August 21st, 2008
11:02 AM ET
14 years ago

Dems jump on McCain's house gaffe


Watch Kaine on American Morning.

(CNN) - Democrats jumped on a comment by John McCain that seemed to suggest he was unsure of how many homes he owned – the latest move in a series of attacks designed to paint the presumptive Republican nominee as wealthy and out-of-touch with ordinary Americans.

“I understand Senator McCain was asked yesterday this question: ‘how many houses do you own?’ And he couldn't answer that question,” Virginia Governor and VP contender Tim Kaine told CNN’s John Roberts in an interview on American Morning. “He couldn't count high enough to know how many houses he owns.

“We have Americans struggling, with foreclosures skyrocketing in Virginia and elsewhere, gas prices, jobs slowing down and the deficit at a record level. We have to have somebody who can change the direction of this economy. John McCain won't do it, but Barack Obama understands the new economy and he will.”

McCain’s wife Cindy is heir to a beer fortune estimated at roughly $100 million.

When asked about the number of houses he owned in a Politico interview published Thursday, McCain was unable to answer. "I think — I'll have my staff get to you," he replied. "It's condominiums where — I'll have them get to you."

The remark comes days after McCain faced criticism from Obama over a weekend remark at Pastor Rick Warren’s faith forum, where the Arizona senator joked that someone would need to earn $5 million a year in the United States to be defined as rich.

The McCain camp later told Politico the Arizona senator and his wife own at least four homes in three states. Other news organizations have reported a higher total.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Natasha

    GOP's are headed to the "Lakes of fire".

    August 21, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. Tzigan

    The dream of owning a home is so beyond the reach of myself and many people my age (I'm 24), that this makes me absolutely sick. I would love to own just one house, and so many Americans can't even do that. THIS is the guy who we want to be president? Someone who can't count his houses and thinks 5 million makes a person wealthy?

    If he was any more out of touch.... actually, I can't even finish that. I don't believe he could possibly be more out of touch.

    August 21, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. BigBear

    I would say that Obama is pretty desperate to have his people worry about such an open-ended question. Did they mean what McCain himself owns, or what the family owns or what the business owns. The Obama campaign would do much better if they could come up with something constructive that Obama has done in his more than 40 years of life. So far, they have not been able to show a thing, nada, zilch.
    P.S. How close to the people do you think Obama is? As close as someone who has been through five years of hell and survived with his faith and morals intact? Or as close as someone who survived twenty years of anti-American vitriol without knowing where his faith lies?

    August 21, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Mike

    Ummmm like seriously....all of the issues facing the country and this is what the dems give me to convince me to vote for them?

    Like for real?

    August 21, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Chris from WI

    I don't understand how someone who doesn't know how many houses he owns, and thinks that $5 million is what it takes to make you "rich," (ignoring the whole 'the poors can be rich in OTHER ways' dodge) can get away with calling a former inner-city community activist and organizer the "elitist" in the race.


    August 21, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. California Gold

    I love it when McCain "wings it". His cadre of staff who prep him must need oxygen administered after his gaffes.

    August 21, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. VA is for Lovers!! I love Tim Kaine!!

    I'm a Virginia resident and Navy Veteran. I voted for Tim Kaine for governor and would absolutely love to see him as Vice President.

    Virginia Veterans for Obama!

    August 21, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Connie

    Can't remember how many houses they own, now is that old age or out of touch?Why is every lie that he gets caught in, he all ways says I will get back to you or I will have my staff get back to you.Why have the media failed to get his follow up on those questions. Like to the vet who ask about his vet votes,because McSenile don't know we can Google his voting record. OBAMA 08
    Connie from Indiana

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. rayster

    If John told how meny homes he had, he wouldn't be one of the regular folks that have lost thiers
    Nice try John but the truth is you know very well how meny homes you have and there are MENY

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Kaine

    Kaine is a fraud. Maybe he is one of the frequent commenters here on the Ticker. He certainly acts like one of the hyenas.

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. W.

    Well, either the man honestly can't remember how many homes he owns, or he doesn't want to make the actual number public – at least in his direct, "Straight Talk" sessions. It's not a good proposition for either scenario. I mean, how many of us on this board would have trouble with the same straightforward question McCain was asked?

    If the Democrats don't blow this up – as well as the "$5 Million" quote – in ads and talking points from her until November 4th, then they truly deserve the heavy mantle of failure.

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. JD in Moraga, CA

    It really is ironically funny that the McCain camp tries to paint Obama as a "celebrity" and "out of touch" when the last time I checked it wasn't the Obama family that invited a group of VP-wannabes to a secluded ranch in Sedona...that, at least, was one property that J-Mac remembers owning...

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. dasd

    Who cares how many houses he has? Being successful makes him less qualified to be president?

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. MB

    Just goes to show how out-of-touch mcbush is with the average American. If elected, he will undoubtedly put his rich friends in the military and oil industries ahead of all the rest of us.

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. Felly

    McCain cannot remember how many houses he owns because he is too old and forgetful. Another reason is that he is used to reading from the scripts like McBush. Take away the script, and he has no clue.

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. Ryan, Denver

    Are you kidding me?!!! Americans have been losing thier homes at record highs and McSame can't even count how many he owns!!! Wake up America! – McSame is so completly out of touch – if this guy can't remember how many houses he has how is he supposed to be able to relate to the cost of a loaf of bread!!!

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  17. Octogenarian

    After watching the revalation of the two candidates last night , it is apparent why McCain wants to overturn Roe vs. Wade. He had many children by his first wife and abandoned them along with his crippled wife for Cindy. He has no respect for women and he appears to be an opportunist. No wonder he had no comment about John Edwards infidelity because he certainly had his share of flings, cheting on his first wife. I question his character and I know CNN want print this because this has to wait for moderation.
    Obma's past is no comparison to this man's lifetime of wrongdoings. His past makes Rev. Wright's connection to Obama insignificant. Rev. Wright must give an acount of his own deeds.

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. BxGrrl

    Not only that, but some time ago one of his houses was featured in Architectural Digest. He doesn't have to worry about keeping a roof over his head – he has many roofs to choose from.

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. Jerry

    I guess you can only own one or two houses to be president. Thank god the Clitons did not get the Democratic bid. They have a few houses they own, and few million in the bank.

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  20. Jimmy

    Right.... and I am sure that Obama and Kaine live in shacks. Please.....

    August 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. Independent, Georgia

    Is he trying to sell any of them? Is he trying to pay double mortgages – oh I forgot – his wife can just buy them outright...

    McBush can't relate to the average person dealing with the mortgage/credit crisis. Remember when Bush was surprised by the price of gas?

    August 21, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. California Gold

    Not many people I know can relate to this old guy who bears a striking resemblance to the Quaker Oat man and can't remember how many houses and condominiums he owns.

    August 21, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Megan from San Diego

    Thank you! It is time for the democrats to start exposing for McCain for the person he really is...

    I don't have anything in common with people like John and Cindy MCain nor do I have any respect for a man that leaves his cripppled wife for a girl 17 years younger than him, who also happens to be hieress to a beer fortune!!! Nevermind the fact that he has totally sold himself out in this election!

    PLEASE, it is Bush all over again. McCain should be the one compared to Paris Hilton, not OBAMA! Wake up people!

    August 21, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. Walt

    OK, all politics aside. If you are asked how many houses you own that question should be a no-brainer, end of subject. If you have to consult with your staff to answer that question, something is wrong.

    August 21, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. Sick of this

    This might actually help McCain. Americans clearly enjoy voting idiots into the most powerful position in the world. McCain's just letting his "bright" side shine. Maybe it'll have the same effect as George "I'll be your drinking buddy but will ruin your country" Bush's campaigns....success.

    Hopefully not.

    August 21, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
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