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. Steve

    Reagan was the Right-wing empty suit, and now Obama is the Left-wing empty suit. The Pop Culture pendulum swings both ways.

    October 19, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. California Gold

    McCain and Palin's "kitchen sink" strategy is still hollow and lame. Their campaign has been void of information of what they offer the voters on our country's problems. All McCain and Palin have done is run around criticizing Obama. Obama has been steady with his message and reliable with his proposals for fixing problems. These are core issues to the voter. To endure most of this election season listening to McCain's nonsense is now totally insulting. Our economy is in the tank, the jobs are evaporating, incomes are shrinking, we invented the automobile and the American auto industry is on the brink of extinction, our armed forces are fighting and dying in 2 miserably unpopular wars and all McCain offers is calling Obama names. Names!

    McCain is a disgrace. He has proven he lacks depth and understanding. So much for an elder statesman.

    Obama-Biden 2008

    October 19, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. theogracias

    McCain has a vision for a truly ugly America and he recruited Palin to help share it with us.

    October 19, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Archie H.

    One of socialism's traits seen in Venezuala etc. is buying the poor peoples vote just before elections ! Guess what we have here !!

    October 19, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. Steve

    Would McCain would have tried to shake the hand of someone who just yelled at him? I think not.

    The "socialist" thing is absolute nonsense. More desperation. Would Colin Powell endorse a socialist?

    October 19, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Erika, KS

    Ah, the truth hurts doesn't it Mr. Obama? You ARE a socialist! You want to take from the rich, who have worked their butts off, and give to those who chose not to work. You are a disaster waiting to happen for the American taxpayer.

    October 19, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. Grandma

    She is the one put America in the last

    October 19, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. joe, nashville




    October 19, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Shame Shame I Know your name GOP

    The Obama/Biden campaign will continue to take the high road, and leave the divisiveness to the McCain/Palin campaign.

    October 19, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. Justin from CT

    McCain is a socialist too then because he voted for the bailout.

    October 19, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. marcus stephens

    Refusing to shake a U.S. Senators hand is just down right direspectful. Giving everyone a fair chance isn't socialism, it American. Minimum wage is at an all time low compared to the cost of living in America, I think its past time to give the workers who bhuild America a little extra in their paychecks and refunds.

    October 19, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  12. Shannon,Dallas,Texas

    McCain is just old, and apparently so is this woman, Diane Fanning. I wonder what she would have said if W had walked into the restaurant. Perhaps she would have said "Hello President Socialism. Have you purchased in new banks today". How many more ill informed talk radio listeners is he going to come in contact with? Really, I didn't know that Limbaugh and Hannity had such big followings. Are they picking this stuff up at the rallies or just on Fox News?

    October 19, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. Indy2008

    She is an example of the hateful atmosphere that McCain and Palin are creating within the republican party. She does not represent the good nature folks from North Carolina.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 19, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. The Bluest Skies are in Seattle

    Thats some of McWar/Palin lingo lies they keep spreading well sooner than later we will be past them .
    Its no surprise how many bottom feeder people feed on their lies .
    McWar should be ashamed of himself but instead he lies about his lies.

    Obama /Biden all the way.

    October 19, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |

    Note that she is with a church group and yet is still true to her hateful self. Should makes many second guess their idea of Christianity when you see ignorant and judgmental Christians like this. To actually be sitting with members of your religion and then be down right rude and hateful to a man because he wants to help 95% of his country is unpatriotic, immoral and very evil.

    October 19, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. Jennifer

    Sounds like Ms Fanning is a hypocrite....goes to church but fails to put into practice what is taught there as well as being just rude.

    October 19, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. robrubin

    It's people like the one in that diner screaming "Socialist" why its so important for everyone to get out and vote. I am hopeful that people like that are in the minority in this country, but we need strong turnout to make that possible.

    People like that are blind sheep. I bet if McCain said Obama was a devil worshiper, the woman would have said "Don't you dare drink my blood you Satan lover!"

    I am hopeful there are enough smart people in NC and the rest of the country to cancel ignornat people like that out.

    Ironically, this woman probably would get a bigger tax cut under Obama.

    October 19, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  18. linda from South Dakota

    funny the mccain people cant think of anything else to bring up,,, so they are hittin the bottom of the barrel,,,,, thats how desperate they are,,,,, but they dont hava chance,, vote early ,,,VOTE OBAMA/BIDEN 08 and BEYOND

    October 19, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. Snaptaculous

    OMG! I can't believe people are so clueless. Our biggest allies are democratic-socialistic countries (Canada, England, all of Scandinavia, indeed most of Western Europe!). So what the hell is the problem with these countries? Their happiness index ratings are much higher than ours. They live longer, they work less, they have more benefits and their currency beats the tar out of ours. It's not communism! Silly old lady probably hasn't been out of her backyard!

    And no the Democratic Party platform never has gone that far left. Jimminy Crickets! With all the campaign mudslinging going around.....Baby killer.....muslim....terrorist......I'm just waiting for them to call Obama a cannibal. Perhaps they will save that for the last few days of the campaign.

    Then we'll all have every single demonizing slur that you could possibly have on a candidate in one campaign. It's just sad that folks fall for this sort of nonsense.

    The far right is so scared and yet Obama retains his grace. You don't see him going around calling all these freaks bigoted fascists!

    October 19, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  20. Tunde

    The truth is most of the people shouting socialist have no clue what it mean. This is supposed to be a capitalist economy, right? Why then is George Bush buying equity stakes in banks? Where in the capitalist doctrine is that written?

    October 19, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  21. John Smith

    I like this post,– so, enjoy

    It's sad. The McCain camp is going to have to discredit a significant member of their own party.

    But this is exactly what makes Powell respected… he speaks his mind. Which is ironic because he rose to his highest under an administration that was Draconian in quelling any signs of differing opinions. Chaney, Rumsfeld and their bureaucratic minions almost stiflied Powell to death at the State Department.

    Alas, the realities of party patronage will probably never make this happen… but could you just imagine a likeness of diplomatic and foreign policy juggernauts like Biden, Powell, Armitage and other realists representing expertise and views from a wide range of opinions sitting at the principals table advising an intellectually astute and studious president like Obama?

    One can dream.

    October 19, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  22. republican for obama

    we need more obama's in the world.
    who will make a difference in this world.

    thanks for your wonderful vision.

    i am changed.


    October 19, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  23. Deb

    Freedom of speech is great and moreso when it's your own ideas!
    It is a shame that Politics in America has caused average Americans to be brain-washed by Politicians instead of each and every one empowering him/herself by doing research on the candidates to see where they stand. This is why education is even more important in America today. Of course, I understand that the majority of us are logical and will apply better judgement come Nov 4th. Please people go to both candidates website and find out for yourslef what they are about and which one will be better for America first and foremost and then for you.

    October 19, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  24. New Voter

    Ms. Fanning may not agree with Obama's policies, but why would that prevent her from shaking his hand? She must be afraid that something might rub off on her! Hmmm!

    October 19, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  25. Jenny

    socialist, elitist, liberalist - what ever the name you call him, I would say he is the best we have got..
    Go Obama / Biden.
    President Obama is good for the country and the world.

    October 19, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21