October 19th, 2008
03:08 PM ET
6 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. Another Republican for Obama

    Notice that Obama talked to her, even after her diatribe.
    No wonder General Powell endorsed a Democrat for the first time in his life.

    October 19, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Ashamed of Arizona

    We'll probably discover in the next few days that Ms. Fanning was contacted last week by the RNC and asked to appear at this restaurant to "ruin Obama's photo-op."

    October 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. DR

    Fanning can't speak for me. She's only disgracing our races.

    October 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Andrea

    Was Fanning that same nutcase at the McCain rally calling Obama an Arab?! It's amazing how some folks call Obama a socialist, but were ok with Bush giving tax cuts to the rich when most of them are breaking their back trying to make ends meet.

    October 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Ken

    "THAT ONE" greets ugly with kindness even if it hurts. This is a man that will be the president of ALL AMERICANS.

    October 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. rich

    church goers behaving like that? Is a christian church? didnt Jesus say to help others?

    wwjd? not say get out of here!

    October 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. Lyndon

    This country doesn't need more people like Diane Fanning spreading the fear and lies of the Republican Party to others. Do us a favor and keep your hate-filled comments and rhetoric to yourself where it belongs. These false cries of socialism are pathetic and about as low as one can go in a political campaign.

    But hey, if we're going to go there, why don't you just go ahead and label McCain and Palin fascists?

    October 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. Lisa

    And how would some of them think of your outrageous behaviour, Ms. Fanning? Senator Obama is too kind of a gentleman to not extend his hand. But you chose to be rude and intolerant...how sad.

    October 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. joseph from Georgia

    I wonder if she even knows what the word socialist means, other than what Rush or Hannity have been saying?
    Sad, Sad, to have still so many people who, just don't take the time to educate themselves, and become mindless echoes of others

    October 19, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Shari in galesburg

    I'm ashamed by anyone that can go to church and turn around and act like this Fanning woman...Doesn't she listen when she is there?

    October 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Marla from Florida

    It is admirable about the way the Obama campaign and himself have been reacting to the less than honest accusations being hurled at them. I have been sickened to watch people behave or verbally yell things that have no place in America . I know people like the example of Fanning exsist, but I do not understand in an age where you can get information easily that ignorance seems to exsist. I am glad the media is also letting people to see some of the attitudes exsisting, which can be alarming , but show where alot of work needs to be done in our country. Some of those places are the hardest hit economically but they believe in things that do nothing to improve their situations. I live in a battleground state and Obama has the full support of my entire family. We are looking forward to a positive change for all in this country. It has been a long time coming.

    October 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. Citizen

    If Diane Fanning is the average American, then the average American is an idiot. And the killer is that this idiotic woman was out with her church group, when she refused to shake the Senators hand. Wow, they must teach a lot of good stuff in that church.

    October 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Milestones

    Why should socialist be insulting? Explain to me.
    The republican campaign (as Colin Powell also noticed) tries to change simple words into insulting words like muslim, welfare etc.
    I personally would like to "well fare" and I think that taking care of the society is important.
    It seems to me that ideological debate is simply impossible in america. I would say this results from the electoral system which essentially reduces the political offer to two parties.
    What's that for people who are supposed to believe in concurrence?

    October 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. jarb

    What is it called when the Republicans have been consistently steering the nation's wealth to the top 2% of the population. If fair taxes means socialism, then what we have been getting for the last 8 years is welfare for the wealthy. The disparity in this country is dramatic and has been steadily increasing. It is time for fairness.

    October 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Obama can deny the charge all he likes, but the plain fact remains that he's in favor of using the force of government to compel some people, the ones who, in his opinion, have more money than they really need, to subsidise people who, in his opinion, ought to be entitled to more money than society would voluntarily provide them.

    That's socialism, the pernicious philosophy that economic freedom is not a right enjoyed by Americans, that people may be compelled to work for the benefit of strangers deemed by government as somehow entitled to the fruits of others' labors.

    This country didn't grow, from being a sparse collection of farmers and shopkeepers clinging precariously to the edge of a vast wilderness, to what once was the most powerful nation on Earth by denying people the full benefit of their own efforts. We didn't achieve greatness by rewarding sloth and irresponsibility.

    Once upon a time, we had freedom in America. But, bit by bit, we've surrendered that freedom to people like Obama who promise to "take care of us." Surrendering responsibility for ourselves necessarily implies surrendering our freedoms as well.

    October 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. JD

    What other names did Diane Fanning call him? As though we don't know...

    October 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. John in VA

    How many of these people screaming "socialist" even know what socialism is? I bet not one of them have ever picked up "Communist Manifesto". I guarantee you these ignoramuses would change their tone.

    "That One" 08

    October 19, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Franky

    "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.”

    LOL!!!! You see guys, everything is balanced!! LOL!!! You know, some people might be bogus but there are the same amount of people that are nice. They might talk behind his back, they may not agree with him, as a matter of fact, they might hate him BUT even I know my country is smart enough to see respect and show it...

    Let's face it, when election day comes, the unexpected may happen, who knows. This is the beauty of our country because you never know what to expect...

    Who knew we could get along, huh? LOL!!!

    October 19, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. Dixie

    This all started with "Joe the you know what." Last night, I was interested to hear on channel 12 NBC in Phoenix that "Joe" once lived here and has outstanding warrants plus a DUI. Joe wouldn't know socialism if it jumped up and bit him.

    October 19, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Lost in Texas

    well one thing the far right and GOP are good at doing is name-calling and putting labels on people. And you're going to have some folks who don't even know what a socialist or socialism actually is and will agree with it. Yet this time I thnk the Dems will rise above it and it won't work. Just another name for Gov Palin to spout out at her rallies to get the crowd roared up in those 'Pro-American" places she visits.

    October 19, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. Lynn

    Ignorance, just pure ignorance.
    If it weren't for the fact that people like Fanning
    have an equal vote, I'd feel sorry for her.
    Instead, I feel sorry for the rest of us.
    Her way of thinking (limited to party talking points) put W. in office for a second term.

    October 19, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. Chris from STL

    Just curious ... how much this Fanning lady may be making?

    Can't do much for these ignorant hillbillies ... God save their soul.

    October 19, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. BM

    Faninning wasn't going to vote for Obama in the first place. She must be as old as McCain and is resistant to change.

    October 19, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. KB from Phoenix, AZ

    Hey, Joe the Plumber...meet Diane the Rude Church-goer...

    Please let's get this over with. I can't handle more stupidity!

    Obama can't be elected soon enough!

    October 19, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  25. tony

    I wonder does that Fanning lady know what a socialist is? She needs to be interviewed four years from now after Obama's first term and she how much she has benefited from his administration.

    October 19, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
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