MISHAWAKA, Indiana (CNN) - Dave ‘Mudcat’ Saunders, the Virginia-based Democratic strategist credited with helping big-name politicians appeal to rural voters, said Saturday Barack Obama has “got a bunch of explaining to do” over his claims that economically-frustrated Americans “cling to guns or religion” when they get “bitter.”
“I’m a southern boy myself,” Saunders told CNN by phone. “I don’t have a gun because I’m bitter, it’s because I’ve always had one. I don’t pray to God because I’m bitter. I pray to God because it makes my life better.”
Saunders was an adviser to former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, and he wrote on The Huffington Post in January that Edwards was the only Democrat with the potential to defeat McCain in a general election match-up.
The consultant is also credited with helping former Virginia governor Mark Warner win election in 2001 by moving socially-conservative voters into the Democratic fold. Warner sponsored a vehicle in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series during that campaign, a move attributed to Saunders.
Obama’s advisers, including the state’s current Gov. Tim Kaine, see Virginia as a state Obama can win this fall. Although Obama won the state’s primary on Feb. 12 overwhelmingly, he lost the 9th congressional district in rural southwestern Virginia to Hillary Clinton.
Saunders said “rural America will be crucial in this election.”
“The one thing that I preached during this whole deal is we can’t be stereotyping anybody,” he said. “Well, Barack Obama just stereotyped my people out in rural America.”
“Here’s a guy who says he shouldn’t be stereotyped, but yet he stereotyped us.”
– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby
Lets stop this nonsense...hillary has some explaining to do regarding Mark Penn, her husband and Colombia free trade deal and Bosnia...I don't see OBAMA beating a dead horse about those issues...shows what a man obama is. McCain and hillary should be ashamed of themeselves
He already explained and apologized. If that is not enough, may be he is not a politician as usual.
Get over it southerner. May be your ancestors were among those who resisted freedom of slaves!
Bitter is fine, but to stereotype a huge portion of the American population is so incredibly insulting it is shocking.
Mr. Obama needs to do bow out of the race. He has wounded the sould of America and has no place in the White House.
Please delete my previous comment.
Who is this guy that we even care what he thinks?
Time for less thin skin, parsing words, and discussion of the issues. Both Clinton people and McCain's are picking on every word said by Obama.
Another example of trying to look flashy on the outside, but feels different on the inside. Shows he thinks how the American people feel, but doesn't have a clue. He talks change, don't see it coming.
Get serious Saunders. Edwards???????? I like things about him but he's not electable.
Those are excellent observations of the situation that Obama is in.
This man received money to influence opinion from one of Obama's rivals.
Why should we be surprised when his opinion is consistent with what he's been paid to say?
It is obvious what Obama was saying about being bitter. I feel he was truly speaking from his heart and the bitter emphasis should be on the government.
Election won by politics of personal destruction is not good for the
Not this time.
For losers every word counts and for winners only the people count. BO you are a winner.
Obama is just like the other politicians – he says what he thinks the people want to hear at the time and then back-tracks the minute he comes under fire. It is a further demonstration of his lack of experience.
Thank goodness, his true colors are becoming evident before it's too late! Obama as our president would be a worse mistake than the one we have in office now!
I hope Obamamaniacs start seeing the real obama.....
We Americans at rough times in our lives, do cling to God, and as the crime rates in our cities increase, we do cling to guns. this should not be up for debate, this is insanity to always try to debate what the eyes can plainly see.
Too late to try to explain his way out of this now.
He didn't stereo-type anyone! If people feel disenfranchised and that promises about economic development go unfulfilled, then they will give up voting based on economic promises, and focus instead on issues such as gun control and personal values. It's not that gun control issues and values are not important, rather that they don't believe anyone who says they are going to bring them jobs.
Obama always have alot of explaining to do for being truthful when McCain calls Americans cynical and Hillary just flat out lies to us and laughs about it.Wowwwwwwww!!!!!!
Wow did obama really say southerners cling to guns and religon?. Shame.
I agree, Sen. Obama does have a lot of explaining to do. It seems as his campaign moves forward he becomes more arrogant. He thinks he has the nomination wrapped up. Guess again!
The truth is the light and it must shine. He told the truth. You may not want to believe it but it is the truth. What he said may not apply to you but you are only one of many.
keep your nose out of pa. we are bitter no jobs to speak of unemployment is not down people just cannot sign up anymore and yes we do want to keep our guns why should the politians try to take them away
Obama's 'got a bunch of explaining to do' because I'm very small-minded and petty, and I think everyone else cares whether Obama orders OJ instead of coffee or has a low bowling score or uses the word 'bitter' even though ignorant Clintonistas like me don't even know what the word 'bitter' means.