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. Obamafools

    Finally the truth is getting out! Socialism is the right word to describe Obamanomics. Obama's brand of socialism will hurt working Americans and result in a net loss of jobs (except government) and reduced revenue to the government.

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Amy: God Bless McCain/Palin

    Now I can understand how the antichrist is going to fool everyone in the world. Who knew there we so many stupid uninformed people out there that have no clue why they're voting for OBAMA.
    Vote for McCain before you lose everything in an Obama socialist government.

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. Bell

    Republicans need to get an education. There. I said it. Republicans are largely uneducated. I can't hold that back anymore. Republicans need to read a book or two. Then they will know what fascism is, and what socialism is, and that Obama is so far from socialist.

    November 4th cannot come fast enough.

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Alexander

    There are socialist countries in Europe? Well, I know that some try to achieve social capitalism, but socialist? Could someone please explain to Sen. McCain what that really means...

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. John the Engineering Consultant

    Liberials do not understand the concept of working hard to achieve a dream or goal. They do not understand how a plumber, mason or engineer could make 250kKyr and not want to give 35% to "Big O and Little Joe" to redistribute as they desire. But don't mention the "S" word.

    The Left continues to put down "Joe the Plumber" in his quest of becoming a small business owner. "Joe the Politician" does not understand how one could make 250K/yr and not be licensed, hold a degree or a union card. Got news for ya "Little Joe the Politician", as a smmall business owner I make over 300K/yr and have no license, degree or union card. I employ those who do, where necessary. in short, I creat jobs (four letters, Joe the Politician, not three) and could create more if you keep your hands out of my pocket!

    Hate to break the news to the libral crowd but redistrubition of wealth is socialism.

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Boudica

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

    You mean President-elect Obama!

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Carol-Illinois

    All I now see when I hear McCain or Palin is the wold lie. He should know better, but she is just too stupid. I am so sick of hearing that John is the only one to have served his country and putting down the others. How about her husband? Did he serve? Also, she believes in women's rights, why didn't she serve? She wants all of his, Obama, e-mails and dealings with acorn out there, what about her dealings that she refused to answer about? Didn't a judge say she can't destroy her e-mails? I watched her yesteday at a rally in Indiana. I watched for over 30 minutes and only heard her one liners and attacks. I never heard anything they would do to make the country better.

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Ork

    Let's see Obama is: inexperienced, celebrity, elitist, liberal, naive, terrorist, socialist.. what else is left.. even in calling names, erratic, erattic, erratic..

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Bob

    Obama keep eye on the prize! Anybody remember the primaries?

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. MK

    What is he talking about?
    If his plan isn't "socialism" (buy up all the houses in foreclosure, no thanks, I don't want any more bad debt) then I will eat the computer I am typing this response on. He will do and say ANYTHING to get to the White House, he scares me more than anyone including Obama and his "washed up" friends.

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. Olivia

    In the early 70s I left my country and came here because of the threat of socialism, and my 31/2 yr old was going to have a special school curriculum accordingly. We could leave the country, but we would have to leave empty-handed...which we did.

    My vote will be for McCain/Palin. The freedom we have in this country is priceless.

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. fays

    people who earn 250,000 are not rich, they studied and worked hard to get this far. The very idea that they have to be taxed more is demotivating.

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. ralph

    Obama drew a crowd of 100,000. Does that mean McCain is going to do yet another celeb ad on Obama?

    October 18, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. Ray, Calif

    Looks like Joe the Plumber has thrown a " S Wrench" into Obama's economic plan. No wonder all of Europe is thrilled with Obama's Socialism Economic plan?? Say it ain't so Joe (Biden)? Looks like Biden's gaffe's are rubbing off on Obama!!!

    October 18, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. CindyN--PA

    But you are the John McCain who voted to Socialize the financial crisis and WallStreet Banks right?
    Typical Republican hypocrisy.

    At least in Europe they get healthcare.

    October 18, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Independent Voter now supporting Obama/Biden

    In the final days of this campaign, I believe that the Obama/Biden ticket will better lead our nation. McCain/Palin offer nothing new to help average Americans.

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

    Speaking of Socialism, isnt this what president Bush is doing by buying into the insurance and banking businesses with our tax dollars?

    October 18, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Hall for Obama

    No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. Isaiah 54:17

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

    Anything else from McShame. As per his campaign Obama is a Celebrity, Elite, Populist, Terrorist, Socialst, Inexperienced.......The list goes on....

    Fear factor worked in 2000 or 2004. Not this time because people are more concern about Jobs and Pocket Books...

    Unfortunately McShame is not addressing this Issue... Look at all the negative ads his campaign was/is running; it is not helping him at all as a matter of fact it is putting Obama's numbers high. No wounder why McClueless is forced to defend some Red states that are traditional Republican Base....

    Thanks to Internet Technology, these days People are much more informed then they were 5-10 years ago...McShame do not understand this or he is just Clueless Stupid....

    October 18, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. Gabriel

    They are all full of crap Obama with his bs about change and McCain's senile dribble. Who cares this country is already sailing up the river without a paddle.

    October 18, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. James

    I can't believe that John McCain, true American hero and man of great integrity, has sunk to the level of Red Baiting. Seriously. Barack Obama may be on the left, but he is not a socialist or Marxist of any kind. But McCain want whip up fear of Marxism and tar Obama with this accusation. It's despicable. Whatever happened to touting your own plan first and foremost?

    October 18, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. jft

    McCain can't even choose a proper running mate...that's a leader with expirience and good judgment. Can you see one moment Sarah Palin THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES...WOW . They are running a real bad campaign..GO OBAMA GO.

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. McCain=the draft

    Hey McCain, ******
    You receive social security, a disability check, gov't medical care and you have been on the public's payroll most of your adult life! Taxpayers have been paying for you for years even though you're worth over 100 million!
    You're for "socialism" when it comes to you!

    Obama will cut your taxes if you make LESS than $250,000 a year. That is most people! If you make more than that you're increase will be 2-3%.

    McCain/Palin =lies, distortions and smears!

    October 18, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. This Old Hippie

    I am a democratic socialist. If you look at countries who have a modified socialist healthcare program and education, they are doing much better than we are! Our children are being punished by not being able to attend university because of the cost of post secondary education, therefore, we are not keeping up with other countries in education. Vouchers are NOT the answer, because only a select few will be able to attend private schools. This will continue to create a situation in which there is a top 1% and then the rest of us. We should be pushing for better public education!!

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

    Might as well. They have used every other lie and dirty tactics. The Republicans have allowed the Government to buy control of our banks. And McCain wants to control our home mortgages. The Republicans have become more Marxist than Communist China. How dare they call Obama anything, except Mr. President.

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