Obama attack on McCain's homes has GOP precedent

McClatchy NewspapersAugust 21, 2008 

WASHINGTON — The Gucci's on the other foot now.

Democrats Thursday ridiculed Republican John McCain for saying he couldn't recall how many homes he and his wealthy wife own. Barack Obama's campaign launched a new 30-second ad calling McCain out of touch, and planned events around the country to call attention to McCain's wealth.

But just four years ago, it was the Democratic candidate with a wealthy wife who owned a lot of houses and the Republicans ridiculing him as an out of touch elitist. Democrat John Kerry and his wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry, owned five homes valued at $33 million, in Boston, Nantucket, Washington DC, outside Pittsburgh and Sun Valley, Idaho.

"He is someone who purports to campaign as a man of the people, but who resides in a whole series of wealthy million dollar chateaus and mansions," said Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt in the summer of 2004. "It's just one more contradiction and example of him being out of the mainstream with America."

The Republicans even launched a satirical website mocking Kerry, based on the board game Monopoly but using Kerry properties in place of the ones in the original game.

"Most Americans can't afford yachts, private planes, thousand dollar haircuts or homes in Nantucket," Republican National Committee spokesman Jim Dyke said in announcing the website.

Then, the Democrats said a candidate’s wealth made no difference as long as he or she was trying to help the little guy.

"I don't think a lot of Americans remember Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy because of where they came from, they remember them for what they did to make America stronger," Kerry campaign spokesman David Wade said then.

Here's what the Obama ad says now: "Maybe you're struggling just to pay the mortgage on your home. When asked how many houses he owns. McCain lost track. He couldn't remember. Well, it's seven."

That is two more than Kerry. No word on the board game.

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