April 12th, 2008
05:07 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama: If I offended, I deeply regret that

In an interview with a North Carolina paper Saturday, Sen. Obama tried to quell the controversy around his recent remarks.
In an interview with a North Carolina paper Saturday, Sen. Obama tried to quell the controversy around his recent remarks.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Barack Obama said Saturday that if he has offended people with comments he made almost a week ago where he labeled small town Pennsylvanians "bitter" and that they "cling to guns and religion" then he regrets it.

"Obviously, if I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that," Obama said in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal, according to a transcript provided by his campaign.

"The underlying truth of what I said remains, which is simply that people who have seen their way of life upended because of economic distress are frustrated and rightfully so," he told the North Carolina newspaper. "And I hear it all the time when I visit these communities."

Earlier in the day, Obama told an audience at a town hall meeting in Muncie, Indiana that he didn't word his comments "as well as he should have," but did not go as far as using the word "regret."

Obama first made the comments Sunday at a closed-press fundraiser in San Francisco.

Update with statement from McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds:

“Voters will reject his so-called truths that he still stands by. His remarks were false. The importance of our Second Amendment and our country’s longstanding history with faith and spirituality are born in history, not bitterness and frustration. His view is absolutely restricted by elitism.”

– CNN Political Producer Chris Welch


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (216 Responses)
  1. Zoinks

    I get giddy when I think about how much more money McCain could waste on this war. I get giddy when I think how much lower the US dollar can plunge. We should give Hillary a medal for wanting to bring back Greenspan, free money worked out great for inflation!

    April 12, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. more milage

    I can not believe how often this orator can not say what he means or mean what he says.

    His presidency will be one speech to clarify the previous speech that tried to clarify the previous one.

    And if you still refuse to understand... then you are a racist.

    April 12, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. Adair

    oh my god people they have to jump on every little negative they think that Barack says and change it to what they people to believe the man
    is clean and so what else can they do I know people in penn state are smarter then that Go Barack I love you.

    April 12, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. harry

    Talk of politics of Gotcha!

    April 12, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. Antoinette

    Thank you Sen. Obama so now the people who dont want to hear the truth will shut up

    Let them listen to Hillary's lies and deception.

    She's is so sad and salty its ridiculous

    April 12, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. VINCIE

    now obama says frustrated, not bitter. he changes his words, and won't denounce what he said. he is incapable of taking responsibility for the things he says and the things he does. in my opinion, he is the worst kind of politician.

    April 12, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. sic& tired of being sic& tired

    Hey Sen Obama you shouldn't have to apologize for telling the truth
    .

    April 12, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. chery

    Gee... and yet the most bitter responses to date come from the GOP and Hillary, not middle americans! Kind of leaves one to wonder how much these people comprehend religion and spirituality, when they so clearly cannot comprehend Grace and forgiveness. So much duplicity, so little time!

    April 12, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. MM

    Mrs. Clinton - BTW, can we talk about Bosnia again?

    April 12, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Claudette

    It seem to me that CNN are against OBAMA because when Clinton did not tell the truth about her voyage to bosnia you did not make a federal case about it , and her $109 Million who can she understand us ,Please.But when Obama do any small move 24/7 we hear Obama this Obama that, this is not rigth . The reality we are bitter and frustred with people like Clinton and other politician who are there only for their on interest. Give me a breck .

    April 12, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Rich

    This is so stupid!

    April 12, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. KL

    Hell Yes we're Bitter!
    We have a Group in the White House,
    Hell bent on destroying the Country We love!

    Bitter Americans for Obama

    April 12, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. Melvin Banks, Pontiac, Mi.

    Obama is correct I'm Bitter too, Gas 4.00 gal. , the dollar dropping, the list goes on. Obama is the one to change all that.

    April 12, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. Obamaniacsnomore

    Obama has been arrogant and out of touch from day one. His days campaigning on this whole change-hope-believe charade are numbered. His is a dishonest politician, who doesn't believe in his country and doesn't have the backbone or judgment to his church community away from negative-out of touch thinking, much less the ability to lead this diverse country. Obama is toast against any candidate from any Party.

    April 12, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. Former Obama Supporter

    I regret voting for Obama in the Louisiana Primary. I wish I could change my vote. If I only knew then, what I know now, I would have voted for Hillary. I only hope that somehow Hillary can pull it off and win the nomination.

    April 12, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. ia voter

    Doesn't bitter mean angry and resentful. I would definitely be those things if I lost my job, especially because of the mishandling of the economy. I really don't see anything wrong with what he said, especially since the media's reporting has taken the comment completely out of context.

    April 12, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. Justin

    If this is the best that the Republicans and HRC can fault him for, then it is no surprise that they're clinging to it so vehemently. He said that people are bitter, how is that not true? I'm bitter, I know most people around me are too. We're tired of a pointless war, a lousy economy, and a lying government.

    April 12, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  18. Bennet

    Is there absolutely NO other story in politics right now?

    April 12, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. Christine Atlanta, Ga.

    Before the Obama bloggers go off on their "the Clinton's and McCain's are rich" tirade. 'Elitism' is not about money, it's about thinking you are better than others because of your position;educationally, socially or otherwise.

    April 12, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. josh bachert

    there was nothing elitist about that.

    and the mccain camp comments are out of touch.

    Obama was right.

    April 12, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. chad

    People are bitter,we aren't happy how things are going in the economy.I hear people all the time talking about gas prices and economy and they talk like they are mad about the way things are going.
    Clinton and Mccain get real

    April 12, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. Truth

    Senator Obama knows how i feel. Thanks God for Obama

    April 12, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  23. Obamaniacsnomore

    Obama has been arrogant and out of touch from day one. His days campaigning on this whole change-hope-believe charade are numbered. He is not different and is a dishonest politician, who doesn't believe in his country and doesn't have the backbone or judgment to lead his church community away from negative, out of touch thinking much less the ability to lead this diverse country forward. Obama is toast against any candidate from any Party. Baaa Bye.

    April 12, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  24. cathy

    As someone who earns less than 50,000 a year, I completely agree with Obama saying people are bitter. They may not walk around with it on their sleeve, but you can bet they talk about it in the privacy of their homes. He certainly did not sound like an elitist either. Hillary's the one who always sounds like an elitist.

    April 12, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  25. OlvrWhit

    Trying really hard to now backtrack. Once again if Obama would not have been caught he would not be trying to get out of this. Same as with Wright. If Obama did not mean it, maybe he should not have said it..Its not about bitter, its about calling a large number of americans bigots

    April 12, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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