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. The Truth

    Since when does how many houses you own, make sense in how a person is able to run a country or the politics of America. Its called being able too, or do you have to be a dirt poverty stricken person to run this country. Lets get down to the economy, energy, and things that matter, not mud slinging for gosh sakes, makes Obama like he is grasping at straws.

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. R.I.F.

    Thanks Molly. I was just about to say the same thing. There are no "private" beaches in Hawaii. But hey, why should the McCain camp start using "facts" in their ads and attacks on Obama now.

    The Obama camp has to hit McCain hard on gaffes and these issues because the media refuses to. If Obama had of said the same thing about not remember how many houses he has this would be on CNN 24/7 by now.

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. Demorat to the bone

    Come on Obama, Let the public know about this two timing, coniving Mc Cain. who cheated on his first wife, treated her like dirt, and than ran off and married his millionaire sweetheart and used her to create his status and now is trying to be president. Obama, even Bush was able to put this hypocrite adulterer away. If woman know about this snake, not one of them would vote for him. He can't bring out crap on you, it was all tried before and it didn't work. We the voters have your back. Shut this old fool up, sent him back to Arizona before he America ends up in another endless war.

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. Shari, NY

    If Sen. Obama takes the attacks lying down you'll call him a whimp – if he defends himself like a man you still fault him. Make up your minds Jeckyll and Hyde!!

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. Eileen from Maine

    John McCain really doesn't want to tell us how many house he owns. Now that McCain has accepted Karl Rove into his heart as his saviour he must use Roves handbook which says to always look in the mirror, find the things about yourself that other people might find disturbing and then accuse your opponent of them.

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Dave in VA

    Yes, Brian Rogers, the guy who worries about the price of arugula DOES want to get into a debate with John McCain about who's in touch with the average American. Why? Because so far the media had given McCain a free ride, and the average American has no idea of McCain's worth.

    It'll be nice to see the McCain camp on the defensive for a change.

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  7. Silvia in Boca Raton FL

    McCain campaign went negative since the Karl Rove's protegees took over the campaign. McCain was the one who wanted to run a fair campaign. What's supposed Obama to do? Just sit down and put the other cheek. Obama has run a positive campaign, just look at some of his ads, but enough is enough.... there has to be a limit. I actually like the fact that he is fighting back. McCain is the one wearing $500 dollars shoes, but again everybody who is the elitist here? Do the Republican Party think that we are stupid?

    And regarding the price of the arugula, why don't the Republican party ask the American-Italians what arugula is? I was introduced to arugula by my husband's Italian grandmother and she was not an elitist. It is easy to grow in your garden, by the way.

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Lacy

    Dear Brian Rogers,
    You are lying, distorting, and grasping at straws. It's quite pathetic, you getting a bit touchy aren't you?

    P.S. Unlike several of your candidates homes, Obama's "million dollar" home is not by any stretch, a "mansion". Whats the average cost of your candidates houses? Just wondering...

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. RDS

    I'm so sick of the people like James saying that's he's wife's house. So what?! He lives there too you are acting like he lives in the guest house out back. They might file taxes seperately but they are still married so what one has the other has! Secondly, I'm so sick of people talking about Rezko. Obama didn't do anything wrong, if he did it would have come out in the trial. He bought his home through a realtor and the only reason why he paid less for the home was because he had the best offer prices offered to the sellers. Every freakin argument the republicans make starts like this...Ayers, Rezko, Wright.....(insert something dumb). It's getting so OLD

    August 21, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. proud army and navy mom

    to james:

    You state in all caps that's the houses are "Mccain's wife's houses".

    Are they not married? It's the property of both of them. my goodness, try reading, it stimpulates the brain.

    August 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Marilyn

    Who cares how many houses he has????? This campaign has gone beyond silly to stupid.

    August 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Richard

    Not only is McCain out of touch with everyday Americans, he's also so senile he doesn't even know how many homes he owns. This man is too old to be president and his mind is already slipping, imagine if he wins what he's going to be like in four years. Most normal people are looking to retire and taking it easy at his age. He is so hungry for power that it overrides any normal person's desire's.

    August 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Derek in Seattle

    McCain actually has an even 10 homes, ranches, condos, and lofts, together worth a combined estimated $13,823,269.

    August 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |

    The point that is so troubling is – could one imagine how much it cost to heat all 4 plus homes in the winter months. Now consider this – McCain wasn't concerned about the high cost of oil until the American public became concerned. That's how different he is from the average American – he's a typical RICH White American male.

    August 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. McLoser Get By

    How does a D student graduate to be an officer?
    Answer: You get your military Daddy to put in a word for you.
    How does someone who's responsible for soldiers dying from a plane accident that he caused–become a hero? Answer: You come from a high profile military background, and you milk the fact that you were captured for 6 years.
    How does an inept Congressman get to be a Senator for umpteen years? Answer: You have an affair with a beer bimbo, and work the system on the Hill towards your benefit. When you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar (Keating 5), you promise you're going to reform and produce a reform bill, that you yourself ignore.

    John McNoChange–Not the person to be my president.

    August 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. Andrea

    Why is McCain's campaign so angry all the time? Obama may not be perfect but he certainly is more "IN TOUCH" with everyday people than McCain!!!

    August 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. Jim-stranded in Mississippi

    Hmmm, just thinking, but if Nader was getting the same coverage by the media... Heck even Bob Barr, some of this silliness would go away and the pundits and us would be focused on issues and who best has the plans to solve them...and the grit...

    August 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. Travis

    elite is owning $500 dollar shoes, multiple houses, private jets.

    not saying obama isn't elite... but it's the age old pot calling kettle black.

    and who cares if the president is "elite" - it's one of the most elite positions in government.

    too bad the people who cling to their guns and religion are also too stupid to understand that mccain isn't for them.

    August 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. Will, NJ (18)

    After running a campaign based off of tackling the issues whilst John McCain fabricates personal attack ads we have seen a decline in Obama's number. It is evident the majority of Americans or at least those who get polled either don't bother to keep informed or are too mentally challenged to make a coherent decision. I only hope they live long enough to suffer the consequences and suffer them hard. Meanwhile, I suppose I can spend my life mired in other people's mistakes.

    August 21, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Roberto

    Aside from the # of houses issue, isn't it interesting in today's headlines that Condi Rice is negotiating with Iraq on a troop withdrawl timeline. Exactly what Obama was getting slammed on a month ago. So is everyone in the Bush administration now 'surrender monkeys'?

    Just shows that the blowhards on the right are real good at sticking their foot in their mouths.

    August 21, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Rich in Seattle

    Don't worry, now that Obama is fighting back, the McCain camp will have many more opportunities in the future to address new Gaffs that McCain will make. I am sure right now he's making one.

    Didn't he just say yesterday that he thought the re-instating the draft wasn't something he disagreed with doing? I mean.... hello?

    'Bout time someone starts calling McCain out on all the stupid stuff that comes out of his mouth. Or does McCain still not speak for the McCain campaign as they once charged?

    August 21, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Anonymous

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

    Obama said he is pro-choice, but not pro-abortion. He didn't think he has the right to tell people what to do with their bodies.

    He also said that when life begins is a moral/philosophical/religious debate that is better left to an individual's own personal morality, and not his decision to make.

    What else?

    August 21, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. Lemon Repugs

    Dear Ice,
    Were you around when we had a SURPLUS with the Democrats? I guess not.

    August 21, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Franky

    Take that Florida!!!! And California!! It looks like you ain't listening to God still....

    August 21, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. MC nj

    We should hear more from the media about McCain's supporting reinstitution of the draft, as reported by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. McCain is dangerous; he is for shooting first and asking questions later. He is quite likely to start WWIII, without making any diplomatic effort to prevent unnecssary military conflicts.

    He say he knows how to win wars, but we need a President who knows how to win the peace

    War should be a last resort in any international dispute.

    August 21, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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