April 15th, 2008
08:14 AM ET
10 years ago

'Bittergate' sparks new look at candidates and guns

 Guns are on display at Ace Guns in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Guns are on display at Ace Guns in Washington, Pennsylvania.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The battle over the word "bitter" between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has sparked a new look at the candidates and their stance on the Second Amendment.

At a closed-door fundraiser just over a week ago, the Illinois senator referred to some small-town Pennsylvanians as "bitter" people who "cling to guns and religion."

"I didn't say it as well as I should have," Obama admitted in Muncie, Indiana, on Saturday, the day after he first defended his comments, "because the truth is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation - those are important."

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Filed under: Political
soundoff (263 Responses)
  1. SNOBama

    "I didn't say it as well as I should Have" – This is what happens when the "Great Orator" doesn't have a script!

    HILLARY 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 15, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  2. Rick in Florida

    Give the guy a break already. Hillary is so desperate that she's jumped on this like a drowning man clings to a life preserver. But if the media doesn't continue to harp on this non-event, and actually criticizes Hillary for her negative, dirty tactics, maybe some light will shine onto the debate. Imagine life without the Clintons?? Sweet!!

    April 15, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  3. Frank

    Not now - not ever - no way - NOBAMA !!! For all the "WRIGHT " reasons but not because I am bitter. I just tired of politicians that continually talk BS.

    April 15, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  4. Angus McDugan

    How big of an issue can Clinton and the media make the "bitter" comment? It is a long shot and comming from Clinton I would think that everyone would just write it of as her attempting to mislead the public which she believe she is smarter than. She insults America every time she lies and expects us to follow her words. Don't forget about her date book all blacked out during the time her husband pardoned all those criminal friends of theirs.

    April 15, 2008 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. PA

    There are two issues about gun control in PA and other states-

    1. Hunting – hunting is a tradition and is needed to keep down the deer population. No candidate is against hunting, whether they themselves have hunted or not. I have not hunted, yet I see the value of hunting and I know many people who teach their kids to hunt. That is fine and their right.

    2. The gun violence in the cities. Last year Philly's murder rate was more than one a day. Guns are out of control in the cities. All of the candidates should speak out against illegal guns and try to help the communities that are being held hostage to the gangs that have tons of guns.

    Any reasonable person should be able to see the difference between controlling illeagal handguns in the cities and allowing for and honoring hunting.

    April 15, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. Bukky

    Ok I can agree that the middle gun can and is used for hunting. BUT the other two? If you need a clip to hunt deer, you are NOT a sportsman and you dont need to be hunting.

    I know people are gonna say guns dont kill people, but people with GUNS kill people.

    A few kids in australia decided to go on a vtech type rampage... they had no access to guns so the used bats and knifes. One guy got a concussion but NOBODY died.

    April 15, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. Eric

    After reading months of comments on this blog, you start to get an idea of what is wrong with America. So you have a candidate, always taking the high road, trying to convey in his messages the complexity on many issues, for example how guns can be viewed as a way of life in rural life but are seen as problem in big cities with high rate crime, and you have others, crawling in the gutter, remembering stories when they shot a duck. Too many people will choose the latter, because it is so much simpler.

    But beyond that, I am amazed to see the level of racism that still exists in the US. For some people, they would rather go with a pathological liar that they know, instead of confronting the fears seated deep inside their soul at the idea of giving power to an african american. How can someone denies that there is still racism, when public figure can call Obamam a "boy". So anything that comes out of his mouth, instead of being listened to and analysed, is dissected and boiled down to confirm that he is a racist. At the beginning of this primary, I thought US was ready to elect a african american president. I am not of this opinion anymore. Too many people would rather stick to their biaises instead of looking inside themselves to find out how much racism is still there. Bush, in many ways, has won. The politic of fear is dominating now. And with it, the hope that real change can occur is slowly dying.

    April 15, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. Lostfigs

    Obama is always having to re-state everything he says or explain what he "really meant". Why doesn't he just say what he means to begin with?

    The "Bitter" comment wasn't so bad because of the word but because he who he and where he was speaking to. He also added that Pennsylvanians turn their anger on illegal immigrants because of their frustrations; this is not a mis-statement, it is a flat out lie!

    Say what you mean and mean what you say!

    Hillary 08!

    April 15, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. militiaman

    Hey barack ,just try and take my guns i dare you,as a matter of fact i beg that you try and take it.

    April 15, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |

    I sure would like to see how Hillary holds her gun. She says she knows how to hunt and even shot a banded duck. Why didn't Obama bring up fly fishing, would have love her answer for that one. Then again Bill could tell his story about fly fishing.

    April 15, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. RealityKing

    I too cling to my protections, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Does that make me bitter like the Pennsylvanians??

    April 15, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. Deb

    At a closed-door fundraiser just over a week ago, the Illinois senator referred to some small-town Pennsylvanians as "bitter" people who "cling to guns and religion."

    This is why Obama is not a viable candidate!

    This inexperienced Creep is not in touch with Americans at all!

    What makes him a true Creep-zooid is the sarcastic smile; he seems to be pleased that he has fooled as many folks as he has-A True Creep-zooid Snake!

    April 15, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. Hillary 08

    This is ridiculous. I cannot imagine someone is trying to come up with a new topic just to stir things some more.

    Please stop dividing the democratic party. Let us stop helping the republicans destroy our party. Please!!!!

    April 15, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  14. jo

    One thing that I know she shot was Canadian Whiskey last weekend and a duck when she was working at Walmart to fatting the duck with a stringe.

    April 15, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  15. Neutral

    Obama is anti-gun period. The anti-poverty bill (United Nation) Obama pushed and voted for tied our second ammendment; that is removing the rights of the American people to bear arms guaranteed in our constitution. The media have not covered this nor explain to the American people what this anti-poverty bill Obama supported.

    He called people in small town Pennsylvania bigots, Obama have shown his OWN bigotry. He did NOT "misspoke" as he claim or worded it the wrong way. There was no teleprompt, he was speaking based on what he thinks of Americans living in small towns all over the US. It was a private fundraising, no reporters, except a blogger from Huffington Post, the favorite online blogspot Obama always go to if he commit BLUNDERS.

    What Obama had said while his rich supporters were laughing, was OFFENSIVE and UNFORGIVABLE. It was elitist to the nth degree. A candidate looking down on middle America do NOT deserve to lead this nation and represent the American people to the world.

    April 15, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  16. DM, Arlington TX



    April 15, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  17. Celia

    I have been married to an African Man for over 30 years. He is a very
    well known atty, graduated from Harvard, I am a retired college
    professor. We are both Hillary supporters and the sad thing that is going on is some African Americans (not our friends) but acquaintances are getting very nasty and almost threatening towards
    because we are not voting for Obama. I have nothing against Mr.
    Obama, but I think he lacks experience and Anti American. I am very
    concerned with his ties with Rev Wright and remarks made by his
    wife Michelle. His remarks about Penn people being bitter may be so,
    but to say they cling to their religion and guns make people think
    that Penns these people are from the back woods. I lived in Penn for
    12 years growing up, and we are a Christian well educated state and
    I feel sorry that Mr. Obama thinks different.
    Even though I am a white American and my husband is an African
    American we have loved America our entire lives and have always
    been proud to be an American.
    I feel as so many others that Mr. Obama is very unqualified to run
    our country and after the last 8 years we need someone we can
    count on and someone that feels everyone is equal.

    April 15, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Uncle Sam

    The sad truth is that Sen. Obama did say what he meant. He was speaking at a fundraiser to wealthy liberal benefactors at the Getty Mansion in San Francisco and was asked why he was not receiving the support of white blue-collar voters. Obviously frustrated, he chose to attribute to them such traits as bitterness and antipathy to explain why they had not yet embraced his candidacy. Despite efforts at damage control by Obama and surrogates, the fact remains that more Americans are distancing themselves from a candidate clearly out of step with traditional American values. Sen. Obama rightfully challenges us to address America's need for change, healing and unity. However, the answer is not a matter of rhetoric or manner but character and courage.

    Americans for McCain '08

    April 15, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  19. TAHARI in CT 4 OBAMA

    SINCE WHEN HAS ANNE OAKLY BEEN FOR GUNS? Clinton is really something!

    Obama is right... a true blue politician who will conform to whatever fits for that moment.

    I want to see pics of Clinton with a six shooter too! She is really something else!

    April 15, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  20. James Nelson

    And how is he wrong, exactly?

    April 15, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  21. Mike in Columbus

    I will take Obama's candid truths over Clinton's purely panderous dribble (oh yeah, and out right lies) any day of the week.

    April 15, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  22. PJ, New York Independent

    Obama in not electable, he will loose the general election in the biggest landslide in US history. Just watch and see. All of the Obama supporters are still under his spell right now but just wait till reality sets in, come Election Day in November.

    Hilary Clinton is the only choice. As someone else said in another post:

    "Don't you understand, Operation Chaos fudged the primary voting numbers. You are all (Obama supporters) thick as a Brick."

    Obama is still feeling the heat from his latest 'bitter' comments and he can't take it. He's had such an easy ride on the media train for the first 12-14 months of his run for president. Now these last couple of months the American people are getting to know the REAL Obama. If only the liberal media would have reported his ties to the racist/anti-American pastor/mentor/father figure before Super Tuesday primaries. That combined with the fact his wife was NEVER proud of the United States until her husband started running for president would have crushed him.

    At this point, Obama is ahead in delegates so he may win the DEM nomination, unless the remaining states (primaries) wake up and realize who he really is and hopefully the Super Delegates realize the same thing too. Now with that said, no matter how many times Obama's supporters say the race is over, it's not! Neither one of the candidates will have enough delegates to secure the nomination with out the Super Delegates. Why should Hillary Clinton step aside just because some of the bleeding heart liberal politicians/Obama supporters are telling her to? Let the rest of the primaries happen/let the rest of American's have their say, anything can still happen at this point. Also, let the voters in Michigan and Florida have their say too, regardless of what the original 'rules' were. These people in Florida and Michigan want their votes to count. Obama is the one who has hired lawyers to block the re-vote to happen. He knows that if they did re-votes, chances are Hillary Clinton would win HUGELY in these states. If Obama does win the DEM nomination, this is just another negative on his side though, as many Democrats in Florida and Michigan will vote for McCain just o prove their point and we all know how important Florida can be in the general election.

    Sadly, no matter who wins the DEM nomination, John McCain will still win in the general election. The Democratic party is so divided right now that it will NOT unite. If Obama wins the DEM nomination a HUGE percentage of Hillary Clinton's supporters will NOT unite around Obama and the same thing goes if Hillary Clinton wins the DEM nomination, Obama's supporters will NOT unite around her.

    The Democrats are screwed either way.

    April 15, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  23. Christian

    A Christian shouldn't believe in evolution. God created Adam and Eve and they weren't monkeys or tad poles. I take everything in the Bible literally. It is God's Word. Evolution is a theory created by a man, Charles Darwin. It has been forced into our Science text books and teachers were required to teach it even if they didn't believe it themselves. I am amazed at how much damage this theory has done to the Christian faith. But, all that matters is that you except Jesus as your savior. I still find it hard to believe that you can be a Christian and then believe that humans were once monkeys or tad poles. So many Obama supporters didn't like me pointing that out yesterday. I worship God. I don't worship Obama and believe all that he says like a lot of people do.

    April 15, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  24. JayBee

    I think it is obvious that the american people are angry about their econmic woes. It is also obvious that they are seeking solace in anything that matters to them

    From the forgoing, Obama is right about his comments, just that the phrasing is so harsh, this he admitted.

    It will pay america well to look at the substance of the statement instead of looking at the text.

    April 15, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  25. SA in OO

    Charlston Heston must be laughing in his grave to see a middle aged white woman (Hillary) and a black man (Barack) falling all over themselves to make sure they are seen as lovers and protectors of the "right to keep and bear arms." "We the people" wrote the Second Amendment, and we should have the right to consider whether it still has the same purpose as is once had, or whether it should be re-written or eliminated.

    We will never have a chance to have that discussion, because the power of the NRA. They have a strangle hold on this debate, and candidates are afraid to say anything that will cause the wrath – and wealth – of the NRA to come down on them. The NRA wins. All of the rest of us, and particularly the families of the thousands of victums of gun violence in the US each year, loose.

    April 15, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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