Local Politics

Obama: Policies promote opportunity, not socialism

Posted October 28, 2008
Updated October 29, 2008

— Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Wednesday disputed Republican charges that he was promoting socialism, telling a crowd in Raleigh that his economic plan would promote opportunity for most Americans.

Obama denounced the attacks on him by his Republican opponent, John McCain, saying McCain's desperation to win next week's election was reaching new heights.

"By the end of the week, he'll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten," Obama said, prompting a roar of laughter from the estimated 28,000 people standing on Halifax Mall in the state government complex downtown.

McCain has made "Joe the plumber," an Ohio man who recently questioned Obama's tax plan when Obama was touring the man's neighborhood, a national cult figure and has built his campaign around the message that Obama wants to tax the middle-class to "spread the wealth around."

In a Fayetteville rally Tuesday, McCain said Obama "wants to punish success," and he said his own tax policies would create more wealth for everyone instead of redistributing it from the wealthy to the poor.

Obama countered that McCain's policies are the same principles President George W. Bush has used for the past eight years. Those policies eroded the standard of living for the nation's middle class and led to the ongoing chaos in the financial industry, he said.

"We've tried it John McCain's way – we've tried it George Bush's way – and it hasn't worked," he said. "Whether you're Suzy the student or Nancy the nurse or Tina the teacher or Carl the construction worker, if my opponent is elected, you will be worse off four years from now than you are today."

Obama said his plans to raise taxes on the wealthy to provide tax relief for the middle class and expanded health care coverage for millions of Americans would move the economy forward again.

"We don't need another president who fights for Washington lobbyists and Wall Street. We need a president who stands up for hard-working Americans on Main Street," he said. "John McCain calls this socialism, apparently. I call it opportunity, and there's nothing more American than that."

The rally created a parking nightmare downtown, as police closed several streets near Halifax Mall to traffic from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.

Mary Little was among the throng of people who went downtown to hear Obama speak.

"Believe it or not, at first I was undecided," Little said. "What did he say that changed my mind? It's about us making a change. It starts at the base of everyone, knowing that it's not going to be easy. It never has, but he's willing to do it. If he's willing to do it, I'm willing to do it, too."

Obama has made several trips to North Carolina in recent weeks in hopes of wresting the state's 15 electoral votes from Republicans, who have taken them in every presidential race since 1980. A WRAL News poll released Monday showed Obama in a dead heat with McCain, and other recent polls also have shown a tight race.

Obama's wife, Michelle, held separate rallies Wednesday in Rocky Mount and Fayetteville.

In the early afternoon, she addressed the North Carolina Baptist Convention in Fayetteville. She then traveled to Rocky Mount Senior High School for a rally.

The events wrapped up four straight days of visits to North Carolina by the Democratic and Republican contenders.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain's vice presidential running mate, held a rally in Asheville on Sunday, and U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, Obama's vice presidential running mate, appeared in Greenville and Greensboro on Monday.

Palin is scheduled to make another trip to North Carolina on Saturday, appearing at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Doors open at 4 p.m. for the evening event, and tickets are available at campaign offices in Raleigh and Durham.

Obama urged as many supporters as possible to get to the polls before early voting closes Saturday to head off any difficulties on Election Day. The Republicans launched a vote-early tour last week, helping to shrink a wide gap that the Democrats built in the first days of balloting.

More than 1.5 million people have voted statewide since early voting began Oct. 16. Almost 60 percent have been Democrats, compared with about 25 percent who have been people enrolled as Republicans.

"North Carolina, I've got two words for you – 'six days,'" Obama said. "We cannot afford to slow down or sit back or let up one day, one minute, one second in this last week, not when there's so much at stake."


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  • yellow_hat Oct 30, 2008

    I do not care if Obama has a poster of Marx & Lenin in his bedroom. While he was not my 1st, or even 2nd, choice, he is the only (real) choice we have that is not Republican. Either him, or more of the same. I would not vote for more of the same if the other choice was a mannequin.

  • Thinkb4uspeak Oct 30, 2008

    Socialism-social organization advocating placing the ownership and control of capital, land, and means of production in the community as a whole

    The Public Library owned by the community as a whole. Social Security, owned by the community as a whole. The US mail, administered by the government and owned by the country as a whole. When you call the police and they respond, it isn't because somebody took my tax dollar and gave them to you, it is because police departments are agencies paid for by tax dollars and sworn to serve everyone equally regardless of income or status. They are sworn to uphold the law at your home as well as mine and your neighbors. Do you disgree with this doctrine? Should we have to qualify for emergency assistance? Why should we have to qualify for medical assistance? Do you feel that you should have the same rights to use these agencies as other citizens? If so, you are a socialist in some capacity as well. Don't be ignorant.

  • Thinkb4uspeak Oct 30, 2008

    If Obama hopes to create the vast social programs he speaks of, he will be forced to do a Clinton style tax program, only it will have to be at even higher rates than Clinton. All the Bush tax cuts that in fact benefited the middle class will expire...Obama will have to get Congress to apply huge tax increases...-whatelseisnew
    Either that or he will need to realocate monies currently being wasted in the budget. Ending the war in Iraq will free up some funds. Closing tax loops for Oil companies will too, 400 billion worth to be exact. Obama has named a couple specific programs that will need to reexamined for usefullness while Mccain advocated an "across the board spending freeze". Discontinue what doesn't work and fund things that the country needs, research for alt energy, investments in health care reform etc. Destroy and Rebuild. According to studies, the $700 Billion bailout would have funded universal healthcare for several yrs. Just an example where we could have done better.

  • daisey Oct 30, 2008


    1. a theory or system of social organization advocating placing the ownership and control of capital, land, and means of production in the community as a whole. Cf. utopian socialism.
    2. the procedures and practices based upon this theory.
    3. Marxist theory. the first stage in the transition from capitalism to communism, marked by imperfect realizations of collectivist principles. — socialist, n., adj. — socialistic, adj.
    See also: Politics

    a theory of government based upon the ownership and control of capital, land, and means of production by the community as a whole. See also: Government

    Ummm that would be the taking of private property : money, land, business and then redistrbuting it according to someone's needs not if they earned it.

  • oldschooltarheel Oct 30, 2008

    Hmmm, let's see if Wikipedia can help us out a bit:

    "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need (or needs) is a slogan popularized by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program.[1] The phrase summarizes the principles that, under a communist system, every person should contribute to society to the best of their ability and consume from society in proportion to their needs, regardless of how much they have contributed. In the Marxist view, such an arrangement will be made possible by the abundance of goods and services that a developed communist society will produce; the idea is that there will be enough to satisfy everyone's needs.[2][3]"

    Yep, sounds like Marx-approved Socialism to me!

  • Thinkb4uspeak Oct 30, 2008

    Taking private property from one person to give it to another is socialism.-daisey

    Not it isn't. Get an education. Look up socialism, read my post and see all of the ways that you benefit socialist practices already integrated into America society. You are an example of a person who ignorantly and stubbornly opposes a new idea with misrepresentations, labels and generalizations. Find me a definition of socialism that comes from a source other than the Mccain stump speech, site it, and let's have a contructive discussion on GOLO.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 30, 2008

    If Obama hopes to create the vast social programs he speaks of, he will be forced to do a Clinton style tax program, only it will have to be at even higher rates than Clinton. My prediction, all the Bush tax cuts that in fact benefited the middle class will expire. If we are luck it ends there, however, to create big new programs, Obama will have to get Congress to apply huge tax increases. He not only has to pay for all the new programs, he has to make up for the dwindling tax revenue stream that is going into the treasury as we speak.

  • daisey Oct 30, 2008

    And another thing; if you think every child shows up prepared for school, then you are in for a shock. I have personally bought supplies to school for that expressed prupose of giving them to students that don't bring any in, but again that was my choice not someone taking my righ to choose from me.

  • Thinkb4uspeak Oct 30, 2008

    Taking it a step further. Some of us believe that universal healthcare is a function that government could help us achieve. We are the richest country in the world with a privatized, corrupt health insurance industry. No reason for this country to have such vast health disparities when we can reform healthcare, decrease overall cost and increase usefullness. Strengthening the infrastructure is a major role of government, most of us can agree on that. Obama will offer a plan similar to the healthcare plan available for federal employees as an alternative to an employer based plan; however you are free to keep you employer based plan if you prefer. He also wants to require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions and he seeks to place a ceiling on rates so that they can not triple as they have for many over the past few years. His plan will promote preventive care and require that children have coverage. What's Mccain's proposal again? And why are these bad ideas?

  • daisey Oct 30, 2008

    She's not right because her argument is flawed. If you are incapable of seeing that then there is no hope for you.

    My arguement is not flawed and it does happen that way. The teachers make a community pile so that everyone can use the supplies including the kids whose parents didn't get them any.

    It is not Timmy's job to buy extra crayons on the list to provide for those who don't have any. If Timmy's mother chooses to send in some extras designated for that purpose is one thing. Taking private property from one person to give it to another is socialism.