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. Joe the Fake Plumber

    How about using the "I" word for Integrity?

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

    The 'S' word eh?

    Just bet that before November 4th the idiot from Alaska Sarah Palin will use the 'N' word.

    Obviously the GOP can't stand it and this election will go down in history as the worst and nastiest.

    However it will no McCain/Palin and the GOP no good since Obama is still going to win everything anyway and the nastier it gets the more people will go towards Obama/Biden.

    It amuses me to watch and try to figure out which planet Palin is on. It aint this one for sure
    Earth to Palin Earth to Palin do you read?

    No! Never got out of the fourth grade.

    October 18, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. sal of PA

    I agree! Enough already. McCain is obviously desperately trying but with no avail. He needs to remember it was his party that has the USA is the mess that they are in. The only people listening to him are the wealthy and the wanna be wealthy. We need a change a big change and that means Obama!

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

    I am voting early, straight Democratic ticket. I will then put on the cartoon network and watch looney toons, oh thats right – that would be the same as listening to the Republicans!

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

    These people do not even know what the word "socialist" means, much less "communist". Obama's policies would place him well to the RIGHT of center if he were European. McCain's campaign just looks desperate, slinging their last pieces of mud from the very bottom of the barrel.

    October 18, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. LT for Obama

    Erik – Thank you for reminding us all of the true definition of socialism.

    That being said, it seems that Bush and McCain are the true socialists. McCain's mortgage gimmick seems to definately fall into that definition. Once again, he is projecting.

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

    Sarah Palin is a theo-facist.

    The Republican party is trying suppress the Democratic party vote

    McCain is old, sooo old.

    If there is an Republican attempt to stop the election or overturn the results favoring Democrats, and riots break out, the Northern Command steps in and Bush declares martial law. Who runs the Northern Command? Why right wing military theo-facists put in place by Bush.

    It ain't over until the Republicans and Bush are removed from power.

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

    Okay, I can't take the media (and especially CNN, the self-proclaimed leader in journalism) not questioning Obama on his statement about tax breaks for 95% of Americans...How can you do that when 40 MILLION Americans do not even pay income taxes!!!! How is that possible and why is nobody calling him on it???

    What he will do is take my money and give it to these 40 million people so we can "spread the wealth around." Call it wealth redistribution, neighborliness or being patriotic or whatever you want, it is socialism, and I pray to God Americans see through this facade before it is too late.

    October 18, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. pam,s.c.

    The republican party has turned ugly with their rhetoric of hate and fear. It's a great ploy to turn away the focus of the past 8 years from the republicans to the democrats. McCain has set the tone for his campaign and if people logically think about it , it's not a profile of someone who is able to work across party lines.

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

    Eric, Obama's Healthcare plan and tax plan DO fall under socialism. I'm a Democrat and I could admit that. I was just hoping McCain would not attack Obama on it. But I'm not even shocked it took this long.

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


    October 18, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Phil Newton in Murphy, Oregon

    It appears that the majority of Americans have rejected McCain's robo-campaign. Obama remains at above 6% nationally and has solidified the swing state vote.

    The only working people who are actually voting for McCain live in parts of Confederate USA.

    Should robo-man win, however, the Confederacy will quickly find how much McCain & Co. love Joe Sixpack.

    They love you once every four years, Joe.

    My friend.

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

    Wow, McCain's campaign reeks of desperation. Screw the "S" word, I'm waiting for him to use the "N" word.

    I'm glad that America is no longer buying into the Republican BS propaganda. They are starting to wake up to the truth, that they had been had by a party that offers them hot-button issues but really only cares about the wealthy. This election could be the start of something great, my friends.

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

    Where is the article in Kansas City Star that shows this...

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

    October 18, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. former republican for OBAMA

    Who is running John Mccain's campaign? I think He hired Karl Rove!!!!!

    October 18, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. List: the Listiest List of Lists

    Lets see – first he was an elitist. Then he was a populist. Then he was a racist. Then he was a terrorist. Now he's a socialist.

    I can't wait until Nov. when he becomes a Presidentialist.

    October 18, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. Ella

    the HONORABLe John McCain should be ashamed. Joe (Sam) asked Obama a question he answered it. Obama walked away. Are we forgetting it was the JOHN MCCAIN who introduced JOE to 55 Million views on 15 Oct 08. The man and his history would have been a mute point minus a few media clips. Now the McCain camp wants to blame Obama for people digging into this guy's private life. The height of HYPOCRaCY. After apologizing to Joe on David Letterman the next day MCcain again throws Joe name around again. So why is it okay for him to publicize this guy's name and now be upset because we all know more about him than we care too?

    October 18, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. The Bluest Skies are in Seattle

    McPhuddle and McPhailling =If they were playing darts and ran out of darts they would then pick up anything no matter what and throw it hoping it stuck .

    They are both liars and crooks with diarrhia of the mouth .

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

    Tell Your Friend Joe The Plumber To Pay His Taxes! Or Does He Just Want To Spread Our Wealth Around?

    October 18, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. TX Republican

    About darn time someone addressed the "elephant in the room" that has been generally ignored so far this election...

    Obama's plan *is* a step towards socialism. Anyone who doesn't see this fact either doesn't understand the definition of "socialism," or is too hung-up over trying to get Barack into office for whatever other reason to care.

    Seriously, Joe CNN-Comment-Poster, take the weekend off. Step away from the computer. Go to your local library. Curl up in one of the big comfy chairs in the corner, and read Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism." It'll be easy to spot. The little smiley-face on the spine should really catch your attention... It'll open your eyes.

    October 18, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |

    HEY McCain,
    I see the KKK is getting your message out in Oklahoma. Good Job! How much are you paying them. Probably a lot since you have an extreme out of money donated from fortune 500 companies. You say "Country First", but yet the companies who fund your campaign put their country(USA) LAST!!!!!
    People you do not have jobs because every company wants to be the most profitable company in the world. The only thing that matters in a business is the bottom line. If ethics didn't have some sort of affect on the bottom line.. well even morals and ethics wouldn't matter in business. If I have to lay off 30,000 American workers and transport that sector of business to India or China and add 300 million to my bottom line then that is what will take place.
    Guess who owes favors to these companies. Yep you guess it. The old son of an Admiral, McCain. If you elect McCain, prepare to get your ticket for the bread line and make plans to move in with your parents or live in your car b/c you will not have a home or a job to speak of. America economy falls due to the greed factor in capitalism. China powers build along with Iran.

    October 18, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  22. Hector

    Umbelievable! How it is possible. McCain lost the respect of all the decent people, who know that what they are saying is not true. America, will be very bad if this ticket is elected.

    October 18, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  23. adrian

    how about cnn reporting on sarah palins and her husbands ties to the alaskan indepence party or mccains ties to gordon liddy?? why are members of the media such cowards?

    October 18, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  24. Sidney??

    John Sidney McCain!

    Finally, they are using the senator's middle name to.

    October 18, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. rin

    wait a minute was that 100,000 thousand people at Obama Rally Today?????????? I think it was.......keep calling him a socialist... thats helping our cause!

    October 18, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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