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

Obama hits back on 'socialist charge'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/17/art.boptup1017.ap.jpg caption="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. R, Ohio

    This simply highlights the temperment of John McCain's supporters. They are so angry and negative. McCain and Palin are certainly responsible for the division they've created. It is very distasteful that a "grown" woman refused to shake a presidential candidates hand, regardless of whom she plans to vote for or supports. I feel sorry for them and their ignorance.

    October 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Guru X

    It is sad indeed when people try to distort the most basic facts in order to deny their people the opportunity of making informed choices. That is what we are fighting so hard to stop in the third world. The fact that you in America promote and celebrate such behavior in your politicians shows that our respect for your practice of democracy is profoundly misplaced. Your politics is no more abhorrent of corruption than ours you have just been fooling us – shame on you. How deeply ignorant and silly to maintain that capitalism implies the redistribution of tax dollars to the upwardly mobile (as a reward for enterprise McCain appears to say). So what enterprise has come out of Wall Street lately that McCain wants to reward with “tax cuts”? He is really out of touch and clearly will operate to promote many of the current policies under Bush. How blind can people get? Taking from the poor and giving to the rich is the current regime. Is McCain saying then that taxing the poor and redistributing the proceeds to the wealthy the capitalist standard? Get real America we all live on this planet – do not forget.

    October 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. David Newport, OR

    Perfect example of the "Pro-American" voters that McCain and Palin are soliciting. Question for the rest of you...Is this the kind of America you want your children growing up in? Is this what you want?

    October 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. James Clark

    Funny how people latch on to "labels" like "socialist" rather than find out the truth through discussion. Apparently the divisive campaign McCain is waging has an efffect on the close-minded. If this woman was a member of the church group, I wonder what she thinks about the teachings of Jesus Christ?

    October 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. PK

    McCain and Palin use the term socialism as if it were a bad thing. Does that mean helping those less able is bad and that prospering those already rich is good ?

    October 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. Neal

    America needs to stop being the world's paranoid survivalist with a scary amount of weapons, and start becoming the world's intellectual leader.
    Being smart is hard and laudable not weak. No amount of force has accomplished what the work of the mind has accomplished throughout human history.
    She doesn't even know what socialism is.
    Bush is as socialist as Obama!

    October 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Paul in Charlotte

    Welcome to the 21st century, Fanning.

    October 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. WeBoDave

    I find it telling that Ms. Fanning would speak to Senator Obama about issues but not shake his hand. I think she is being petty and disrepectful.

    This "socialist" charge related to Senator Obama's "spread the wealth" comment is caused by a mischaracterization of those comments by Senator McCain and the media. If you listen to the entire comment it is clearly a refutation of "trickle down economics" and an endorsement of the idea that tax cuts for people of more modest means wlll mean better bottom lines for those small businesses whose net incomes are over 250K. Obama believes entrepreneurs will have more customers who can afford to hire them with the enaction of lower taxes as well as policies that help raise the net incomes of the less affluent.

    It is no more socialist than President Bush's transfer of $5 trillon in debt to future generatons or Bush and Senator McCain's lack of effort to eliminate a graduated tax rate from the tax code.

    October 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. Bs

    Going back to some right-wing issues for the coutry; when we are talking about things like prayer in public schools and the Ten Comandments in our courthouses. I really don't feel strongly about those issues. As far as the American constitution is concerned, I am not sure that the government should be legislating on spiritual issues affecting prayer and the like. I am more concerned about moral erosion that is going on in the United States. In other words, we shouldn't be so concerned abou the government legislating to have non-Christians acting like Christians. This is a difficult issue but we have to look at them one by one.

    October 19, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Irving

    Mrs Fanning, vote how you please and be as critical as you want, that is what makes this country great. But in all your words and actions don't forget you are representing Christ.(who did he turn his back to?)

    October 19, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. northernexposure

    charming. the church lady from snl.

    October 19, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. Margaret Leicester

    Quote from a SENSIBLE Republican:

    Colin Powell on taxes: “Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who paid them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there is nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more, who should be paying less.

    And for us to say that that makes you a socialist, I think is an unfortunate characterization that isn't accurate. I don't want my taxes raised. I don't want anybody else's taxes raised. But I also want to see our infrastructure fixed. I don't want to have a $12 trillion national debt, and I don't want to see an annual deficit that's over $500 billion heading toward a trillion. So, how do we deal with all of this?"
    Enough said.

    October 19, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  13. Gail in SC

    What a sad commentary on a woman of her age to be so hate- filled that she could on Sunday be so un-Christian. I heard that clip on the news and was actually glad to hear someone in the crowd tell her to shut up. John McCain just lies and people repeat that stuff. Good gracious.

    October 19, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. TyWebb

    Palin heard Obama was referred to as a socialist and thought it meant sociable.

    October 19, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. jon

    spreading the wealth, sure sounds like socialism. taking from the rich and giving to the poor with out any requirement/ plan to help the poor better themselves, sure sounds like socialism.

    Question: if obama and biden are so serious about spreading the wealth and helping the less advantaged, how come their charitable contributions are so low? I guess they only want to help the poor with my money and not thiers

    October 19, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. renu

    what happened to live & let live?? Can you not even give a handshake to a candidate even if you dont agree with them 100%.It is called civility.Guess she doesnt know what it means or cares to know.
    the words socialist,communist are thrown around so casually by people who dont even bother to read up or are blisfully insular in their outlook.
    I guess by now Obama man has learnt how to deal with nay-handshakers

    October 19, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Suzy of MI

    It is SAD when Obama's very plan HELPS these uneducated racist rednecks that are voting for the other team. Pathetic indeed.

    October 19, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Stan

    No Barack, no way! An independent.

    October 19, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. Women Physicist

    Oh my goodness. This surely reflects well on McCain supporters.

    October 19, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. jack

    It will be unfortunate, and the biggest upset of the century if Obama does not win this election. Clearly, only his policies make sense, his judgement is sound and he is the only one looking presidential from every angle If he does not win, one unfortunate theory will be proved, and that is that the vast majority of americans are racist at core, they may say they support Obama now but at the voting boot thier ugly mindset would take over them.I would then understand that Obama's success and achevement up til now been miraculous in a rascist society. Even if he does not win, the outcome of Mccain's policies would definitely prove costly for america and Obama's judgement would prove true.
    Its just sad..in a country like America..

    October 19, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Lisa Vilen

    Actually, it is not socialism. It is a play from Karl Roves Political playbook: "Call anyone who disagrees with us a Socialist." This has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with mudslinging.

    October 19, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. Annie

    McCain and Palin have tried about every dirty trick in the book....terrorist, socialist, fear, don't really know Obama. After everything I have heard and seen from McCain and Palin I doubt I'll ever vote for another Republican ever. Not even for dog-catcher.

    October 19, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    Obama needs to fight this attack hard!

    October 19, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  24. BHO FTL

    Cnn it would really help Obama if you showed a picture that didnt make him look like a former USSR leader...if there are any....

    October 19, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. Todd

    What a mess the Republican ticket has become.

    October 19, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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