the time against the Bush administration? That is an easy answer.

    The future of our country and our world cannot be dependent upon another Republican intellectual midget in the highest office! We are at a breaking point!

    July 18, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. dude

    deja vu. "Barack is not a muslim, as far as I know." Obama is not a socialist, he's already moved closer to center. Somewhere, Eugene Debs just chuckled.

    July 18, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |

    McCain really makes me want to UPCHUCK! I hate listening to his stupid voice.

    July 18, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Sandy

    Mc-Idiot has only one line..."Obama is a flip-flopper." Can't he come up with something else? Of course, they are all followed by that stupid grin. I am glad the press thinks he is hilarious, because the public doesn't.

    Mc-Idiot, why not address some issues on your own and not ride on the back of Obama by always being negative against him.

    We have a lot of issues to solve here in America...why don't you figure out a few answers that aren't pandering...

    July 18, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Helene

    Good ! We need a socialist in this country. Maybe it will save it from complete ruin and recession...

    July 18, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  6. Big D

    I thought McCain had pledged to keep this election focused on issues, and not on personal smears. This is a ridiculous statement from McCain and deliberately misrepresents Obama. And that claim about Obama being the 'most liberal Senator' has already been debunked and proven that Obama is not extreme. Repeat: Obama is not extreme.

    July 18, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. ryan

    This is typical republican spin. There are about 25 different independent organizations that rate how liberal or how conservative each member of congress is. They all use different criteria to evaluate each senator. Out all 25 organizations, only one found Sen. Obama to be the most liberal senator in congress. In fact, his average from all 25 does not put him in the top 10. Meanwhile, the average of all these organizations finds Obama closer to the center than John McCain, but you won't here any media outlets talk about that.

    July 18, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. Mike, ATL GA

    So much for straight talk....

    July 18, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Ben (Eugene, OR)

    The way Obama speaks, would make me believe that he is a moderate democrat.

    The way Obama votes, would make me believe that he is a far left democrat.

    I think his voting records indicate that he his leaning towards socialism. He is most definitely not a socialist, but he leans toward it. I guess that's why McCain isn't sure.

    July 18, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Kelby

    It's good to know that his voting record, points of view and stance on pertinent issues is the opposite of yours and Republican party.
    It's good to know that Barrack Obama does not follow the conservatvie policies of the GOP.

    It's good to know that Obama thinks that the government should work for the people and not its own selfish existence.

    Why is liberal a bad word in Washington? Why is it when someone says LET'S HELP THE PEOPLE that person is branded as a socialist?

    Webster defines the word liberal as: favoring gradual reform, especially political reforms that extend democracy, distribute wealth more evenly, and protect the personal freedom of the individual.

    By this definition, We should all be liberal.

    And Mr. McCain you, above all people, should know that Barrack Obama is not a Socialist. HE IS THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINIEE THAT WILL BEAT YOU IN NOVEMBER, AND THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!

    You can breathe a sigh of relief America, HELP IS ON THE WAY.


    July 18, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. DB

    I am shocked at McCain's reply – he well does know that Obama is NOT a socialist but is shamelessly eluding that he might be. But what is more disqusting is McCain's attempt to paint liberal Demorcrats as socialists. I'm a moderate Democrat and believe that Obama is a moderate soul as well, but it wouldn't matter if he were more liberal. McCain just took a slap at the founding fathers values of Democracy and free speech. Shame on him and his so called patriotism.

    July 18, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. IQ


    July 18, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Yeah, just like we don't know how advanced your Alzheimer's is....but we can speculate!

    July 18, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Dan

    Oh Johnny boy, you might want to figure out what socialist actually means before you say something like that...I have an idea, use a computer and check it out. Oh wait, you don't know how to...sad in today's day in age.

    July 18, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. evil empire

    gov't run healthcare is socialism... so yes Obama is a socailist.

    corporate run gov't is fascism... so yes Mcain is a fascist.

    too many americans don't understand thier own country's history- so they just let the free, i mean corporate press tell them what to believe.

    July 18, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. McCain is Right

    McCain said: "All I know is his voting record, and that’s what people usually judge their elected representatives by.” He is absolutely right. And that's precisely why I will not be voting for him in the election, as he has proven – by his voting record – that will be definitely be Bush's third term in guiding this country into further destruction and chaos in too many areas simultaneously. Anybody who will be voting for McCain must be asking for the following: more-for-the-rich economic policies, greater sufferings for the hard-working people of America (particularly the minorities), more young Americans deaths in useless wars that will only profit arms dealers, military industry, and oil companies, much less money for the children of the poor, more bankrupcies of small and mid-size family businesses, further destruction of America's natural resources for the sake of short-term profits of the oil companies, etc. etc.

    July 18, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. Jon

    McCain never called him a socialist; he simply stated facts. Where is the personal attack?

    July 18, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  18. MMN-Milwaukee WI

    My Friends – Like McCain would say….It depends on who McCain is talking to. At times he is friends with Bush and sometimes he’s running away form Bush. So to best describe their relationship lets just say they’re frenemies. Anyway McCain is a coward just like his frenemy, why didn’t he call Obama a socialist at the NAACP?

    July 18, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  19. Dave g, Minneapolis

    @ NotPayingHillaryDebt , "Socialism is better than Fascism"


    You know. there are other choices, like Libertarian. Why would anyone even consider one of these two "socialist" or "fascist" candidates?
    why are people even talking about voting for these candidates who have shown that they do not really want to limit government (well, McCain has done work to reduce-but not enough).

    Vote for your freedoms
    Barr '08

    July 18, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  20. Pat

    McCain's opinion doesn't matter. His only chance for the Presidency is to hopefully make Obama look so weak he looses votes. But it doesn't change the reality. Americans have two choices, a vote for the same ole politics as usual with a continuation of war possibly including Iran in the mix or a brave leap for change with no guarantees and very little information on what kind of change they should expect!

    July 18, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  21. DEBBY, NJ

    Does McShame have an answer to anything ??
    Where is his advisors, didn't he just change them ???
    This guy is a complete MORON

    July 18, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. Joe Braxton

    well, just add that to the long list of things you don't know, john mccain.

    July 18, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. jane in CA

    He'll find out the truth about Obama if he checks the internet and Obama's website.

    July 18, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Justin (ny)

    Don't you love how McCain is the guy who kept preaching over and over how he was going to Elevate himself above petty name calling and accusations, and discuss plans and policy...

    So far this campaign we've heard plenty of policy ideas and plans from the Obama camp, and a lot of name calling and accusations from McCain.

    This is really really low, even for a guy like McCain.

    July 18, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. John Y Des Plaines IL

    And we know your voting record too McSame. Nobody can ever accuse you of being pro-soldier or pro-veteran based on your shame full voting record. You are a disgrace to the honor of veterans everywhere. You sold your soul long ago and the evil inside you is just dying to get control of the Presidency. You are a sick old man with morals to match. Go home and find a nice book for someone to read to you. That's an order.

    July 18, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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