Republican John McCain is misreading seven-year-old comments by Barack Obama about "redistributive change" to argue that the Democrat's tax policy is built on "taking your money and giving it to someone else."


McCain is pointing to Obama's comments during a Chicago public radio program in 2001 that dealt with the civil rights movement and the Supreme Court.

"It's always more interesting to hear what people have to say in these unscripted moments," McCain told a rally in Dayton, Ohio, alluding to Obama's now well-known exchange in Ohio with Joe the Plumber. "And, today, we heard another moment like this from Sen. Obama.

"In a radio interview that was revealed today, he said that, quote, 'One of the tragedies of the civil rights movement is that it didn't bring about a redistribution of wealth in our society.'"

what obama said

Obama never said that, according to an audio file circulated by Naked Emperor News, a website with many postings critical of Obama. Fox News also posted a partial transcript of the interview.

What Obama called a tragedy was the civil rights movement's focus on the court, rather than on "political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change."

Obama did not define redistributive change in the interview, but he said one example of such change involves education, "how do we get more money into the schools and how do we actually create equal schools and equal educational opportunity."

Obama, who was then an Illinois state senator and a aw professor, also said, "I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts."


McCain and Obama have sparred repeatedly over taxes. McCain says Obama plans a "massive new tax increase." Obama proposes an income tax increase on families earning more than $250,000 and individuals earning over $200,000 to help pay for tax cuts for the 95 percent of workers and their families making less than $200,000.


The interview on Chicago's WBEZ had nothing to do with taxes. The discussion centered on the court and civil rights.