CHICAGO — Presidential candidate John McCain on Sunday endorsed a proposal to ban affirmative action programs in his home state, a policy that Democratic rival Barack Obama called a disappointing embrace of divisive tactics.

In the past, McCain has criticized such ballot initiatives.

In an interview that aired Sunday, McCain was asked whether he supported an effort to get a referendum on the ballot in Arizona that would do away with race and gender-based preferences, known as affirmative action.

"Yes, I do," said McCain in an interview on ABC's "This Week." The Republican senator quickly added that he had not seen the details of the proposal. "But I've always opposed quotas."