(CNN) – John McCain on Monday called Barack Obama's recent remarks about small-town Pennsylvanians “elitist” - but he stopped short of describing Obama himself that way.
In his remarks to the Associated Press Managing Editors conference in Washington - his first public appearance since the firestorm over Obama's reference to some Americans as "bitter" began - the presumptive Republican nominee took the long view.
He praised those who suffered through the Great Depression for their contributions to the nation telling the crowd that “it had not shaken their faith in and fidelity to America and its founding political ideals.”
“Their faith had given generations of their families purpose and meaning,” he continued, “and their appreciation of traditions like hunting was based in nothing other than their contribution to the enjoyment of life.”
When asked after his speech if he considered Obama an elitist, he responded, “I don't know, I think those comments are elitist.” He described them as “disparaging” to people “that have fundamental cultural, spiritual and other values that in my view have very little to do with their economic condition.”
When pressed, McCain said he didn’t know Obama well enough to describe him as an elitist, saying only that his comments “are certainly not the vision that I have of America and its strength and its greatness and what its fundamental values and beliefs are.”