April 12th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Bill Clinton avoids 'bitter' controversy

(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton didn’t touch the subject, but the Clinton campaign used his appearances in rural North Carolina Saturday to hammer at Barack Obama’s “bitter” comment on small town voters.

Speaking before Clinton came to the stage Saturday in Winterville, the former chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party laid into Obama’s remarks. Tom Hendrickson told the crowd, “My message to Senator Obama is, we are not frustrated. We are not bitter. We turn to our faith because we believe. Amen. We hunt and fish because it's a part of our culture and we enjoy it. So, Senator Obama, don't pity us and think that we're bitter and frustrated. We're hard working family folks who are smart and we get it.

The Clinton backer said, “We don't need the pundits to tell us what we think. In the words of that old Hank Williams song, 'We're country folks and we will survive.”

The former President left the issue alone in his remarks at Winterville, one of six stops he’s making Saturday in the eastern part of the state.

–CNN's Steve Brusk

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. MotherGinSling

    Obama is sympathetic and understanding. Unlike nearly every TV pundit, he was not being patronizing. He was responding to the condescending picture that the media is constantly painting of Pennsylvania, a picture initially created and fueled by Clinton goon James Carville's wisecracks. His point is that he understands why a variety of people are frustrated, distrustful and resentful. They should be! They've been ignored and ripped off and haven't been able to count on outside help (past administrations), so they're very protective of what remains of their own resources and their families and communities. Obama understands this. He's defending them! If Clinton and McCain aren't aware that people are bitter and angry about the sorry state of our Union, then they're is totally out of touch with human spirit.
    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." – George Orwell

    April 12, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. Tessa

    As well he should leave it alone. He is not running for the white House she is, or is he?? Both Clintons have demeaned many people all over America. His Jessie Jackson comments were demeaning and he didn't apologize for that . I am quite sure both he and his wife share the same sentiments she expressed about Dr. King. I am so happy that there is at least one candidate who cares about small time America and not just votes to have the opportunity to add to his millions. Keep telling it like it is Obama. There are lots of bitter people out here in small town America losing their homes and minus health care. We hear you, we know it is true and we vote. Time to get rid of the beltway insiders.

    April 12, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. Bill

    Hill's supporters are just NOT as good at pandering as she is. This is such a nonsense issue...no wonder Hill's all over it.

    April 12, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. bleah

    I can't believe this spin and how out of control it is getting. Come on. He told the truth, I'm bitter. I've got a bitter taste in my mouth and Obama seems to be the only one who gives me hope that it all will change. The "elitist" rancor for Obama is interesting too. Who decided to call him elitist and spin off on it.

    April 12, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. kenny cole

    Just because you're not supporting OBAMA you have to ignore the true yes i loose my job and am bitter,HILLARY does not loose her job how would she know how i feel,Madam sniper just get out of the race

    April 12, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. Ed

    Good thing! Bill is as bad as Hillary lately...every time either of them open their mouths, nothing but lies seem to come out! Who cares what some old burned out former president thinks...on the other hand, some peole just can;t get enough of these two scumbags! The Clntons could shake their hand while the other one was stealing out of their pocket and they wouldn't seem to mind! I'm not sure who are worse...the Clinton's or the suckers who support them!

    April 12, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. Jim in Pennsylvania (Undecided No More)

    As a hard-working Pennsylvanian who has been laid off for the past 4 monts, I don't believe that Hilary is anti-trade. I lost my job after 13 years when it was shipped overseas. I used to support the Clintons, but I'm no idiot and I'm not going to be fooled by smoke & mirrors. I don't care what they SAID, I'm looking at what they DID on trade and I don't like it one bit! Clinton said that she opposed NAFTA, but they proved that she promoted it when Bill was President. And how can she be opposed to the Colombian trade deal, if Bill was paid $800,000 to promote it! I am not stupid enough to believe that the Clintons are looking out for me. But guess what–now I AM just bitter enough to vote for Barak O'bama. At least he's not trying to sugarcoat the truth.

    April 12, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  8. karen from philly

    Don't worry he will say something in a few days about this so-called contraversy. He is basically a tubelight. It takes him a long time to respond to situations. He is showing his senility.

    April 12, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. skylark

    This guy sounds pretty bitter to me.
    God save us from ignorance. They "get" nothing. Killing is fun,huh?
    I'll bet you get excited when you gut em too.

    April 12, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. kim

    He should just shut up because there are alot of people bitter. Why don't you ask some real people with real issues who cares what these super delegates think. People do pray and go to church when they are bitter and angry and yes some result to violence when bitter and everything else Obama said. I'm missing it here why are these people acting like he is making this up. There is a big elephant in the room and he was not afraid to call it out. He shows no fear and that's the kind of president I want! He's just not saying what the people want to hear to win he's speaking the truth and guess what God honors the truth...

    April 12, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Chanel

    I can't believe the first five stories on this page reference Obama's latest display of brutal honesty. The only controversy here how desperate the media is to help Clinton win the primary.

    April 12, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  12. BJ Mulder

    I'm with you all the way. I know your strength and you will rise above this negative stuff. They are just trying to stop you and I know you will be our next president.

    April 12, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. Greg

    "Hill,Billies's, y'all just got to keep y'all's footsies away from y'all's own mouth and y'all get that big ol' outhouse y'all dagburn politians do your business in. I vote you are the lesser of evils unless you do something to change my mind.

    April 12, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. Tricia

    What else would someone who's never been there say? Of course Obama thinks those beneath him are bitter. Are we gaining a clearer picture of him now? An elitist? Arrogant? Unsure of the people who make the backbone of the country? Yes, I think so. He's a good man, but he still has alot to learn about how people tick and to separate cultural behaviors and values from outdated stereotypes.

    April 12, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. Ingrid

    The truth hurts. People are bitter over job lost.
    NAFTA not only has hurt the American blue collar worker, but the Canadian worker as well. Bill and Hilary Clinton not only supported and promoted this free trade agreement, but reaped tremendous monatary benefits from it. How HRC has the nerve to even continue in this democratic race baffles me on a daily basis. How can the American people sit back and listen to these two liars?????????? She makes a huge commotion over Obama's choice of words, but at least he didn't make the story up.

    OBAMA '08
    For Change. For Truth.

    April 12, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. Eve

    Wow, so many people take these comments SOOOO out of context. Obama didn't stereotype people, he empathized with their frustration while making an observation of how some people choose to deal with it. Incidently, he hit the nail on the head when he said Americans are getting bitter – I certainly am. Perhaps if he didn't explain it further & left it a vague statement we wouldn't be reading these stupid articles.

    I don't know why I'm even responding to them, since CNN isn't even posting any of the commentary.

    April 12, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  17. John Smith

    If Country first, and political party second etc., then
    The Democrats should be ashamed to think of any Clinton ever occupying high office in this great Country.

    The Clintons have:
    Lied to everyone (republicans, democrats, independents, catholics, agnostics etc) in this "country'. "I never.." "Sniper fire.." etc.

    Divided and brought "bitterness" out of everyone in this Country; Hillary hated by over 50% of the people in this country.

    Just look at what is going on now among the democrats, thanks to Hillary and her blind supporters; it is disgusting, and I feel "bitter about it".
    Anyone who votes for a Clinton does not love this country, period!

    Next, for Hillary supporters who may be uneducated, here are more words for "bitter" that you can add to your vocab
    1. resentful
    2. angry
    3. cynical
    4. hostile
    5. feeling cheated (as Hillary does towards Monica)
    6. hot
    7. strong feelings

    April 12, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  18. cathys

    I am Bitter that everyone is making such a huge deal of this. My God, is there nothing better to report on???

    April 12, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  19. Val

    I got to tell you, folks, McCain is looking better and better every day.

    Good luck in GE, Democrats.

    McCain / Romney 08!

    April 12, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  20. Patricia

    For the first time in a long while, Bill clinton showed some common sense

    Honestly, I don't think Americans know what they want. On one hand, they say they want their politicians to be honest with them, but then when Obama says it the way he sees it instead of mealy-mouthing the situation, you get his opponents (and the press) jumping up and down in a frenzy.

    I think you guys watch too many soap operas.. lol

    April 12, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. Ohiobo, From Vancouver Canada

    Obama's comment speaks to his level of arrogance and ellitist attitude. I hope that the DNC and Democrats are taking notice. If you people nominate him, there will be a President John McCain in a landslide victory. Obama's electoral victories in the causes have gone into his head. Obama in private is different from Obama in public. Though Obama is a great talker, but he does not have the experience and judgement to be president.

    April 12, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  22. Mario Uy Streamwood IL

    Obama's true color is showing...he is a closet racist....

    Clinton lies....

    Which is the lesser of the 2 evils?


    April 12, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  23. Latina Here

    Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion presidential candidate ever.

    He is so pro-abortion he refused as an Illinois state senator to support legislation to protect babies who survived late-term abortions because he did not want to concede - as he explained in a cold-blooded speech on the Illinois Senate floor - that these babies, fully outside their mothers' wombs, with their hearts beating and lungs heaving, were in fact "persons."

    -townhall . com article

    April 12, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  24. pw

    Pathetic. Instead of dealing with real issues, we focus on the asinine. While our economy tanks and we slowly turn into a 3rd world country, we let supposedly intelligent people fight over semantics. The longer this political stuff goes on, the dumber it gets and the more disgusted I get with the entire process.

    April 12, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Mary - Independent

    Mr.Clinton should leave all of the controversy between candidates

    April 12, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
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