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. J Kelley

    Every one of your articles on the Political Tickets is either negative toward McCain or positive toward Obama. Nice to see such fair and balanced reporting with CNN. And the news media wonders why they have a bad reputation.

    August 21, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Spencer

    By the way McSame, I am not your friend and we are nothing alike. You never went through the everyday struggle like myself and other poor people in the HOOD. So stop calling me your friend before I jump through the TV and stop your pacemaker.

    August 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Rico

    How have republicans done in the last 8 years? That's all you need to know. Look at the record. End of story.

    August 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. David P. Kronmiller

    McCain comes from one of the most influential military families in U.S. History and his wife and him live a lavish and expensive lifestyle. After seeing CNN's "McCain Revealed" last night it reaffirmed my vote for Obama.

    August 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Joshua

    I'm sad that the campaign has come to this, but it's McCain's fault. If he hadn't wasted so much money and time lying about Obama's tax plan the campaign wouldn't have gotten so nasty. It's just a shame he started it, because McCain's wallet won't be able to compete with a negative Obama campaign. He should have kept it civil, and maybe he would have survived. Now that he pushed the other side to play dirty, he doesn't stand much of a chance.

    August 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Pat Riot

    Wow sounds like Obama is turning into quite the hater. Envy is so unappealing.

    August 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. S.Kelly

    U.S. presidential elections have long been a ridiculously expensive chess game for the wealthy. I can't imagine the majority of the U.S. electrorate will be genuinely attracted to one candidate over another by this latest mud-slinging. These kind of opportunistic media clashes are orgies for the syncophants and handlers with little relevance to voters. Only the wilfully naive will ever believe that a modern president will emerges heroically from his/her log cabin and factory job. A shame when the real issues facing America and its allies are buried under such flotsdam.

    August 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. J

    Anyone who is quoting the "$5 million a year is rich" is totally missing the point, knowingly changing the facts or trying to score points with the lowest common denominator. McCain said $5 million as an arbitrary number as the question was when should the tax rate go up to a high level, i.e. what income level, rich, would warrant excessive tax. He said he doesnt want anyone to face higher taxes, hence the inflated number.

    And give him a break on his first wife, he admitted it was his failure but being apart for many years and coming home obviously stressed isnt conducive to a good marriage going forward when you're life is 180 degrees different from that which you were used to.

    August 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Sarah

    CNN, I can't believe you're letting the McCain campaign keep throwing in stuff about "Rezko" and "Ayers" even though it's long since been proven that Obama did absolutely NOTHING wrong. In articles where Obama has responded to an attack on McCain you've critiqued Obama's responses; please say SOMETHING about how McCain's Rezko allegations have long since been shown to be nonsense instead of just repeating the McCain campaign's responses verbatim.

    August 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. jorday


    Mccain -25+ years US Senate of experience

    Obama – 1 year of US Senate experience and promise a new kind of politics. Change!

    If we can't trust Obama's rhetoric on a new kind of politics. What are we suppose to vote on? his 1 years of US Senate experience v. John Mccains?

    This is just too easy, why haven't republicans picked this up?

    August 21, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Ian

    Not that I'm a McCain fan by ANY means, but I'm sure some of the properties are investments. And are most people p.o.'ed because he's rich, or that he spent some of his money?

    August 21, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |

    John McCain simply lied. Who doesn't know how many homes they own? Everybody, rich and poor, brags to some extent about what they have. If John doesn't know how many homes he has, then how can he keep up with the many avenues of the Presidency?

    August 21, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. rhoward

    Senator McCain's campaign was all for mudslinging until they found out that mud can stick on them too. I wish that both sides would talk about the issues instead of this junk but it ain't likely to happen.

    August 21, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. SUE


    August 21, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Crane

    The fact that he owns seven houses wouldn't bother me as much if he wasn't trying to paint Obama as "elitist".

    And if the McCain campaign wants to start digging out qoutes about religion, guns and arugula, they'd better be careful ("Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran")

    Obama '08

    August 21, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. J.C.

    I think fighting over the number of houses is a negative campaign tactic.
    We all know Cindy is rich, which is not a crime or setback for McCain presidency. The McCain's are older than Obama so they should accumulate more wealth naturally. Buying real estate for investment is practiced by both Republicans and Democrats. I just don't see the merit of this attack.

    Obama camp has to come up with something positive and constructive against McCain. Let's not take the Hillary route. She has done enough damage to Obama. Why repeat it against yourself?

    August 21, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Lisa

    The old codger forgets again!!! No, he did not, but how would it sound to say I own seven properties while the poor people you are talking to can barely make a mortgage payment. McSilly thinks he can fool everyone and as i read these comments there are some real jewels on here today. No matter what you say your candidate is an old fool.

    August 21, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Rennae, VA

    Ice, saying AMEN at the end of a negative and generalizational statement actually shows that your are IN FACT the idiot.

    Please leave religion out of your personal rants.

    August 21, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Annoy the media, Say NO to Obama

    At least McCain paid for his houses.

    Obama got his from a CROOK!!!

    August 21, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. Frank

    Who cares how many houses anyone has, when you're swimming in
    money does it matter if the depth is 10 ft. deep or 50 ft. deep? The issue is which candidate has the most experience in governmental
    affairs dealing with public policy. The fact is most political figures have
    deep pockets financially. Obama's campaign focus is on mundane
    items and not on substance. This guy is pure minor league.

    August 21, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Mercedes

    Americans, hold on to you seats; we are in for a hell of a rollercoaster ride for the next few months. May the best man win (Sen. Obama) if he doesn't then get ready for more of the same republican bulling and maybe just maybe a reinstainment of the military draft. Get you children ready and run if that happens.

    August 21, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. GrandMa

    He has so meny that ofcurse he does not know he is out of tought he is reach and he wnts tax cut for reach and his wife beer company.

    August 21, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. James in Ohio

    And The Obama's spend hundreds of dollars on sleep overs for their girls.

    Face it, both Obama and McCain are wealthy.

    However wealthy does not equal elitist.

    Elitist isn't about having money, it's about having an a better than you attitude.

    a wealthy person person owns several flat screen televisions, an elitist insists they don't watch TV because they are above it.

    Cheers folks.

    August 21, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Chris, Denver CO

    I don't begrudge anyone for having money, but if you lose count of how many houses you own, then you have no business calling someone else "elitist."

    August 21, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. PG

    What comes to mind when one sees Panamanian McCain?


    People this fraud McCain is dangerous, very dangerous for America!

    August 21, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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