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. Tayo, NY

    I'm just proud of this man.

    Though, I voted for Hillary during the primaries.

    today, like most other people, democrats, indipendents and republicans he has won my endorsement.

    He tries to reach out to everybody even if he does not agrees with your principles and beliefs.

    These are some to the qualities we want in a good leader.


    October 19, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. Deborah A. Lawrence

    It's sad that people cannot express themselves without calling names. This is what the McCain campaign has instilled in his rallys. Instead of talking about the issues. He incites people to call names and attack! This is why the United States is so hated around the world. People of intelligence can agree to disagree without resorting to name calling!

    October 19, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. Malcolm Hall

    I'm going to get an Obama tax hike, and I don't mind. I'm so grateful to this country for giving the oppotunity to make money. My wife and I have all that we need to provide for ourselves and help our children. We're also fortunate enough to be able to help donate to various causes. At the same time, I see the taxes on my daughter and her husband take a terrible toll. Although the percentages may seem low, they take enough away to create real problems. I'm disgusted that people who make over $250,000 a year would cry about a higher rate places not on their base income - but just on the amount over $250,000. I don't call that socialism, I call that fairness. What does McCain call giving tax breaks to seniors? Communism?
    How many houses and cars do he and his rich friends need. Even Warren Buffet thinks weatlhy people are undertaxed.

    October 19, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. Deborah A. Lawrence

    What's more socialist than the Republicans taking from the poor for the last 8 years and giving to the rrich?

    October 19, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. Lissa

    Colin Powell's endorsement statement includes that he feels Obama will make an exceptional president – that is as good as it gets, folks. No matter what the McCain/Palin camp wants to throw at Obama, they're showing their desperation.

    October 19, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. Kimber Lee

    I have only one question for 54 year-old Diane Fanning, "What Would Jesus Do?" People like Ms. Fanning are the reason that Christians are openly mocked and ridiculed by atheists like Bill Maher. Being kind doesn't cost a cent and it is what asked of all Christians. This alleged church-going woman is spiritually bankrupt. I will pray for her and others like her.

    October 19, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. Garret

    Unfortunately there are way too many people like Fanning out there.

    SHEEP; who let whatever McCain and Palin say go in one ear then come straight out of their mouths, without the benefit of stopping at a brain in between.

    On election day, we can only hope that more shepherds go to the polls than sheep.

    October 19, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  8. Dee

    As a republican, I find McCain's campaign offensive. Calling Obama a socialist is just blatant stupidity. Why is corporate welfare and the largess of international aid considered good for business/country but taking care of working americans considered socialism? Fact of the matter is that W and the republicans have been acting like socialists. why is spreading americas wealth overseas and wall street not considered socialism as it is redistributing wealth?

    Can Obama ask for two better endorsements than Powell and Warren Buffet? Their characters are beyond repproach in my opinion. How can anyone take what palin says seriously? She is a joke. I am voting for Barack without any reservations.

    October 19, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. Peter (CA)

    The ugliness of the Republican smear machine is alive and well. Nice to see that the scare tactics are not working.

    October 19, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  10. pam Eugene OR

    Fanning is either not too bright or a die hard republican. Now I am sure we will see a McCain commercial about her!
    It is such a shame that some people are so uneducated that they are suckers for McCains' slime tactics.
    I admire Barack so much for going into the lions den. McCain would never have this type of interaction with voters. He only wants to go into vetted settings were he already knows the people are for him.
    Now we will have Diane the bigot!

    October 19, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  11. JFK

    Nothing but fear from the right! And since the right engineered the nationalistic bank bailout that Bush created, then maybe the free market isnt working so well either! Guess our dear friends on the right are a little socialist too!

    October 19, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |

    I love how this woman (redneck) can be out with her church group, yell socialist (unprovoked), and be so rude as to not shake Obama's hand, and still call herself a Christian. That church she goes to needs to go over the fundamentals with her again. In fact, there is a large dose of so called conservatives, who supposedly stand on morality and Christianity, and behave so badly. Maybe you need to learn the definition of Christian, and while you are at it the definition of socialist. Anyway, "Bless your heart."

    October 19, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. Strider

    The woman's reaction is clearly a product of the fear sown in by the McCain campaign. The last thing America needs in this troubled economic times is to have fears and doubts on each other. Good thing that Sen. Obama still reaches out to someone rejecting him. This shows a character of leadership and confidence. God bless you sir and may He continually give you strength on this challenging journey towards the presidency of the United States of America and I wish for your victory in this coming election.

    October 19, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  14. indy chris

    great, another fascist mccain supporter.

    October 19, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  15. kencollier

    I hope people see that the anger in the campaign is not healthy. Most people stop silly name calling when the leave the playground around middle school. I think we could have a grown-up debate if we tried.

    October 19, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  16. James

    Diane Fanning = Another Narrow Minded Republican

    October 19, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  17. silas

    I guess we might all differ in our political opinions but the truth is that we need change and Barck and Joe gives that change we need

    October 19, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  18. francheska ;-)

    Calling Obama a Socialist is just another way to divide people. It seems that is all the McCain/Palin camp seems able to do REALLY WELL!! 😉

    October 19, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  19. Emily Frost

    I find it extremely sad that John McCain has moved to the politics of fear, rather the poltics of fact. This lady, who we note is a part of a church group, could not bring herself to shake hands with Obama, essentially because she has listened to the negative inferences of the McCain group, and clearly she knows little about the issues.
    Attacking each other's views on the issues is perfectly acceptable and a way of political life. But, as a one-time independant, I'm have been totally turned off by the use of personal attack and ugly inferences that by the McCain campaign; and that, if nothing else, has swayed my vote to Mr. Obama.

    October 19, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    I don't understand how SOME PEOPLE can be saying Barack Obama is a Socialist and will take our country down the path to Socialism... It seems to me the John McCain/George Bush team have already made that happen.... I do believe Senator Obama, with much help, will bring our country back to where it is suppose to be.. Leading the world....


    WE LOVE YA JOE......

    October 19, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  21. Scott in Norfolk

    Well, Obama is a Socialist, by taxing the wealthy and giving to those that don't pay ANY taxes, that's Socialism,

    October 19, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  22. La Raza

    I just heard Pat Buchannan on the Chris Stewart show ask "would Powell have endorsed Obama if he were a white democrat?" I was thoroughly shocked with that kind of question from Pat and it totally floored the panel. He is a clear example of why we need Obama in command of the U.S. There are some people who actually think like Pat! Now that is a scary but sad reality.

    October 19, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  23. Hana

    When McCain called Obama a "celebrity", an "elitist" it didnt work so he turned to phrases like "unpatriotic", that didnt stick either so he took his chances by calling Obama non-christian, or a muslim, that failed miserably and his people in GOP rallies called Obama a terrorist. McCain was quite positive it will stick in peoples mind but that backlashed big time so his last resort is calling Obama a "socialist".
    Mean McCain will have to think hard and fast because time is running out and things arent looking great for him.

    October 19, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  24. Mike in Fairfax

    Dude! You are most definitely a socialist! When I was growing up, my teachers, parents, grandparents, the media and just about any other adult I came in contact with, would tell me the following: "This is a great contry and if you work hard and you can become whatever you want." What a wonderful concept! What a great country we live in!! It's a shame that we lost that drive somewhere along the way. Why do some people just sit on their butts and hold their hands out?

    October 19, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. jael

    Another McCain Crazy Lady!!!!

    October 19, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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