WEST CHESTER, Ohio (CNN) - It’s not uncommon to hear Democrats accused of socialism at Republican campaign events. It's less common to hear it directly from a Republican candidate - let alone the party's vice presidential nominee.
At a Sarah Palin rally in Richmond on Monday, for instance, two John McCain supporters held up a large white banner reading: “Obama is a Socialist/Marxist.” Shouts of “Socialist!” and “Communist!” often emanate from GOP crowds when McCain and Palin speak of Obama’s tax plans.
And on Friday, Palin herself seemed to make the same charge against Obama’s plans to raise taxes on the wealthy.
The remark came at an Ohio rally in which Palin was discussing Joe Wurzelbacher, more commonly known as “Joe the plumber,” who told the Toledo Blade that Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth” was “a pretty socialist comment.”
Palin picked up on Wurzelbacher’s quote on Friday.
“Sen. Obama said that he wants to spread the wealth and he wants government to take your money and decide how to best to redistribute it according to his priorities,” she told the audience.
“Joe suggested that that sounded a little bit like socialism,” she said. “Whatever you call it, I call it bad medicine for an ailing economy, and it's what Barack Obama will do to those who want to create jobs and we're willing to call Barack Obama on it.”
McCain himself has avoided referring to Obama as a socialist, but he has left the door open to that assumption. In July, he told the Kansas City Star that Obama’s senate record is “more to the left than the announced socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont.”
The GOP nominee was then asked if he believes Obama is a socialist.
“I don’t know,” McCain responded. “All I know is his voting record.”