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. Ex-Hillary supporter

    It seems that both Clinton and McCain, an eliltist pair if ever I saw one, are running scared, attacking Obama as often as they do to detract from their lacklustre campaigns.
    Most of the country wants a reprieve from the status quo and Obama will bring that.

    April 14, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Jamaal Kansas

    Mccain How in the world are you for small town people when those people need a goverment to help them not to leave them High and Dry.I hate Hilary Clinton will all my Heart but if it was a choice between Him and Her it would have to be Her. Went can't have Bush in the White House for a Third Term Democrats Unite around the Nominee Please for the sake of this Country

    April 14, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. Bob, Lyons Oregon,

    Get Real people, Obama was speaking the truth, people are angry, bitter, what ever word you want to use, its true, you can see it in these comments, and people need to wake up to what has been happening in our country and in Washington. People are fed up and angry, this is just rediculous. Obama is the only truthful candidate,

    He is no elitist.

    Obama 08

    April 14, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. David from Canada

    McCain, your family is worth over $100 million, and it was not earned by you or your wife it is family money. Might as well have a picture of you, McCain, beside elitist in the dictionary.

    April 14, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. bell2

    come on guys. you are better than that. didn't anyone tell you "Some things are best left unsaid"

    April 14, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Mike from CA

    McCain ignores what 65% of America wants with the war in Iraq because he thinks his "judgement" is better then ours for some reason. ....and obama is an elitist?
    Excuse me while i go throw up.

    April 14, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. lan123

    McCain is worth over 100 million dollars. Hillary and Bill Clinton made 100 million dollars last year. Obama just finished paying off his student loan and he's the elitist. LOL!

    April 14, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Mike

    Obama is an elitist. Even when he stands next to people he hold his nose up like he's better than the person next to him. Watch the debate on Wednesday night the way he looks up; so cocky.

    April 14, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. nina

    it really looks like Obama is out of touch with some people. It is obvious that he has to explain his words again and again = he does not speak properly = he does not know what is out there really.... I mean in big picture.

    He just does not say things the right way first, then when reaction, then he goes and says : " i did not mean that" - this is not good for president!

    We need president who does say things right the very first time!!!!!!!!!!

    Maybe he heard few comments, and he bases his speech on it, which is wrong.
    I think that he spends a lot of time and money on his campaign, videos. He spends his mind of criticizing Hillary and who knows what else.
    He does think that he knows it all ( typical teenage attitude). He does not make any research in depth, he just throws "popular" words there and there hoping it will be the right hit. But many times he is wrong.

    Sorry, Mr. Obama, you have long way to go to be really mature, experienced leader. You might have some good ideas, but you do way too many mistakes, miss-speakings, miss-treatings so far for many people to feel safe and comfortable with.

    April 14, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Pam

    Lets not talk about law suit here unless we also acknowlege that Hill and Bill have one coming up three days after the PA primary.

    Why is Cnn not discussing this???? Really makes you wonder when everyone knows but doesn't talk abou it.

    April 14, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. person too

    and how often Obama already had to EXPLAIN his words? Again and again. Do we really want a president who does not know what is he saying?

    April 14, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Mk

    elitist: belief in control by small group: the belief that government or control should be in the hands of a small group of privileged, wealthy, or intelligent people, or the active promotion of such a system

    Sounds an AWFUL lot like the current administration. McCain will be an extension of that.

    April 14, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. James

    CNN where is your reporting that HRC has a 20 point lead on BHO?

    Certainly kept letting us know when it was narrowing.

    Hummm Bias!!!

    April 14, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. John

    Liar Liar time to retire!!!

    April 14, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Cennon

    to Nina post:

    If someone says 100 years in Iraq and got it right the first time, I don't want him no where near being president.

    April 14, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. Jennie Ramsey


    Tell me, which one of the candidates says anything right the first time.
    Clinton (Bosnia) McCain "Now where is the war being fought???" So now their all even. Enough said!

    April 14, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Mike

    Obama keeps making it easier for McCain to win in November

    April 14, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Danielle, TX

    McCain calling someone an elitist? LAUGHABLE!!

    April 14, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. John in PA

    McCain and Clinton do not support elitist views, regardless of their incomes. FDR was a wealthy man, did not make him elitist. JFK had a lot of personal wealth and was not an elitist. It's Obama's own words, spoken from his heart, that make him an elitist. He is what he is, and most of America does not want him.

    April 14, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. MD in OK

    I think McCain should just stay focused on learning about how our economy works. He's got some never calling Obama an elitist. I guess he's just following Hillary's leash.

    April 14, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Daniel, Loganville Ga

    I am bitter, frustrated, and angry...Who isn't fuel increasing daily and food cost rising...Give me a break!!!

    YES WE CAN ... OBAMA '08

    April 14, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. Ron

    CNN hosted a debate last night in which Sen. Obama elevated himself above Rev. Wright by saying that he Rev. Wright was not his spiritual advisor or mentor as he had admitted in the past when he believed that it was to his benefit but just his pastor.Sen. Obama statement that people were bitter is not what angered people it is what he said being bitter made them resort to that upset them He dares think for them as if he is all knowing and seems genuinely confused as to why they don't understand his explanation .

    April 14, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Trollmaster

    McCain is afraid of facing Obama in the debates, that's why he's taking Hillary's side on this issue.

    April 14, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. TT

    McWar and guntotting HilLIAR should team up. They deserve each other.

    April 14, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Janet

    Isn't it interesting that so many of these comments link Clinton and McCain together. Perhaps that's because Clinton spent her years at Wellesly as president of the Young Republican's Club. She would make a great running mate for McCain as she truly understands the Republican philosophy. Obama, comparatively, has been a Democrat for Democrats his entire life. Further, Ms. Clinton is constantly taking advice from the McCain camp. Is she really naive enough to think they have her best interests at heart? Rush is encouraging Republicans to switch parties and support her so that she will become the nominee as he says that she is easier to beat in the fall You better think!

    April 14, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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