What Palin Said

By Thomas Nagorski

Oct 29, 2008 9:04am

We know that arguments and language get stretched on the campaign trail. But what was Sarah Palin referring to when she said a President Obama would confiscate the property of American citizens? From our off-air reporter traveling with Governor Palin: Gov. Sarah Palin used a 2001 radio interview to insinuate that Obama wants to re-write the U.S. Constitution and appoint radical Supreme Court justices and judges who would confiscate the property of American citizens. At two rallies in Western Pennsylvania last night, Palin referenced…a 2001 public radio interview with Obama that surfaced this week, in which Obama discussed the role of the courts in the civil rights movement. "It was just the other day that a tape of an interview from 2001 turned up, and there he was talking about the need for quote ‘redistributive change,’" Palin said at a rally on the campus of Shippensburg University. "And Sen. Obama said that, he 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. And he said 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." Obama had in fact argued the opposite in the 2001 interview – saying that the civil rights movement had become too focused on making change through the judicial system, rather than from the ground up through community organizations. http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/10/mccain-to-attac.html "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 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 stuffer from that," Obama said in the interview. When one caller asked whether economic redistribution should come through the courts or the legislative process, Obama replied, "I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way." Palin used Obama’s words to follow an argument Sen. John McCain has made this week that Obama has long-advocated for "spreading the wealth." "Obama says that he wants to spread the wealth," Palin said to boos from the crowd. "In other words he thinks that it’s your job to earn the wealth and it’s his job to spread it." But Palin then went beyond any argument McCain has made, using the 2001 interview to insinuate that Obama wants to re-write the U.S. Constitution and appoint radical Supreme Court justices, while also suggesting that under Obama, judges would confiscate the property of American citizens. After describing the 2001 interview, Palin said, "So you have to ask, is this a suggestion that’s 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?" "And let me remind Barack Obama of something else. When judges don’t confiscate your property and your hard-earned — 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," Palin added later in her remarks. Obama’s 2001 interview made no mention of judges confiscating property. The Palin campaign did not provide clarification on what Palin was referring to with the remark. Watch video of Palin in Ohio today.

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