October 28th, 2008
08:57 PM ET
11 years ago

Palin: Obama wants to re-write Constitution

SHIPPENSBURG, Pennsylvania (CNN) - As the McCain campaign continues to press Barack Obama over a 2001 radio interview in which he uttered the phrase “redistributive change,” Sarah Palin on Tuesday accused the Democrat of wanting to re-write the Constitution to give the judiciary the power to redistribute wealth by confiscating the property and income of ordinary Americans.

Palin brought up the interview almost immediately after beginning her evening speech at Shippensburg University in central Pennsylvania.

“Sen. Obama said that he regretted, he regretted that the Supreme Court hadn't been more radical and he described the Court's refusal to take up the issues of redistribution of wealth as a tragedy,” Palin said. “And he said that he also regretted that the Supreme Court didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers there in the Constitution, that's a quote.”

Palin was suggesting Obama had expressed support for a broad redistribution of wealth in American society that would be carried out by the Supreme Court, but as fact-checkers noted on Tuesday, Obama was discussing the courts in the context of the civil rights movement, and was not referring to taxes.

Additionally, Obama said in the interview it was a mistake for civil rights leaders to rely too heavily on the courts to affect social change, and that issues of income redistribution were better left to legislators and community organizers.

Nevertheless, Palin claimed that Obama - a former constitutional law professor - favors allowing the judiciary to seize property and personal income in order to “spread the wealth around.”

“So you have to ask: Is this a suggestion that he'd want to re-write the founding document of our great nation to accomplish his goals, and what does that say about his ideas on future Supreme Court justices?” Palin asked.

Under an Obama administration, Palin said, judges would “confiscate your property and your hard, all of your hard-earned money and then re-distribute that. He may call that a tragedy, but I call it fairness and adherence to our U.S. Constitution.

UPDATE: Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Barack Obama, calls Palin's charges "a fake news controversy" that has been "debunked by major news outlets as completely false."

"In this seven year old interview, Sen. Obama did not say that the courts should get into the business of redistributing wealth at all," he said in a statement. "Americans know that the real choice in this election is between four more years of Bush-McCain policies that redistribute billions to billionaires and big corporations and Barack Obama’s plan to help the middle class by giving tax relief to 95 percent of workers and companies that create new jobs here in America."

soundoff (917 Responses)
  1. Rob indetroit

    Come Nov,4 the Republicans will be destroyed!.

    October 29, 2008 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  2. Trysh in Los Angeles

    The funniest part of this is that most of the folks whining about redistribution of wealth HAVE NO MONEY!! You don't have any wealth for yourself, let alone to redistribute to anyone else. Heck, most of you would be the redistributees.

    October 29, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  3. Dick


    The fact you work for the TSA says all we need to know about your goofy aloof post.

    October 29, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  4. Renee

    Palin is lying about Obama this is shameful. This have to stop confussing the American people about Obama Mccain/Palin is taking the low road to go after the highest position in the land. I don'nt want leader like Mccain/ Palin very frighting!!! I have already early voted Obama/ Biden

    October 29, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  5. Not pall'n with Palin

    If Obama is a socialist then "Joe" the "plumber" is a fascist. He said he wanted to vote for John McCain, a "real American". Does he consider Obama not really American? The McCain campaign is using all the same tactics Bush used in '04, but hopefully the American people will see right through the schemes this time around. Does the Maverick realize that next Wednesday he will have to go back to being a Senator? I'm sure that many of his colleges see him in a much different light now.

    October 29, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  6. Ed-Seatown

    I always keep hearing all these Republican pundits on T.V. saying that Palin is more qualified than Obama because she has executive experience as a Governor. Please!! Haven't we learned anything at all these past 8 years. Wasn't George Bush the Governor of Texas before he became president? Obviously, being Gov. doesn't automatically make you qualified to be president ...or vice president in this case. Wake up people!!!

    October 29, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  7. Jen, California

    It is YOU people on these blogs who are vile, ignorant, hateful, despicable, grotesque, monstrous, hate-mongering, illiterate, ignorant, low-life creatures that have crawled out from your rocks in droves, due to the "inspiration" of Obama. And you call yourselves Americans?

    October 29, 2008 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  8. Perusing-Through

    (1.) Obama was a Harvard Scholar and excelled at Constitutional Law as a Harvard University Graduate.

    (2.) Palin went to 3 different community colleges and 3 additional undergraduate colleges before getting her degree in journalism. Palin has never read the Constitution. When asked by Katie Couric to name one thing she has read, Palin was stumped and became defensive that she could not name one book, magazine, novel, Sunday School book, report, newspaper, or anything that she has read.

    QUESTION: Now just who's credibility should I trust on the matter of Constitutional Law. Obama’s or Palin’s.

    Duhh! Its Obama’s of course.

    October 29, 2008 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  9. Indiana

    GO...us young ones will vote...this is our time. It is time for us to take over and make politicians accountable. Our parents tell us certain things because they belong to the status quo. We have the right to think hard because we are inspired by a movement that is not driven by fear, but by hope and real vision. Welcome FUTURE!!!

    This is the new age. But, remember that we must keep old friends, for the new are silver and the old are gold.

    Obama/Biden 08'

    October 29, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  10. Go Home Palin

    She talks about property confiscation ... I guess shes having an another episode of hypocrisy. She forgets about that sports complex she build on part of someone elses land. And the complaints from the canadian aborigonies about the pipeline to the lower 48. Or how she wants to turn land designated as a wildlife reserve into an oil drilling field. She has no problems confiscating things, why should she complain?

    I hope all the palin supporters do their homework on her, before she brain washes you with all her crap. Thank goodness for the media and the internet, we all have the right to know the truth.

    October 29, 2008 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  11. vj


    I am not even a US Citizen, but I can understand the politics going on during this election. For some reason, I liked John M a lot during 2001 primaries, but he is entirely different now. His worst mistake was Sarah Palin. I think, Obama, is what world needs at this time.

    October 29, 2008 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  12. Stephanie R., CA

    Zeke C. – Very articulately stated. I wish everybody could read that!

    Jane – You really should go back and listen to the entire conversation between Obama & Joe the Plumber. A few words taken out of context by McCain/Palin have twisted Obama's message entirely. Research the quote from 2001 – read it in it's context and see what he was really commenting on. You'll find it has nothing at all to do with redistribution of wealth.

    McCain & Palin have sunk to depths I would have never believed in this campaign. Any respect that I might have had for McCain has completely dissipated. Right now he looks like a worn-out old man who has lost his bearings being pulled around by a right-wing, religious-fanatic, hate-spewing whacko. All of the good that has been done in politics for women by the likes of Hillary Clinton is being overshadowed by this vacuous hatemonger.

    This is truly a frightening time for our country if McCain/Palin are voted in. The thought of having Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the Presidency should be frightening to us all. A vote for McCain/Palin is an endorsement of this vile and sickening behavior and a vote for making our great country a less-respected entity in this world.

    We, as a nation, deserve better.

    October 29, 2008 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  13. Peace for Obama


    First of am British and like most people in the world have 'issues' with America and Americans- if you ever want to know why the world has issues with America et al just look at Palin, at what she say's, what she does, and what she stands for.

    The world outside of the comfort of America is not as libral or 'socialist' as you would think, in fact its so not its a joke. The lies, the racism, and the idignaty of someone like Palin saying that Obama lacks experience is beyond laughable.

    McCain is 72 which means every day Palin is closer anc closer to becoming president. Do you guys not see how stupid this is, and how dangerous this is. A woman who has no education, is a creationist, a zealot in relation to abortion, has a teenage daughter pregant, is fighting curruption charges in her state. And lets not mention her disgusting plan to detory Alaska for Oil.

    She neither knows what her role will be an what it should be, she interviews badly and the $150,000 on cloths simply shouldn't have happened, anyone with any sense about themselves would have said NO. This just shows how curruptable she is and how easily she can be bought by the machine.

    And please tell me how and when they plan of 'cleaning up Washington'? There is a saying 'don't bite the hand that feeds you', neither McCain or Palin have said what their plan is to clean up Washington, this just further increases their lack of organization and planning.

    They have been incredibly ignorant in this election, they have continued a very racial and purpose message of HATE and have become as fundamental as any member of Al-Quaida. And the lies, the LIES!!!! All these lies just show you how impossible it will be for them to change anything in washington.

    America Needs change for no other reason than the fact that you need to heal the wounds that have been opened up in the past 10 years because of American Foreign Policy, just recently more innocents have been killed (a war crime if you ask anyone) and this has to stop.

    For America to move forward it has to first regain the trust and support of the world, you need the world with you, standing next to you, and understanding that YOU are willing to change, to learn, and to accept that there is a world and thus world opinion.

    Obama has, in me, brought joy and tears to my eyes. In him for the first time since Bobby Kennedy (well from the Film) I see the American dream, I see the American Hope, and I see America future. Almost Universial his appeal is one that inspires and if he does that to someone who is non-American I can only imagin how kids, young adults, and the disenfrancised all over America might be feeling.

    Vote Obama and God Bless America

    October 29, 2008 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  14. DJ Johnson

    I believe in voting for who you believe in, and at the same time I get a sick feeling in the gut when someone suggests they're preventing Palin from rising to power by voting Nader. I know that's a conflict, but it's true. Votes for Nader do not subtract votes from McCain. They subtract votes from Obama. We've seen it in action before. I just hope, Tom, that you're not in a swing state.

    As for Sarah Palin, I sincerely doubt she's going to be around to be a player in the years to come. Her alleged habit of abusing her power and breaking the rules seems to be getting her in deeper and deeper in her home state (and almost all of those investigations are mostly Republican-led, so please don't buy the McCain camp's line about all of it being driven by Obama loyalists). She's losing support there rapidly, and she's likely to wind up on the scrapheap of crooked politicians. You mostly just stop hearing about them after a while. How many important news stories have you heard about Tom Delay lately? Exactly. And within six months Ted Stevens will be the answer to a trivia question, as well. I'd be shocked if Palin doesn't join him there. All I can say is I'm really going to miss Tina Fey on Saturday nights.

    October 29, 2008 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  15. DonnieJ

    Can Sarah Palin even list three rights listed in the Bill of Rights?

    October 29, 2008 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  16. KurtP

    These comments Palin are making are meant make another candidate look as dangerous as if Bin Laden himself were running for President, fueling hatred and fear. Where is your honor and sense of country first now Senator McCain if you can let this go on?

    October 29, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  17. tino

    media bias as usual, i wrote against obama..you didnt add it to your comments...you flunked journalism this time around... the media has failed the public...its sad

    October 29, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
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