August 21st, 2008
12:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama takes swipe at McCain over houses

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Obama's campaign released a new ad, 'Seven'."]
(CNN) - Barack Obama’s campaign continued to hit John McCain on his failure to answer a question on the number of homes he owns with a new ad Thursday, as the presumptive Democratic nominee hammered the same point on the campaign trail in Virginia and the McCain camp battled back.

Watch: Obama hits McCain on homes

“Somebody asked John McCain, 'how many houses do you have?' and he said, 'I'm not sure, I’ll have to check with my staff,'” said Obama at a Thursday morning campaign stop. “True quote! 'I'm not sure, I'll have to check with my staff.' So they asked his staff and he said, 'at least four.' 'At least four.'

“Now think about that - I guess if you think that being rich means you gotta make five million dollars, and if you don't know how many houses you have, then it's not surprising that you might think the economy is fundamentally strong,” he continued. “But if you're like me and you've got one house - or you were like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so that they don't lose their home - you might have a different perspective. …

He also said that there was a “fundamental gap of understanding” between McCain’s world and “what people are going thru every single day here in America.”

The Republican’s campaign continued to press their long-time charge that Obama himself is an elitist. “Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses?” said McCain spokesman Brian Rogers. “Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people 'cling' to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans?

“The reality is that Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes and opposition to producing more energy here at home as gas prices skyrocket show he’s completely out of touch with the concerns of average Americans.”

The Obama campaign’s new ad, released hours after McCain’s comment was published, also paints the portrait of John McCain as privileged and insulated from current economic woes. “Maybe you’re struggling just to pay the mortgage on your home. But recently, John McCain said ‘The fundamentals of our economy are strong,’” says the announcer in the 30-second spot, “Seven.”

“Hm,” he continues skeptically, as the ad flashes a picture of a house with a foreclosure sign in the front yard.

“Then again, that same day, when asked how many houses he owns, McCain lost track. He couldn’t remember. Well, it’s seven. Seven houses,” he continues. On-screen, the legend flashes: “it’s seven. worth 13 million dollars.”

The White House appears on-screen, as he concludes: “And here’s one house America can’t afford to let John McCain move into.”

The ad is Obama’s fifth negative spot in the past two days.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (287 Responses)
  1. Generation X

    McCain's gaffes are numerous: he doesn't know how many houses he own; he defines rich as having $5mil; he defines Americans struggling to make ends meet as being in a mental recession; he does not support insurance companies from covering birth control pills but supports coverage for viagra ectal for erectile dysfunction; he wants to stay in Iraq for 100 or more years; he wants to auction our children's future with $10bn a month war in Iraq while Iraq has a $79bn surplus. The list goes on and on and on. What a shame that anyone with common sense will even consider voting for him.

    August 21, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Biffington, Biff

    $500 loafers....

    4 "houses"... (never answered how many "homes" as in condos)...

    $100 million wifey...

    family jet...

    bbq's for the press...

    just your AVERAGE Joe... er... JOHN.... right?

    August 21, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. vic nashville,Tn

    I am life long democrat voting for Mc Cain
    Because Democratic Party and their presumptive nominee out of touch with Americans
    1) Congress approval rate is Lower than G.W.Bush
    2) From March 2008 Obama doesn’t know what he saying
    3) Americans want a candidate strong and care about Americans that candidate is Hillary Clinton. Democratic party steal the nomination from her
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    August 21, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. Matt

    Pathetic Obama.

    You must be really desperate, huh?

    August 21, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |

    M R -O B A M A--G I V E--U S--T H E--S O U R C E-–O F--

    T H E -D O W N--P A Y M E N T--O F--Y O U R S-–

    M R--R E S K O ? ? ?

    Dare you to print it

    August 21, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. Lance

    Wow the hypocrisy in politics never ends.

    August 21, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Bill W.

    Obama needs to make a commercial with video of McCain making that statement. The guy makes enough asinine statements like that, and people need to see them. VERY effective!

    August 21, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. Cynthia

    Senator McCain should know that they own at least 10 houses, according to the media. What is he trying to hide or is he just sooooo rich until he can't remember? In a time where most people are losing their houses left and right he doesn't want it put out there because he may be the one who is the real elitist in the Presidential campaign. If he can't tell the truth about a simple question like this what else will he not know the answer too?

    August 21, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. Joe Kiloz

    C N N--G I V E-U S -D E T A I L S-–O F-–O B A M A' S--

    P U R C H A S E-–A N D-–P U B L I C-–H O U S I N G-- I N--

    C H I C A G O-–F A C T S--P L E A S E

    August 21, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Molly

    For those of us that have actually lived in Hawaii everyone should know there are no private beaches! So again the McCain campaign is grasping at straws to make Obama look like an elitist...

    To bad CNN can't do basic fact checks and call candidates out on their mistakes. Are there any good reporters left in this business?

    August 21, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Brian Rich

    Has anyone actually proven that Obama worries about the price of arugula? Or is this idiot just lying to make Obama sound elitist?

    McCain's net worth is in the nine-figure range – totally out of touch with normal Americans. He and Romney should team up and build a newer, bigger White House where they can live with their servants. Or maybe they could build a China-esque hidden city, where only neocons can visit. McCain is used to having so many houses I would think he'd fit right in to his own personal city.


    August 21, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    Sometimes the truth isn't always a positive thing.

    Obama '08

    August 21, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. Election Watcher

    Well, we know that Obama owns at least 1 house, because political fixer Tony Rezko helped him buy it at a fraction of market value.

    August 21, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Conservative and morals don't belong on the same stage as John McCain. McCain's admitted life history of dishonesty and deceit is ugly. Being a POW victim doesn't make it okay for him to have victimized so many women including his ex-wife Carol. You would think John mcCain of all people would have been sensitive and caring for others rather than just himself, but he wasn't.

    August 21, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. Biffington, Biff

    THIS... compared to a guy who just paid off his student loans (in his 40s)..

    JUST made his money less than 5 years ago....HIMSELF

    Raised by a single mom and went to school on SCHOLARSHIP....

    was once on food-stamps as a strggling single mom found her way..

    yeah... THIS is the guy who is an elitist... riiiiiiight.....

    August 21, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. Down with the DNC

    So Obama doesn't go negative? HA!

    August 21, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. Laidetea

    The spokesperson for McCain is a lot younger than McCain himself so it is obviously true that McCain has to surround himself with people who know more about him (McCain) than he knows of himself. That's pathetic. WE NEED A PRESIDENT THAT CAN MAKE HIS OWN SOUND DECISIONS NOT SOME YOUNGER PERSON WITH THOUGHTS OF CONQUERING AMERICA.

    August 21, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Own Up To It John

    At least 4 homes means he has at least nine or ten. Trust me, he knows how many homes he owns. He just didn't know how to answer that question politically. Having nine or ten homes is okay–just don't fudge and hem and haw about it. They're your homes–own it. It's the American way.

    But don't you dare try to call Barack an elitist, when you are ducking and dodging a simple question such as how many homes do you own. I guess the answer won't sit well for all the Hillary voters in PA, OH, and beyond.

    John McWar is a moron.

    August 21, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. My View

    McCain's staff couldn't even answer such a simple question. "More than four"? Why are they being evasive? Seems like am easy to define number to me. Are they afraid that John and Cindy may come off as being rich elites? Too late.................

    August 21, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. mollygonz

    It's about time Obama!! Go for the jugular! We have been waiting to see if you are a fighter. Paint McSame an elitist just like he "tried" to paint you a celebrity. He doesn't know what he's messing with. Get some!!

    August 21, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Christy

    Get' em' barrack. The more and more I learn about McCain, the less and less I like him as a person, let alone as a President of the US. CNN did an excellent peice in last nights "Revealed". It truely showed johnboy's real character – a cheat, a liar, and a traitor.

    August 21, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. Biffington, Biff

    Vic in Nashville... you were NEVER going to vote for Obama.

    August 21, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Abby

    Yeah but obama got his from the sweat of his own brow. McCain married a rich lady.

    August 21, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. k

    OK, now let's compare that to Obama's abortion response debacle...hmm...didn't think so...

    August 21, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Phil in KC

    The McCain response, while aggresive, still comes off a bit weak. Basically, the only defense they had was offense. If you read the related article, though, it looks like Kaine is auditioning for VP; he's taking on that attack dog role.

    August 21, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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