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. Manuel TX Obama a millionaire too?

    Why yes, I believe that he is.

    Does he live in a multi-million dollar home?

    Yes, I believe that he does.

    Neither candidate is going to win this type of argument. 🙂


    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. offwallst


    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. SteveC

    Obama fails to mention that his house is worth about $1.5MM, while most homes in that part of Chicago aren't worth much more than about $200k. And who's out of touch with the American people....surely not the Ivy-educated, raised abroad, less than 2 years experience candidate running for the most important office in the land?

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. California Voter

    Now how important is this issue. When Obama gets tough does he just grasp at straws?

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. Lynda

    McCain is out of touch with the average American.

    Most Americans know how many homes they own or in the process of losing to foreclosures.

    In Novembder, most Americans will vote according to their pocketbooks.

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Johnny Gentle

    HAHA! Hilarious. Out of touch old man McCain.

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Viet Vet

    Lesser of two evils?

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Jamie -- Asheville, NC

    Sadly, I don't think a majority of people in this country care about things like this...the fact that McCain owns multiple houses (and can't keep track of just how many) while normal people can barely hang onto their own doesn't really *matter* because McCain is a war hero.

    It's really disheartening that McCain has so many glaringly obvious character flaws, etc. that people are (I guess) willing to overlook just because he was a POW and somehow that makes him more patriotic than Obama.

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Brian

    Oh boo hoo. They're probably his wife's houses anyway. And thank God I live in a country where it is possible to earn money without the government stealing it. CNN let's hear some more about why Obama is crashing and burning in the polls.

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Louis345

    Joe Kiloz not sure what you saying there buddy, buts stay on the topic.

    How can you vote for someone that is out of touch of everyday American Life. We all know that democrats are the best party for spending responsibility, for creating a surplus of money not debt, and most importantly improving our education system.

    You are willing to elect someone that said this: "that in the 21 century we don't invade foreign countries". We don't have a moral leg to stand on thanks to people voting in George Bush. Guess who supported the war in Iraq?

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Blonde

    Yeh, Abby...not only did McCain get his $$ from marrying a rich lady, it was a rich lady he was dating while he was still married to someone else! We need better family values than that in the White House and a self made man like Barack Obama works for me.

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. jojo

    First of all, the reason congress has such a low approval rating is because they refused to impeach Bush for all his crimes. As for Obama, he's just a bright, hardworking guy who doesn't want his country to go down the tubes via the policies of the ultrawealthy. Basically if you like the economy the way it is, vote for McCain. Otherwise Obama is the only option whether you like him or not.

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    I also worry about the price of arugula. And gas. And healthcare. And food. And everything else.

    Does pointing out that Obama is worried about the price of something (even a vegetable) really help McCain's cause when we're talking about owning multiple homes and a net worth expressed in nine figures?

    How about the fact that he couldn't respond without a handler feeding the answer? That is the real issue.

    The man is not fit to be president.

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. Vet in S.A.

    Nothing wrong with being rich is there. Isn't that what all those who are struggling want?? To be rich, right?

    The libs are just loving that there are so many people hurting right now, means they can grow gov't even bigger, keep people dependant on the gov't so they'll keep voting for them. Bigger, kinder gov't is not the answer!

    Quit depending on the gov't people, get a job and don't be stupid with your $$, live within your means, don't buy a house you can't afford and then cry you're losing it, it's your own fault. Plus how many of those fourclousures were from people just trying to flip houses? Once again their fault, not the gov't.

    August 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. Franky

    Ohhh man, that was pretty good...I gotta come up with some more of those...

    August 21, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. songbird54

    This is to Brian Rogers. Perhaps if you would stop telling lies about Sen. Obama and start telling the truth about McCain how he wants to continue to waste $10 billion our our tax payer dollars per month in a country that wants us out you would be much better off,

    August 21, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. Joyce

    We know where McCain gets his money but where does OBAMA get HIS?????
    Has Michelle done what Mrs. McCain has done with some of her

    If for no other reason than Mrs. McCain I would have to
    vote for her husband.

    August 21, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Dave

    I saw somebody earlier saying that McCain owning so many homes proves he can handle money. Not knowing how many homes he has proves he CAN'T handle money... he doesn't even keep track of his own investments! He has no clue.

    Besides, if you really believe that McCain's wealth proves his economic prowess, then maybe you think he can fix the national debt by marrying a rich woman. McCain's money mostly came from Cindy, not his own skills.

    August 21, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. California Voter

    Obama must have so much money to waste that he would even consider spending money on such a meaningless matter.

    August 21, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Donna from Colorado Springs

    McCain is really a sad and confused little man. If you think that the economy is basically sound and you're so rich that you can't remember how many homes you own, you have no business being the next president. You will never understand how ordinary people struggle every day to make their mortgage payments and pay their bills. So what, if you're strong on foreign policy! Foreign policy don't pay the bulldog! You can't connect with anyone below your income level.You stumble and mumble through every answer and it's really embarrasing to watch. I'm sorry John. You're just too old to lead this country.

    August 21, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Unify

    McCain is disgusting! THOUSANDS of people have lost their homes, their jobs, and just about everything they have. And McCain plans to continue on with the same FAILED economic policies. He runs an entirely NEGATIVE campaign with enormous donations from the US Oil Industry that robbed us blind over the past year. And he has the nerve to call Obama an elitist?!?! What kind of person would actually vote for him?

    August 21, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. marcus

    This man wants to be the next president of the united states? Think about this, it doesnt take a rocket scientest to figure this out.

    August 21, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. RJ

    Joe Unger San what is Obama to do? Let McCain have 9 out of 10 negative ads–where he says nothing at all about what he would do if president (obviously because he has no plan) and not fight back?'ve got to be kidding, right? The houses are in his wife's name? you can't possibly be for real? Wow, don't even know how to respond to something that ludicruos.

    August 21, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. S Callahan

    This is one of those stories- what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
    When you give it out Sen. McCain you have to take it.
    I am glad Sen. Obama is stepping up to the plate and giving it's about time!
    Sad thing is, I like both candidates but for the sake of our country I think Sen. Obama is the one who has grasped the vision of the American public who don't want a police state, lifelong military mentality, loss of constitutional rights; who want peace with compromise; who care about matters of the world , homefront, and their local communities and for people like me who wants their right to religious freedoms protected.

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. Joe, Chicago

    These elitist claims are just nonsense, and represent nothing more than a distraction from our real economic problems. Both candidates have money, so what? Last I knew, it was ok to earn lots of money, accumulate wealth, and own real estate.

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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