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. Randolph

    I bet my Golden Retriever has more "schoolin'" than that idiot Fanning, he's respectable and know how to shake hands.

    October 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. No Hillary = No Obama

    Notice how many times Obama keeps referencing himself with the almighty "ME". This guy is a textbook narcissist.

    October 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Laszlo In L.A.

    That diner in North Carolina may end up being a good sampling of America right now. There are people clinging on to their notion of the past with extreme prejudice, but they appear to be far outnumbered by those with a much broader, educated view.

    I find it ironic that this heckler was there with her church group, yet she refused to even shake Barack Obama's hand. Doesn't quite strike me as Christian for some reason.

    October 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Jim In Minn

    The Republicans cry "re-distribution of wealth". I don't know why the Democrats don't cry the same response in return.

    After all, the Republicans have been distributing our money to the rich, the lobbyists, and big corporations for the last 8 years. This is

    Now John McCain comes along and wants to give our money to those
    who can't afford their house payments because they couldn't afford them in the first place. Isn't that redistribution of wealth?

    Sorry, I need to end this now.... I need to go buy a couple of million dollar house that I can't afford so I can get my share of the wealth, too.

    October 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. Sue, MI

    The reaction of the woman in Fayetteville is just heartbreaking. We will not survive as a country with that level of intolerance and hatred within our population. My guess is that poor woman probably doesn't even really understand what socialism is, but has been indoctrinated by right-wing media and likely her church to hate anyone who is labeled as "liberal" which to her equals "socialism". Or it's even more simple than that, and "socialist" is the scary word du jour that she has been told to shout whenever one of "them" is near. This is the part of our population that Sarah Palin appeals to- those who would make ignorance, hate and intolerance qualities to admire and promote in our leadership. Let's hope that we can begin to educate this part of the electorate, and try to bring some unity and wisdom back to our country. Intelligence and learning must be valued, not feared!

    October 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. TS from PA

    i dont think palin fully understands what socialism is... or else she wouldnt be labeling him as such. really sad that this who a sizeable portion of americans thinks can lead...

    October 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Allan

    To Diane Fanning:

    I guess you will refuse to accept Social Security or Medicare when you turn 65 because they are "socialist" programs. You must be really rich to have the luxury of opting out!

    October 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. manuel

    This is the point where all you know who McCain is. He shouldn't treat his opponent as an enemy. America needs a new perspective in this modern world and here is where we need a Wise and an intelligent leader to lead. Someone who can really bring PEACE to America and not WAR.

    October 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. aware

    Give it up Obama!

    You are a socialist in the Marxist vein. You said you learned the most from Saul Alinsky, and you use his phrases in your speeches!

    I know because I read "Reveille for Radicals" and "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky.

    According to Alinsky, the ends justify the means so lie, cheat, steal – whatever it takes to get the power! You learned that well Obama! 🙁

    October 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. tina

    Republicans fear tactics!

    October 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Carol, California

    I would like to hear Palin give us the definition of "socialism". Explain the principles, please, and use it in a sentence other than the one she has been taught to repeat.

    October 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Independent Doctor

    I used to love the McCain of 2000 and could not wait to see him to be a presidential candidate. How ever, sadly I do not know this man any more.
    Let me tell you, I am making more than 250k a year, and I have no problem to pay extra 3 or 4 percent extra tax as per senator Obama' plan. I do not like to pay taxes and I am definetly not a liberal, elitist or socialist. But I understand our country is going thru some rough time and I need to pay my fare share.

    October 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. pet2435

    obama is saying the truth,macCain is wrong

    October 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. English Teacher

    Good to see Obama reaching out to all people, even those who have bought the "socialist" charge. It is a breath of fresh air after the "if you aren't with me, you're anti-american" attitude of the GOP for the last 8 years.

    October 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. dean hale

    I am very concerned about how the McCain camp is fueling this anti american stuff, socialiest is just one of several things that have fueled a real messeage that Oboma is not a patriotic American. I thought better of McCain and if he continues with this realey negative campaigning aproach I don't think I can vote for him. I feel whether you're a republican, or a democrat, each are loyal American's.

    concerned american...

    October 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    When McCain/Palin started splitting states and the country into "pro-american", "real-part-of-the-state", etc., it made me sick. And they just seem to keep spreading the fear and smear.

    We have to be the UNITED States.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. Charlie Bradley

    ROFL @ "Socialist Socialist socialist get out of here!!!" and "At least he's not a war monger" I probably would have done the same thing if it were Palin or McCain walking into a restaurant where I was eating

    If Mrs. Fanning is reading this, then I urge her to look at the way the two candidates are running their campaigns...one side is grasping at straws while Obama is taking the high road and firmly but NICELY getting his point across. Also Check your facts....don't take the word of McCain Palin, or Joe Internet Poster as Gospel 🙂

    October 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Thomas

    If Obama is a socialist , then that would make McCain a Fascist !

    Totally absurd !

    I was hoping the days of Joseph McCarthy were far behind us .
    Isn't McCarthy dead ?

    October 19, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. I'm looking for answers

    I'll ask again!

    CNN PLEASE POST! I'm looking for answers to make a real decision!

    WHO ARE THESE Over 200 Retired Generals and Admirals who endorsed McCain's 2008 Presidential Campaign?

    I cannot find them on his website. Maybe one of his supporters can list them here. My vote depends on this answer!

    Thank you!

    October 19, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. On the home stretch

    I think we're all ready to vote and move on with life. I am amazed to see McCain and Pailin accure Obama of being "socialist" and a bit spender. Look at the last 15-20 years…

    – Which presidents racked up huge multi-billion dollar deficits? Reagan and Bush senior.

    – Which president then balanced the federal budget by the end of his terms? Democrat Clinton.

    – Which president then put us back in the hole by trillions? Republican Bush (George W).

    Here's the difference: when (Republican) governments hand over money and tax breaks to the wealthy, it is not called "welfare", but when Democrats create programs that benefit poor and working people, suddenly they are "socialists". Go figure!

    Will the real fiscal conservatives and budget-balancers who care about the people of this country please stand up? (thank you Barack Obama and Jo Biden)

    And wIll the real big spenders on corporate welfare programmes who have bankrupted our country please move over? You had your turn, and we don't like your kind of corporate welfare and "socialism"

    October 19, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. Dee

    My goodness...whatever happened to Southern hospitality and good manners. Diane should be ashamed of herself. I'm sure North Carolina isn't at all proud of her behavior.

    October 19, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. cheesehead2

    Fanning must have been on her way to church, certainly no one who just attended a church service would be so closed minded, narrow minded and out right wrongly judgemental-would they?

    October 19, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. lia, denver

    McCain is out of weapons in this election... He is out of ideas, and insight. ALL Europe is social-democrat nowadays. McCain wants the McCarthy era back with its witch-hunting. He is reckless, demagogic and COMPLETELY ignorant about Obama's plan and about what social-democracy means. Labeling, generalization are for narrow minds. And that's what McCain REALLY is.

    October 19, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. eric

    never let it be said that racism is dead in 2008.

    October 19, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. jojo from toronto

    Tax break – an oppurtunity? Gimme me a break......Obama's Policies screams....SOCIALISM! People should think hard before they vote...he wants to share the wealth...And his elitist comment about a plumber making $250,000 only shows what kind of a person OBAMA is..

    He will lie about ACORN, JEREMIAH WRIGHT and AYERS...just to be in the WHITE HOUSE...

    As for POWELL's endorsement – there's a saying ....Birds of the same feather...flock together..Of course Powell will endorse Obama...you know why? he wants to support the "first African Americal President!"


    CNN – Maybe my comments are too harsh...but isnt that the meaning of freedom of speech....whether you publish my comments or not...i know you're network is rooting for OBAMA!

    October 19, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21