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. sharon

    So what! We own three houses. We are NOT rich. We don't live on credit cards. We pay our bills and live wthin our means. We don't want the gov't to take care of us. We believe in taking responsibility for our actions. And we donate to charity!!!

    Barak wants to take my money and give it to someone who doesn't want to work. If you earn money, you should be able to buy whatever you want........four houses, ten cars, 40 pairs of's should NEVER be up to the govt to decide!!!

    August 21, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. ry in FL

    For all you folks who think Obama is going negative. How do you win a fight unless you......well .....FIGHT! Taking the high road doesn't mean laying down and getting your A$$ beat.

    August 21, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Biffington, Biff



    Ever heard of Roosevelt, Kennedy, Clinton????

    Your last decent (debatable) president was freaking reagan...

    Bush II
    Bush I
    (are you freaking stoned)?

    August 21, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Luckyj

    I am a Black American and I clings to my guns and faith and work and love. So I don't think that he was only talking about White Americans. Chaney said that people in West Virginia participates in an incestuous relationship. Get over it. Lets talk about what needs to be done in this country.

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

    oops, i meant stimulates.

    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. Chris

    How about the "57 states", "grand uncle liberating Auschwitz"

    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  7. Patrick Henry, Ft. Myers

    Frankly...both of these guys are more in touch with achieving political power and a continuance of their flawed party ideals–than addressing the serious issues with courage and honesty.
    1- reduction in government growth and spending
    2-decreasing foreign aid payments to to nations whose own taxpayers don't pay as much for defense as U.S. taxpayers.
    3-elimination of over regulation and beauracracy in U.S. healthcare–beginning with the center for medicaid/medicare services
    4-cease using other taxpayers money to bail out banks, investors, and citizens who made poor financial choices leaving the rest of us to pay the tab.
    5-eliminating or drastic reducing our expeditionary armed forces around the globe to force other wealthy industrialized nations to help police the planet.

    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Kim, Charlotte, NC

    There are no private beaches in Hawaii Brian Rogers!

    What an idiot. You see how the McCain campaigng talks to the American people like we are stupid and don't know how to fact check anything. They continue to think we are suppose to believe everything they say. What liars.


    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Verna

    john mcsame is a big liar is true colors are now showing!

    E X P O S E D M C K A I N !

    OBAMA 08

    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. charlie

    if you want cnn to Obama's info about his mortage, also lets oublish McCain;s extra marital affairs, DEAL

    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. E for Obama


    It's about time you hit this fool in the mouth.

    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. creighton

    Sure Brian Rogers, he does want to get into an argument, at least he knows how many homes he owns. Now let's compare earnings and be sure to include his spouse, even though McCain files separately, it's like 3 or 4 times what Obama made. Obama's was for a book he wrote that HE ACTUALLY WROTE and his earnings for 08 will likely be much lower Brian. So Hey like our commander in grief says "bring em on"

    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Sacto Joe

    The difference between McCain's campaign and Obama's is that Obama's campaign uses the truth in its attack ads, and the McCain campaign uses misinformation and downright lies in its attack ads.

    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. JUAN

    Since when is owning multiple houses a crime.Obana's people need to stick to the issues since they are slipping badly in the polls!

    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Dan, IL

    Signs that Obama is getting desperate. It's easy to be positive when the polls are in your favor but things change. Hey Obama, come back to Illinois and do some work – it's your job as a legislator – you need the experience.

    August 21, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Belle2

    Okay, so the McCains own several houses. We know where the money for those houses came from (Bud). Obama has only one house (where does he live when Congress is in session). What we do not know is why he was able to buy his house for $300,000 below market value-or do we. Maybe what we do not know is what he did for Rezco!

    August 21, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Bob Indianapolis, IN


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

    2 kinds of republicans...



    August 21, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. celestine


    When does life begin?

    John McCain: At conception


    How many houses do you own

    John McCain: I will let my staff get back to you.

    Straight talk express??????? Crazy republican followers.

    August 21, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. DarylD

    McCain doesn't know how many houses he owns? McCain doesn't
    realize that Iraq does not border Pakistan? Mccain says there are only
    two important aspects to a Vice President's duties, neither of which is
    replacing the President if he dies in office? We don't need another
    Moron-In-Chief in the White House. Eight years of stupid decision-
    making and Bushisms coming out of our President's mouth is

    August 21, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    "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."

    All thanks to Bush/McCain foreign policy and diplomacy.

    And the house thing was not a softball tossed to Obama; it was a question asked to McCain that he couldn't (or wouldn't) answer.

    August 21, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Los

    People involved in politics at this level are invariably wealthy. There's no point in trying to figure out who's richer.

    August 21, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. I'll Have To Ask My Staff


    Can your staff vote? Because if you have to go to them to tell you how many homes you have, you won't get my vote. And anyone who has to do that is a little senile.

    August 21, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. J.D.

    McCain can tell us when life begins and who is evil but can't tell us how many homes he owns. As it says int he Bible, in John 14:1-3 "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions.." I guess we just discovered God.

    August 21, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Ern

    There is no such thing as a major presidential candidate that isn't elitist.

    August 21, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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