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. Chris

    I find it strange that the woman eating lunch with her church group couldn't be enough of a Christian to shake hands with Obama. Is that what Jesus would have done?

    October 19, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. John

    Way to go CNN on reporting on the fact that Obama wants to "cut" taxes on 95% when 40% don't even pay taxes!!!

    Obama will raise taxes on the people that make jobs and give them to people that don't even pay them.

    October 19, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. Change is Coming to a Town near you

    It is one thing to disagree with someone, but it totally rude to not show some hospitality.

    October 19, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Monroe W. DeVos

    I'm willing to bet that Diane Fanning would not even be able to define what a solicalist is. Just another example how the McCain will target the uneducated and ply them with words that sound frightening.

    Good for the other lady yelling back "at least he's not a war-monger". Something tells me the Silent Majority from 1972 will be rearing it's head come election time by electing who they, at least privately, feel will bring much more to this country then the alternative.

    October 19, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. Sarah

    Imagine that. Obama is willing to be the President of ALL Americans, not just so called "real" Americans.

    October 19, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. Lisa

    I pity Ms. Fanning – she's horribly misinformed. I'm glad that others in her church group were more tolerant. I'll lay odds Ms. Fanning has no idea what a Socialist is, so shouldn't be tossing the term at Sen. Obama. He's clearly NOT a Socialist.

    October 19, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. ts

    Can op Rove and Scooter Libby from destroying social security ?
    President Bush and Senator McCain have made a socialist society of us due to their personal greed.

    Hopefully, McCain,72, will retire now.

    October 19, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Beth

    Socialist? Obama is NOT a socialist.

    But here is a question for McCain, Palin and all those who call Obama a socialist: what exactly do you call McCain's plan to buy back the bad mortgages with taxpayer money? Isn't that redistribution of the wealth?

    I pay my mortgage on time, yet now McCain wants me to use my money to pay for the mortgages of people who are facing foreclosure – is that really capitalism? Isn't that redistribution of the wealth? McCain is out of touch, and I hope that he and Palin DO NOT go anywhere near the White House, for the sake of this nation!

    Obama's economic plan is better than McCain's. Obama is ready to lead and help this country get out of this financial mess.

    October 19, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Kris

    Well, ain't that a fine christian woman.

    October 19, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Robert

    “Some of ‘em are just nicer than I am”,
    ..that, kinda says it all when it comes to [Church-Going] Republicans!
    Vile, closed-minded, racist, hypocrites!

    October 19, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. paula

    Right on, Obama!


    October 19, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Carol

    So let me get this straight...it is "capitalism" when the government bails out fat cats who use their Wall Street Christmas bonuses to buy Porsches and apartments in Manhattan, but it is "socialism" to use federal funds to help the millions of average Americans whose lives and families have been devastated by the utter failure of trickle-down economics? You betcha, makes perfect sense to me.

    My vote has already been cast for change..Obama/Biden 08!!!!

    October 19, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Bridget

    Ms. Fanning is an example of the kind of voter McCain cherishes –someone who can't think for themselves, research on their own where the candidates stand on issues and make an educated decision. Rather, they just blabber out extremist remarks like those of McCarthyist Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. This is the start to a shameful week for America.

    October 19, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Sue

    So sad that people let others influnence the way they think, she is only repeating what she is hearing McCain and Palin say on the trail.......to bad people can't or won't vote their own minds but they will vote the minds of others........we don't need those kinds of votes, McCain is a follower not a Leader and these people are followers not leaders, so I guess McCain attracks his own kind.......

    October 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. mike from toledo, ohio

    this is the result of hate and mis-information the mccain/palin ticket is propagating

    October 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. james

    "“Socialist, socialist, socialist – get out of here!”"

    Isnt that the same thing they yelled at MLK?

    Just sayin

    October 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. McCain is a republican, and republicans ruined America

    Sad to admit, I'm a christian when christian behave so ill. i love Jesus, and that's not the way we are to behave.

    October 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. Kentucky

    This woman is an idiot! She can put any label on it that she wants, I really don't care, just as long as I get good health care, good paying jobs, and peace for out nation. This is something the Republicans have failed to do. Time for a change to prosperity.

    October 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Jason Hussein, Nashville, Tn.

    Also, this woman is distugisting. I understand that she grew up in the era of America when the "red scare" was prevolent, but there is no excuse for her behavior. This is a product of the McCain campaigns attempts to severly divide us in this election. Shame on you Mrs. Fanning.

    October 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. Betty the Beautician

    In my opinion, John McCain and Sarah Palin are to blame for this type of mentality because they have been talking this type of trash on the campaign trail. I really wish they would stop before it gets out of hand.

    By the same token, I do not consider John McCain a war monger. He's served his country honorably. He's just not what this country needs as our President and Sarah Palin is not qualified to be VP much less President.

    October 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. douglas in minnesota

    It's worrisome that there are people out there that really believe this "socialist" crap. It just goes to show just how ignorant and uninformed some are. Is this McCain's strategy, make people afraid of change? Give it an un-American sounding label? Give it an un-patriotic sounding name? Is McCarthyism on the rise? If McCain's "base" has this type of mentality, the GOP is doomed. Lets hope that the average American voter is better than this.

    October 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. patrick

    Proof of how misleading the Republican party is.....some people will believe anything they here even without proof or evidence..!

    Dangerous, dangerous!

    October 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Matt

    Why won't the media cover McCain's history with Gordon Liddy the same it does with Obama and Ayers?

    Stand up and show that we won't stand for politics as usual. There is a reason that the smartest people in this country are backing Obama. Can you say that the last 8 years have been good for this country? Can you imagine another 4 run by the same people?

    This is your chance to make a difference. Don't fear color, fear policies.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 19, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Mrs. Texas Teacher

    I'm sick of the talk about Joe the NOT REALLY a Plumber and the hate and fear mongering from the McCain camp! Wake up, America, and think for yourselves!

    October 19, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. PrinceDLW

    Socialist.....Wow.....Why not just try to blame the cold war on the guy too. We live in a socialist state right now. How do you think the rich people and the politicians survive now? On your taxes. The truly rich people in the country don't pay taxes in the same manner that the remainder of the country pays them. They pay what they want, because of loop-holes in the tax code, so you can technically raise the tax rate to 80% for corporations and it still won't matter. 80% of 0 is 0. I know because I run a small business. The Iraq war, the patriot's act and the whole right wing agenda was financed by tax payers and all the while, the rich continued to get paid out of tax dollars for shipping jobs overseas. If that isn't exclusive socialism, I don't know what is! If you recall, our reasons for fighting the war of independance was taxation without representation. People need to realize, we have come to that point yet again. The rich own the government and the government taxes the poor. As a result, the government is only interested in making conditions in such a way that the rich people get rewarded for championing profits.

    I'll make it plain. We can continue to spend this money that Obama is talking about redistributing here in the US or we can keep sending it to Iraq and huge tax incentives for the top 1%. If keeping it here means that I'm a socialist, then sign me up.


    October 19, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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