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. Marc PDX

    The Russians have invaded another country and have resumed flying strategic bombers off the Alaskan coast (not done since the cold war), Iran is working on nuclear weapons, Israel will probably attack Iran, who know what North Korea is going to do next.

    And the MSM is tossing softballs for Obama to hit over how many houses McCain owns. Sheesh!

    August 21, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Richard, FL

    Talk about ELITIST!!!!

    August 21, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. karen-phoenix

    He owns 8 houses and wears $600 shoes! The "cabin" in Sedona is one of the MOST expensive pieces of property in AZ!!! This man has NO concept of reality or what it is like to live on $30,000!!! He thinks rich is 6 miillion a year?!!!! $50,000 would be rich to me!!!! He also is sooooo living in the past and I for one do not want my grandkids drafted and in wars for ever or until this world is no more!!!! NO McBush!!

    August 21, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. Ken-Ohio

    McSame is so out of touch with the American people on so many issues...economic policy just being just the more critical challenge this country faces. Ultimately, "it's the ecomony stupid" will doom McSame.
    But on another note, McSame, in response to a suggestion by a questioner at a townhall, agreed with the restoration of the military draft. I find no reference to that outrageous thought by McSame on CNN or any other website. If Obama had offered that suggestion, Headline News!

    August 21, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. james



    August 21, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  6. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    So much for a positive campaign from Obama.
    Yet, if we stoop to this level, Obama has a home that was worth over $1million when purchased years ago, in his shady deal with Tony Rezko. Obama himself admitted it was a "boneheaded" move but he didn't rescind it.

    Oh, well, typical politics, huh? Mudslinging on both sides. No new kind of politician here, from Obama.

    August 21, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Obama all the way

    This old man, he played one;
    He played knick-knack on my thumb.
    With a knick-knack, paddy whack,
    Give a dog a bone;
    This old man went rolling home..

    You know the rest!!

    August 21, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Chip

    Pretty stupid comment, but unimportant.
    One thing to note: If McCain starting selling his extra homes, it would do more damage because it would increase the excess housing supply which is responsible for the decline in home equity. One thing that the rich can do to truly help the current economy... is BUY MORE HOUSES. So good, I'm glad McCain doesn't know and I hope he and Cindy don't even think about them.

    August 21, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. McWar, McCoward, McPhony

    Walking around in 600. pairs of shoes, and owning 10 homes is okay. Just don't be coy about it. Come on Mr. Straight Talk–talk. Let's hear you tell people who are suffering one more time, you don't know how many homes you own. That's a wonderful sound bite for Mr. I'm With You America–NOT.

    John left his wife and kids, three at the time for a Barbie Doll beer bimbo. That is the most outrageous to me. This man should not be rewarded. He didn't leave his buddies, but he sure left his wife and kids. I'd say anything he did in Vietnam is null and void. What matters is what he did when he returned home–had an affair with Cindy Lou.

    August 21, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. Joel in Corona

    How about posting a real issue?

    August 21, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Debby

    Well at least McCain didn't get his land from Rezko or hangs with people who bomb the Pentagon. I don't care if McCain owns 20 homes, condo's, boats, etc. etc. he earned them for serving our country and being in a POW camp for 5 years. Obama is so out of touch that 5 million comment was suppose to indicate this is who is very wealthy and who should be paying the highest taxes. Maybe if Obama used his brain instead of having things scripted for him he would understand who should be taxed more and who shouldn't. Small buisness owners might bring in 250 a year and if he starts taxing them how are they gong to survive or even hire on new help.

    Obama doesn't have a clue about payroll taxes, workmans comp. state and federal. I have to say he is about the dumbest candidate the Dems. have had so far.

    August 21, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Chuck

    Both camps make me want to vomit. I'm ashamed that this is all the better America can do for a presidential election. What a shame.
    "Decided not to vote"

    August 21, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Puck

    Yes, Brian Rogers – Obama is ready to have that debate, you dolt.
    Because, no matter how many coats of "elitist paint" your cover
    Obama with, the fact remains: McCain is MORE elitist than Obama.

    August 21, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Chris, NJ

    I think Brian Rogers pretty much summed it up.
    You don't accuse the other guy of being out of touch with Americans when you grew up in Hawaii, make millions of dollars, live in a mansion, take vacations paid for by taxpayers, etc.

    And didn't McCain say he only owned 4 houses? perhaps obama should check up on that.

    McCain 08

    August 21, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. AR


    August 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. Biffington, Biff

    Joe Kiloz...

    google the words: Songbird McCain

    I dare YOU.....

    August 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. john williams san diego, ca.

    Is that the best you got dumbocrats??

    August 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Mccain=Warmonger

    grrrreat Obama is doing it About bleeping time they should have hit him a month ago show everybody the trud Mccain or Mcbush whoever he wants to be today Obama you go get them Republicans good JOb Obama. Obama 08

    August 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Jesse, St. Louis Park, MN

    Obama EARNED his way into Harvard and EARNED his way to being the President of the Harvard Law Review.

    McCain finished next to LAST in his naval academy but was able to continue on with his career because his dad was a general.

    Do I want someone as President who has EARNED what they have achieved in life or do I want someone is been handed everything to them because of who their dad and wife is?

    Give me Obama '08

    August 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. Connie

    Wasn't one of our complaints about Saddam Hussein was he had several houses?I guess McSenile will have many places to vacation in if he is prez, of course that is if he can find them.Some one blogged that he would make a good prez because he knows finances since he owns seven homes. If you don't know how many you own and have to ask your staff, is just how out of touch he is on the economy. OBAMA 08
    Connie from Indiana

    August 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Vicki Webster

    Mr Obama

    How many houses do you own? Please give us a break with you crooked friends. JM al the way to the white house.

    August 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Richard J

    can everyone here, without looking, itemize your investments? Take into account your 401k, IRAs, etc.

    They're invesement properties, ffs. I can't even tell you the balance of my accounts without looking and couldn't begin to tell you where my investments are.

    Why is he any different?

    August 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Christy

    Notice how johnboy was against the confederate flag and referred to it as a racist image. When he received pressure, he changed his stance – now its "heritage". What a coward. Excellent reporting CNN.
    Thanks for giving us the real deal on this fake.

    August 21, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. McLoser & McMistress

    No, I don't want any beer bimbo in my White House. She had an affair with a married man, and we're supposed to have her as our first lady. She's more like our first mistress.

    John and Cindy Lou, the losers of the century.

    August 21, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. CW in DC

    Wow, Obama is going for the jugular isn't he?!

    As much as I didn't want Obama to get down and dirty, the fact that McCain did not adhere to his word of running a positive campaign makes anything fair game.

    Get 'em O!!! And if I had a bat to do some swinging with you, I'd go for the kneecaps. Your supporters got your back!!!

    August 21, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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