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. Jack

    No-shock-Barack...Keep going Obama, we support you!!!

    April 15, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. Soon to be Independent

    Hillary has a father who taught her how to shoot?
    I thought that she was hatched...spawn.

    April 15, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Lee From Treasure Island Florida

    Obama's stance on the Second Amendment is less stringent than Hillarys. Yet all 3 are almost exactly the same when voting. I do not see what all the fuss is about. Is it cause he does not hunt? Then his remarks were right on target, people DO VOTE according to their traditions and with PEOPLE who are similar...that HUNT TOO.
    Are we that simple minded...that we will give up more jobs, pay more at the pump, send more men & women off to war, lose more of our homes, our retirement fund, our kids educations, watch our country's economy go down the tube...because we will not vote for the best candidate...who is NOT IN THE POCKETS of LOBBYIST and BIG BUSINESS...on the sole reason...HE DOES NOT HUNT????

    April 15, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Roger

    Annie Oakley – First American female superstar.

    Hillary Clinton – First American female president.

    Mock that Obama!!!

    Hillary '08

    April 15, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  5. Peg

    Here's the real problem: HILLARY R. CLINTON. No one seems to get it.......she is dividing the Democratic party in a big way. She demeaned Al Gore and Kerry but saying the were "good men" but "Elitists." Can you believe that? She is in the process of "eating her own" and will bring down the Democratic party in a big way if she is not stopped.

    What she has said and the lies she has told should be enough to get those super delegates on board with Obama. But no........let's wait and let this long process strengthen the candidate and register voters. Registering voters hugely in 88 didn't win the Presidency for us. If we continue much longer (and we probably will) this party will lose in the fall, thanks to the supers, Democratic leaders, and Hillary.


    April 15, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Tim from Canada

    Dont know why the bitter statement is so offensive to some. I think he is spot on, people are bitter about the war and how you got there! People are bitter about the typical Washington crap that goes on. People are bitter about the economy. People are bitter about the mortagage crisis. I think people don't want to admit or use that word for some unknown reason to me. I am bitter watching Hillary lie her way through this process and everybody excepts it, and I'm not even American

    April 15, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |

    Why does he always come back after the fact, and say...

    ...my words were taken out of context...

    ...that didn't come out right...

    ...you are spinning what I said...



    April 15, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. Kay-Arizona

    Obama went to a closed event and made a comment about things that some people consider part of the fabric of their lives. He also said because of their unhappiness (bitterness) they turn to their religion, gun and picking on those different then themselves. He expects people to understand and cut some slack to black americans and make exceptions for their cultural traditions but has no clue about the cultural traditions of those in the some of the areas of the United States. He wants us to understand the "differences" of black Americans and has no clue about some of the "differences" of some of our white people. He just confirms what I have known. He is not ready to be President of this country.

    April 15, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Wait a minute...


    I don't think you are in the right to imply that people who support Hillary are racist and that 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."

    Sure, there are racist people on these boards. There are also bigots and mysoginsts. Just because I support Hillary does not make me racist.

    I make my choices based on substance and experience.

    Hillary 08

    April 15, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Sadly...Obama doesn't seem to get around to mentioning how many Americans have prospered on paper in the 401K's and mutual funds-from the benefits of global trade–and how many new industries have blossomed in previously poor states. Economic problems are hitting the world over–this isn't the first time in our history this has happened–and it won't be the last.

    What has changed–is the mind set of Americans–that rather than retraining, relocating, upgrading skills, start a cottage business, a scond job –and other personally responsible approaches to economic decline–they're all running to the government and a new socialist scheme to find them work, and create a quality of life based on economic conditions that is more favorable to them–supposedly.

    Obama is tapping into this sick mindset–that promises to only increase governments tyrannical control over the economy and social issues–and ultimately reducing the quality of life for all of us.

    If socialism were the answer–the USSR would have succeeded.

    April 15, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. Peg

    Deb: you need to get psychological help.

    April 15, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Nikki

    "I have nothing against Mr. Obama, but I think he ...[is] Anti American. I am very concerned with his ties with Rev Wright and remarks made by his wife Michelle.... "

    Celia, with your lack of objective thinking, I'm thankful that you're retired and are no longer educated college students. How can a man running for President of the United States be against the country that he wants to lead? A bit oxymoronic, don't you think? If he's anti-American, one would think that he would be running for President of the Black Panther Party. And what's wrong with Michelle saying that for the first time she's proud of her country? Because she admits that recent events have made her proud, that doesn't make her anti-American. The events that make you proud do not have to evoke the same feelings of pride in another. Lastly, do some fact finding about the essence of Rev. Wright's message. But I guess that will require Americans to reflect on the dark side of America, so its better to sweep things under the rug and pretend that things did not occur and that they do not exist.

    April 15, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. Roger

    Based on all the comments I've seen and reports about Hillary supporters refusing to support Obama in greater numbers than the reverse. If we want a democrat president, we need to all back Hillary, or we will be giving the presidency to McCain.

    April 15, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Sonya from Virginia

    From a once Hillary fan, I don't understand all the controversy over the 'bitter comments' other than the fact that her strategy is to say and do anything that will reduce Barack to a nobody. I am really disheartened by her tactics.

    When Barack's messages were positive and uplifting, Hillary cries they were 'just words'. Now, Barack makes a slight error in his word choice and Hillary jumps on him and uses those once 'just words' to paint him as an elitist and out of touch.

    If the media would present the entire San Francisco statement I think the tone would change. Sure he could have used better choices and he has admitted that, but he has always said that Americans are frustrated with the government and we do often turn (cling) to things to help get us through the day. I don't get it?

    April 15, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. Alonzo Demetrius

    Please be careful, Obama-maniacs. Can't you see that this man is a fraud; that he sees life through the eyes of his hateful pastor? He could not even make his wife happy (she said so), so why do you think he can make this country better? He would not be good for our country, indeed would destroy much of our wonderful culture.

    April 15, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. Helene

    The reason why Hillary Ç. might win Pennsylvania is that she appeals to old, white people who basically are racists. Just read some of these blogs, they are enlightening on the issue.

    April 15, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. gerald strother

    Take a look at the polls Rasmussen today Pennsylvania: Clinton 50% Obama 41% by the end of this week will be back were it was GO OBAMAS

    April 15, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. NC independent

    So people are criticizing Obama because he had a closed-door fundraiser in San Francisco? (and Hillary has never done anything even close to that, right? ...wink, wink)

    Or is all this uproar because Obama seems to be 'condescending' in his attitude towards 'bitter' people, who are 'clinging' to religious faith or other traditional beliefs? Two points:

    1. I don't see how you can accuse Obama of being 'elitist'... not when you think about his background – from his childhood experience to his early professional life, advocating on behalf of disenfranchised union workers. Contrast that with Hillary, who as a child was able to enjoy her family's summer cottage by the lake (how many of us had that, by the way?). Maybe it's because he went to Harvard? Last I checked, you had to earn your degree there; good for him, that he was able to overcome the strikes against him. He wasn't dealt as good a hand as many others, but he was able to better himself.

    2. You don't really think Obama is anti-religious, do you? I think that topic has been explored quite a bit; if anything, he's been accused of being too involved with his church and his religion. No, I don't think that argument holds water at all.

    Sen. Obama displays an attitude of open-mindedness, of generosity, and of being willing to listen to another point of view. This is a REFRESHING CHANGE from the polarizing, partisan politics that we have seen in the last 20 years.

    Here is what is often recognized as one of Hillary's strongest points: the fact that she is a 'fighter.' And sometimes that is just what we need. But right now, what we need is a negotiator, a broker, a person who can reach across the aisle and collaborate. Hillary's take-no-prisoners approach is outmoded in 2008.

    I am ready for a BREATH OF FRESH AIR in Washington.

    April 15, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  19. Obama Supporter

    Oh, and Christian, it wasn't just Obama supporters pointing out their disagreement with your view, and letting you know they are Christians too but believe in evolution.

    Those two things aren't mutually incompatible, and frankly, no one understands why you post your comments on completely unrelated articles. This article, fyi, is not about Obama's stance on evolution. I'm pretty sure that Clinton also accepts that evolution did occur and continues occurring as well. Not sure about McCain, you should check up on that.

    And by the way – if the only thing you have to do to be a Christian is accept (not "except") Jesus into your heart, then why do you think belief or disbelief in evolution has ANYTHING to do with being a Christian?

    April 15, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. Valari in PA

    Obama doesn't tell lies.
    Hillary does.
    Obama speaks the truth.
    Hillary tries her hardest to avoid it and will throw anyone who has actual
    cajones under the bus.

    Is her God okay with the way she acts? Because He IS watching.

    April 15, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. Nando


    OBAMA 08,12

    April 15, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. Bill

    As a small town mayor in the midwest. I can tell you people are tired and bitter. My town is mostly white and republican. And compared to most we have been pretty successful. But my folks are tired, bitter, mad what ever. They see through the garbage. They know that this gun crap is just more scare tactics. They want change, they want leadership...... and quess what they think the latest flap is just another misdirection and a trip back to politics as usual.

    April 15, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  23. Not This Time

    This is a non-issue no matter how much the media and Miss Moneybags, and Mr. McGoo wants us to believe it.

    Obama 08

    April 15, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. Ed K.




    April 15, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. marta

    I live in PA....he hit the mark..i know many many BITTER people , myself included. And when you are forced to choose between gas or food the bitterness heightens and you start to place blame and run back to church if you arent an avid churchgoer....when you live in a town in rural pa where mexican americans( mostly nice and hard working ) have taken your jobs, you begin to look at them differently....it is wrong but desperation causes you to not think about issues – but rather place blame wherever you can..I am a 43 yr old woman from mid state pa ...and he has my vote she is nothing but self -serving and will continue to be if elected

    April 15, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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