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. steveojesse


    I just don't believe the Government should be in charge of mandating donations and redistributing.

    People can do this just fine on their own (if this is socialism, then fine). In fact, people give more when taxed less, especially when they know that there AREN'T gov't programs to help people. Conservatives typically give much more than Liberals (many polls and studies show) .

    We probably agree more than we disagree...and I am by no means super-rich, could have a foreclosure and have had to change jobs. But I'm not looking to government help. I'm looking to church, family and friends...the way it should be. Not the Unemployment Office or a 90 day mortgage freeze from the government.

    July 18, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Uh no, that is not what we judge by. We judge by postion on the war, familiarity with the internet, the ability to keep up on current events i.e- the current names of countries and nations, the ability to come up with answers to questions as opposed to having a *deer caught in the headlights * look when asked an easy question and since I am a women, I also pay attention to how you advocate for women.

    You fail miserably on all account McCain. Miserably!!!

    OBAMA 08

    July 18, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. Jeff D, South Bend, IN

    Tony – you are an idiot of you really believe what you wrote. You whine about France and about the sense of entitlement, and how hard work breeds success, blah blah blah, and that somehow the Republicans represent that.

    Of course what you completely fail to realize is that the Republicans and John McCain take money straight from your pocket, and give it to rich people like me. They do it because you don't even understand the difference, hiding behind all this "patriotism" BS. And they do it while sending your kids over to die in the desert while their kids fly on private jets, live in mansions, and never have to work for a living.

    The irony is astounding, as is the complete inability for people like you to even see it.

    July 18, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Frank

    Of course Obama is a socialist. The Democrats are now leaning so far left...what do you expect??

    July 18, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. Michael New York

    So he's both moving to the left AND center? Interesting idea...

    July 18, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Tony

    Hey, "You Can't Win": I understand your point, but who's holding a gun to your head and making you work at McDonald's or wherever you're working? And why are you there? Maybe you should take a look at the decisions you've made and ask yourself if you could have made better ones. Each of us needs to be doing just that.

    As for "being rewarded for your hard work", just what part of that exactly do you think is consistent with "the more you make, the more taxes you pay"? That's already the case, but Obama wants to make it even MORE so.

    I'm all for controlling abuses from large corporations, loopholes, etc., but when it comes to the individual level, and you're telling me that the harder I work and the more I make, I'm going to have to pay even MORE taxes? Sorry, that doesn't wash.

    I work very hard in an honest occupation and make over $200,000 a year. I worked VERY hard to get here, worked hard in my education, got nothing handed to me, and got to where I was with hard work and persistence. Am I not a "working American"? Or are working Americans only those who aren't as successful.

    My last piece on my rant...one thing we are losing in our country is a culture of accountability. No matter what bad decisions we make, we don't expect to have to pay for them. Take out too big a loan? "The government should bail me out". Didn't study in school and forced to take jobs you don't like? "I should get more money from the government".

    Personal accountability is one of the values that this country was built upon. If we could increase this (and hold corporations more accountable as well), we'll fix our society. But it's a longer term fix, and not one that satisfied those people who, like baby chicks squawking for their worm, are unable or unwilling to wait and work for it.

    July 18, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. P.U.M.A - true democrat for fair camPAINs

    Who cares?

    I know that Obama cheated and strong-armed and stole his way to the nomination.

    That betrayal of the democratic process is why I will vote AGAINST Obama.

    That and the fact that he is unqualified but arrogant, inexperienced but boastful, untested but cocky, unaccomplished but full of himself.

    July 18, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Dave, Illinois

    Yes, Obama and the extreme left wing of the Democrat party are socialist. Actually, the Democrats are truely diverse – economic rhetoric and policies are definately socialist and the Dems war against the unborn and others that cannot vote are much like the German fascists of the 1930's.
    Regarding McCain's response, tell me what was a lie. Look at Obama's and Sander's voting record. There is this thing called a "search engine". Two of these "search engines" are google.com and yahoo.com. Try it sometime.
    Also, I actually read Obama's "The Audacity of Hope". Based upon what I read, the man is a self-loving socialist. I read McCain's "Faith of my Fathers" and another book on McCain "John MCCain, an American Odyssey". Based upon what I read, this man sacrificed a lot for his country and has the character to be a great president. He is the first to admit that he is not perfect, unlike the empty suit Obama.

    July 18, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Rich

    That's pretty low for Mccain...next we'll be hearing Obama is a Communist.

    July 18, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. MD in GA

    This is by far the dirtiest "Anti Smeer" Presidential campaign I have ever witnessed in my life. Who needs the 527 folks or "Swift Boating" with all the negative things coming out of the camps.

    What a joke. 'No negative campaigning." This is anything but positive.

    July 18, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. jp/michigan

    American are beginning to notice Obama's elevated opinion of himself. Obama is a three=year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted 'present' mostly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: HIMSELF.

    July 18, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Riteaidbob

    Only an IDIOT would have even contemplated having this nut job on his ticket. Global warming is a SCAM!

    July 18, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Stephen

    Please, the country could use a little socialism...what's wrong with socialism...trying to help people through social programs...Next McShrub will be saying Obama is a card carrying communist. I hope the news media calls McShrub on this one

    July 18, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. Raymond Duke

    That is the problem with John McCain . He is not really a republican. A real republican would easliy point that problem out. McCain needs to use more of that straight talk that he braggs about and reach down and grab a hand full and speak the truth. Anybody that is not blinded by hate for George Bush and is not intellectually brain dead that listens to Obama's speeches knows this.

    July 18, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Lifelong Democrat

    Who cares anything about Barack Hussein Obama?

    I far as I am concerned, Hussein Obama and his wife are nuts.

    July 18, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Nick

    Obama may have voted far to the left, but the American political spectrum is much different then the global political spectrum. For example: A true conservative would never support the war in Iraq, bailouts for corporations, etc. A conservative is hands off. However, it seems to mean something different to the Republican party in this country.
    Obama may have voted left of a self proclaimed socialist, but that doesn't make him a socialist in the traditional sense. Just because of some generic evaluation of his votes concluding that Obama has a "leftist" agenda doesn't mean anything. Show me a bill with truely Socialist goals that Obama voted for.
    Furthermore, I don't understand why republicans are so scared of socialism as the next great evil of this country. If you are so commited to this premise and conservatism, don't use the post office, don't cash your social security check, don't drive on federally funded highways, don't use anything that is approved by the FDA, etc.
    Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2 and especially McCain were NOT conservative. Thier administrations all resulted or would result in bigger governments. Thier promise of conservatism was always masked with flag waving propoganda, secrecy, and militarism. So if a staunch democrat can be accused of socialism, then all the prominant Republicans can be accused of fasicism.
    Bob Barr is the only true conservative left in the bunch. Republicans please educate yourselves.

    July 18, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. Moe, NY

    At this point in time I would rather be a Socialist than a Republican.

    July 18, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. BR

    Actually, the man has a point. Let's see, tax the rich, government takeover of oil and healthcare, BHO's support of infanticide. Kinda hard to argue against it.

    July 18, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. j q public

    obama is what rev. wright said a polictican he will tell u what u want to hear, by the way did michelle quit that church too ????

    July 18, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Lilah

    Hey Mike from Texas – I'm all for socialized medicine and equality (not "special" protection for gays and lesbians – nice try). And we never should have gone to Iraq in the first place, which Obama knew and McCain did not. Voting for a Republican is like knowingly walking straight off a cliff.

    July 18, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. A. Capitalist

    Of course Obama is a socialist. Socializing healthcare. Raising taxes because it will be more "fair". Unfortunately, the stars all aligned for the American people to be excited about a socialist message. And it may very well lead us into a depression.

    July 18, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. Ken

    Typical right-wing name-calling. This should bring up proud memories of the McCarthy era brought to you by fanatical, reactionary [R]s. Far from 'conservative' behavior, as usual, for the party who likes to reverse-label itself as 'conservative'.

    But if you neo-knuckleheads are lame enough to actually buy into this label, then I'll celebrate jamming this so-called 'socialism' down your throats during the Obama administration. The more you writhe in your right-wing fits, the happier I will be - just as I was during the Clinton administration when all you neo-nitwit [R]s bemoaned how bad we had it, while not infrequently bringing up the spectre of socialism. As you [R] true-believers can see now, as you look up from the stinking mess YOU made of this country, you wouldn't know bad from good, left from right, conservative from liberal, up from down.....if it sat on your head - your lame-brained support of Bush, and now McCain, is ample proof of that.

    If Obama's record is labeled "extreme" by Johnny-boy because Obama actually dared to vote against the money/moral/constitutional giveaway inflicted on us by the previous [R] Congress and the Bush administration, then this is just more [R] double-speak. Obama's record is a proud one that any true conservative can stand by.

    I support Obama and the [D]s, and I'll put my conservative credentials up against any of you right-wing reactionary liberals.

    July 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  23. Self-actualization and manifest destiny

    You folks need to read something other than CNN blogs and also stop trying to be "clever" by adding everything to "Mc". That's all I wanted to McSay. And while I'm on the McTopic, enough with the agism remarks. It draws parallels to racism. Either way it's based on bigotry.

    McFed up with silly McPostings.

    July 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. Truth

    Most of Europe is socialist, and it seems their economies are trouncing ours right now. Just look at the Euro, or even the Canadian dollar versus the US dollar. Why do you think pure capitalism is the greatest now?

    July 18, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    And when McCain moves left of center............is he a socialist? We are splitting political hairs here......vote for what is right or wrong idiots...

    July 18, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11