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. i'll say it

    McCain is right.

    If not Hillary in Nov, then I go with McCain.

    Honestly, us old hippy activists lifelong democrats who have always voted democratic... ask yourselves, where has it gotten you?

    We are centrist liberals- not left wingers... So Hillary or then McCain reflect our values and protect our interests better than Obama.

    Time to see the writing on the wall. The democratic party is not us anymore... it is the hateful, insulting vulgar young Obama supporters.

    April 14, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Bayou Joe

    That's it McCain stay above the fray. Let the Demos destroy themselves. Obama is doing a good job of destroying the Democratic base.

    Hillary hit the nail on the head when she said that the Democratic party is out of step with the American public. Amen to that.

    April 14, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. cdt

    Wake up we have been slepping for the last seven years. We have been taken by politicans promising us they are thinking of us. tragedy happens in our country it is okay we can send money around the world but not here to save our own people. A flood happens in a third world country it's awful I know but Katrina happened here nothing to say. Mccain can not talk about Obama he did not even vote for MLK holiday in Arz or what his supporter said Obama can keep Tiger Wood we have Mccain why Fox News ain't playing that over. Race is comng to head all you racist be careful of what you wish for I see trouble down this path you are going. You don't want Obama like you called MLK a communist now you act like he meant so much. You are trying to the same thing to Obama.

    April 14, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. from Hill to Ob

    Elitism is code for Uppity... why do you think HRC and McCain are using it... they know who they're "base" is.

    April 14, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Kenneth

    Isn't this like the tenth time McCain has run for President? The only reason why he has the nomination this time is because no real strong Replubican wanted to run now. Everyone knows that who ever the next President is will have to clean-up a huge mess. Also, the Replubicans felt like there was no way they could win in 08 because of Bush, so you had the real viable Republicans stay out of the race. So McCain the nomination by default. He needs to retire.

    April 14, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. good witch of the north

    Obama did not say he was sorry, he only regrets he got caught! Country first–party second--NO OBAMA !!!!!!!!

    April 14, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Brown

    Heather, everyday I pray that Hillary is not president. So I guess I know how you feel.

    April 14, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. mama4obama

    Funny coming from McCain....whom has lived the high life and nothing but for so many years he cannot even comprehend what it is like to worry about where your next meal will come from.

    btw...Im from Arizona....anyone looked at the economy there? Its called Bankrupt....and who was running the show? You got it....McCain.

    April 14, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Glenn

    McCain/Clinton '08

    With the like minded rhetoric you two spout, this is not too far fetched. I truly look forward to the spanking that this so called "Elitist, Inexperienced, Out of Touch, Junior" Senator is going to give him in November! Well after the election maybe you Hillary and Cheney can do some duck hunting to forget about your troubles.

    Obama '08
    Yes WE Can!

    Go ahead Clinton New Network, keep deleting pro Obama posts! Whatever happened to journalistic integrity?

    April 14, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. PA Mary

    Obama is elitist. He makes elitist comments (to rich San. Francisco donors) behind the backs of ordinary voters and demeans those ordinary voters who he claims to understand. He lives in a $1,650,000 dollar home (with the help of indicted REZCO), went to private school and Harvard law school, earned millions of dollars on his books, his wife alone earns over $250,000 a year. So for him to try and back-peddle from his insulting comments by trying to pretend that he is an ordinary guy, is ridiculous. He is elitist, but more than that he insults the very people who are the backbone of America. It is shocking that any candidate running to be President would say the things Sen. Obama recently said. It is unacceptable and it is seriously damaging.
    Democrats please support Hillary Clinton so we can actually win in Nov. We need a President who will lift us all up – not look down on us. Vote Hillary '08.

    April 14, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Unite America

    McCain-Hllary for President. Two Real Americans that put their country first.

    April 14, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. bILL

    McCain misspoke again. Obama's no elitist. He may be a bigot but he's no elitist.

    April 14, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. from Hill to Ob

    Elitist is code for Uppity.

    April 14, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. McCain supporter

    Mccain...keep QUIET

    Let that Hillary Tear that Obama down

    We should just enjoy the Show

    April 14, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. Amy

    I find it ironic that McCain and Hillary consider Obama an elitist against small-town, rural America. It is Obama who set up headquarters in every state in the Union – no matter how small and insignificant the other candidates found the state to be. It is Obama who campaigned and met with voters in rural states such as Nebraska and Idaho when both McCain and Clinton decided those states do not matter in the political race. It is Hillary who said that the Iowa caucus is irrelevant and does not matter.

    Who are the real elitists in this race?

    April 14, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Ratgurl

    That's rich, coming from a man married to a Billionaire!

    April 14, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. i'll say it

    Obama always is disparaging towards others.

    But when he constantly mispeaks and makes mis-statement.. he lectures and admonishes: "now, now, don't parse my words... what I really meant is..."

    He is a joke that will never be president.

    April 14, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Dee

    Every American should be 'bitter' right now. For the last 7 years, we have watched our government take complete advantage of us. McCain has no problems keeping our exhausted troops fighting for something many of us were against to begin with. He's just another Cheney, who doesn't care about 'We the People'.


    April 14, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Justme

    Not even worth commenting on ....

    April 14, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. HYPOCRACY 08

    Well I called that one right...

    April 14, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Mack

    We small-town Americans are very mad at the comments made by Obama.

    April 14, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  22. Jordan Roman

    should i even bother......

    more the of the same..

    time for CHANGE!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 08!

    April 14, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. Brandon

    This coming from the man who can't distinguish between Shia and Sunnis without the help of Joe Lieberman. Elitist is saying that there isn't a mortgage crisis, or it will "work itself out".

    April 14, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Hillary The Real New President!

    Obama is NOT going to win anyway!

    April 14, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Tara

    Obama is the last person out of the three candidates that should be called "elitist!" He knows more than anyone the problems Americans face. Hillary and McCain are multi-millionaires who make more money doing dirty politics.

    April 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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