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. nelson

    Can't win everyone no matter how hard sometimes you try,
    some folks have a different agenda. I wonder what they talked about
    anyway? It would be hard to talk to someone who doesn't like you.
    Oh well, the race must go on.

    October 19, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. George Owusu

    OBAMA personally earns more than 250,000 dollars a month, in a year he earns more than 4 million dollars a year, how can you call such a person a socialist? And for McCain's information, A socialist wont tax the rich in order to give it to the needy, Socialism is diferent, Bush and McCain has nationalise US banks does that make them socialists. Socialism is a complete Programme, not a reform. Obama is proposing a reform of the tax system like Bush and McCain nationalising US banks.

    October 19, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. Speider

    So, McCain keeps pushing how he preached government control on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and in the recent bailout and he uses the word "Socialist" for someone else?

    I will say, however, that governments with greater social programs, including health care, have a higher standard of living for the citizens, Canada being one of them.

    October 19, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. midwestrn grl_stl

    Ms. Fanning, refusing to touch Obama's hand.....shows that she would allow the Black to speak to her, but she was unwillingly to let the black touch her.,....its b/c she didnt want the Black to rub off on her.

    Is anyone else out there in tv land noticing that the more negativity that comes Obama's way...the more he brushes his shoulder off.

    I hate to say this, but I will..........White Americans, Black people have supported you all since the founding of this great nation of our., we have slaved, died, worked, and voted for you throughout America's history., why when for the first time, a Black man is in the running to hold the highest office in the land., we are only supporting him b/c he is Black?
    In case many of you "typical white people" havent noticed., Blacks have always 95% of the time voted for Democrats.

    First Barack Obama was inexperienced, then unknown, untested, questionable, foreign, dangerous, terrorist, socialist, racist( yes some people have accused a man with a white mother and black father as being racist) anti-american, terrorist sympathizer...i could go on and on.....

    Typical white people., those Obama was talking about., that believe these things about him, that dont realize that when Obama gets elected their lives will be better, make me ashamed to be an American.

    October 19, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |

    In A Store In My Home Town A Black Woman Pulled Up With An Obama Sticker On Her Bumper And This White Lady Asked Her Where Did She Get It From And The Black Lady Said I Order It A While Back And Another White Lady Heard Their Conversation And She Went Off She Said You Blacks Are Voting Because He Is Black Look At Powell I Have Lost My Respect For Him, She Said I Hope You People Are Happy And Everybody White & Black Stood To Her And Start Chanting Obama JOBS BABY JOBS And She Took Off We All Left Because We Thought She Was Coming Back With A Shot Gun.
    THIS IS GETTING CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 19, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Ron

    "Socialist!" is just more fear mongering among the Republicans...they've got nothing else...but the parroting of Republican slander by shallow thinkers is another indication of the type of voter the Republican party is seeking.

    October 19, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. Some Things Never Change

    It is about time Obama answered this charge. I have said repeatedly, there is nothing in Obama's economic plans to suggest a socialist style economic policy. Tax cuts do not equate to a socialist style economy when you consider the basis of socialism is the government owning the means of production.

    This is just another desperate attempt by the McCain/Palin campaign to win this election by any means necessary. McCain calls himself a man of honor, I see no honor in his tactics, they are deceitful, shameful and without merit or honor.

    October 19, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. Paralegal in NC

    I work in Fayetteville NC and I would like to apologize for the actions of Mrs Fanning. It is ashame that Sen. Obama was not shown Southern Hospitality. AFTER Sen. Obama becomes Prez Obama she can sit in her house, with heat she can afford, while going to a job that was newly formed and complain all she wants.


    October 19, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. Heather

    If you don't agree with his policies, that fine and don't vote for him, but I think Barack Obama, the Junior United States Senator from Illinois, has earned our respect. That is shameful to not at least shake his hand.

    October 19, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. Navy Vet

    What can you say? Some things and some people never change. Poor lady. I bet she ran home and scrubbed her body thinking she may have picked up germs from Obama being in the restaurant. I bet she is an avid watcher of Fox News.

    October 19, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. Joyce in Florida

    OMG. I can't believe that woman in the diner screaming the socialist thing. She sounds like loony tunes to me. I guess there are always going to be people like that wherever you go. Kudos to the other diners admonishing her. I believe what Senator Obama says about cutting taxes to 95 percent of American workers. As usual, John McCain doesn't get it and twists and distorts the truth. He is really a desperate man and he is a war monger!!! The Democrats will take back the White House and then John McCain and his caribou barbie can go home. I will be voting for Obama/Biden. Come on people, let's vote early if you can.

    October 19, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  12. Michael Newman

    If Obama wants to spread the wealth he should give some of that $150M he recieved for campaign contributions last month and give it to MCCains campaign. If he objects he then should know how the taxpayers feel about his tax plans.

    October 19, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  13. Meshelemyah Kaztilyahn

    Almighty Everlasting Father YAHWEH bless you Senator
    Barack OBAMA t0 be our next US President. HalleluYAH !!!

    October 19, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. Larry

    And Diane Fanning is what's wrong with this country, problems exacerbated by the McCain/Palin campaign. No one says she has to vote for Obama, but decent people don't scream things at other people and refuse to shake their hands. What a horribly disgusting woman she is.

    October 19, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  15. why does cnn censor comments...

    ...unless they praise Obama?

    October 19, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  16. Salliesue

    McCain's new attack – "socialism" – simply shows how desperate his campaign really is. Eight years ago, I actually said I could vote for a Republican if it was John McCain. Unfortunately, today's John McCain is not the same man. I wish this were not so – I truly admired him then – but he appears to have sold out every conviction he ever had just to get elected. The term maverick no longer applies to him – conformist is more suited. The Republican party says jump, he says how high? It's sad.

    October 19, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  17. Brian

    America's history is not of people ordering 'socialists' out of the restaurant, so one wonders of her true motives.

    October 19, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. BC

    McCain and Palin are both crazy and getting crazier by the minute. The few fans they still have are complete losers and idiots. I could care less about Palin, but it is sad to see a true American hero like McCain make such a stupid fool of himself – this is what history will remember. But, I can't believe that anyone acting like he is could have even had much dignity.

    October 19, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. Bulldog

    Good for Obama. He showed some real emotion today appearing to be getting sick and tired of the McCain and Palin lies.

    October 19, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. Joseph

    "Socialist, socialist, socialist" - as snotty as it may seem, that woman is an uneducated dolt, bellowing the word like some bloodthirsty bystander at one of the Salem witch trials. Though the US has the world's most hyper-capitalist economy, it has always been a mixed one: it's just that the socialistic policies, excepting unemployment insurance & Social Security, are stacked in favor of business and the military. We subsidize everything for the military (from no-bid contracts to the PX), underwrite small businesses often unwisely (where else can one fail again and again and again), and give tax breaks, incentives, and bailouts to big business on a scale unprecedented since Augustan Rome. The moment we give a "handout" to a poor person, the rich scream "socialism," while pocketing their tax break and subsidies thank you very much.

    October 19, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. Tony

    There was a time in this country when most of federal income tax was paid by the wealthy. In 1913 the federal income tax law fell primarily on the most affluent, which represented 3% of the population. In addition, the wealthiest 3% were not allowed to claim exemptions or deductions and had to pay on earned and unearned income. In 1940, The Ratification of The Federal Tax Ammendmant indicated at that time that 80% of wage earners were well above the national average income. These people included bankers, lawyers, capitalists, manufacturers, merchants, and corporate officials. This group who reported the greatest income paid 90% of the federal income tax. Through the years things have changed, but now the tax laws have swung completely to the other side. Some of the wealthiest of individuals is paying a far lower % of taxes in there wages. Its time to return to parity where the average American who has no opportunity to the tax credits for the wealthy are charged an equal percentage in taxes. This is what McCain calls socialism... bringing fairness back to the federal income tax amendment.

    October 19, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. Dick

    Great job Obama! I like your intelligence

    October 19, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. Concerned Canadian

    The garbage coming out of the McCain/Palin camp about & towards Obama is absolutely downright evil .

    Basic Physics – Like is attracted to Like

    Negativity is attracted to Negativity

    Make sure that your voting information is in order, then get out and vote.

    Don't give Republicans the satisfaction of your complacency !

    Change is'nt scary, it's growth ....my American friends taught me this !

    Blessings, Peace & Joy To Everyone

    October 19, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. Salina

    Obama is the only real choice for the presidency. Voting otherwise would mean you're insane, as most right-wing racist conservatives are.

    Obama '08/'12

    October 19, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. Alison

    I find it amazing that someone would be rude enough to yell, "socialist, socialist, get out of here" to Obama and refuse to shake his hand. If he is a socialist, then so is McCain and all the others who voted for the bailout. Face it, the policies of a free market esposed by the Republican Party for the last 8 years are what have gotten the US into this current economic mess with the war in Iraq only helping worsen the situation. Frankly at this point, I am ready for a change in our country and fear that with the Republicans in the White House it would only get worse. If you don't want a socialistic society, then go live off the grid, because everytime you drive on a road, call the police to your home, or send your child off to school, you are reaping the benefits of a socialistic government. As to Fanning refusing to shake his hand, I ask her to go back and look at the Bible and see what Jesus says about love thy neighbor.

    October 19, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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