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Audio: Obama Called for Redistribution of Wealth Via Legislative Action

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Sen. Barack Obama said during a 2001 call-in radio interview on WBEZ in Chicago that he wasn’t “optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts.” Instead he wants to redistribute the wealth legislatively. Conservatives are reading Marxist or Socialist overtones into his call for “redistributive change.”

The interview, first reported by the Drudge Report, was with a Chicago radio station while he was an Illinois state senator on Sept. 6, 2001, just days before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Obama, while discussing the victories of the civil rights movement, says:

“You know if you look at the victories and the failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples so that I would now have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I would be OK. But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. … And one of the — I think the — tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change and in some ways we still suffer from that.”

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Sen. John McCain’s senior policy advisor, released this statement this afternoon on the comments:

“The American people continue to learn more about Barack Obama. Now we know that the slogans ‘change you can believe in’ and ‘change we need’ are code words for Barack Obama’s ultimate goal: ‘redistributive change.’ In a previously uncovered interview from September 6, 2001, Barack Obama expressed his regret that the Supreme Court hadn’t been more ‘radical’ and described as a ‘tragedy’ the Court’s refusal to take up ‘the issues of redistribution of wealth.’ No wonder he wants to appoint judges that legislate from the bench – as insurance in case a unified Democratic government under his control fails to meet his basic goal: taking money away from people who work for it and giving it to people who Barack Obama believes deserve it. Europeans call it socialism, Americans call it welfare, and Barack Obama calls it change.”

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor who is advising Obama, downplays the remarks in a report by Ben Smith of Politico:

“What the critics are missing is that the term ‘redistribution’ didn’t man in the Constitutional context equalized wealth or anything like that. It meant some positive rights, most prominently the right to education, and also the right to a lawyer. What he’s saying – this is the irony of it – he’s basically taking the side of the conservatives then and now against the liberals.”

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Written by newscycle

October 27, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Obama, Taxes

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