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. GForce

    to JP,

    How can 95% of American receive a tax cut when 40 percent of working Americans don't pay taxes?

    The only thing it means, is that those who do not pay taxes will get a check.

    Sounds like a Socialist program to me.

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. dan

    If socialism is taxing the rich and giving working people the relief they need to stay in their homes, I'm all for it.

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |

    Obama Camp Scraps National Anthem

    The Obama campaign asked Zach Bencal of Londonderry, New Hampshire to sing the National Anthem at an Obama rally there Friday and then told him to forget about it - they had scratched the National Anthem from the program.
    According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Obama people dumped the Star Spangled Banner to make room for another speaker.

    Personal comments: is this the kind of president that we want? H’s force to put a flag pin o him. He will not put his hand over his hearth for the national anthem and want to turn America into socialism?

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. King

    McCain is just upset that he might have to sell one of his eight homes and pay more than 25% taxes on his wife's $4 million income.

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Elizar

    There was a time, when I supported McCain... before he started this insane negative campaign. There was a time, when I thought he was above something like this. That's why I supported him. You've lost me McCain: you'll do ANYTHING to sit in that office of power. Now you scare me... because you're no different than the rest of them.

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. PP

    As an outsider , but having an avid interest in American presidential elections...I am really taken aback with the kind of reactions and language of hate being used here.. we all are social people and live in a social society governed by state/poltical/religipus rules and doctrines most of the tmes ( sure we have a right to our privacy too)

    Is this is USA where we wanted to go and excel and contribute to the country we work n live in and to the society in general?

    looks like a joke now, my son who will graduate next year and wanted to go to US for higher studies also feels confused or demoralised sometimes..he says this is not America he beleived should aspire for... i feel a bit sad..donnoo why..

    May be he will be somewhere else , its a global village we live in...

    Sure everyone is racist to a degree in his heart because of the culture history and upbringing and prejudices..still this is generation X, Old cynical biased politicinas, reporeers and commentators generation is in que ue for burial, irrelevant for the future,

    this is the age for smarter and more competitive and commited people to carry the life and humanity and generations ahead.

    Lets have courage and start saying stop this @#$%&, it only stinks and creates diseases.

    My father said never judge a person totally unless you have faced how he resonds in various circumstances and conditions, it takes time and to be patient. the loosers judge at first time and suffer as they decide emotionally and not logically or practically as they can not fight back their pre-judices.

    future generations have no place for such people or their advise or guidance, it can be you or me..lets give it a thought.

    Respectful to all Americans,
    An Asian brother who will think before talking

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. jefflz

    McCain's desperation shows more every day. He is going down in flames It seems the Liberal " L ": word is apparently not strong enough. Why not call Obama the "C" word a Communist and be done with it. .

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    all this people putting all these criticism are nothing but non-sense. everybody thinks that they are a better person. a bunch of ka-ka to me.
    let's get together and say "MAY THE BEST CANDIDATE WIN" on Nov. 4th. Thank u very much.

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. Nica for Obama, San Diego

    I'm with Charlie- Better to be a socialist then a fascists! I don't understand why the McCain/Palin ticket is stooping so low- not to mention, this isn't going to invite the Independents towards him, but away from them, lessening his lead by more and more. I also don't understand why John McCain was all for the bailout, when that's basically socialism for the RICH, but he thinks that Obama is leaning toward socialism? This man is OLD and his brain is rotting- I want the old McCain back, the one that had honor and could think for himself.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. lieNoMore

    Is this for real? The same John McCain who was ready to "suspend his campaign" and run to Washington in order to help push through the Bush admins. socialist $700 billion corporate bailout?

    McCain has shredded every bit of well-earned dignity he had by relying on Bush's dimwit advisors and his own propensity for erratic and "boneheaded" behavior.

    Even sensible Republicans are now moving toward Obama since his steady,calm, and fair behavior preindicates the sort of leadership the country needs at this time.

    McCain and his brainless toad Palin are left to screech at the leftover brainless brick heads who have settled to the bottom of the Republican toilet bowl. Only they are stupid, fearful, and cowardly enough to swallow negative garbage like this.

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. BT

    I call your socialist and I raise you a fascist.

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. Auldgranny

    Canada is socialist and every time I visit I'm impressed, and the Canadians I've met don't seem unhappy with their govt., maybe we should stop throwing out labels and do alittle more research..oh wait, that would mean READING, no hope from gop right-wing base, just rabid rhetoric.

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    John McCain has nothing to loose. He is retiring this November 4th. My only issue is Sarah Palin who has shown to the American public a low intelligent capacity to handle the crisis as VP. She has been avoiding to speak with national Media. The question to the Sarah Palin supporters. Why do you support someone to ran a Big Country like US with a very small back ground knowledge. How is she going to stand in front of other World leaders addressing US foreigner policy. It is time for CHG. Go Obama?Biden 2008

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. Texas Dan

    How many more lies can these two people make up? They are telling so many it will be difficult for them to be able to keep track of them all.

    As John Lennon once asked "How Can You Sleep?"

    Please, November 4 come soon.

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Alaska is cold

    100,000 at St.Louis.....Denver Post and Miami Herald endorse.....Obama/Biden Tidal wave has arrived!

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. No Hillary = No Obama

    Does this sound like anybody you know: grandiose sense of self-importance (example; needs to parade around Europe and hear adulations without doing one thing to deserve placing himself in the middle of history; Expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements. Is preocuppied with fantasies of unlimited power; believes he is special such as turning red states blue; believes he is special and can only be understood by high status people, not people who are bitter and cling to guns and religion; requires excessive admiration, such as needing a football stadium with Roman columns surrounding him; has a sense of entitlement, such as everyone should comply with his need to be president even though he has not done one thing to deserve it; interpersonally exploitative, took advantage of the gender-bashing of Hillary Clinton to promote himself; lacks empathy, is booed by other Blacks at rallies for doing very little to next to nothing to improve the condition of Blacks around the country; belives others are envious of him, says patrionizing comments all the time, such as when he said Hillary was likeable enough; shows arrogant, haughtly behaviors or attitudes – well, we see and hear that 24/7. These are the descriptors of a Narcissistic Personality.

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Obamafools

    Please tell me you people still do not believe everything Obama is telling you?! 95% will become 55% then 25% and then he will still blame everything on Bush when he and PelosiReed run this country into the ground.

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. LWhite

    America becomes socialist? If it appears that way it is because Wall Street jerked the American people around so much that we have to bail out and practically buy banks.....thanks GOP

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. fredrick

    MCbush need meds now. I believe he's out of his senses and may end up havind dementia

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. Alex

    Obama a socialist? please John should give up he is on the lossing team

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. sizzle

    Not a lie, these are Socialist principles. But I do believe that McCain is demonizing an effective form of government. Time for our Capitalism to evolve-Capitalism got us here, so more socialistic principles will get us out

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Jody in St. Louis

    Does Palin know the difference between socialism and communism? They are not the same. Obama and the democrats are accused of being socialist if they want to help the poor get health care and if they want the richest of Americans taxed the most. How in the H is that socialist? I am so sick of this I can't stand it anymore. Let's take a look at where good old capitalism has got us? A 700 billion bailout on the backs of taxpayers for the good of Capitalists. NOT FAIR! McCain and Palin both know that the democrats are not socialists. They keep talking and they can't shut up. This is desperate tactics to scare people into some "cold war" mentality. And Sarah Palin is too dumb to correct these hatemongers at her rallies for their inappropriate outbursts. They don't even know what Marxism is! I am sick of Obama being called a racist. Give me a break! He is alot more thick skinned than McCain which was demonstrated in their last debate. The Republican camp has no right to call the democrats sexist when they are treating Palin like some porcelain doll that cannot speak for herself. This woman does not represent American women. It is time these big fools wake up and smell the coffee. We cannot afford 4 more years of the last 8. Palin needs to put up or shut up and so does McCain!

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. Joyce

    Pathetic and shameless!

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. scott

    Is a 700 billion dollar bailout socialism?

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. JMH

    Obama + Reid + Pelosi = SOCIALISM. If you've lived in any UK countires and used their health care, seen how unproductive they are and how down the tubes their countries are you wouldn't want anything like that in the US.

    Here's an idea – why don't we take all the A's away from every student that earns them and give them to the students who even F's and D's. THAT WAY WE CAN ALL BE AVERAGE!

    Ayers is a SOCIALIST and SO IS OBAMA!

    October 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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