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. Will T.

    this is what McCain/Palins campaign brings out of people.

    Tell them lies enough and the simple-minded will believe it.

    Give them the belief that they are not alone with their vapid mentality and they will yell it out. When they realize they look and sound ignorant, they shut up.

    Thank God some of the people in the joint spoke up for Obama.

    McCain, is this what you want your legacy to be?

    October 19, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  2. Mike

    Obama said that "spreading the wealth around" is a good thing. That is income redistribution plain and simple. That IS the basic tenent of socialism.

    The only question now is at what level does Obama intend to target for this government grab of the individuals retirement, college and family savings. My guess is that it is going to be A LOT LESS than $250,000.

    October 19, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. Victor

    What are the Republican base so worried about? From where I'm sitting, George Bush looks like the most Socialist president we've had in over 50 years.

    October 19, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. Charles H

    I'll take Socialism over Facism any day.

    The fact is, tax policy always has and aways be about re-distribution. The government takes your money, and dishes it out to Bridges that go nowhere.

    Obama simply wants to even the score a bit.

    What do you call it when you take from the poor and give to the rich. That's what has happened the last 8 years.

    October 19, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  5. observer

    Fanning calls herself a christian? She should be ashamed of herself. I guess Fanning must be one of those people who make 250thousand . I'm ashamed for her.

    October 19, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. carlene Jones

    I am voting mccain because everytime I think that obama will be president it sends cold chill down my back. Mccain has more experience i think he will be a better president and so does my 21 year old son.

    October 19, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  7. Joe

    Obama's policies are socialist. Remember, the military for all rights and purposes is not a democracy but is very "socialistic" in nature. The helthcare is socialistic as are other aspects of the military. Powell is a great man but very limited in scope and view.

    October 19, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. DB - Colorado

    How sad that a grown women harbors so much hatred in her heart for an American hero such as Barack Obama. This is truly reflective of the nature of the far right and the McCain-Palin mantra.

    October 19, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. DG

    Fanning showed her ignorance by shouting Socialist and refusing to shake Obama's hand. She is only hurting herself by acting this way.

    October 19, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Lisa

    Like, it's not 'redistribution of weath' to give $700 billion dollars to a bunch of insurance and banking moguls who don't even have the sense to call off a multi-million-dollar party after being bailed out?

    Sometimes it seems like the easiest way to find out what kind of dishonest scheme the Republicans are up to, is to look at their most recent accusation against the Democrats.

    Navigating US political discourse these days is like trying to walk around inside the landscape of a Dali painting. Everything is distorted.

    October 19, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. Grace Needed

    This woman from a church reminds me of Rev. MLK Jr.'s letter from a Birmingham Jail to the pastors who asked him to not be so radical and immmediate in his expectations for racial integration. He wrote back with these scathing remarks "More and more I feel the people of ill will have used their time more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent, the people of this generation, not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people." This woman was wrong in her words but where were the good people to correct her in her misguided understanding? We can't wait for Senators Obama or Biden to correct every misconception people have. We, good people can't be silent. We must step up to the plate and take a stand for right, even if it means in our churches and families. It is wrong to think that God only cares about and wants to bless those like ourselves. God wants us to love others and part of loving is caring enough to correct them when they err in mind, heart or soul.

    October 19, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. j

    I don't see Obama's tax plan as socialist. That's pretty much the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Some people are so easily deceived. Obama's tax plan will benefit most Americans as opposed to McCain's tax plan, which will continue to benefit the wealthy who are no longer paying there fair share in taxes. This type of misinformation is the reason I'm so against McCain for president. McCain doesn't tell the truth, he's given up any decency he may have once had, and he deserves to lose because of it.

    October 19, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  13. Ohio loves Obama

    And I've no doubt Obama holds no grudge for her small-mindedness. She may not deserve him, but she'd going to get him:
    President Barack Obama!

    October 19, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. paula

    Call it socialism, call it redistribution of wealth...personally I'll take it over business as usual with the greedy warmongers who have stole my money for the last 8 years. I'm proud to be called a liberal, it's been too long that the word has been denegrated. Look up where the word derives from and be proud to wear the label!

    October 19, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. Obama Wins Indiana

    Even in a landslide, there will be millions who didn't vote for you and won't like you no matter what. But Obama will win by a bigger margin than George Bush in 2004, wait and see.

    October 19, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. don

    Any more doubt in anyones mind that John McSlime is doing nothing but try to instill fear hatred and fear in the American People. I would doubt this woman even knows what a socialist is. But I would bet a lot of people know what a Fascist is. Wouldn't you John?

    October 19, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Hannah Stevens

    The more I watch Obama, the more amazed I am at how he handles difficult situations like this. But he has experience I am sure; all of his life living in the middle, not white not black and no doubt has faced much rejection in his life. He spans the generations, the racial divide and will bring this country and the world together, I am confident. I am a 68 year old white woman and I could see early on who Obama was as a person and that he had the qualities to lead our great nation.

    October 19, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Bud Clark

    " ... 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.”

    I'd be willing to BET that Ms Fanning couldn't DEFINE socialism if her life depended upon it, OR acknowledge the benefits she receives from it NOW, today, in the USA.

    "Soshulized med'cine" would mean my orthopedic surgeon would no longer be able to charge $5K for a fifteen-minute procedure, or make $37 MILLION a year.

    "Soshulized" housing would mean that I wouldn't have an 82-year-old widow living in my living room and sleeping on my couch because she got evicted from her apartment for non-payment of (outrageous) rent.

    Food, clothing, healthcare, education, and shelter are a RIGHT ... NOT a privilege of the wealthy. If that's "soshulizm", BRING IT ON!

    Bud Clark
    San Diego CA USA

    October 19, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. Ralph

    That woman should vote for the party that has created the largest government in the U.S. history with completely reckless deficit spending and is in the process of nationalizing many of our country's biggest companies.

    I guess she already is voting socialist.

    October 19, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. J.C.

    The bailout is a form of socialism.
    Obama is not original.
    But I do remember that more Democrats voted for the bailout than Republicans did in the House.
    Rich and socialized or poor and socialized?
    Why can't we create more to share rather than fighting for a piece of the same pie?

    October 19, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. albert griffith

    This is the reason why mccain is gonna lose because of ignorant old white racist people like fanning who don't want to shake Obama hands and the media is catching stuff like this is only turning away real smart GOP's and undecided.

    October 19, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. MarioB. from Berlin for OBAMA/BIDEN

    well is "socialist" a new word to avoid saying "black man"???
    It seems so sometimes, as if some jerks, as Mrs. Dumb-Fanning thinks, would prefer to scream the bad and disgusting "n" word but scream "socialist" instead, to avoid some racial heat... I don't know

    I just know, this dumb, uneducated woman will have to get used to the "socialist", "that one", "the one", or how you wanna call him.

    FOR ME it's Barack H. Obama and the 44th POTUS!!!!

    Obama/Biden in a landslide!

    October 19, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  23. Olivia

    Obama is kidding himself and playing with words.
    He shouldn't criticize Mccain for labeling the proposal.......many many others....many pundits......have voiced similar concerns......I hear it often.

    October 19, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  24. Hall for Obama

    I be willing to bet my last dollar Ms. Fanning do not know the meaning of Socialist because if she did she would not call Sen. Obama one.
    It is so sad we can pick up all the bad thing someone tell us. She just came from church and call a man who is running for the president of the USA a communist. She pick that up from John Mccain. I pray to God if Sen. Obama get to be president he do so good and bring this county to things that only God can help him do. We are so quick to judge other.

    October 19, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  25. Steve A. , New Braunfels , Texas

    Concerning Fanning in the church group in North Carolia-I am a devout Catholic,ex-marine,pro life, pro gun , and white ,and I would be proud to shake his hand. Obama 08-

    October 19, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
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