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 supporter:White, 60 year old woman

    Obama i..ever: You, like your candidate, are lying. Obama clearly stated at the forum that his benchmark was $250 000. Do your research!!

    McCain's "answers" at the forum did not offer one single thing to middle and struggling workers or any suggestions of how he would correct the problems that are crippling the economic and social fabric of America.

    August 18, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Redneck4Obama

    Fool Obama said $250,000 and not $55,00.

    UR the real DUMMY

    August 18, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. Jane, College Park. MD

    You are really unbelievable "Obama is the dumbest candidate ever at 5.01p.m".
    What your I.Q. is? Better still, you think you are smarter than Obama? Obviously not! If you were, you would not say that Obama ever referred to anyone earning $55+ as rich.

    You Repugs have made millions of dollars off the Iraq war with all your defense government contracts. I hope you can sleep well at night with the thousands of innocent American blood that has been shed over this 'Iraq invasion'.

    Anyone who earns over $250,000 is not poor!!!!!

    August 18, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. PUMA

    Same old Washington politics, eh BO?

    August 18, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. Louis

    You are the moron–your candidate supports a war that never should have been fought that has cost American taxpayers $700,000,000,000 and is projected to cost upwards of 2 trillion. McCain also supported the Vietnam war, another complete debacle that wasted countless lives and billions of dollars.

    August 18, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. I'm Still Whining

    Well, his wife made 6 million last year, so maybe McCain's telling the truth.

    August 18, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. Jason

    Brilliant comment.

    How's trickle down economics working out so far?

    Your completely uneducated, distorted comment is so very typical of what's wrong in a country where millions of angry conservatives will vote for four more years of miserably failed and outdated policies just to ensure they're on the "winning" side. One day maybe, we'll get back down to thinking through our positions and not blindly following along when our "team" is roaring down the wrong path, but I don't hold out much hope for that.

    If you don't think you are already being severely "penalized" by the current economic approach in place, you're either seriously misinformed, or you own eBay. Either way, take your old tired act back to Hannity or whatever FOX rock you crawled out from.

    August 18, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. McCain is the man

    As a member of McCain's Rich friends I can tell you it isn't easy getting by on just a few millions. Sure gas is up, but the cost of a Hummer is through the roof. And while I wouldn't spend only $500 on shoes like my man McCain, the really nice ones are almost $1000.

    August 18, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    Good to know that the presidential candidate who seems to think he's economically up-to-speed actually has no clue what the tax brackets look like! Sounds like we'll be in for 4 more years of the rich GOP cronies getting more tax breaks than they need if we elect McCain!

    August 18, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. Get your facts straight!

    Obama NEVER said that 55K is rich! If people would start listening to him instead of all the lies the repubs are spreading, maybe the poeple would make smart comments! He defines rich as 250k and above!!!

    August 18, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Linda from Prescott AZ

    McCain has a sugar mommy so he doesn't know anything about dollar values.

    August 18, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. feeble minded people for McCain.

    McCain i'm the biggest free trader.
    visits to Mexico and Canada......... take our jobs it is good for you.
    Hom many jobs have you lost? When he is president, many other unfair trade deals will be signed. With tax cuts for the rich, that means more debt for your children. No health care, stay in Iraq for years with no articial time table for all we know it could be for another 100 years.
    McCain is an empty suit, defining the rich as any one with 5 million.How many Americans do have that?
    McCain a risky choice.

    August 18, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. fred

    I don't think people should be taxed for working hard to get where they are in life. Why should people be punished for getting somewhere? In other words, Obama thinks that if you live out the American dream and make it big, you should be taxed more. That is not the right mindset. I believe a flat tax is the way to go, specifically the fair-tax, so people are taxed on what they buy, and not on what they earn. This is also what McCain proposes. He's smart. Obama isn't.

    Oh, and I heard the Saddleback forum, and yes, McCain was joking when he gave that 5 million remark.

    August 18, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. ANGIE

    Mcain is so out of touch with the average american here is some examples 500 dollar shoes, private jet, 6 houses, 700 thousand dollar credit card limits, his children not from his first marriage because he left them have 50 thousand dollars credit card limits now tell me is that the average american?????????????

    August 18, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Nick

    I don't think there was anything to do with that comment except distort. I don't see how or why McCain thought that would come off as funny.

    August 18, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. BR

    The Messiah brain washed children are out in full force. The Chosen One will heal all...give me a break.

    August 18, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    What about him stating that he would go to the Gates of Hell to find Osama Bin Laden.

    So sad.......................

    August 18, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Mike, Vancouver BC

    For those of you who have commented prior to this, open your eyes. The financial plans going forward are larger than you may realize. How much money do you think will go towards McCains Warmongering over and above your every day taxes. The overall effect will be staggering. John McCain in the long run will cost you by far more than Obama. Don't forget "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, and also the important vetoing of all beers and support for Jerome Corsi.

    The costs are not only financial, rather they include social, economic, political and religious costs.

    August 18, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Veronica

    It's good that McStupid doesn't want to raise taxes, after all, we don't need to pay for anything! The goodwill that the rest of the world feels for America will prevent them from ever calling in their debts. Wee, I'm stupid!

    August 18, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. steve

    250,000 is not rich. 250,000 is doing well for yourself. apparently nobama wants to punish people who did even that well.

    why can't nobama just find a way to spend less than 3 TRILLION dollars a year? that should be a lot easier than raising taxes and robbing us all a bit more.

    why don't we just invite karl marx to be nobama's VP, then we can take every penny anyone makes over 250,000, redistribute it to fat cat politicians and the contractors in their pockets with bloated wasteful projects, and all be equally miserable. welcome to the democratic party

    August 18, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. Voter

    McCain thinks financial woes are "funny"

    Drilling will create a "psychological" impact

    We should "bomb bomb bomb" Iran

    Won't reject the notion that we are a nation of "whiners"

    Say's it's OK his aides were former lobbyists and paid $800k by Georgia

    Says we are all "Georgians"

    Jokes about putting his wife in a topless beauty contest

    Won't address the nuclear plant problems in Europe, reactor leaks on the USS Washington or answer how we'll take care of reactor waste.

    Flip flops more than Obama

    August 18, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    McCain is completely out of touch with average working people and their needs. And he and his followers are irresponsible to think that giving more tax cuts to the wealthy is sound economic policy. If he is allowed to continue the disastrous economic policies begun by Bush and pushed so vigorously by the neocon Republicans, this country will be bankrupt and soon the only remaining jobs here will be rickshaw pullers for visiting wealthy Asian tourists or cameltenders for visiting wealthy Arab sheiks. Get smart, people: WE CANNOT AFFORD 4 MORE YEARS OF BUSHONOMICS UNDER McCAIN!

    August 18, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Hillary and Barack- fighting for Change

    That's what you get, Senator McBush-

    Know you know what it feels like to have your words distorted or taken out of context- just like you all have done with Barack and Michelle.

    Even Laura Bush defended Michelle- so I guess that means Laura Bush must hate America also-

    August 18, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. DR. YES

    out of touch mccain scores another dumb remark.and republicans eat it about sheep.

    August 18, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. Chris from San Antonio

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

    Does Mccain?

    August 18, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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