April 11th, 2008
05:57 PM ET
6 years ago

Clinton hits Obama over 'bitter' comment

Clinton is seizing on a recently reported Obama comment.
Clinton is seizing on a recently reported Obama comment.

(CNN) - Democrat Hillary Clinton is seizing on comments Barack Obama recently made in which he said some Pennsylvanians who have lost their jobs are "bitter."

"It's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who face hard times are bitter," Clinton said during a campaign event in Philadelphia. "Well that's not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania. I meet people who are resilient, optimist positive who are rolling up their sleeves."

"Pennsylvanians don't need a president who looks down on them," she said. "They need a president who stands up for them, who fights hard for your future, your jobs, your families."

Obama's comments were reported earlier Friday by the Web site Huffingtonpost.com. The Web site says he made them at a fundraising event in San Francisco last Sunday. On Friday evening, it posted audio of the comments that verified their accuracy.

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not," he said.

"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," he also said.

McCain's campaign also criticized the comment Friday. "It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking," said Steve Schmidt, a senior advisor to McCain. "It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans."

(UPDATE: The Obama campaign responds after the jump)

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not confirm Obama made the comments.

"No one from our press office was there - we don't have a campaign recording–we are neither confirming nor refuting."

UPDATE: The Obama campaign released a statement in response to the criticism: "Senator Obama has said many times in this campaign that Americans are understandably upset with their leaders in Washington for saying anything to win elections while failing to stand up to the special interests and fight for an economic agenda that will bring jobs and opportunity back to struggling communities," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.

"And if John McCain wants a debate about who's out of touch with the American people, we can start by talking about the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans that he once said offended his conscience but now wants to make permanent.”


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (658 Responses)
  1. Ladyleo

    I am sorry but I agree with Obama, I am bitter about the coast of gas, food, the war. Thank GOD I still have my job or I would be really bitter. I think anyone who has lost their job would be and has the right to be bitter.

    April 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. Lake Hart - A Native American Writer

    Totally out of context. Hillary is desperate and is drawing on straws. She is hitting Bill Clinton on her missstatement on Bosnia, and Barack Obama and every and any one in her line of fire......what is the difference between missspoke, missinform and lying.......can some one help me, please!! Lake Hart, a Native American Writer.

    April 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. Susan R

    At least he does not seem to have a consistant lying problem.
    hillary drop out. You were a republican in 1964 and you still are.
    That is why you want to help McCain!!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. Walt

    Oh shut up Hillary!!!! Pay your bills!!!! Make sure your campaign workers have health insurance PAID FOR!!! Reign Bill in!!
    There. Now you have enough on your plate to occupy you instead of these shallow juvenile attempts at "gotcha" politics. Pathetic.

    April 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. Patricia

    I am surprised at the interpretation of the comment. James Hoffa said they were dissaponted and frustrated that nothing is being done to help blue collar workers when he was visiting with Obama yesterday. That is why the Teamsters are backing Obama – they don't feel that the past 20 years have done much to change the condition of the unionized workers in Pennsylvania.

    Maybe this is why the Clintons are so upset as it reflects on their years in the White House as well.

    April 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  6. Adrian from Michigan

    Well I don't know about you, but if I lost my job over something your husband did that you were in support of and then you tell me today that you are against it although you spoke in favor of it publicly then I think I would be bitter as well. Resiliance comes after you get over being bitter. But, when you loose your livelyhood bitter definetly is in the picture.

    Obama 08!!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  7. BR

    This is so boring...I really can't see how that statement can be called condescending. He's speaking on behalf of these people, advocating FOR them. I think Hill should worry less about words found in Barack's senteces, and more about the falsehoods and embellishments regularly leaving her campaign. NEXT.

    April 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. James Pus

    I WOULD HOPE THEY WOULD BE BITTER. YOU HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT COMPENSATES COMPANIES TO TAKE YOUR JOBS AWAY TO ANOTHER COUNTRY AND ANOTHER PEOPLE. HECK, I WOULD BE BETTER.

    THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE THERE TO INSTIL PRIDE IN US WITH OUR HARD WORK NOT DEPRIVE US OF OUR MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD. IT IS BY NO MEANS ELITIST. RATHER IT IS REALIST.

    McCAIN SHOULD TALK TO THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THE MEANS TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIRS. HE SHOULD LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATIONS ON DINNER TABLES ACROSS THE COUNTRY NOT BLAST THOSE THAT DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO $100 MILLION THROUGH MARRAIGE OR $109 MILLION FROM "DEALS."

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  9. CARRIE

    OBAMA understands working people. When the mines closed down in Kellogg, Idaho, you can bet there was a lot of bitter people. My husband went to work one day at Bunker Hill and they were met at the portal and told. "The Mine is closed."

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. jOHN

    Hillary is getting very annoying.Why doesn't she pack up and go away?

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. truth be told

    So , what they are Bitter!!!

    OBAMA 08

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  12. Jason

    I can't think of anybody more "elitist" than Hillary Clinton, or anybody more "out of touch" than John McCain. And if I have to hear Hillary say "roll up their sleeves" one more time I think I'm going to scream.

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Anne

    Please vote for Barack Obama, who appears to have integrity and honesty.

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  14. dlg

    This Obama man just makes my skin crawl and scares me. This comment is so like him – "And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," I guess these people from Penn. didn't go to Harvard for free and are having a little trouble accepting that he understands anything.

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. oxfdblue

    What is elitist?

    He told the truth. Those small towns and their people have every right to be bitter. They have been promised and promised and promised by candidate after candidate after candidate.

    There NOTHING negative about what he said. Some people just can't handle the truth.

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. b-liberal

    Hillary stands up to Obama snide comments. "bitter" doesn't fit with "hope". It is high time people start calling Obama on his negative comments and attacks. I suppose he will say he wasn't there when he said it! Does he ever take responsibility for what he says or gets someone to say for him?

    Go Hillary – expose him for what he is: a condescending, slick, rich, devious, lawyer politician.

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. AJ, IL

    Before all you Obama-haters start overreacting and overposting, someone needs to confirm the statements allegedly made by Obama. A blogger (who is a Clinton supporter) from Huffingtonpost.com is claiming that this was said.

    If Obama is misquoted or didn't say these things, both Hillary and McCain will look like fools.

    Obama in 08!

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  18. cc4obama

    Boy, Hillary put quite a bit of spin on that word! She'll do anything to take the heat off of her and Bill. Bill and Hillary both supported NAFTA, it's obvious from her schedule that was released. Now, Bill and her campaign strategist are working with the Columbian government to push through a trade deal that she supposedly is against???? The people of Pennsylvania have every right to be "bitter", but it's because of people like the Clintons who have cost them their jobs. The Columbians have paid Bill $800,000 for his work to promote the trade agreement...if you expect people to actually believe you don't suport the agreement, why would you be okay taking the $800,000. And if that $800,000 is in your joint account, and you've "loaned" your campaign $5 million, how can people be sure that the Columbians aren't paying for her campaign. I live in New York State, where Hillary made promises to upstate NY that if she was elected to the Senate, she would bring thousands of jobs here. Well, no jobs ever came, and when she was questioned about it at the MSN debate, her lame response was that when she made those promises, she thought Al Gore would be elected President!!!! Take my word for it Pennsylvania Voters, she could care less...she's telling you what you want to hear so that you'll vote for her, then you can forget any lame promises she makes. Jobs are still leaving Upstate at an alarming rate. She can't even handle one State, how in the world can she think she can run an entire country. Please Pennsylvania...don't let her scam you like she did NY voters (for the Senate) and OH and TX with lies about NAFTA.

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. Lee

    I think the people in Pennsylvania have a right to be bitter about the results of NAFTA. Many jobs left, and will not be back soon, if ever.

    The Clinton campaign seems to be completely out of control. Hopefully, this will be over soon.

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. FEDUP

    Well Sandra, you are entilted to your opinion, however Obama will not be the next president. We will have 4 more years of a republician in charge. Whether you like it or not, people will hold Rev. Wright against him big time. Which I might add he lied about, as well as other things he has lied about. So, I guess you will vote for McCain? It is real hard to find a politician who doesn't lie, we just have to determine which are the worst. Embelishing about Bosnia is better then Obamas' whoopers. At least she was in a war zone. She has always oppose NAFTA. She has spent her whole adult life being proud of this country. She has fought for human rights all over the world. She has fought for the less fortunate and will continue to do so.

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. Nowhere Man

    Think how bitter she's going to be when Obama nails down the nomination, wrecking Hillary's inevitable coronation! LOLF!

    Obama '08!

    April 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  22. James

    If I loose my job, I should be bitter. I am not rich like the Clintons.

    April 11, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  23. Mike in PA

    Oh Hillary, you are so desperate at this point it is really sad. At first I just didn't like you but would have voted for you if you were the nominee, but now I loathe you and could never in good conscience ever cast my vote for you. Disgusting.

    April 11, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. NOBAMA

    NOBAMA. ONE MORE REASON THE REPUBLICANS WILL EAT HIM UP AND SPIT HIM OUT....

    HE'LL NEVER SURVIVE THEIR ATTACKS B/C HE KEEPS GIVING THEM AMMUNITION...YEP WORDS DO MATTER NOBAMA...THEY CERTAINLY DO.

    CHICAGO STILL NEEDS A SHADY SENATOR...BYE BYE OBAMA

    April 11, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. vic nashville,Tn

    Go Hillary

    Don’t Give up
    Get him

    Hillary 08

    April 11, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
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