October 18th, 2008
05:44 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain-Palin use the 'S' word

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McCain and Palin are increasingly suggesting Obama is a socialist.

McCain and Palin are increasingly suggesting Obama is a socialist.

CONCORD, North Carolina (CNN) – John McCain stepped up his rhetoric against Barack Obama on taxes in his weekly radio address, comparing his plan to 'socialist' programs that would “convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth.”

The remarks were part of a theme McCain has used since the final presidential debate that criticizes Obama’s philosophy, but his most recent comments were the first time he directly invoked the word 'socialist.'

In the radio address that aired Saturday morning, McCain didn't directly call Obama a socialist, but he let the now-famous Joe 'the Plumber' Wurzelbacher nearly do it for him.

“You see, [Obama] believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism,” McCain said.

In an interview with ABC last week, Wurzelbacher said Obama's proposal to raise taxes by 3 percent on those making $250,000 and over is a "very socialist view."

Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin has used the word in speeches the last two days as well.

Also in the pre-taped radio address, McCain said, “At least in Europe, the socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives. They use real numbers and honest language. And we should demand equal candor from Senator Obama. Raising taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut it's just another government giveaway.”

McCain did not repeat the wording in his appearance at a rally in Concord, but did allude to those European socialist countries that like to "spread the wealth around."

"Spread the wealth around. We have seen that movie before in other countries and attempts by the liberal left before," McCain said.

In his speech, McCain also said said, “This explains some big problems with my opponent's claim that he will cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans. You might ask: How do you cut income taxes for [95] percent of Americans, when more than 40 percent pay no income taxes right now? How do you reduce the number zero? That's the key to Barack Obama's whole plan: Since you can't reduce taxes on those who pay zero, the government will write them all checks called a tax credit. And the Treasury will have to cover those checks by taxing other people…the Obama tax increase would come at the worst possible time for America.”

Asked why McCain used the word socialist in the radio remarks, a spokesman told CNN, “That’s what it is, 'spreading the wealth' around is socialism.”

In a July interview with the Kansas City Star, McCain said Obama had the “most extreme” record in the Senate. He said at the time in a comment he has since repeated on the trail, “his voting record… is more to the left than the announced socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont."

Pressed if he considered Obama a socialist, McCain shrugged and said, “I don't know."

In remarks this week, Palin has referred to Obama’s encounter with Wurzelbacher in Ohio last Sunday. At a rally in West Chester, Ohio Friday where one banner in the crowd read, “Obama is a Socialist/Marxist," Palin said, “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.”

In North Carolina Saturday, McCain also invoked the specter of a huge filibuster proof Democratic majority in the house.

“By the way did you happen to see that Speaker Pelosi said she anticipates a 250 seat majority, “said McCain to loud boos from the crowd. “My friends we can’t let that happen. They’ll raise taxes and increase spending and they will concede defeat in Iraq.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Lee

    Enough of this garbage...Come on 11/4/2008 I'm so ready for this to be over.

    October 18, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Erik

    Socialism: Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

    This is a from the dictionary, people. Nothing proposed by Obama falls into this definition.

    - Erik the Stagehand

    October 18, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. davit

    Oh please.

    October 18, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Anne

    Ask McCain if G Gordon Liddy is still his Buddy???? You just won't do it will you CNN?????

    October 18, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Maggie

    Actually, I had thought what Obama said was that he would cut taxes for 95% of WORKING FAMILIES...not 95% of Americans. But as usual, McCain is twisting the words to his own advantage. He's even better at lying than he is at crashing Navy aircraft and having affairs on his wives!

    October 18, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. American Joe

    Hey, McCain, what you've just talked about has already been accomplished by the Bush Admin...it's call bailout!

    October 18, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Ron

    The McCarthy era is returning thanks to McCain /Palin. How may of their friends have done well under Capitalism. The Republicans also redistribute wealth, the only difference is that they do it among the rich.
    There is a new strategy coming out of the McCain campaign in case you haven't noticed..... " Let's paint Obama and his supporters as Communists. He's a terrorist if you are concerned about America's safety and a Communist if you are concerned about the economy. John McCain is being kept awake by meds and if he wins, won't even make it to Inauguration Day..... as luck would have it..... Welcome Sarah Palin " You betcha"

    October 18, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. JAG

    I suppose "liberal" isn't working anymore in the ad campaigns (linking Sen. Obama with Bill Ayers and Nancy Pelosi), so the RNC has to go stronger.

    By December 1, Sen. Obama will be a "communist."

    October 18, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Gloria

    More lies...but what can you expect of losers???

    October 18, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Palin Zombie

    So wait wait wait a second...

    How can Obama be both a Socialist and a Muslim palin' around with terrorists at the same time?!! You fruit loops can't even get your own propaganda straight.

    HINT: Most extreme Muslim regimes are ULTRA RIGHT WING FANATICS. You can't be a looney Muslim extremist and a Socialist at the same time!

    I doubt Gov. Palin even knows what Socialism even means. Maybe Sam the Tax Evader can clue her in – he seems more qualified for the job.

    October 18, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Linda, NY

    These two are just shameless-it is their party that has turned over banks and financial institutions to the government–who's the socialist?

    October 18, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Charlie Bradley

    Better to be a socialist than a fascist tehre Johnny Boy.

    October 18, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Dylan, Los Angeles

    Straight from the Neo-Con and Rush Limbaugh script. It works for their lunatic base...but nobody else is buying it.

    October 18, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Darryl Miller

    Mr. John McCain, Just remember we must us our tax dollars to pay our debt and take care of our people. Not everyone can married into wealth...

    October 18, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. JP

    Senator Obama has been extremely clear...95% of WORKING AMERICANS will see taxes cut! Those making over 250,000 will see Bush tax cuts removed. This is just another blatant lie by McCain/Palin.

    October 18, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. virginia nielsen

    They are going to throw the hole kitchen now!!! Watch!!!
    OBAMA-BIDEN 2008-2016!!! GOD BLESS AMERICA !!!

    October 18, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Penny

    No surprise here. McCain/Palin have a history now of using "scary" words like "terrorist" against their opponent, while using patriotic words when describing themselves ("pro-american, hero, etc)

    None of that changes the fact that taking care of the rich, as has happened for the past 8 years, has been devastating for the majority of Americans.

    It also doesn't change the fact that neither one of them "get it" McCain has NEVER lived in middle America, and Palin is missing the ability to process facts and information.......like when the headlines were screaming that she was guilty of abuse of power, she said "I was found not guilty of any wrongdoing"


    October 18, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Obama is taking your money

    Are you too stupid to know what to do with your own money?. Evidently Obama thinks you are because he's going to take it away from you and give it to whomever he wants-which will mostly be his buddies who are on welfare and doing Hip-Hop on street corners all day–

    October 18, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Krenee

    It's about time they're calling it what it is. And all the liberals who have this ridiculously romanticized idea of what socialism is, are in for a harsh awakening should Obama win.

    October 18, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. Dan

    Desperate times...

    October 18, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Ohio Voter

    I am slowly but surely shifting towards Obama. Mccain, you should be ashamed of yourself. I want to hear about issues, not what you think about your running mate...

    So sorry but Obama seems to be answering my questions more than you...

    Obama\Biden 08

    October 18, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Keith in VA Beach

    Socialism is inevitable if you take into account the inequality that the free market has caused in addition to the Bush tax cuts of the last eight years. Voters are realizing that the free market is screwing them

    October 18, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. Nan Anderson

    McCain and Palin are dead-on. Americans don't realize that their banking system has been taken over by the government already. What's next, nationalize the oil companies? Our country is already bankrupt, and can't afford a nationalized health system too. Wake up, people! No one will have to work once the government tells employers how much to pay employees and a guaranteed income is installed. Why should people try to better themselves, if they're only supporting those who don't want to work? Let's all sit back and collect welfare checks.

    October 18, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. PUMBU

    McCain and unqualified Palin are so desperate and running out of time.

    October 18, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    North Carolina vote Obama, not Mccain.

    October 18, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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