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. PA voter

    If Obama wins, I will be writing in Hillary's name!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Obama has no freakin chance in the general!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    HILLARY 08 to take the whitehouse back for the dems!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 15, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. BKB

    Obama offered a poorly phrased explanation as to why people would vote for Bush in last two elections against their own economic interests. Thanks to Bush and the folks who voted him in we are all going to need to guns and God to defend ourselves against those who turn crime when the economy and goes South. Nice going, thanks for the war we didn't need. Thanks for the trillion dollar deficit although Bush and McCain are willing to spend 6 billion a month to build Iraq they won't give American homeowners 4 billion period to stay in their homes! Thanks again.

    Belive it or not education is a good thing. People who formally pursue education know more just like doctors who formally study medicine know more than your grandmother. Whoever wins is going to be an elite let it be an intellectual elite as opposed to a monied elite.

    April 15, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Josie WA

    This debate is pathetic. People I know in PA are not so dumb as to accept one's opponents interpretation of what was said or meant. He was not talking down on hunting or faith. He was saying people have a right to be cynical ( syn. of bitter he uses all the time and know one cares) and they are burn't out on the econmic fight that politicians use as lip service and instead focus on issues of guns and religiously loaded issues (abortion, stem-cell research, school prayer). These are often refered to as "Single Topic Issues", generally used by republicans, to push peoples emotional buttons to distract them from all others-like the economy or war. And Al Gore did not loose because of any issue. He was robbed and so were the Dems.

    April 15, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. FEDUP

    I have heard what all the candidates have said, Hillary emblished her trip to Bosnia, lets call it a lie. Obama said he never heard Rev. Wright talk like we all heard, that is a lie. Obama then said he did hear it, but did not agree with it, a lie. Obama said Rev. Wright was his mentor, true. He recently said Wright was merely his pastor, lie. Rezko only contributed $125,000, Lie He receive no favors from Rezko,lie Rezkos' wife just happen to need a vacant lot at the same time Obama bought his house. The owner of both places required the lot to sell at the same time as the house? Obama claims he does not take donations from lobbist, lie. It is called bundling, a sneaky way to get the same thing. This is just the start of his lies. Dreams of My Father, trick the white folks by being courteous, smile a lot. He has certainly been successful at that trick.

    April 15, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Peter

    We'd better be careful.

    Last time, Barack went bowling to prove he was one of us common people. If we let this story simmer, he may fire a few rounds on the rifle range to prove he's one of us. If he handles a rifle like he handles a bowling ball, no one will be safe.

    April 15, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. bea


    A Christian does not call his fellow man you people! I believe in God and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with my whole heart. Man was created in God's imagine. Read Genesis we were given dominion over everthing God created he also gave us his power when it was stated we shall go fourth and do far greater things (evolve) As a Christian it is our reasonable service to him to spread the Good News of the Gospel and make our statements with the truth of his words.

    For those who don't believe ask yourself this question when was the last time a gun loaded it's self pulled the trigger and killed something or someone all by itself? Now tell me evil does not exsist in man. So evil exsist WHY not GOD?

    April 15, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. TEXAN

    People that support Obama we need to keep sending him money, whatever we can to support him in this three way race against Hillary, Fox News Channel and McCain!

    Obama Needs Our Support!!!

    OBAMA 08'

    April 15, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. Portland, Oregon

    To all of you Abominations here in Oregon and outside – "Go look up Dr. Emil Jones". The puppet master behind the Obama Puppet. And then lets have a discussion on "honesty", "integrity" and all those buzz words you liek to use. Wonder why MSM does not cover the Illinois Senate President much and his political juggernaut? And by the way, please don't respond by saying "Hillary is this and that". It is OBAMA who is running on a platform of "Hinesty, Change and.... doing away with old washington"..... Your counter logic of "Hillary is this and that" is so grade school logic. Think of something smart to say please.

    April 15, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. AMG

    Here in Europe we can clearly see how all the left is supporting Obama with the comment "It would be the best thing to happen to socialists that America have a leftist president". Note the support for Obama from all the leftist leaders Including Beltroni (that just lost the election in Italy and wrote the prologue in the translation of Obama's book, another example is the support from the British left, German and french left parties (so called socialists)..

    April 15, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Nowhere Man

    Hillary on her early sharp-shooitng years:

    The reporter asked if her father had woken her up as a young girl and taken her to a duck blind to shoot waterfowl. Clinton said no.

    “That was in Arkansas,” she said. “I got myself up early in the morning.”

    Clinton expanded on the Arkansas duck-hunting tale in the town of Wausau (WI) two days later.

    Uh, how did Hillary wake up in Arkansas as a young girl to go duck hunting if she lived in Park Ridge, Ill until 1965. This woman is truly delusional. I mean, REALLY, delusional with her stories.

    Obama '08!

    April 15, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Brian

    You people spend way too much time at your computers, as do I.

    April 15, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. Joyce in Florida

    I believe Senator Obama knew exactly what he said during that meeting and meant it in his heart. Too late Senator Obama to take back your words. The people are seeing your true self. Hopefully they will vote for a candidate who is a fighter. That candidate is HILLARY CLINTON and I believe that she will be our nominee. GO HILLARY ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE. WE ARE DEPENDING ON YOU TO FIX THE MESS OUR COUNTRY IS IN. We do not need an inexperienced, condescending, and arrogant man who thinks he is above all others. HE IS NOT!!!!!! GO HILLARY 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 15, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Vacman


    April 15, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. Chipster

    Obama's condescending ridicule of Hillary's stories of learning to shoot as a child really smacked of sexism. I was raised in a family of hunters. The boys and girls learned to shoot if they were interested. I suppose Obama would call me "Annie Oakley" for that? This Pennsylvanian doesn't need his snide, sexist attitude.

    April 15, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. Will

    Give me a break. The use of "gate" whenever anything mildly scandalous happens is making me nauseas. Please get more creative.

    April 15, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. Carolina Voter

    Obama really blew that one! But then, we already KNEW that Obama wasn't the best candidate.

    He has a LOT TO LEARN: first term in the Senate, etc. Come back in 2012 – or 2020 when you've added more experience to your resume.

    Until then, let the qualified ones handle this RED HOT WORLD we live in, ready to explode into "who-knows-what!"

    We definitely don't need a President adding to the problems because he can't watch his words!

    April 15, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. mary, Dallas, Tx

    To That's Reality,

    It is not that he has to take the time to explain what he said. Most people understood what he said. The Clinton supporters blew it out of proportion and I'm sure if he planted spies in her fund raiser he could come up with some garbage too. It seems to me that Americans no longer want to hear the truth, whether you like this man or not. What he said was the truth. If Hilliary had said it, nothing would have been said. I guess the governor was right and some of the people in Pennsylvania do not want that label so they have to come up with another reason for voting against him.

    You Go Hilliary but you will never be President of the USA, even if you steal the nomination. We all know that most of your superdelegates are paying Bill back. If they weren't they wouldn't have selected you before all the candidates had announced, so we know you were selected because she was the best choice. I am so tired of hearing women say, vote for her because she is a female. I have worked for females like her and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I have never voted republican but there is always a first and if she wins the nomination, John McCain here I come, regardless of his position.

    April 15, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. Olivia

    The word bitter that Obama used was not a good choice, but I think that the real problem was what he said about people turning to guns, religion, antipathy and prejudice to counteract their feelings was what showed his true colors.
    He also did a "number" on Hillary when he spoke to the AAM yesterday before she spoke to them. I watched and listened to him "prime" the crowd in a way that would undermine anything she would say when it was her turn to speak. He was a master at it....he ridiculed, misrepresented, demeaned a lot of what she stand for. I was amazed at the underhanded way he behaved, knew he had upped the rhetoric and nastiness of the campaign. I guess he's no different.It didn't really pay off for him as the jeering at her was short and they listened to what she had to say.

    Do not, will not, now or ever, support this man.
    I do not like his arrogance and cockiness and the way he manipulate words to suit the occasion. It makes him unprepared to turn this country around.

    April 15, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Ken

    I am a devout christian and has always voted republican. Please help me, Am I the only one who cannnot understand why people or so upset with Obama's recent speech about religion and guns?. When did we as a society get so offended on these tiny issues?. God help us. Are we americans hurting that much?. Many people in the world are wondering what they are going to eat for dinner today.

    April 15, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Reality check #1

    It's important for Obama to admit his true feelings. I think he said what he truely meant the first time. He and his wife keep making bad comments and then saying we misunderstood them. Why won't he take responsibility for anything?

    April 15, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. scotte@Gstate

    People if you look at the Entire message and what question he was answering you would know that he was actually defending the very people that he is now being charge with being demeaning too. If you cut word off from a speech you can make it sound like just the opposite of the point being made...you have to take the entire message and the context and not pull the words out that you want to blow up and then not question why the whole message was played to so that could not have been a mis-representation on the matter

    April 15, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. Steve

    With all stories we here about THIS BITTER SPEACHE he gave in Ca. to the tapped out donaters of $2300.00ea. about the people in PENN. wonder how come he NEVER gave this speach Standing in front looking into the eye's of the people of Penn.
    NOT ONE NEWS PERSON ASKED THAT ? I guess just like Obama refuse's to say the TRUTH ,they refuse to ask the tough ? or want to let him off the hook,

    April 15, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. Jim

    Once again Angus McDugan hits the nail on the head.

    April 15, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Poorker, NY

    We could certainly use Hillary's hunting and shooting skills in Iraq. With the Holly Sprit right behind her, there is nothing to worry about.

    April 15, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. June

    Thank you to Wayne in Texas who takes every word in the Bible literally for your advice on how to be a real Christian.. Perhaps you can enlighten me on this canundrum? Adam and Eve were LITERALLY the only two humans on earth in the beginning . They had children, but where did the grandchildren, and great grand children, and great great and so on LITERALLY spring from, an apple seed? What's your stand on incest then Wayne?
    What about the LITERAL commandment :
    "For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work,"
    Hmm,I guess any thought of overtime is out for you then Wayne? Maybe you should be reading this LITERAL commandment to your minister, Priest, and oither members of the clergy who work on the Sabbath.
    Gosh Wayne, it must be hard to live in a country of sinners who open for business on Sundays and encourage unchristian Sunday shoppers, go to restaurants on sundays and expect people to be there to wait on them, or stay in Hotels or RV Parks that have staff working on sundays. Of course I'm sure you've NEVER done any of the above. You see Wayne, thats the problem with taking things too LITERALLY. However, I respect your right to have a closed mind and I ask you to to respect my right to have an open mind. However, I'm sure that's LITERALLY impossible for you.

    April 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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