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. ANGIE

    How does he remember obamas voting record when he has missed sooooooo many votes in the senate, And he doesnt even remember his own votes give it a rest mccain you seem very confused i think its time for him to retire.

    July 18, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Marilyn

    Of course Obama is a socialist. If you think we have a welfare state now, just wait. If he is elected, those of us who have worked hard for what we have will be supporting even more of those who choose not to work at all.

    July 18, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. carolflowery

    of course he's a socialist, look only to his voting record period.
    we will be supporting all of africa, middle east he knows right where our tax dollars will be goin, and it wont be here

    July 18, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. NotPayingHillaryDebt

    We had Fascism for 8 years it didn't work ... Let's try Socialism .. LOL (doubt People even know the meaning of Socialism all they do is attribute it to being bad

    July 18, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Bob Hussein Akmad Jones

    I would totally support Obama if he was not so bent on wanting to tax me to death......I will say he has some good ideas its just that his definition of "Rich" is way off. I need to take care of my family first financially and his tax plan does not fall in line with that

    July 18, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. Mike - Texas

    Well I do.

    Obama is so far LEFT that he might just be left of Socialism.

    Just look at his policies.

    A vote for OBama is;

    1) a vote for socialism / communism
    2) a vote for socialized medicine
    3) a vote for special protection for gays and lesbians
    4) a vote for racist groups like LaRaza
    5) a vote for illegal aliens
    6) a vote for welfare and food stamps for illegal aliens
    7) a vote for sanctuary cities for illegal aliens
    8) a vote for BIGGER government
    9) a vote for extremist liberal judges
    10) a vote for defeat in Iraq, we will have to go back
    11) a vote against the 2nd amendment
    12) a vote against the 1st amendment
    13) a vote against family values

    These are all qualities of a Socialist.

    July 18, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. Peter of Oregon

    I don't know if McCain is running the respectul campaign he promised to run.

    July 18, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    An accusation a day...that's all I ask. Geez! Wonder which one of his advisers suggested he test drive this message. Don't let them get away with it – trying to scare us into voting a for a Republican. Fear or hope. That's your choice. I'm voting hope.

    July 18, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Say What!!!

    McCain said, “Senator Obama has the most extreme record of any member of the United States Senate.”......McShame is a CHAMELEON
    don't know when to change his color or shed his old dusty skin!!!!!
    here Lately you don't mention what you stand for......your every Sentence begins :Senator OBAMA
    Senator OBAMA
    Senator OBAMA
    Senator OBAMA
    Senator OBAMA
    Senator OBAMA
    Senator OBAMA
    Senator OBAMA

    July 18, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Connie

    John McBush has the worst voting record in the senate,google it. But I guess we are better off when McBush does not vote since he votes against bills for veterans , women and most issues that do not benefit his rich friends.I believe I've seen on the news Senator Obama flying to Washington to vote, while John McBush was no where near, like the bill to help Medicare for seniors,also Senator Kennedy came from cancer treatment to vote, no John McBush. Obama 08

    Connie from Indiana

    July 18, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. Truth Be Told

    Amazing. People criticize McCain for stating the truth about Obama's voting record. How dare he do such a thing in what's left of our democracy?

    July 18, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. Seyi, AU

    This is becoming ridiculous, when is he going to stop calling Obama names and start respectfully pointing out his differences from Obama?
    How can a supposedly muslim with radical friends now be a socialist.
    I think we can know fairly refer to you as a Fascist. I don't think I've witnessed a more name-calling campaign as far as I can remember.
    and 1 more thing.
    Obama does not have to go the IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN to make informed decisions about the area. He's a senator, he has briefings and access to every documents concerning the area.
    You advised him to go, now you're claiming the trip is purely political.
    STOP THE GAMES and START talk about real issues.
    You have a lot of convincing to do, and so far, you're not getting this independent's vote.

    July 18, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. Willow, from Iowa

    The term socialist is very old and misused. The old Societ Union said they were Socialist when they were Communist. Is McCain insinuating that Obama is a Communist? No, I don't think so.

    Canada, France, and England all have health care for everyone. That is considered a Socialist idea. Lots of countries governments "own" the utilities. That's a socialist idea. In a large country with a lot of people, having health care etc. is a good idea so everyone is taken care of. That's a Socialist idea. There is nothing wrong with universal health care. And if that's a Socialist idea, I'm all for it.

    July 18, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. Steveojesse

    @ Helene,

    I like your use of irony about a socialist fixing a recession. Socialism doesn't work. Rather than raise people up to aspire to the highest goals like a free market and Capitalism, Socialism brings everyone down to the lowest common denominator.

    When the government programs are based on taxing the highest earners the most, and continuing to increase those taxes to the point that they say, why should I work for these other people who do not need to contribute as much but get the same things as I do?

    The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics showed that when everyone gets the same exact benefits, food, housing, etc, there is no reason to grow or innovate or even help your neighbor.

    Here in America, the unknowns, risks and possibilities gives everyone a chance to have an abundance. Many people that achieve this give back to the community more, and more efficiently than the government ever could.

    July 18, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. JC

    What did McCain say that was wrong? He said Obama is the most leftist senator based on his voting record, which is a statement that has been said many times even by democrats. He also said he doesn't know if Obama is a socialist. I don't see why this is newsworthy.

    July 18, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Another old white woman for Obama

    Is his name McCain or McCarthy? Maybe he doesn't know.
    Lets see, do we want a socialist or a dictatorship?
    Remember what happened to Mussolini McCain?
    The people tore him to pieces in the street.

    July 18, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Love My USA

    CHANGE??????? BO – null null – otherwise known as Dr. NO!

    "CHANGE"......What I Believe BO's Definition of Change Is!

    H = HATRED
    G = GREED

    "Change" is fleeting! Positive and Negative – Good and Bad. Obama's self-serving "change" born from contempt and controversy, is like a wrecker destroying in a day or two, what it took noble builders – our founding fathers – years to construct.

    The tale of the sinister scorpion, mirrors BO's blueprint of deceit.

    The scorpion, a poor swimmer, asked the turtle to carry him across the river. "Are you mad?" exclaimed the turtle. "While swimming, you'll sting me and I'll drown."
    Laughed the scorpion, "If I sting you, you would drown and I would go down with you. Where is the logic in that?"
    "You're right. Hop on!" said the turtle.
    Halfway across the river, the scorpion gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle resignedly asked, "You said there'd be no logic in stinging me. Why did you do it?"
    "It has nothing to do with logic," the drowning scorpion replied. "IT'S JUST MY CHARACTER."



    July 18, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Dwight

    just because the republicans spent us into recession . the trillion dollar war, the banking industry failure no help by Mr gramm, McCains
    right hand man. taking fiscal responsibility should not be called socialism.we all will pay for the last 8 years.if you want to call it socialism call it. but we can then call you Ignorant.

    change is coming OB 08 !

    July 18, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Bob

    I love Sen. Sanders and have even worked with him. Obama is no Bernie Sanders. Shame on McCain.

    July 18, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  20. bill

    George Bush with Dementia, what a great treat McCain would be.

    July 18, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Ms. GA

    Old Age

    July 18, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. Linda from Prescott AZ

    I'm trying to figure out, on a daily basis what happened to McCain's talk of a respectful campaign and discussion.

    Sorry my fellow seniors...this guy is bad to the bone.
    and by the way "I know how to win wars"....would someone please tell me what wars he has won? I keep looking but can find no facts to back him up.

    July 18, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. disgusted Arizonan

    Say What, there's a reason McCain only talks about Obama's record. He hasn't cast a single Senate vote in roughly 4 months.

    July 18, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. Isaac

    Get a grip McCain, we have heard all that you think Obama is but the question now is What are you?

    You are certainly not a candidate for the White House because you have nothing for that office,no plans for the future, get a life

    July 18, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. American

    And the American people have no idea where McSame stands because he Flip Flops so much other than the fact that he would continue four more years of the Bush administration.

    July 18, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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