April 15th, 2008
08:14 AM ET
7 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. Electress

    Obama's bitterness and frustration shows, he is revealing a part of who he really is. While he makes rural Americans as the outcast,
    he's never lived in the backcountry, so what does he know?

    He put himself on the record, and he is becoming his own worst
    enemy. It's time to stop pushing his philosophy, if he wants
    to cater to the S.F. elite, tell him to change his suit to some
    hip clothing so that he too can feel very special.

    April 15, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. jimmy vekmen

    The eloquent rhetoric fluent Barack Obama says he could have said it better? Come now Senator. You have been on the campaign trail for over a year , surely by now you have become have polished your
    rhetoric to new heights. EVERY AMERICAN NOW KNOWS YOU WELL ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SPEAK. YOU HAVE NEVER BACK TRACKED IN YOUR HUNDRED SPEECHES BEFORE. NOW, WHEN YOU TALKED DOWN ON THE SMALL TOWN FOLKS OF PENNSYLVANIA FROM FAR AWAY AS SAN FRANCISCO. YOU SAID THAT WHAT YOU SAID WAS TRUE.
    WHAT YOU SAID WAS LOUD AND CLEAR ALL OVER THE SAMLL TOWNS OF AMERICA.. THAT IS VERY CRYSTAL CLEAR. AND WE ALL HEARD IT.

    April 15, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  3. AJ

    Obama's carefully crafted image is beginning to unravel. While he portrays himself as someone who can work both sides of the aisle, there is nothing to back this up. He has not sponsored any significant legislation, bipartisan or otherwise while a member of the US Senate. He portrays himself as being the Messiah of hope, but again, there is nothing in his record to substantiate this claim.
    Obama portrays himself as being a champion of the middle calls but, given his recent statements, shows nothing but contempt for working men and women.
    The only thing that Obama has actually shown us that he can do is talk. He's glib, he's slick, and he’s an orator. But now is not the time for talk. Now is the time for a leader who can actually solve the complex problems facing our nation.
    Now is not the time for Obama.

    April 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. steve dodson

    What's been lost in "bittergate" is the fact that Obama spoke at a PRIVATE fundraiser. Now I expect Republicans, who have abandoned the idea of privacy in their zeal to overturn Roe V. Wade, to jump on these remarks. But Hillary Clinton? Are you a Democrat, Senator Clinton, or are you just another Republican in drag? You should have respected Obama's right to privacy and let the remarks speak for themselves instead of turning them into Republican campaign points. You don't deserve the nomination because you are still in fact what you were born to be: a Goldwater Republican. As for electability, if Obama can't win in November, then how is the candidate currently in second place supposed to win?

    April 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. Paul

    I see remarks about how we Obama supporters have our heads in the sand. That makes me mad as hell, because I and most Obama supporters that I know have taken the time to read and study his full background. Just because you haven't picked up a book doesn't mean I'm ignorant. You want to make a good arguement? Try learning about the candidates beyond sound bites.

    April 15, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. John Adkisson

    This isn't "bitter-gate" it's "media-gate". I never saw CNN refer to "sniper-gate" or "Bill-gate" or "NAFTA-gate."

    April 15, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. Rick Houston TX

    "Bitter Gate"? How ridiculous! While the mainstream media fixates and fetishizes on nonsense, The Decider revealed he approved torture-from the White House no less! And here we are on day five or six of the silly, so called "bittergate" while evidence of war crimes is being swept under the rug by big media conglomerates...

    Shame on CNN for making a mountain out of a Obama's molehill and a molehill out of a W's mountain simultaneously!

    We will not be distracted by the likes of you-not this time!

    Yes we can!

    Obama 08!

    April 15, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. Linda Li

    "Christian" - thank you for displaying to me once again the sheer idiocy of religion.

    April 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Belle

    There is more disturbing news about Obama vs. Bittergate.

    Mr. Obama has said over and over he does not recall EVER meeting Rezko's friend, Auchi.

    You know, the Iraqi Felon Billionaire barred from entering the United States, that Rezko asked Obama to request a temporary travel visa for?

    In Rezko's Trial yesterday, Levine said that Rezko held a Reception for Mr. Auchi at Rezko's home on April 3, 2004. Senator Obama and his wife Michelle attended the reception.

    Questions: Mr. Auchi loaned the $3.5 Million dollars to Rezko that landed Rezko in Jail....is that money the money that helped Obama get his house? $10,000.00 of that money has been traced to Senator Obama's campaign. Why did Obama not tell the truth about attending the reception at Rezko's home...especially when the reception was IN HONOR of Mr. Auchi?

    April 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. Jane L.

    The word "bitter" isn't the only problem. The whole statement made and the setting in which it was made was clearly an elitist, blame-the-voter remark. He was responding to a wealthy San Francisco audience question about why he was behind in the Pennsylvania polls.

    April 15, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Mack

    The people in PA and small-town America may be bitter about the economy but they are not biggots that pick up their bibles and guns out of anger and start hating on immigrants and others not like them. So don't be saying what Obama said was true because it's not.

    April 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. Johnny Boy

    So Wayne from Greenville.....

    So you also beleive that women came from a mans rib too, right? It is the bible.

    So you also beleive that the devil's son, tattoed with 666, with destroy earth?

    So you also beleive that the earth is flat?

    I am down with what you beleive, but I just want to point out that bible thumpers always want to pick and chose what they want out of that book. Plus, there is more physical proof that we came from monkey's and tad pols as you put it, then there is of this great enity living in the sky directing everything. How's the weather there in la-la land?

    April 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. biyids

    The problem with Obama is that Hillary Clinton is better at simulating regularness than him. In America, you've got to be fake to win an election! Honesty is Obama's albatross.

    April 15, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. Christian

    For the love of this independent

    April 15th, 2008 10:39 am ET

    Christian, you are correct. But if you think hillary has a clue of what the holy ghost is or john mccain is such a devout christian and this is what you are basing your vote on, then you will be highly disappointed. Separate church and state and vote on the issues that are most important to you

    I agree. Your criticism was constructive. Thank you.

    April 15, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Bayou Joe

    The left wing of the Democratic party is after out guns. Don't be mislead about hungting and sports. Ownership of guns has no bearing on hunting. Ownership is based on the premises that Citizens need guns to protect themselves against an oppressive government. That is why our forefathers put the 2nd amendment into the constitution. They were concerned and rightly so that if the people did not have guns and the only ones that had them was the government, then the government had complete control over the citizens. This was the case in England and throughout europe, so experience taught them a lesson.

    Cuba is a good example of this trend. The first thing that Castro did was take the guns away from the people that put him in power. Without the citizens having guns, he was able to impose a dictatorship in Cuba. Other countries have done the same thing and the result is a Socialist or Communist Dictatorship.

    Don't take my guns unless you want to come get them yourselves and I will be waiting.

    April 15, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Paulinus, Canada

    It's just people like Luo Dubbs and few other political analysts who make a big deal about Obama "bitter" remark. See how Hillary was jeered in Pennsylvania when she attacked Obama on the matter. I heard Luo Dubbs last night voicing his opinion which was contrary to the general sentiment of the people. I really think Luo is "out of touch" as he focuses too much on Immigration issues. He is trying to steer the controversy to prolong the fight between Hillary and Obama. Mr Dubbs is an arrogant, concieted, ruthless man, who by his words, gives America a bad name.

    April 15, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. C'mon

    Seriously, reducing the quote to '"bitter" people who "cling to guns and religion"' isn't helping anyone understand this situation, which should be the responsibility of the news media. Best news team of television? The media is happy to contribute to this slanted view of Obama's words because it helps perpetuate this mouth-watering story.

    April 15, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  18. Paulinus, Canada

    It's just people like Luo Dubbs and few other political analysts who make a big deal about Obama's "bitter" remark. See how Hillary was jeered in Pennsylvania when she attacked Obama on the matter. I heard Luo Dubbs last night voicing his opinion which was contrary to the general sentiment of the people. I really think Luo is "out of touch" as he focuses too much on Immigration issues. He is trying to steer the controversy to prolong the fight between Hillary and Obama. Mr Dubbs is an arrogant, concieted, ruthless man, who by his words, gives America a bad name.

    April 15, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. ANTIWayne, Greenville, TX

    You are lucky we have free speach in this country. The problem I have with your comment is this... Anywhere on earth, you can go to a museum and see definate proof of evolution. Where is you proof? A novel written about 2000 years ago? All you have is faith, I HAVE PROOF!!!

    April 15, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. TEXAN

    OBAMA 08"

    What he said was the plain truth about how people feel. Besides the media has not shown the whole script about what he said in San Francisco.

    Sometimes the media blow things out of proportion, and this is one of those cases.

    Hillary cannot win the presidency because 56% or more of the American people do not like her, do not trust her, do not want the Clintons back in the White House.

    I hope you CNN this time place my comment!

    April 15, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. EU

    What Obama said was right, and it's the truth about "Guns n Violence ". Someone told me once "Pay attention to those who make you cry with words, not those who make you laugh". We only like to hear words on how a great nation we are, but when we are shown the ugly side of our society we reject those concerns....and it's universal, not only in the US.

    GO Obama GO

    April 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. ME

    It is my experiance that anyone who has to actually say they are good looking, usually isn't.

    April 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. Ron

    johnnyboy
    the beef is not about bitter it's about the audacity of Sen. Obama to pressume that we become people that turn against other people who are immigants or who are not like us Thats the same mentality as saying someone is a typical white person I am not like that and he as no right to pressume i am.As for corruption read up on Rezko re house deal and the campaign contributions he takes from lobbyist's spouses and employees and claims to be different.It's not about being better or worst than your opponent but about holding youself out as such.

    April 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. HF from PA

    I am a retired military officer that grew up in one of those small towns in PA that Sen. Obama spoke of. I understand what he tried to say and his observation was profoundly accurate. His is taking heat because he attempted to take the discussion to the next level and explain why small town America could possibly relate to the Republican Party when their economic interests are so far removed from that of the true Republican power base. He was attempting to explain the one issue voter (i.e. gun control, abortion, anti-gay rights...etc) and how most people feel so hopeless about the situation in Washington DC. And because of this sense of being powerless, the average small town American clings to what they can and tries to protect what they have left. The Republicans (and now Sen. Clinton) are, and will continue to be, masters at taking advantage of this desperation. Their strategy is to change the subject by waving the flag or labeling the speaker as an elitist that doesn't understand 'real America'. When in reality, the comments made by Sen. Obama are quite insightful and show that he is listening and trying to understand. Only in America can the ex-First Lady and the son/grandson of Admirals get away with calling a first generation African American from a broken home elitist and people actually buy into it.

    April 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. Geez...

    Obama has a problem explaining himself. He is always in "I should have said it better" mode. I wonder how this will play out when he is speaking to world leaders? John Kerry was creamed for his "I voted for the war before I voted against it" stance. He needs to get over his stereotyping and understand there are different schools of thought out there other than what his own life's experience has been. When he first came on the scene it appeared that he indeed did speak for all, but as we get to know him better, he has become confusing.

    April 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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