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. Beth

    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 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Charles H

    I think the McCain / Palin speeches are much better in the original German.

    If you want to move forward, put your car in (D)emocrat.
    If you want to go backwards, put your car in (R)epublican.

    October 19, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. Winnie Hussein.... in Montana

    Sen. Obama is 100% correct. What I don't understand is why McCain and Palin are obsessed with lying, attacking, and Joe the Plumber. The Plumber is not representative of Americans and Sen. Obama recognizes that fact. Sens. Obama and Biden have been discussing the issues and how real Americans are affected.

    October 19, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. AZ Senior

    Is socialism then the opposite of "trickel-down"? Why is it such a bad word?

    October 19, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. MikeH

    Good job Obama, talking to a hostile misinformed Republican face-toface, on her turf.

    By doing so you show a strength of character 99% of Republicans can only dream of, indeed, many Republicans are very afraid of.

    Please be careful though, Sarah Palin's theo-facist hate-mongering Republican Brown-Shirts know no bounds.

    October 19, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. Anita of georgia

    To the lady in the restaurant, that wouldn't shake Senator Obama hand when he approached her table. She also call him a socialist. I can tell by her bad grammar, she is very unlearned. Most people are taught when growing up, by their parents to respect everyone whether you agree with them are not. I guess the church group, she was with brought it to her attention, how disrespectful she had treated him. After all, the rest of her party shook is hand. I guess he must have answered questions, on the issues that concern her. I would like to know if that was her business? If not how could she ask him to get out. This race is getting very ugly. She might as well get use to it. She'll be calling Senator Obama, President Obama after his win in the Nov. 4. election. OBAMA /BIDEN 08

    October 19, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. Montana is Obama Country

    Barack is a leader of character and wealth... Wealth of intelligence..!

    As for Diane Fanning.. it is too bad she cannot see past her nose to the good that comes from intelligent ideas. Diane will benefit from Barack's "Socialist" ideas and she will be the better for it.. Though she won't see it or want to embrace it... but she will except it ..(daily)

    Obama/Biden.... 208, 2012..

    October 19, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  8. Beth, Chicago

    Under Obama Communism will be next.

    October 19, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. dmd

    spreading the wealth, as he said, IS socialism folks!

    October 19, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  10. Carol

    I think Obama should ask people what they think "socialist" means. The fear mongering from the McCain campaign has made this term synonymous with "terrorist". Asking people to explain the meaning of socialist might prove interesting, especially if asked what term they would apply tol buying banks and aiding large corporations with taxpayer money.

    October 19, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. Fed up with the nastiness

    For all you people who profess to be Christians, you are giving Christians a bad name. Christians are supposed to understanding, forgiving, and should not be slinging mud the way it's being done in the McCain campaign. How can you condone what Sarah Palin is doing...inciting division among the American people with her lies and inuendos. Obviously, McCain does not want to be labelled as saying the things she is saying, so he's using her as his mouthpiece.....I am soooooo disappointed in him, but then again, look at his character. He was a man who had multiple affairs when he was married to his first wife, and started an affair with his present wife while he was still married to that wife. He, also has been involved with people who have shady character. Be very careful what you say about others....you spit straight up in the sky, it will fall back in your face. How can they sleep at nights.

    Why would people like Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world, and the #1 master of investments, and Colin Powell, be endorsing Barack Obama if they didn't feel confident in him. I have heard him say he is consulting with some of the best brains in the country on the various issues. No man, by himself, has expertise in everything. I have not heard McCain mentioning anyone he is consulting. Each day I hear Obama, I feel more at ease listening to him, but get more scared the more I hear what's coming out of the McCain campaign.

    I really hope the American people will vote for the one who seems to be spending more time on the issues and what he can do for them, trying to unite them, rather than the one who is throwing mud, forcing the other to have to respond to the garbage.

    October 19, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. Wally

    Bad manners are just BAD Manners.

    October 19, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Kate Fergus

    It never ceases to amaze me how paranoid people are about "socialism". It is especially odd because many people do not even know what true socialism is. Many wrongly equate it with communism. It appears that the cold war with the USSR has left many people with an unhealthy fear of government intervention of any kind. Well, government has a role to play to intervene on behalf of the people who elected it.

    It also perplexes me that people are not more fearful of the constitutional violations that the Bush administration committed with its wiretapping of innocent individuals under the guise of the Patriot Act. Now that smacks of communism.

    October 19, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. Carter

    As a devout Christian I am curious as to what church Ms. Fanning attends. Given Jesus’ unambiguous teachings about caring for and sharing with those in need, I suspect that Ms Fanning would also angrily scream “socialist” at our Lord.

    October 19, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. No2RepubGimmicks

    Every week, the McCain campaign and supporters have a different name to call Obama every week...

    Now you have silly people yelling and calling Obama a socialist just because they heard McCain and Palin mention the word.... these supporters probably don't even know that the word means.... this is how these supporters work–just repeating what they've heard their candidate say.

    That's the general mentality of people who are still supporting McCain.

    October 19, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. ATL Joe

    socialist is now the new code word. (first it was muslim, then terrorist)i bet the lady does not even know the meaning of that word.

    October 19, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. David

    Unfortunately this women is just another casualty of the McCain-Palin campaign's misinformation, lies, deception and the fostering of hate against anyone outside of their far, far right extremist concepts. Even the 'traditional' Republicans are distancing themselves from them. More than likely, she would be part of the 95% of Americans who would benefit from the Obama tax cut and more affordable health care. However, she seems to be letting hate and ignorance force her to neglect her own well being.

    October 19, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. todd

    This woman defines the republican base.

    October 19, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. Kiah

    I'm gonna go with David Gergen on this one...and maybe Obama should too. McCain voted for the 700 billion dollar bailout which injected 150 billion directly into our banks. McCain ALSO is proposing a $5,000 healthcare credit to Americans so they can "shop" for their own healthcare. Where do you think that money is coming from...the gov't and taxpayers who for the first time will be TAXED on HC. So McCain is once again lying but especially bad on this one because he's suggesting his very own version of socialism via healthcare credits.

    Cut the bull McCain you're losing and your lies just make you look worse!

    Obama/Biden '08 & '12

    October 19, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. redhead from Toronto

    In the words of John Lennon – "Give peace a chance" pleeease. This racist hatred is making me feel sick inside, that kind of hatred will only turn in on the hater. How can anyone who professes to be a church goer feel this way? Americans,UNITED you will stand....I just don't understand why you don't get it.

    October 19, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. Liberal Moderate in Penna

    Daine Fanning needs to crawl back under her rock, what a despicable woman, if this is how you treat human beings after going to church it's quite disgusting..............She is a true testament to the ignorance in this country..................People like her only believe what they went to believe..apparently she has fallen for the shallow lies and distortion coming from the McCain/ Palin camp...................McCain and Palin have sunk to an all time low, inciting racsim and hate in this country........this is going to get nastier if they don't back off

    I hope to God no one gets hurt or worse............what a shameful time in Republican politics

    October 19, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. Country first

    McCain is socialist in profit of the wall street boys. Barack Obama is not.

    October 19, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. Boomer

    Most people don't even know what socialism is. It's just another LABEL that the deperate Republicans are trying to stick on Obama. It's part of their hate campaign. Now that Colin Powell has endorsed Obama, idependents and undecideds will move toward him. Not even Joe the unlicensed plumber whose name is really Sam can help the GOP now,

    October 19, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. BM

    I wonder if Fanning read that on the internet or just took McCain's words. She obviously doesn't know how to research information for herself, not well informed, or perhaps uneducated. I'm more inclined to believe Fanning is uneducated and can't use a computer either.

    October 19, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. crystal howe

    Oh geez. I'm voting for Obama!

    October 19, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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