August 18th, 2008
03:19 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama jabs McCain for 'rich' definition


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Obama took aim at McCain for jokingly defining ‘rich’ as earning $5 million or more per year."]

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) – Barack Obama took a jab Monday at a weekend comment by John McCain that the minimum income for “rich” making $5 million a year.

At an economic roundtable discussion of the economy Monday in Albuquerque, Obama accused McCain of “peddling” President Bush’s economic policies from the past eight years, including tax breaks for the wealthy.

“Which I guess if you’re making $3 million a year, you're middle class,” said Obama, admitting that maybe McCain was joking.

But that's reflected in his policies,” Obama continued, “where for people making more than $2.5 million, he's giving folks a $500,000 tax break. And so this is a fundamental difference in this election.”

Both candidates appeared, separately, at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church on Saturday for his “civil forum” on faith, values and leadership. Asked to define “rich,” McCain responded that it should be defined by a home, a good job, education and “the ability to hand our children a safer and more prosperous world…”

“So I think if you’re just talking about income, how about five million?” he later added. “I’m sure that comment will be distorted, but the point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low and increase revenues.”

Asked the same question earlier in the night, Obama joked that it was book sales of 25 million referring to Warren’s bestselling books. He then declined to give an exact number saying that it depends where one lives but that $250,000 a year means “you are doing well.”

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds responded in an email saying that Obama is “shamelessly distorting” McCain’s comment.

"Remember when Barack Obama said he was ‘tired of distortion, name-calling, and sound bite solutions to complicated problems?’ Neither do we," wrote Bounds.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (172 Responses)
  1. Obama is the dumbest candidate ever

    Obama thinks 55K+ is rich. A lot of finance people are ripping his tax plans, especially the one that will reinstate the marriage penalty.

    Way to go, Obama, penalize us all, if you get elected. That's what your lemming fans want, obviously.

    August 18, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Please Love Me and Post My Stuff

    I think anyone making more than 150,000 a year is rich and needs to pay a little more in taxes!

    August 18, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. jabbing Obama

    Obama has no idea what he is talking about.

    Best, he can make fun of others, but does he not know that not all Americans have rich friends like him who can "gift" million dollar home.

    And what kinda tieup he has with wireless operators, Obama has been asking for texting messages all these days ?
    Must be gtting big "funds" from wireless companies.

    He must know it costs money to send text messages.

    August 18, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. fella from Chicago

    Well Barack, I guess that makes you and the good Senator from Arizona rich. So what's your point?

    August 18, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Willy

    There's a shocker!

    August 18, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Abby

    Thank you senator Obama. And poster above – Senator Obama said 250,000 is the cut off line for no taxing not 55K . Why is it so easy for you to lie?

    August 18, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. Hello!!!

    BO is just rediculous.

    August 18, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  8. McLAME is OLD

    5 Million McOLD w/ $500 shoes

    Hey John, which of your wife's 10 houses did you sleep in last night?

    August 18, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  9. SUE, Michigan

    Bounds' comment doesn't even make sense. "Neither do we" what? McCain has been the one doing the majority of the name-calling,distorting, lying, and giving sound bite solutions and answers. The American people may have fallen for the garbage in 2000 (although not really...Gore DID win.) And we certainly fell for the scare tactics of 2004, but one can only pray that we are all wiser now, and will see through the charades and the "my friends" rhetoric. I am not McCain's friend when he wants endless war, no taxes to rebuild our highways and keep our schools going, but endless money (from where exactly?) to fight overseas due to a threat of our own making. No way, no how, NEVER!

    August 18, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. EDW

    McCain's cross in the dirt story is stolen. Google the name of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. It's a Russian's story.

    August 18, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. NoMcSame

    He was rich enough to buy the questions from Rick Warren on Saturday. What a SHAM that was. Rick is a TRICK.
    Ran out on his wife for the money. What a slimeball McSame is.

    August 18, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. Lisa

    Obama thinks saving $30 is not a lot of money, that's a lot when you only have $1.00 in the bank.

    August 18, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. Former GOP Allen TX

    McCain lives in a world of wealth; his wife and he are worth over 1 billion. Of course to him $5million is considered rich just not filthy rich like him and his wife.

    August 18, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I don't blame McCain for saying rich as earning $5 million a year because Cindy is worth $100 million or more that's why he left his wife and married her. In other words, if you don't change your values and leave your spouse for someone who is rich, it's your fault.

    August 18, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  15. peekay

    to your comment –he diod not say 55k he said 250.000 and about so get it right

    August 18, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  16. Liberty!!

    Blah, blah, blah.
    I don't care where you set the limit on "rich". Both McCain and Obama will increase taxes! If you don't see it in your income tax, you will see it when your employer lays you off because their corporate taxes went up. Most of America is small business...the bakery on the corner that is scraping to get by. That owner will be taxed. You will suffer, maybe with higher prices.

    Until government is reduced and taxes lowered we will continue down the wrong path.

    Vote for Bob Barr!! Libertarian!

    August 18, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. LS

    Well, McCain should have least given one descent answer to the questions he was asked. If McCain gave a 5 million dollar answer, where does distortion come in? There isn't any distortion if that's the answer McCain gave.

    Obama has every right to address McCain's irresponsible response.

    August 18, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. Que Quedas

    well it is easy to distort ones comments when all he says are jokes.....we are trying to find the president.......this is not comic view.......but maybe it is whem dealing with McCrappyjokes

    August 18, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. Enlightened Voter

    Okay mccain, since you seriously lack poor judgment, here it goes – tax breaks for the rich which you propose, better called trickle down economics proved with the last 8 years THEY DO NOT WORK. I am a little tired of giving the rich all the tax breaks so I am voting for Obama who wants to give me and my kind (anyone making under 250,000 dollars) a tax break.

    August 18, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Buck12

    If he wins, the day Obama is elected President will be a sad day in the history of this country, mark my words. He is faint-hearted, a flip-flopper, bent on raising tax, and is more worried about his image than doing what's right. For Obama, it's a popularity contest just like the ads against him state.

    August 18, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  21. McCain Mutiny

    McCain is out of touch and irrelevant.

    August 18, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. RFP

    doesn't matter. we should have lower taxes for everyone. everyone benefits from tax breaks.

    August 18, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. Clinton/McCain

    Hey Obama, I'd like to know what title you will give your grandmother in your administration? She is one of the wisest people you know that you would turn to in your administration. That's what you said.

    August 18, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. I used to be a Democrat

    Barack Obama is the biggest idiot to run for President since John Kerry. I can't believe how far the Democratic Party has fallen...

    August 18, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Moderate Democratic, New York

    I have to admit, McCain came across much, much articulate than Obama did at Warren's interviews.

    August 18, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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