ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala Reports: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin went beyond her running mate's recent attack on Sen. Barack Obama -- inaccurately claiming that Obama called the lack of "redistributive change" during the civil rights movement a "tragedy" -- and used Obama's 2001 interview to insinuate that he 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 at the top of her remarks 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.
"There he was talking about the need for quote 'redistributive change,'" Palin said on the campus of Shippensburg University Tuesday night. “Sen. Obama said that 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.
But 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.
Referencing the 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?"
"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.
In the interview, Obama described one of the "tragedies of the civil rights movement" was that "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 suffer from that," Obama said in the interview.
When a 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."
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.
Palin said the 2001 interview revealed Obama's "real ideology" and that his goal to "spread your wealth around" would only spread "scarcity and poverty and bureaucracy" and would stifle the country's entrepreneurial spirit. She asked those in the crowd to support the Republican ticket to preserve the "uniquely American system that our founding fathers created."
"Sometimes in politics it's those candid little moments that give us the whole picture," Palin said at a second rally on the Penn State campus in State College, PA last night. "But our opponent's ideological commitment to spread your wealth around has been tried in other societies, and the only thing it ever spreads is scarcity and poverty and bureaucracy, and it stifles the entrepreneurial spirit that made this country the greatest country on Earth."
The comments were similar to remarks Palin made at rallies this weekend in Iowa, where the Republican vice presidential nominee seemed to move from accusing Obama’s economic plans of having elements of socialism to also allude to the problems faced by communist systems.