Obama visit to North Carolina restaurant stirs mixed emotions

October 20, 2008

obama-bbq.jpgFAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – There was a sharp exchange among patrons during Barack Obama‘s visit to a barbecue restaurant on Sunday, highlighting the strong emotions the U.S. presidential race is stirring in the final weeks of the campaign.

Obama stopped by Cape Fear BBQ in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to pick up some chicken, collards and baked beans and court voters in this traditionally Republican state.

Some patrons cheered his arrival while others looked on with curiosity and surprise. One woman yelled, “Socialist, Socialist, Socialist — get out of here.” Obama was across the room at the time and did not appear to hear Diane Fanning, 54, who was among several patrons who had just come by after services at the local Presbyterian church. She said she was annoyed that the Illinois senator had stopped in at the restaurant that she regularly visits.

Obama supporter Cecelia Hayslip, 61, responded to Fanning’s comments by saying, “At least he’s not a warmonger.”

Lenox Bramble, 76, isn’t an Obama supporter but he also was bothered by Fanning’s comment. “Be civil, be courteous,” he said.

Later, Bramble and his wife, Kit, seemed to find some common ground with Obama when he said he shared their concerns about the loss of textile jobs to other countries and underscored his pledge to try to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Act.

They later said that while they found Obama likeable, they were not going to vote for him. Lenox finds Obama too inexperienced while Kit said she had been a conservative Republican since Barry Goldwater’s 1964 candidacy and wasn’t about to change.

Obama had more success with first-time voter Mike Long, 33, who talked to the candidate about health care. Long said he had gone from being less than 50 percent likely to vote for Obama to being 98 percent certain he would back the Democrat.

Obama later walked over to Fanning’s table and extended his hand to her but she did not shake it. 

North Carolina is among some traditional Republican states that have turned competitive in recent weeks. George W. Bush won the state handily in both 2000 and 2004, racking up more than 12-point wins each time. But an average of recent polls on the Web site RealClearPoltics showed Obama with slight 1.3 percent lead in the state.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young – U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama makes a campaign stop at a restaurant in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Oct. 19, 2008.


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That woman is a rude person. She should be ashamed of herelf for treating another human being with such contemp. Maybe she should head right back to church and pray a little harder.

Posted by membery | Report as abusive

If this moron actually knew what socialism was, she would know that it works around the world. Give me free healthcare, education and paved roads anyday. We should be so lucky! Go Obama!!!!!

Posted by artwych | Report as abusive

Won’t it be wonderful to have a president who’s not afraid to go into the lion’s den and reach out to those who may not agree with him or like him; such a refreshing change from the past 8 years.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

Dianne Fanning’s parents obviously neglected her education in Manners For Dummies 101. It’s one thing to vote for another party, but to be so downright RUDE is certainly not showing any Southern hospitality and simply inexcusable.

Shame on you, Ms. Fanning. Shame on you.

Posted by Stephanie S | Report as abusive

Rudeness is not Christ-like at all. You can disagree with someone without being rude. After all, John McCain shakes Mr. Obama’s hand. I am a Christian, and although I do not intend to vote for John McCain, I would never refuse to shake his hand if he extended it to me. People watch Christians, just like they watch politicians to see if we practice what we preach.

Posted by phyllis turner | Report as abusive

It is people like Dianne Fanning that keep me away from churches. How can a rational person be so hypocritical to sit in a pew and talk about love they neighbor as they spit on them with disgust and ignorance.
I will keep praying to God, but I will not step foot in a church if this is the likes they harbor.

Posted by arizona | Report as abusive

There is nothing socialist about Obama, his tax plan does not re-distribute wealth.
Any taxes that come in go to paving roads and public services and other other Govt. programs. Obama just wants to balance the budget without making the middle class suffer for it.

And, obviously, the woman in the article feels powerless and desperate because she has unincluded herself from the positive change coming in the country. Kind of pathetic , but what do u expect? Humans can be sticks in the mud…

Posted by john w | Report as abusive

Rude, but tells the truth about Obama. Speaking of Christ Like I don’t believe Christ would support partial birth abortions or any abortion as Obama does. Take a look at his voting record esp. when he was a state senator how could a christian support a canidate that does not respect the life of an infant born on a blotched abortion.

Posted by Handsoff | Report as abusive

Fanning, not the church, is responsible for her own behavior. Remember that Obama also attends church.
I have never attended church and have no bias, it just isn’t reasonable or logical to blame churches for all the problems of it’s members. A church is nothing more then smaller society, and like our society it has it’s criminals and extremists, and yes even hypocrites. Most attendee are not like this woman, and if this is the only thing keeping you from going to church, then maybe a re-evaluation is in order.

Posted by Shane | Report as abusive

That’s always been the issue I’ve had with religion in total.
It has always come off to me that the most religious folks are always the rudest and meanest of the bunch.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive


Have you ever heard the phrase, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Did you know that it’s true! No matter how you run your economy, healthcare, education, and roads all have a cost. Under socialism this cost is paid for by the HUGE taxes levied on the people.

Next time you get the urge to promote socialism, why don’t you do what I do and make a donation to a charity? That way you can fund socially beneficial programs without forcing every tax-payer in America to join you.

Posted by Jesse | Report as abusive

(Word from a Repubilcan)
Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who paid them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there is nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more, who should be paying less. And for us to say that that makes you a socialist, I think is an unfortunate characterization that isn’t accurate.
I don’t want my taxes raised. I don’t want anybody else’s taxes raised. But I also want to see our infrastructure fixed. I don’t want to have a $12 trillion national debt, and I don’t want to see an annual deficit that’s over $500 billion heading toward a trillion. So, how do we deal with all of this?

I don’t agree with McCain but if he stop by I will shake his hand.

Posted by kien | Report as abusive

I wonder what specifically Fanning has against socialism in general. Does she even know what socialism means?

One source defines socialism as “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.”
Another source defines socialism as “Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society”

Hmm, let’s look at one example of a community that owns the land and structure, where distribution of goods is not based on how much one contributes, that has an egalitarian society. Oh, dang it, Fanning’s local Presbyterian church qualifies! “Socialist, Socialist, Socialist, get out of here!”

I’m sorry, but blindly condemning socialism in any form is like condemning muslim in any form, or condemning the black race in any form, or condemning Fanning because she’s an old coot who in a few years will be sucking money from the socialist programs called “Social Security” and “Medicare”, assuming she’s not already taking money via other socialist programs like “MedicAid” and “Welfare”, and like artwych kindly pointed out, “free education”, “free police”, “freeways” and “public streets and signs”.

I hate hypocrites.

Posted by Mitch T | Report as abusive

I’d ask Ms. Fanning to define what a socialist is. That would stop her dead in her tracks.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

I go to church nearly every Sunday and I don’t remember our rector ever telling us to behave that way. To all non-Christians: Many of us are enthusiastically voting for Obama!

My church is about 60/40 supporting of Obama/McCain respectively, just like my area of the country as a whole. The older folks tend to back McCain and the younger Obama, but there are exceptions in both age groups. However, most of us can talk in a civil way about politics and those than can’t just politely change the subject.

One of the older Republicans yesterday said she’d like to attend my Obama Victory party (should he win) and even wear her McCain / Palin Delegate button. True Christians can be OK with that kind of thing. Unfortunately, the very loud, judgmental Christians are the ones you hear about the most.

I’d shake McCain’s hand if I met him and tell that I once considered him a worthy candidate and thank him for his service to the country.

Democrats: If indeed Obama wins, be civil and don’t dance on the graves of Republicans either in person or in blogs. Be gracious in victory. Show them more consideration than many of them showed us when Bush stole the 2000 (and possibly 2004 in Ohio) elections. I know a guy from my gym that used to have a “Bush won – Get over it!” bumper sticker on his Porsche. Don’t be ugly like him.

If you’re looking for an accepting church that welcomes everyone and where people of differing views and backgrounds can get together afterward for coffee and talk, check out your local Episcopal church. Not every Episcopal church is as welcoming as they should be, but many are. Come hear the Good News in Christ. Don’t assume all Christians are so mean-spirited.

Posted by DaveSEMass | Report as abusive

“Taxes are always a redistribution of money.” Kien nailed it quite well. Maybe government should be run like insurance, the classic modern redistribution of wealth. Just have to figure how to charge premiums for military protection, education, police, transportation infrastructure, oversight of the legal system, etc etc etc.

Posted by ken | Report as abusive

Handsoff I guess you’re not christian because you LIE about Barack’s voting record on that abortion law. How can you lie like that? You know there was a law already in place to protect the life of a child born alive after a botched abortion. He didn’t need to aprove that bill because there was already one!

Posted by Parker | Report as abusive

Mrs Fanning is one of those crassly ignorant people we have in this country who has never been capable of independent thoughts but always have to get hitched to misrepresented labels like she shouted out. On top of it is her foolish pharaseeic pride and sense of entitlement or superiority. I have no doubt she is a closet racist and her bitterness accentuates her draining nature. She is a ‘weed’ and a ‘rag’. She needs God’s merciful purging!

Posted by ad-user | Report as abusive

“Won’t it be wonderful to have a president who’s not afraid to go into the lion’s den and reach out to those who may not agree with him or like him; such a refreshing change from the past 8 years.”

Yeah, Bush even fired one of his own advisors for suggesting that he was wrong. I support Barack Obama, but if John McCain walked up to me in a restaurant, I would at least shake his hand and engage in conversation. Besides, voting for a candidate is better than voting against a candidate.

Posted by JD | Report as abusive

Jesse, you said “No matter how you run your economy, healthcare, education, and roads all have a cost. Under socialism this cost is paid for by the HUGE taxes levied on the people.”

And I am curious how this cost is paid here without socialism? Free lunch? Or through taxes too? Then what’s the difference? Or somehow in the US, taxes don’t come from “the people”?

Please learn something about socialism before educating people about it. If you think a 3% tax increase for the $250,000 above makes socialism, you are insulting Stalin and Mao (“Come on, what took you so long and so many lives?”).

Posted by Emily | Report as abusive

If Obama is a socialist, then I’m Santa Klaus. All too many Americans seem to have a grasp of the political landscape that is laughably ignorant, naive and out of touch. This lady should also think: Is this the way Jesus would have treated another? Didn’t He say “Love thine enemies”?

Posted by James | Report as abusive

If Barrack Obama is a socialist then so wae President Lincoln. Lincoln was the first President to sign a graduated tax system into law in 1862 to finance the civil war. Those made less paid less and those who made more paid more.

‘Spreading the wealth’ was maybe not a very good phrase to put out there, all he was really talking about was our graduated tax system. The alternative would be a flat tax, but that would mean that 90% of us would be paying MUCH higher taxes. I guess that’s what Palin/McCain is for.

Posted by Joe Hairspray | Report as abusive

What you just heard was a small taste of what African Americans have been dealing with. I am from North Carolina and this behavior is not uncommon. I am glad the world is getting a good look at the US and how some people really think and who they support. I think Obama is a better candidate because his views and ideas are more realistic or directed towards the people and not higher power. I listen to McCain and all I hear is Obama does not have experience. You can spend 30yrs on a job and still not be a productive employee. You just have time in on the job. The war he was in has been over for some time now. Just because you fought in a war does not make you anymore qualified to be president of the US than the next person.

Posted by Christopher | Report as abusive


You said, “If you think a 3% tax increase for the $250,000 above makes socialism, you are insulting Stalin and Mao (”Come on, what took you so long and so many lives?”).”

Obama wants to give 95% of Americans a tax cut, and he has a plan to do it. Did you know that according the Wall Street Journal more than a third of Americans do not pay any income taxes? Obama will overcome this by give “income tax credits” to people that do not pay ANY income tax. This is not a social program. This is strictly taking money out of man’s pocket and giving it to another. This is wealth redistribution. This is Marxist. This is socialist.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” – Karl Marx

Now to address your other comment. You bring up a valid point. Health care, roads, and education all have a cost, even under capitalism. The difference between a socialist system and a capitalist is freedom. If the government chooses where you will spend the vast majority of your income via public services, then you are automaticaly supporting a plethora of charities that you may or may not agree with.

Furthermore because government social programs are not part of the free-market they do not have to be as efficient as an independent charity would. As I said before I advocate (and practice) individuals donating money and time to charities. That way people have the freedom to support programs they believe efficiently and effectively bring about the change they personally believe in.

See the Wall Street Journal article for more information on Obama’s tax plan. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12238565 1698727257.html

Posted by Jesse | Report as abusive

I live in Canada, recently labeled a “socialist” country. Such baloney! Yes, we have some social programs–such as a first-class medical system–paid for by the government (and thus from our taxes). But where do you think the money for any service comes from?
I don’t understand Americans–they seem to believe such things as roads, military, weather forecasts, etc. just happen! Tax payers pay for all of it: how could it be otherwise…(oh yeah, I forgot, Bush and company can just print more money or borrow from the Chinese!). If you don’t like how your government is spending your tax dollar, then elect another one. That’s how democracy work. Many European countries such as Sweden are so-called social democracies, are extremely efficient and care for their own. I think it is unrealistic for large, complex organizations–such as health care–to be organized and funded like a charity.

Posted by Doug | Report as abusive


You said “If you don’t like how your government is spending your tax dollar, then elect another one.”

That’s a great idea! Let’s take it one step further. Instead of giving a bunch of money to the government and then voting on how they will spend it, how about we let individuals keep most of their money, and then they can choose to spend it on whatever they want. That way the will of the people will be perfectly represented in their purchases.

You also said “I think it is unrealistic for large, complex organizations–such as health care–to be organized and funded like a charity.”

Well I have good news for you! Health care doesn’t have to be a charity! Many successful capitalist based health care providers already exist.

The trouble with Obama’s health care (or more appropriatly health insurance) plan is that he wants to run it LIKE A CHARITY, but he wants to force all tax-payers to donate to it. If you don’t think enough people would donate money to support a hospital, then why do you think government run hospitals represent the will of the people?

You must pick one or the other. Either people are generous and want to give to charities, or people are not interested, and creating government charities is tantamount to “taxation without representation”.

Posted by Jesse | Report as abusive

It is frightening when I overhear this kind of discourse…It happens often here in Denver and we have had a Hispanic and Black mayor…

Think we have to allow for the fact there are people out there that will never vote for a person of colour or a woman. However, with the younger people it is NOT NOT an Issue. Hurray for them.

Posted by Docb | Report as abusive

Great article and posts! The people here are so thoughtful. You are missing out unless you learn more about the great Obama. Just think, this is such an important historic moment, though Obama is so modest about it.

You are totally missing out on half of the excitement if you don’t look up more information about Obama on the internet –his life history and the important people who helped him develop his brilliant mind: Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, Rezko. Just a simple click away is a whole world of fascinating info. How can you resist? It is just that much more exciting when you know about Obama’s life.

Posted by Mark Jones | Report as abusive

A far left Media …
A far left President …
A far left Congress …
A far left Senate …
A far left Supreme Court …
This would eliminate all the checks and
balances that our democracy is based upon.
Barack Obama formed his political and economic
ideology, and his radical associations, during the
TWENTY YEARS … yes, that’s TWENTY YEARS … when
he followed Marxist Black Liberation Theology, in
Jeremiah Wright’s anti-American, racist church.
And, now, with our country on the brink of depression,
Obama wants to impose new laws which would change
America into a third world country.
You may be upset with George Bush, but in spite
of Obama’s slogans, John McCain is NOT George Bush …
so don’t over react to Obama’s 600 million dollar
Propaganda campaign designed to highjack America !!!
A vote for Obama is a vote for changing America beyond
recognition … and, it would be a vote for voter fraud,
a corrupt media, socialism, and the end to America as we know it.
Keep America free, strong, safe, and American …
Elect McCain/Palin on November 4th.

Posted by Howard | Report as abusive

Doug from Canada,

OMG, are you for real? Canada has a first-class medical system? Seriously? I, too, WAS from Ontario, and let me tell you, the healthcare was a BIG reason for me leaving. Some of the best doctors are leaving Canada to work in the US. There are fund drives to purchase standard medical equipment, like MRIs, because the gov’t can’t afford them in all the hospitals. Free is NOT free when the gov’t can’t supply the doctors or the equipment. TWO of my uncles have cancer, and to see a specialist, they had to wait MONTHS. And if you are middle class in Canada, you actually DO have to pay out-of-pocket costs. My aunt and uncle are seniors, and they even pay an additional tax because of their age. The only people who have it free are the people who aren’t working. And btw, the unemployment rate in Canada is more than double the US. Hmmm….sounds great to me. Sign me up. NOT.

Posted by Patty | Report as abusive

Diane Fanning is living in her real world. Remember she is a reflection of biases and prejudice that, for some, still exists. It is unfortunate that she represented herself as a Christian but clearly, Diane Fanning is out of touch with not only reality but also the content of the Gospel.

Hopefully, she regrets the portrait that she left in the minds of the General Public and will do better in the future by remembering ask what would Jesus do and do just that. OBAMA did what Jesus would do, he not only turned the other cheek but, extended his hand to one who should have been the one to apologize for her rude, outburst in anger.

What an example of leadership and character Obama displayed!!!!! I commend him for treating her with dignity and respect!!!!

Posted by Joy | Report as abusive

Diane Fanning checked her Wings and Halo at the restaurant door, grabbed a pitch fork, grew horns and sproutted a tail.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive