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. Amy

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

    Um, er...since when is stating facts about the VERY limited public record of an ex-community organizer disrespectful? And I love how the Obamatrons attach a despicable personal attack while disparaging a legitimate comment about an opponent's record. It's as if the blatant diametric opposites were somehow invisible to the average reader.

    I started reading the various blogs and commentary pages during the primaries, and if there is one thing that is absolutely crystal clear, it's where the vicious attacks are coming from: straight from the Obama campaign and it's Delirious Dupes. As a Republican, I watched what they did to Hillary and Bill Clinton. It was beyond disgraceful. The same is happening to McCain, except McCain isn't falling for it, so Obama screams foul even when the expected criticism is precisely about his public record.

    Prince Potus has about the thinest skin I've ever seen in a politician. His childish defensiveness makes Richard Nixon look well-adjusted. And it points out another troubling aspect of the Obama persona: he doesn't have a sense of humor. Nada (the eating his waffles doesn't count). Just think. A President with Richard Nixon's personality and Jimmy Carter's foreign and domestic policy.

    July 18, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Ray

    We rank something like 45th in the world in life expectancy, 37th in the world in infant mortality rates, and we have (by both number and percentage) more people in prison than any other nation, including China. And we are worried about whether Obama is socialist? Maybe if we learned something from socialism we wouldn't have these issues. McCain, you can do better than this...or maybe you can't.

    July 18, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. jr california

    hey, if you're worried about obama being too socialist, you should google a little thing called "the new deal". it got the country out of the great depression. take a look at some of the ideas in it. you people need to get your head screwed on straight.

    July 18, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. Tony

    "Socialist"'s comment is right on. Again, if you Obama supporters have the guts for it, look long and hard at socialist countries. IT DOESN'T WORK.

    I suppose I do have some faith in our system, however...while it may take a long time of pain to recover from where these socialist policies could take us, eventually it will simply be a blot on our history; evidence of a moment where our culture, at its most lazy, selfish and unproductive peak, managed to take us away from the values and principles upon which our country was founded. Sooner or later, laziness will no longer be fashionable or rewarded.

    July 18, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Mike T

    But which one voted to sell our ports to Dubai?

    OH, that was McCain!

    July 18, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. James Hussein, SC

    Why stop there?
    Why not call Senator Obama a Communist while you are at it?

    Wait, you are the communist, since your POW days.

    July 18, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. Frantz

    pathetic McCain!!

    July 18, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. Dan , TX

    I don't know if McCain is a fascist, but you'll have to look at his voting record and his support for torture (flip-flop) his support for destroying the constitution in favor of increased presidential power for George Bush, support for domestic spying on citizens.

    McCain is no libertarian, that's for sure.

    July 18, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Kelse

    Obama pretty much does represent socialism... its amazing how blind everyone on this post is... you don't care if the claims against Obama are true, you are just blindly following. Show how uneducated half this country is..

    July 18, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  10. John in Columbus Ohio

    Apparently McCain gets his campaign coverage from RedState.

    What a clown.

    July 18, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. You can't win an occupation

    McCain's philosiphy, "Wow, you're so rich... have some more money!!!"

    July 18, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  12. Glenn

    McCain has removed all doubts that he is not a Christian. The way he treated his first wife and children, his divorce and his affair with Cindy while still married to his first wife, had been a great source of concern. This last action was the clincher. He lacks character, honor and integrity.

    July 18, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. James

    This is the worst kind of politics and a perfect example of what the Republican strategy is for Obama.

    Throw out a lot of ambiguous statements and questions about his past, his morals, his patriotism, "true" belief system, is he really a muslim, is he a socialist.

    How do you prove a negative?

    The tactics of fear at its best.

    Obama is a boogey man. You don't know what the monster is under the bed or in the closet.

    Sad and pathetic. It's just unfortunate that so many Americans continue to vote against their own self interest and continue to support the Republican GOP (greed over people) Party.

    July 18, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. joe in VA

    Once again the Obamaniacs can't stand to face the truth about their annointed candidate.

    McCain didn't say BHO was a socialist, he said his record was further left than a self-described socialist in the senate.

    The Obamaniacs cry foul when BHO is criticized but spew hate at nearly everyone else.

    Instead of lamenting how McCain is running such a "low" campaign, why not defend BHO's senate record? So Obamaniacs....what sort of record DOES your candidate have? Have you even bothered to look? It won't take long, there's only 2 years worth....

    July 18, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. Matthew J.

    Well said, Mike–
    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

    It's too bad the rest of the country doesn't realize what a hopeless socialist Obama is.

    America cannot afford Obama as President!

    Anybody but Obama '08!

    July 18, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. Lyle

    The National Journal, a Washington weekly magazine, ranked Mr. Obama as the most liberal Senator of 2007. Mr. Obama has, in recent months, attempted to make himself appear more moderate in order to persuade voters to choose him. Sadly, Mr. Obama cannot run from his record, thin as it is. The false façade which he has created will eventually crumble and we will be left with the real Mr. Obama, a frightening and dangerous prospect.

    The DNC, or perhaps the O-DNC as it currently stands, has truly lost touch with the majority of voters and the majority of Americans. Regardless of the many issues voters may have with Mr. McCain, ultimately, he is a much safer and more logical choice to run our great nation.

    July 18, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. NickNas

    This poor man doesn't even know what he had for breakfast on Monday. He doesn't remember his votes, he doesn't even remember his own service record and has built it into a virtual Rambo Movie ( Just don't ask him to release his Military records like Kerry did to confirm HIS record HE REFUSES)

    July 18, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Mike in Severna Park, MD

    Before McCain opens his mouth again about Obama and his positions on issues, he, himself should actually have a position on an issue. Can anyone define his positions for me? Or should I ask Lieberman, Gramm and Black what he thinks?

    Obama, please debate him soon so the world can see he is a house of cards.

    July 18, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. John in Columbus Ohio

    The Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Socialist.

    Why does McCain hate the Pledge of Allegiance?

    July 18, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. DJ

    Well, sure he's got some views and perspectives that could be considered socialist. But listen folks, socialism is just a political philosophy/approach. In and of itself, it isn't good or bad. So what if Obama is a socialist, which he clearly doesn't identify as anyway so this is obviously just a stupid McCain move of desperation to do exactly what Obama has said they'd try to do – scare people.

    July 18, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  21. Kelse

    Mike – Texas

    I have to say that is the most absurd comment... mixing capitalism and socialism???!?!?! HAHA where did you get your degree. Being someone on the other end of the spectrum (wealthy) i don't want my taxes being higher so that you can have things offered to you for free. Simply ridiculous. Get an education, get a job, and work for your happiness.

    July 18, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. Paula "Hussein" Mack

    Every night at dinner I say to my husband "That John McCain is such a kookster! " as I rattle off the absurdities he has spoken that day. He isn't quite as amusing as Dubya..I mean who can top "I am the decider!" but he is great for a few laughs.
    Obama is the refreshing politician to come along in 40 years and he can string three words together without making any ludicrous mistakes!!
    I cannot fathom how anyone would want this inept old guy to finish off the destruction Bush has almost completed.. there won't be much left America but shreds.. and tatters.. get a grip..

    July 18, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Rick

    Of course he's a socialist. To believe in the democrat party agenda you have to be a socialist to one degree or another because that's what they stand for. Of course when you mention that word they all react like Linda Blair to Holy Water but they are what they are.

    July 18, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. Bob Stephens

    Let's see, McSames party are the first ones to bail out the failing Banks ( Corporate Welfare aka socialism..) They wont help the small guy, but the rich will get a government handout anytime there is a Republican in charge. Oh, by the way, McSames history with the Keating 5 will give you an idea of what to expect with him in the White House.

    July 18, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Here we go again..................just like the question to Hillary if she thought that Obama was Muslim.. response... I don't beleve so???? These old time politicians are JUST RUTHLESS and vague. This is nuts ? There's socilaist parties here in the USA for Socialists to run in. I hardly think that All who have endorsed Obama ( Kennedy, Gore, Clinton's, Byrd, Nunn, etc.) would be endorsing a Socialist. This must have been a PLANTED question from a PLANTED Republican/McCain Supporter. Lets TALK real issues and stop attacking spouses, gym habits, little children, and make believe religious choices....and now.....political idealology.

    July 18, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11