April 14th, 2008
12:15 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain calls Obama's comments 'elitist'

(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.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Susie

    Hillary is the only one that can beat McCain in the general election. The Republican machine has way too much ammo on Obama now.
    My friends have switched to Hillary because of the weekend drama over Obama's condescending remarks regarding Pennsylvania folk.

    April 14, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. steve

    Please will the real elitist please stand up.

    April 14, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Reality Check

    The Republicans are going to hammer Obama over Obama's unbelievable comments. Obama will never win in Nov. because he can't win swing states (Ohio, TN, AK, NH, NM, Fl, MI, PA) and now he will push the Reagan Democrats back to the Republicans with his anti-religion, anti-gun, and anti-white people comments.
    Sen. Clinton is the only Democrat who can win in Nov.

    April 14, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Heather

    I pray that for the sake of my children Obama does not become our president...that would be a truly sad day for our country.

    April 14, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Alexandra

    And what do you know about economics?
    Even my 5yr old has a better proposal to curb the mortgage crises.
    John you are toast!

    April 14, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Ms. GA

    Funny! 2 Elitist calling another person one. WOW! McCain and Clinton are the elitist

    April 14, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Angel

    Mcain is a fool and has no room to call Obama an elitst. Mcain supports the same failed policy as George Bush does.

    Obama 08 enough said

    April 14, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. Joseph Adewole

    Does he know the meaning? How can someone that is not well educated rule America?

    April 14, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Jo, ATL GA

    The guy is a fraud. I wonder why american's can't see that. A vote for Obama in the primaries is a vote for third Bush term.

    April 14, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Tony

    You hit it right on the head, but I take it a step further, he thinks he is a aristocrat! The next mistake he will make to middle America is "Let them eat cake"! Hillery in 08!

    April 14, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Marla

    Elitist? Whose a multimillionaire son of a long line of Admirals? Whose beer fortune pays for multiple homes and a private jet?

    And who started his career as a community organizer, working for the voices of the oppressed?

    The difference is clear, and Obama wins.

    April 14, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Kentucky

    Obama is an elitist. McCain is hoping Obama is the nominee.

    April 14, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. fred

    McCain will win if Hillary isn't the nominee!!

    Obama is tooo stupid, he proves it more and more everyday.

    Down with Obama!!

    Get out now Obama!!

    April 14, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Jennie Ramsey


    Give me a break, you were never planning on voting for Obama anyway. Your just hoping people read your comment and go the same direction you did....By the way, I know you and this isn't my real e-mail. Guess who I am???

    April 14, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Wallace

    I wonder to McCain know what elitist means or does he have someone telling how to spell and talk as well. He just can't seem to remember any names or what he say after giving speeches.

    April 14, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. 123

    I am offended by Obama's use of the term "ordinary people" on American Idol. Who is he calling "ordinary?"

    April 14, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Abrams-Seattle

    I think the point is that if clinging to guns and Bibles doesn't seem to be easing your bitterness, then maybe there's something else to be tried.

    April 14, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. ropol, Wyo

    Isn't an eltist someone who is so arrogant that he would support a bad idea (this war) for the sole reason that he thinks it is a good one and the rest of us just aren't smart enough to know McCain has it right and we don't?

    Isn't it also curious that Mccain and Clinton have the same talking points? Wow...we do need a change!

    April 14, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. sherry

    Obama just says one stupid thing after the other, then says he sorry and and states "what I meant to say was..."

    Obama please just drop out of the race. You're not presidential material and are hurting the Democratic Party.

    April 14, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  20. Jazz

    How rich! McCain and Clinton who live on hundreds of millions of dollars are going to criticize Obama who lives on far, far less. They're in touch with the down and out voters? Give me a break!

    April 14, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. HH

    A barely millionaire Obama is called elitist by multimillionaires McCain and Clinton. Now that is funny.

    April 14, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. Stavy

    Mcwar, who left his wife and kids for a rich Cindy. I guess you could not resist an elitist lifestyle.

    April 14, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. Slowpoke

    McCain's Net Worth: 41 Million
    Obama's Net Worth: 1 Million

    April 14, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. dbacchus

    McShame and HRC should really go hunting duck together. I even hope they will take Cheney with them :)))

    April 14, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain's street is paved in gold so why even bother to comment.

    April 14, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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