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. Janet Singley

    Well, since we are going to extremes...If Obama is a socialist, then you sir, would be a Facist Dictator in the making.

    July 18, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. EBC

    McCain keeps proving what an IDIOT he truly is. This man just keeps putting his ashy foot in his mouth over and over. I mean, it's NO wonder he's quickly losing his strong states. Americans are starting to witness his "true colors" when it comes to women issues, issues about our economy.

    HOW can a President NOT be educated and fully in tuned with what's going on in our economy? Dah....just take a look at his buddy Bush, he didn't have a clue and STILL doesn't.

    Americans needs to start paying attention to the "warning flags" .

    July 18, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Independent Fred

    I think it's a fair question..

    Obama's voting record is rather Liberal.
    McCain's is rather conservative..

    Whomever lands closest to Centrist / Populist will get my vote.
    Good hunting men.

    I think America is tired of Yahoo's from either far end..

    July 18, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. Really?

    Come On Johnny Boy,
    What do you mean? Can you give me specifics? You can just say "his record is more to the left than anyone else" and not say what specific legislation you are talking about.

    July 18, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Watermann

    Does somebody remember the McCarthy era? Here we go again!

    July 18, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    It's time for McSame to stop trying to use tactics unrelated to reality and try to speak about issues.

    Oh, I forgot, every time he does, he is shown to be so WRONG!!!

    July 18, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. DflateMacsStr8TalkXpress: Econ MIA, AWOL on facts, POW from reality

    MCain is the man who missed 6 meetings himself on the Senate Armed Services Committee and hasn't cast a vote in 4 months. How rich can it get?! Name calling is for children, Johnny-boy.

    July 18, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. Obama Supporter from FL

    Can McCain tell us whether Czechoslovakia is socialist?

    July 18, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Turning the page

    Senator John McCain used to be one of the truly honorable members of the US Senate. But that all ended when he lost his 2000 bid to be the Republican Presidential nominee to Geroge W Bush. Since then, he has totally morphed into a Karl Rovian disciple. In the process, John McCain lost his bearings and became John Mcsame. He will latch on to any Right wing talking points.

    McCain + a portion of Rove = Mcsame.

    July 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. JA Cook

    Who knows for sure where McCain stands? Is he a neo-con or moderate?

    He tries to be whatever is required at the moment. He's courted conservatives and the middle. He stood with Bush but tries to create separation.

    He claims to be a maverick, but stands with a lot of the old-school conservatives and many of the sources of America's problems, like Phil Gramm.

    He's going to run a clean, non-negative campaign, but goes right at it.

    July 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. DJ Los Angeles

    McCain and your neo-con henchmen are a joke. You people are the same folks that are trying to label Franklin Roosevelt a Socialist and are trying to destroy all his great accomplishments such as the New Deal , Social Security and a number of other programs the vast number of Americans want.

    July 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  12. Linda K.

    Is it socialism to help the people of your country? Consider this.

    Billions go to Israel every year. The U.S. has poured money into the rebuilding of Iraq. I can't even name all the countries that are beneficiaries of U.S. foreign aid.

    And what about health care? Does McCain pay for his own health insurance? No, that's provided by the U.S. taxpayers. McCain and the 534 others enjoy many perks from their jobs in Congress, all paid for by us.

    So is it criminal to ask that some of our money be spent to help us? Whether it's a better, fairer health care system or a stronger infrastructure, the American people deserve more from our government. After all, we're the ones footing the bill.

    July 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. WoMaN4McCain

    Love My USA.....I strongly urge you to up your dose of meds.

    July 18, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. You can't win an occupation

    If we vote based on the candidates voting record, I'd be surprised if McCain gets any votes at all. And for those of you who are whining about us voting for Obama because he's black... if McCain was black, I'd still vote Barrack!

    July 18, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. v.a.

    hahah mcviagra is holding on for dear life. if this is the only thing he can conjure up, then it's looking pretty optimistic for the obama camp.

    July 18, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. Jeff

    Bob Hussein Akmad Jones – "Let me help you John…….YES HE IS. The man wants to take 55% of my pay check to redistribute as he sees fit and many Americans think that is fine. My wife and I make 300K a year and live in Boston and we are not rich. Yet this man when you throw in his social security raises, medicare and capitol gains is going to get easly over half my check"

    Are you kidding me? You make 300k a year and are complaining? It amazes me how many clueless people are here in the US. You think you have it bad...there are people in this country who make 10% and less than what you make in a year and are struggling to get by. We need someone in office who understands that and is willing to do something to help the situation. John McCain wants to keep the Bush tax cuts in place which lets you keep a higher percentage of your pay check then someone making fractions of what you make. In what planet is that a good idea?

    Go get in to your luxury SUV and whine about it to your golf buddies. We don't want to hear it here.

    July 18, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. Amy

    Actually, I've read his early speeches and papers. He's not a socialist. He's a Marxist.

    July 18, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  18. ProudToBeDemocrat

    I never use to believe when you get older you turn to a child now I can see why, Mccain is acting like a child, for God sake he can not finish a sentence with out the mention of Obama. Mr. Mcshame we need to hear what you can do to reverse the failed Bush policy and get Our Country to the right track, Stop bushing Obama everytime only kids do that.

    July 18, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. Scott

    Whatever your political opinions, let's be clear. Obama IS a socialist. Listen to him talk about "fairness" at the expense of economic growth, his church of 20 years practices a Liberation theology which is based in Marxism – Universal Healthcare – tax the rich and give to the poor – yada yada yada. It all sounds good on paper, but it NEVER works in practice. Obama believes that the government knows how to spend YOUR money better than YOU do. That is the definition of socialism and it has been an abject failure wherever it's been implemented in the world

    July 18, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. thomas, toronto

    Sneaky and creepy comments, McCain. You are living up to your party's
    reputation for shameless smearing!

    July 18, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  21. Do it yourself

    The blog attacks McCain... but nobody looks at the voting record and realizes.... it's a true statement!

    Down with facts... just vote Obama... Change for Change sake!

    July 18, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. WeBoDave

    I don't know if Senator McCain is an inept, senile, war monger, evil, chameleon.

    Does anyone else hate the way this site approves comments? My critcisms usually disappear. Why do comments get approved in the middle of things I've read? I think they need a new system!

    July 18, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. Nathan,

    Voters also judge their candidates by how they morph into George Bush. Thats how McCain will be judged come November. This man used to be principled. He's just as far right as he accuses Obama of beng left. Mccain is prostituting himself to every group he's opposed over his career. We should have expected he would change his stripes after the way he changed them when he srtarted cheating on his first wife with the second one because she "wasn't the same woman " after her horrific car accident in Philadelphia. I'm sorry that he spent 6 years in captivity but I agree with with Wesley Clarke when he said that experience alone dosen't qualify him to be President. It appears he was never a maverick at all. He just opposed the Republican adminsitration becasue it was a way to rise above everyone else. He'll apparently say or do anything to get elected.

    July 18, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  24. Becky

    At least Obama HAS a voting record. McCain doesn't bother to show up, even for important votes. It is sad when Ted Kennedy can come in from chemo to vote for the Medicare bill and the only Senator that didn't show up was McCain.

    He also didn't vote on the GI Bill, but was against it. McCain isn't a socialist, but he is a jerk.

    July 18, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  25. Joel

    And now we're name-calling. Nice.

    July 18, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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