Tough Crowd for Obama at Cape Fear BBQ and Chicken*

By Arnab Datta

Oct 19, 2008 3:07pm

In Fayetteville, NC, today, at Cape Fear BBQ and Chicken, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was greeted by a 54-year-old woman shouting "Socialist! Socialist! Socialist! Get out of here!"

The woman, Diane Fanning, who works at a Sam’s Club, was one of the many in the older and largely white crowd eating lunch after church services.

Sitting next to Fanning, Lenox Bramble, 76, gave her an angry look at her.

“Be civil, be courteous,” he said. He later told a reporter he’s voting for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and doesn’t think Obama has enough experience.

Another diner, Cecilia Hayslip, 61, yelled back at Fanning, “At least he’s not a war-monger!”

Obama came to the long table where Fanning was eating with fellow congregants from the local First Presbyterian church.

Obama held out his hand to her.

“How are you, ma’am?” he asked.

She refused to shake his hand.

She also immediately asked him about the "North American Union."

Obama assured her that there are no plans to create a common government between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.

“I know some people have been hearing rumors about it," Obama said. "But as far as I can tell that’s just not something that’s happening. We would never give up our sovereignty in that way.”

He asked her if she had any other questions.

Restraining herself, Fanning said, “No, I’m not going to say it.”

“Well I appreciate that,” Obama responded.

Obama spoke with other, friendlier members of the congregation about health care, Social Security, and taxes.

Fanning explained their courtesy to a reporter, saying, “Some of ‘em are just nicer than I am. I know how some of ‘em think.”

The reception in this Red state diner was decidedly mixed.

“You’re doing a great job," Betty Waylett, 76, told Obama. Waylett’s a Republican but says she plans to vote for Obama. 

Pastor Randal Bremer, also at the table, relayed that Obama told him, “Whether you vote for me or not I’ll need your prayers.”

"I’m very impressed by his ability to meet people on a down-to-earth level," said Bremer, who plans to vote for McCain because he prefers smaller government and McCain’s position on the Iraq war. "I don’t want to see (recent gains made in Iraq) damaged by a premature pull-out," he said.

To an older white man who said he’s supporting McCain, Obama said, "Just because they’re voting for McCain doesn’t mean I can’t shake your hand,” Obama said to him as the man accepted his handshake. "Everybody’s going to have to come together after the election to get things done," the Democratic presidential nominee continued. "We’re all Americans. We all got to work together and John McCain is a good man.”

Nearby some others expressed something less than unbridled enthusiasm for Obama.

“I’m surprised, but I’m not going to say anything else,” said Pat Smith.

A group of six retired women, mostly Democrats, said they remained undecided.

“I have to pray about it, think about what’s best for our country,” said one of them, Dorothy Buie.

Fanning was aware of the endorsement Obama received today from Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.) but was unimpressed. “Colin Powell is a RINO, R-I-N-O, Republican In Name Only," she said.

Obama and his aides ordered to go chicken, collards, baked beans, slaw and wings. The tab was $13.91.

– jpt

* This post was updated with some more quotes from ABC News’ Sunlen Miller.

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