April 12th, 2008
11:32 AM ET
7 years ago

Obama on 'bitter' remark: 'I didn't say it as well as I should have'

CNN

Watch Sen. Obama speak about the controversy Saturday morning in Indiana.

MUNCIE, Indiana (CNN) - Barack Obama said Saturday that he didn't word his recent comments at a fundraiser "as well as he should have" but added that the back and forth that developed between Obama and fellow White House hopefuls Hillary Clinton and John McCain is "typical."

At a closed-press event in California Sunday Obama referred to some jobless Pennsylvanians as "bitter" who "cling to guns or religion." Saturday, the Illinois senator sought to douse any further firestorm over the comments.

"I didn't say it as well as I should have," Obama told an audience in Muncie, Indiana, the day after he first defended his comments, "because the truth is is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation–those are important."

The campaign added that the "traditions" Obama referred to are those of gun ownership and religion. Obama said those traditions are "what sustains us."

He also labeled the dust up that's developed as "a little typical sort of political flare up" because, as he contends, he said something that "everybody knows is true."

The Democratic candidate maintained–as he had Friday night after the story first broke–that people are frustrated because Washington isn't listening to the average American.

"There are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my home town in Illinois who are bitter. They are angry."

"When you're bitter, you turn to what you can count on," Obama said, adding they then turn to voting "about guns" and "taking comfort" in their faith and family.

"That's a natural response."

UPDATE: McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds responded in a statement and said, "Barack Obama’s elitism allows him to believe that the American traditions that have contributed to the identity and greatness of this country are actually just frustrations and bitterness. What ‘everyone knows’ is that the Constitution’s Second Amendment and our country’s strong roots in faith are cornerstone customs in this country, and Barack Obama’s dismissal of those values is revealing."

–CNN Political Producer Chris Welch

soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. self impressed

    Obama shows really poor judgement each and every time.

    He constantly needs other people to show him how his judgement was faulty: Wright and this comment are but two examples.

    April 12, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Larry

    Oh, so this is what BO meant by "Typical White Person"....

    He's trying to rationalize, despite outspending Hillary 3 to 1, all of those voters who just don't support him in the states he can't win. Of course since he receives 90% of the African American vote, those voters from key states who don't support him must be "bitter, typical white people".

    April 12, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. julie

    COUNTRY FIRST==PARTY SECOND== NO OBAMA !!!!!!!

    April 12, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. mar

    Words are everything Hussien Obama,,sorry but you lost my vote.Hillary 2008

    April 12, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. s.positive

    Point taken, Let anyone who thinks people are not hurting, angry and bitter because of the state of the AMERICAN economy stand and bash this leader...

    April 12, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Hillary 08

    Obama-Moma Keep you mouth shut, WE are tired of you and your stupid crap!

    April 12, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Jesse

    ~

    Obama said it just right... and he shouldn't worry about Hill and Bill trying to play their dirty spin tactics!

    Hillary and Bill I have lost all respect for you... you will say anything

    (sniper fire) do anything (promote NAFTA) and then lie straight to

    peoples faces

    But then again I guess Obama could have said that he "misspoke"... but as usual he stands up and confronts YOUR lies head on.

    The longer Hill and Bill keep this up the more they ruin their image and the more they damage the Democratic Party.

    My friend in PA said that Obama didn't say what Hill or Bill said he did ... and he's a Republican!

    So again I say ... watch out for the sniper fire... or in this case the friendly fire!

    April 12, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. No Republicans In Whitehouse

    13 Iraqis died and 1 American solider died today in Iraq. Let's keep it focussed on what really matters.

    April 12, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. molly

    GO HILLARY !!
    Obama is ARROGANT!! So is his Wife & The Obama campaign . He will need more than the all black vote and rich whites to be President – he will need all AMERICANS!!!!

    April 12, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Yvonne

    Tell those two old fogies, Hillary and McCain to leave Obama and the youth alone. Were taking the reins now. The only reason McCain is running is because he wants a Presidential funeral. Hillary is running to get back at Bill and to show him who wears the pantsuit in the house. Obama is the only candidate running for the people. Why are they pouncing on him like the mutated people in the movie I am Legend? Theyre opposing progress and freedom for America. Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do.
    Obama 08

    April 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. alvaro

    First, his wife not prud, second, Jeramy wright outrageous comments, and now Obama accusing voters of being bitters! how can Obama beats the republicans? the republican machines will crush Obama worst than they did to John Kerry.

    April 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. White, Female Boomer for Obama

    The McClintons are out of touch.

    April 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. finally

    This man is as slow to comprehend and as blind as his supporters.

    They never see what is wrong with the words this man- who so strongly believes that words matter- he actually speaks.

    The problem- for all you slow thinkers- was not saying that people are fed-up or bitter or frustrated with things and are eager for change.

    The PROBLEM was and is, Obama condescendingly proclaiming that people channeled their bitterness and frustration and became God-clinging, Gun-toting racists looking for fellow Americans to turn their antipathy on.

    Learn English and learn how to comprehend words, people- instead of being so impressed by his inspirational delivery of hate and nonsense.

    April 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. Maria

    Well..I am still not sure what is so big deal about the word "bitter"

    God- I really do not understand politics..

    April 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. Mark

    Pennsylvanians in small towns were church-going and defenders of their right to bear arms long before the outsourcing of the 1980s and 90s. This seems to be an instance where the candidate, and presumably the audience, really don't know what they are talking about. Obama is a fraud, when is his new campaign "saving" speech planned?

    April 12, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. matt

    every week, it seems tthat this man has to apoligize about something dumb he did..

    How many times do i have to listen to him apologize? HE should just DROP OUT NOW

    HILLARY or mccain 08

    April 12, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. julie

    come on cnn! alot of people are getting scared of OBAMA. UPPER MIDWEST VOTER.....

    April 12, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. tom haris

    President OBAMA ur right ? Honesty is the best policy.. Clinton and Mccain should go take a sit at the back of the bus. Same old two silly politicians.!!

    April 12, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. dmw

    Let's see if the media and the Obama supporters who berate Hillary at every turn will defend Obama and his words the same way they are doing with Rev. Wright. My guess is that they will say something bad about Hillary and justify Obama. Such double standards.

    April 12, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. Corey, Maryland

    Mr. Obama your "bitter" remark is completely justifiable and it is honorable for you do say what you did. You are the one that is in touch with the average "Joes" of america and not in the pocket of PACs and Lobbyists like Clinton and McCain are. You will make a great president.

    Obama Richardson 08!!!

    April 12, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. London Ward

    [YOU GO OBAMA = WOO-HOO....................I AM SO SICK OF CLINTON AND MCCAIN PICKING ON YOU FOR WHAT IS THE (TRUTH).........JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE GUTS TO TELL IT LIKE IT IS AND THEY ARE DOING THE TYPICAL POLITICIANS APPROACH = (LYING) TO GET VOTES. [HILIARY SHUT UP COS YOU ARE FAKE AND EVEN IN YOUR RESPONSE ONE COULD HEAR IT IN YOUR VOICE)........MCCAIN GO BACK TO SCHOOL AND GET EDUCATED ON THE NOW THE DAY AND AGE WE ARE LIVING IN 2008 NOT THE 1700'S. [I ADMIRE AND RESPECT YOU BARACK FOR YOU ARE AT LEAST HONEST AND EVERYONE K NOWS WHAT YOU WAS SAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 12, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Independent voter who is BITTER about the governments policies over the last 15 years

    I agree with him – as an American I AM BITTER abut the nonsense our federal government has been perpetuating during the Clinton and Bush Administrations. I couldn't agree with Obama's comments more – he is just too real for the Washington machine opponents he has to tolerate.

    And who the heck is Hillary Clinton or John McCain to say Barack is "out of touch" with the American people – they are both the TEXT BOOK CASES of ELITISTS!!! Look at HRC's tax returns – does the average American have over $100 million???? Or in the case of John McCain – is the average American "fortunate" enough to be married to the heiress to one of the country's largest and wealthiest (we are talking billions, people) breweries??? The hippocricy of these 2 candidates turns my stomach.

    And it is glaringly obvious that McCain is trying to "tag-team" Obama with Hillary – I think honestly he is getting a bit nervous that the democratic race has been getting so much spotlight and he wants a piece of the pie!! So he piggy-backs Hillary's ridiculous insults... just business as usual for the McCain and Clinton campaign!!
    And then whenever anyone criticizes McCain he calls it "a smear campaign" – anyone else ever notice that?

    Senator Obama you have outshined your opponents time and again throughout this campaign. I look forward to casting my vote for you in November

    America – Wake Up!!!! We don't have time to be caught up in the McCain/Clinton nonsense
    Jennifer – Naples, Florida

    April 12, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. Sam

    Just when I am warming up to him. This is what my fear is. He is INEXPERIENCED.

    April 12, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Bubba

    Ever notice that all politicians rarely say what they mean? It's as if they cannot communicate. That's why when they say something, we start scratching our heads and think, "huh?". Then they apologize for just about everything they say! I have never in my life seen such a gaggle of the same kind of individuals. I will be soooooo glad when this election is over. I particularily want to see what the voters of NY will do with Hillary after it has been determined that she is such a proficient liar. Will NY vote her out when she is up for re-election to the Senate? How could they vote for her anymore? IF they vote her out, which they should, will she move to another state for six months and then run for some political office? She is pathological is so many ways...

    April 12, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Glenn, Cary, NC

    Sure, it's a "natural response" for "typical white people." You've made yourself perfectly clear, Senator.

    April 12, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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