John McCain on the Issues Equal pay for equal work case was a trial lawyers dream OBAMA: Sen. McCain and I disagreed recently when the Supreme Court made it more difficult for a woman named Lilly Ledbetter to press her claim for pay discrimination. For years, she had been getting paid less than a man had been paid for doing the exact same job. And when she brought a suit, saying equal pay for equal work, the judges said, well, you know, its taken you too long to bring this lawsuit, even though she didnt know about it until fairly recently. We tried to overturn it in the Senate. I supported that effort to provide better guidance to the courts; John McCain opposed it. McCAIN: Obviously, that law waved the statute of limitations, which you could have gone back 20 or 30 years. It was a trial lawyers dream. FactCheck: Pay discrimination still subject to time limits The Statement:McCain explained his opposition to legislation that would have expanded the length of time in which a worker can sue an employer for pay discrimination. That law waived the statute of limitations, which could have gone back 20 or 30 years, McCain said. It was a trial lawyers dream. The Facts:The legislation McCain was referring to was the Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2007. Ledbetter alleged that she had suffered years of unequal pay. Ledbetters case was throw out by the Supreme Court on the grounds that she should have filed suit within 180 days of the first unfair paycheck. The Lilly Ledbetter Act would allow people to sue up to 180 days after the last instance of pay discrimination--not the first, as curren law requires. The Verdict:False. The legislation does not waive the statute of limitations on discrimination suits, as McCain says, but changes the interpretation of when the limitation begins in cases of continuing violations. (was someone, how should I put this, LYING? Voted against MLK holiday in 1983; now calls that a mistake Q: In 1983 you voted against the federal holiday for Martin Luther King. You voted in 1990 against civil rights legislation. Isnt it going to be hard to reach out to minority groups given your history and the history of the party? A: Well, let me say in 1983 I was wrong, and I believe that my advocacy for the recognition of Dr. Kings birthday in Arizona was something that Im proud of. The issue in the early 90s was a little more complicated. Ive never believed in quotas, and I dont. Theres no doubt about my view on that issue. And that was the implication, at least, of that other vote. But I was wrong in 83, and all of us make mistakes, and I think nobody recognized that more than Dr. King. Supported CA Prop. 209, canceling affirmative action quotas On the campaign trail in 1999, when McCain was asked whether he supported California's controversial Proposition 209, a ballot initiative striking down affirmative action quotas, he said: "I support the concept, [but] I thought it was unfortunate we had to go to a ballot initiative to do so." He elaborated, "In Arizona, we've been able to sit down with our Hispanic citizens and talk about how we can help increase opportunities, help with better admissions into our major universities, and we've made grea success and we didn't have to go to a ballot initiative to achieve these goals." Can anyone parse exactly what McCain thinks of affirmative action from that answer? In summing up his views in 2000, the National Journal wrote, "McCain supports affirmative action, although he's somewhat inconsistent on the subject. He opposed quotas, but has denounced initiatives that attempt to eliminate quotas or racial preferences." "Inconsistent" is one word for such a confusing triangle of beliefs. Pro-Confederacy activist continues as top S.C. adviser McCain's refusal to reveal his true feeling on the Confederate flag, a key issue in the 2000 South Carolina primary on which McCain changed his view several times, wasn't his only dalliance with retrograde views in the South. One of McCain's key South Carolina advisers in 2000 was Richard Quinn. As the Nation reported, "Before the primary, Quinn organized a rally of 6,000 people in support of flying the Confederate flag over the statehouse. Quinn dressed up McCain volunteers in Confederate Army uniforms as they passed fliers to the demonstrators assuring them that McCain supported the Confederate flag." In addition to being a political consultant, Quinn is the former editor of the neo-Confederate magazine Southern Partisan. Quinn is working with McCain once again on his 2008 campaign as the senator's top adviser in South Carolina. Confederate flag on top of capitol was wrong; in front is ok Q: Should South Carolina be free to fly the Confederate flag from state buildings. In 2000, you said yes. You have since called that one of your worst examples of political cowardice. That flag is still flying in front of the Statehouse. Should it come down? A: It is not flying on top of the capitol. Yes, I was wrong when I said that I believed that it was up to the state of South Carolina. Now, after long negotiation amongst most parties, there is an agreement that that flag no longer flies on top of the capitol of the state of South Carolina. Q: It is flying in FRONT of the capitol now. A: Almost all parties involved in those negotiations believe that thats a reasonable solution to this issue. I support it. I still believe that it should not have flown over the capitol, and I was wrong when I said that it was a state issue. But now I think it has been settled, and I think its time that we all moved on, on this issue -- especially the people of South Carolina.