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. Tammie From Ohio

    I didn't know Obama had a voting record, he always voted Present.

    July 18, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. Rose

    McCain DOES NOT EVEN KNOW his OWN voting record, so we wouldn't expect him to know Obama's.

    McCain sinks lower every day. I can't believe the American people would vote for this man.

    July 18, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Illene hebert

    I am posting a comment that i came accross that pretty much sums up the state of this country's economy it reads " republican's economy= privatise the profit and socialize the lost anybody agree with that ?

    July 18, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. Posn

    I am tired of the mess this country is in, it is time for some fresh new ideas. McCain is stuck in a time warp and I not sure were he stands on anything. Keep the american peole focused on Obama and that way nobody will notice McCain. Not This Time!!!!!!!!!

    July 18, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Pat Riot

    He is a socialist and his supporters are littered with people that oppose free market capitalism. I just do not understand why so many of you would invite this into America. It sounds great to have everything provided for you from but you have to give up your freedom. The founded fathers would be irrate if they listened to these ideas. We have lost our Republic.

    July 18, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Bulldog

    Did anyone hear McCain latest Gorilla rape joke? It is very funny and disparaging to women at the same time. He has such a great sense of humor. He also loves to call Asians funny names. He is sooooo funny. Did you hear his joke about hoping to kill all Iranians. Ha, ha , ha, ha, ha. He is a stand up comedian in his free time. Bet you didn't know that.

    July 18, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Jason

    The whole point of his quote was that McCain wouldn't call him socialist– thereby standing aloof from such name-calling. He simply noted the particulars of Obama's voting record, the same sentiments which have been voiced by Republicans as well as Democrats.

    CNN's bias is sickening.

    July 18, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Roger (Dallas)

    Can't we please get this election over with so John McCain will just go away!! For someone who aspires to be POTUS, he is incredibly lax in the way he addresses issues and events and this beginning every other sentence with "Senator Obama" is really annoying. This is the 21st century – America needs a 21st century leader!

    July 18, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Chris P

    Like in your vote to not have the King Holiday??? Be very careful McSame!!

    July 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Steveojesse

    BTW, Americans gave $300Billion of their own hard earned money to other Americans, beyond what they paid in taxes.

    There is no reason to believe that this would decrease if taxes went down.

    Who really wants to live with socialism where property and wealth are redistributed by the government? As it is, we are moving in that direction. Eminent Domain is being used to put up malls and corporate headquarters (Best Buy in MN). Healthcare would be another. While it may seem altruistic to "have everyone benefit", it does not work this way.

    Beware of Obama's plans. More government programs just mean you WILL be taxed more. You will have a lower quality of life as you give up the responsibilities of living to the government to decide.

    July 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Jo Ann

    Think about it McCain has voted the majority for Bush policy. However
    he can complain about Obama is beyond me. He waits for Obama to
    say anything he whatever it is he is the opposite. I am sick and tired of him. How can he has less press coverage than Obama, CNN sure does is it's fair share of giving him press.

    July 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. VON BISMARK, Vienna


    July 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. Bulldog

    First McCain said Obama was irresponsible for saying he would attack Al Queida in Pakistan if their was solid intelligence. Since calling Obama 'irresponsilbe' our miliarty has attacked Al Queida 4 times in Pakistan.

    McCain calls Obama naive and reckless for wanting to set a timetable to get out of Iraq. Next thing you know the sovereign Iraq government demands we set a timetable.

    McCain calls Obama reckless and an appeaser for saying he will sit down with leaders of countries unfriendly to the U.S. 3 months later the U.S. successfully appeases and negoitiates with N. Korea ('axis of evil') and they begin to dismantle their nuclear plants.

    McCain and Bush call Obama an appeaser and irresponsible for saying he wants direct diplomacy with unfriendly countries rather than threats of war. Just yesterday the State Department announces they are sending a top level official to Iran to sit down and have direct talks.

    Obama has been saying Afganistan needs more troops and equipment for a year now while McCain barely mentioned it. Obama makes a big speech about it and McCain follows Obama's coattails and states what Obama has been saying all along.

    Who has the judgement?

    July 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. Anonymous


    There's no need to put "Texas" in your name; just the post would have been enough to figure it out.


    July 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. captain

    I thought Red-baiting was a thing of the past? Is John McCain channeling Richard Nixon?

    July 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. John McOld

    I don't know if John McCain is senile. I mean, he thinks Putin is the Prime Minister of Germany and thinks the country of Czechoslovakia still exists (it doesn't, as of 1993).

    July 18, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. tina

    Yeah and we don't know if McShame is senile?

    July 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Connie

    To disgusted Arizonan , I believe McBush has not cast a vote for over one year. Obama 08

    Connie from Indiana

    July 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. Shannon Shiflett

    More to the left meaning he voted for the interests of the people rather than the interests of industry, he voted for equal rights, he voted for hate-crime legislation, he voted for environmental protections, etc. And that is something to criticize? Should we be happier if he voted more to the right? Do corporations need more? Do we need more war? Do we need more corruption? THANK GOD Obama votes to the left. He can vote even more to the left as far as I'm concerned.

    July 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. obama all the way to the white house

    it seems like mccain,he is running against himself.

    July 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    this coming from a man who has been ABSENT and hasn't CAST A SINGLE vote in the Senate floor for the most part of this year....

    no wonder the senate & congress has the lowest approval rating; and McSame has been there for the last 25 years...What a mcSHAME!

    And to top it off, he doesn't even REMEMBER his VOTING records; what memory does he have to question Obama's?

    McSame = DOUBLE TALK EXPRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. bernj

    It is painfully obvious that McCain, and his far right friends who are gracing us with their neo fascist comments, don't know what a socialist is. That said, I personally would rather have an intelligent socialist than a senile fascist corporate controlled war monger running things.

    July 18, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  23. James in NJ

    Awwww...Come on Mr. McCain. Can't you at least be civil when your chips are down? Calling your opponent a socialist? President Obama doesn't participate in these kind of politcs and that is why he is getting my and so many other Americans votes.
    I can imagine McCain addressing a room full of rogue nations in the UN and things not going America's way...McCain opens his mouth and two seconds later chaos and war left and right.
    Maintain dignity and diplomacy always!
    Obama in 08!

    July 18, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. Brad - California

    John McCain lost it years ago. Today he is too old and too ignorant of the needs of American citizens to produce an even mildly intelligent response to anything.

    July 18, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Michelle

    The reporter brought up the word "socialist"–It wasn't McCain who brought it up.

    July 18, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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