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In the history of October surprises — those election-changing events that crop up in the final weeks of a presidential campaign — Monday’s revelation about Sen. Barack Obama is not likely to be criticial to the election’s outcome. But it offers interesting insight into Obama’s beliefs, nonetheless.

During a 2001 program on Chicago Public Radio, Obama lamented the fact that the civil rights movement had failed to bring about redistribution of wealth in the United States.

He also said the Supreme Court under the late Chief Justice Earl Warren was not as radical as many people have claimed because it “never ventured into issues of redistribution of wealth and the basic issues of political and economic justice in society.”

This from the same man who told Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher a few weeks ago that society will be better off if we “spread the wealth.”

It’s important to note that Obama did not argue for more court intervention to redistribute wealth. In fact, he took pains to explain why the courts weren’t the correct government body to undertake such action.

He said on the 2001 radio show that the civil rights movement focused too much effort on the courts and too little on grass-roots efforts on issues such as wealth redistribution.

Furthermore, Obama’s campaign said Monday that those statements — made when the candidate was a law professor and Illinois state senator — “have nothing to do with Obama’s economic plan or his plan to give the middle class a tax cut.”

But it’s hardly surprising that Sen. John McCain’s campaign was quick to jump on the comments, saying they were evidence that Obama is too liberal for the White House.

If nothing else, the comments offer more indication of the great ideological gulf that separates Obama and McCain. We still prefer McCain’s ideas.


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