October 19th, 2008
03:08 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama hits back on 'socialist charge'

Obama campaigned in North Carolina earlier Sunday.
Obama campaigned in North Carolina earlier Sunday.

FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (CNN) – Barack Obama fired back against charges his tax policy amounts to “socialism,” arguing John McCain simply wants to redistribute wealth to the already wealthy.

“It’s kind of hard to figure how Warren Buffet endorsed me, Colin Powell endorses me, and John McCain thinks I’m embracing socialism,” Obama said. “This is his argument because I want to give a tax cut to the middle class, because I want to give a tax cut to 95 percent of American workers.”

The Democratic nominee also said that while McCain may call giving regular Americans a tax break “socialism,” he calls it an “opportunity.”

“Here’s the truth, North Carolina. This debate – and this election – comes down to what we value. In the America I know, we don’t just value wealth, we value the work and workers who create it,” he said. “He can call me any name he wants but what he’s talking about is not right, it’s not change, that’s why we’re going to beat him in this election on November 4th.”

Before his rally in Fayetteville, Obama dropped by Cape Fear BBQ and Chicken to shake hands with patrons, many of them older white voters. In a sign that perhaps pre-election tempers are getting a little hot, according to the pool report when Obama entered the restaurant a woman screamed “Socialist, socialist, socialist – get out of here!” The woman, 54 year-old Diane Fanning was admonished by other diners and one woman yelled back “at least he’s not a war-monger.”

It is unclear whether Obama heard this exchange as there were many in the restaurant trying to greet him. Later when Obama approached Fanning’s table she refused to shake his hand.

“Some of ‘em are just nicer than I am,” Fanning told the pool reporter when asked why she didn’t shake the senator’s hand but other members of her church group did. “I know how some of ‘em think.” Fanning did however have a brief conversation with Obama about some issues of concern to her.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (517 Responses)
  1. Skyview

    McCain is out of touch, out of ideas and running out of time....So, what does he do? He plays on the fears of the unlettered, the fears of the aged, the fears of the backward thinkers, and the fears of those who have already lost everything and are out of hope.....Shame on you John McCain! Shame on you! We need Obama and his steady leadership and his intelligence and his patience and understanding.

    October 19, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Ignorant and rude

    To scream out such a thing..it shows ignorance, rudeness and lack of manners to be sure. This woman is obviously a racist who doesn't know how to respect someone who may have different beliefs than she does. Obama isn't a socialist he simply cares about the little guy, unlike the Republican party whose doctrine is every guy out for himself. Frankly, it is about time Americans looked out for his brother instead of invading other countries to do what is "right" for them. Letting people in America go without food, shelter and healthcare. If America doesn't smarten up they will find themselves a third world country!

    October 19, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Christine

    Again....another religious fanatic...saying her "...church group.." – will her 'church group' be helping her make ends meet??

    October 19, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  4. jft

    Idiots have the right to be idiot and they will all vote for McCain-Palin...But they are just 40% of the contry. GO OBAMA GO.

    October 19, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Obama is not a socialist

    McCain will divide America. Obama will unite it.

    October 19, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. lydia

    I wonder how much money Ms. Fanning makes. My guess is she is she doesn't make over $200,000 as an individual or over $250,000 as a family, and as a result she would receive a tax cut by Obama. Poor Ms. Fanning, duped by Mr. McCain's rhetoric.

    October 19, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. What is a socialist ?

    Did someone ask the old lady to define a socialist ? The top 1% in this country controls 20% of the money. McCain wants to give them a tax break !

    October 19, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. Sam

    Heaven help us all if McCain's pandering to the ignorant succeeds with others like it did with Dianne Fanning . . . . . .

    October 19, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. Flo

    Ms. Fanning has obviously made up her mind about who she will vote for.............oh well, that is her loss. Obama is NOT a socialist;I repea NOT a socialist. For a single mother like myself who has to make decisions everyday on what is the most important bill to pay to prevent my services from discontinuing, I'm voting for Obama. He understands, He understands how difficult it is to make ends meet. I have to make decisions daily about what tot do and keep my house and worry about my kids college. I need a president who is thinking about the average Jane and Joe out there. McCain is notthe one togive me relief from life burdens. I work 60 hrs a week to make ends meet and still sacrifice some of the things my kids want, but I think GOD everyday because at least I have a job.

    October 19, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Amy

    Diane Fanning's reaction is proof that McCain's robocalling and shameful campaign lies are reaching some of the voters. But I am encouraged-and proud-of the other diners in the restaurant that treated Obama with respect, even when she didn't.

    I am an Obama supporter, but I would have proudly shook McCain's hand.

    Wouldn't North Carolina look great in blue?

    October 19, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. Tiff of lithia springs

    HE COULD HAVE CALLED HER NARROWED MINDED AND DEVISIVE BUT HE CAN STICK TO THE ISSUES AND WE'LL DO THAT.

    October 19, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. Monique

    The aggression felt by McCain supports reflects that 'trickle down' ideolgy the Republicans endorse. McCain has employed tactics that are perpetuate fear among Americans, and to some degree it's working. As the aggression flows down from McCain, to Palin and onto their followers it transforms into hate, arrogance, and disunity with the rest of the country. To shake someone's hand is Western tradition to show respect, and acknowledgement to your commrade. For that old maid to refuse Obama's hand reflects the character of the McCain campaign. Supporters reflect the candidate.

    October 19, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    5, 4, 3, 2, 1.….Waiting on McCain to appear in the news or in a speech stating he has contacted Diane Fanning, and wants her to come along with him and Palin on the campaign trail, she will be his next choose for his cabinet position. Someone acting in this manner ONLY proves that they have something in common with McCain, a BAD attitudes. Obama is about UNITING the American people. This is NOT the type of attitude problem we the majority of voters in OUR next President and Administration.................................we already HAD eight years of that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Again....watch for McCain Fanning, he likes this type of action from those he and Palin calls the REAL American's and have believing their sad and drama lies about Obama.........

    October 19, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. Maria

    Fanning, you are not afraid of Obama being a Socialist, it's more like you are being prejudice! And furthermore, if you were with church members coming from church and call yourself a Christian, you should not have refused to shake the man's hand!

    I can't stand McCain or the GOP party right now for what they have allowed to happen to our country and the rest of the world, but if he were coming around shaking hands at my table, I would not refuse to shake his hand. It is really sad that you call yourselves Christians, but are the furthest thing from it.

    Obama/Biden 2008!!! Change we MUST have!!!!!!

    October 19, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. Christian Democrat from Florida

    "Socialist get out of here!" ???? That's straight out of the McCain/Palin ticket. Yet they bear no responsibility for the negativity? People are really losing their minds and seem unable to think for themselves. This is truly scary. The McCain/Palin ticket is taking this country where is doesn't need to go...

    October 19, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. joe six pack

    Why giving large tax breaks and bailouts to the rich and corporations is always called by republicans "helping the country and the American people" and when the time comes to give help to THE REAL PEOPLE, then they call it "Socialism"?

    I mean, dont regular joe six pack and joe the plumbers have the right to being helped by the government too?

    Isn't the American government for the people?

    Am I missing something in the republican argument?

    October 19, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. NVRuby

    Betcha Ms. Fanning has no idea what the real meaning of socialism is.

    October 19, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. Unshrub

    Fanning is what is wrong with this country. there are too many people who refuses to accept those who don't agree with them. Obama is what is right with us becasue he isn't scared to met with someone who doesn't agree with him.

    October 19, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. Lyle

    Mr. Obama’s wealth redistribution plan is clearly Socialist. The fact the Mr. Buffet and Mr. Powell support this plan does not make it any less Socialist, perhaps they believe, as Mr. Obama does, that Socialism is the answer. It is sad that Mr. Obama has been allowed to mislead the American public but calling his plan anything less than Socialism does not change the facts.

    October 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  20. Shelly

    This idiot Fanning belongs to a CHURCH group yet refuses to shake the hand of a presidential nominee?!?! She needs to go read her bible right away and have her pastor pray over her. She may call it socialism but what it is, is racism. The racism and willful misinformation is disgusting for McShame and his so called bigotted base.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. Erik

    Obama's proposals do not fall into ANY textbook definition of "socialism" but hey, it's a good Republican propaganda term in the best ignorant name-calling tradition. Gets the low-info voters all riled up.

    October 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. ej

    The Republicans are going back to the fifties and resurrecting Nixon and Joe McCarthy. Such tactics cost them Colin Powell's vote.

    October 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  23. Independent for Obama

    It's just polite to shake someones hand even if you disagree with them. Then again this is the same kind of person who would probably yell "kill him". This is the type of person who supports the McCain/Palin ticket. Just plain RUDE!!!!

    If Palin or McCain came and extended their hand for me to shake, I would. It's just being polite.

    October 19, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. Dennis

    In my church, we aren't taught to scream and yell at people we disagree with. I doubt Ms. Fanning understands what socialism is, and how these proposals would affect her. You can disagree with someone without being ugly, and not shaking their hand is just disrepectful.

    October 19, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Greg Hiller

    It's funny: – All but a very, very, few McCain supporters and voters, would be financially worse off under a McCain administration, should it come, than under an Obama White House. The wide support that there still is for John McCain is therefore nothing less than amazing.

    I can understand people being conservative, although I myself firmly believe that religion, (extreme) Christianity, or any other, has no place in politics: However; that conservatives, right-wingers, and anti-Democrats, are prepared to NOT vote for man who would be best for their lives, their country, and their wallets, is more than inexplicable.

    If one adds to this the clear unsuitability of John McCain's personality for this very highest function, and his gross lack of honour and decency, then it just isn't feasible to vote for him, regardless of which persuasion one might adhere to.

    If in spite of what we all know about John McCain; his inner-anger, his lack of self-control, his hatefulness, his age problems, and his 72+ age itself; there are those amongst us who still feel he would be a responsible choice for President, then we must seriously consider the person who would take over as President immediately, without an election, should John McCain be taken seriously ill, or die: The V.P. candidate, Mrs. Palin.

    This is very relevant indeed in view of John McCain's ripe age, and the fact that neither his father nor his grandfather lived to be even 72 years old, which is John McCain's age already now! His 5 or 6 years of imprisonment and torture in Vietnam won't have improved his health either.
    After a possible first-term, John McCain would be 76+ years old; after a second term he would be 80+ years old: Think about this everybody, Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

    I won't add to what nearly everybody already knows about Mrs. Palin's severely restricted knowledge, education level, degree of literacy, and intellect.

    October 19, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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