April 15th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: I'm no elitist

 Obama laughed off charges he is an elitist.

Obama laughed off charges he is an elitist.

WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Barack Obama said Tuesday he was "amused" by accusations he is an "elitist" in the wake of the 'bitter-gate' controversy.

"It is true I am amused about this notion of elitist," Obama said, citing the fact that he was raised by a single mother, lived off food stamps, earned scholarships, and had to finance his own law school education.

"[Michelle and I] lived for the first 13 years of marriage up until three years ago, in a three bedroom condo without a garage," the White House hopeful said. "So if you live in Chicago, that means you are scraping ice every morning."

Hillary Clinton has called Obama "elitist" and "out of touch" for remarks he made at a fundraiser where he referred to some Pennsylvanians as "bitter" people who "cling to guns and religion."

During a veterans town hall near Pittsburgh, one man said that the way the word "elitist" had been used against Obama.

"As a white person, this term [elitist] the way that it is being used against you, it isn't far from uppity and I think the Clintons are getting away with something that they must be called on," the man said, adding that he thought the controversy would continue until someone told Clinton she was "close to prejudice here, this is wrong..."

The Illinois senator responded by blaming politics and the "silly season" for the controversy, but told the questioner he did not believe there were "racial overtones" to the recent attacks.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (309 Responses)
  1. Swalker327

    Obama just paid his student loans off 4 years ago - ask Clinton when she paid hers off.

    She's a joke!!


    April 15, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. ***AMERICAN***

    Hello Kettle, this is pot calling.

    April 15, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. Mack

    Yes you are.

    April 15, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  4. Porter

    Sometimes it's the self-made ones that are the worst...

    April 15, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Michael in Columbus, Ohio

    He sure did, hillary has yet to my knowledge paid and any of her Ohio campaign bills, maybe thats why she got booed yesterday.

    Obama '08

    April 15, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. Randal NYC

    I think its interesting that someone who is worth $100M and used to live in the White House has the nerve to call a man who was once on food stamps elitist.
    She needs to come right pout and say hes an uppity negro. Thats what she means after all

    April 15, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Steve

    just because you are black, raised by a single mother, scrape ice off your car, or any of those things does not mean you are not an elitist. He has been making millions of dollars a year the last few years and has fame thrust upon him instantly.

    Those are all things that can change you into an elitist quite quickly. I think his comments really do give us a feel for how he thinks. Relevant or not he has to take his lumps just like everyone else when they say something stupid.

    Being raised by a single mother (with rich grangparents no less) is not an answer to everything you do and say incorrectly.

    April 15, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. Kel from Bham, AL

    At least Obama pays off his loans. Clinton's campaign owes millions!

    She must think she deserves to not pay off her own debts, that sounds more elitist than Obama to me.

    Clinton is like a Vulture, preying on whatever scrap of irrelevant information or twisted fact she can find. This is getting stupid. I can't wait for Obama to be chosen as the Dem's nominee. Then the healing can begin..

    Obama 08!

    April 15, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. tfh

    come on people obama keeps slipping up why can't you see him for his true self. going to a church for 20 years and has never heard his preacher down white people who has worked for what they have be for real. and o the slip about rural areas and hard working people just another slip i don't think so.
    when are the people of american going to realize that hes not here for the people of the united states his heart is not in it. thats why he keeps slipping up.

    hillary 08

    April 15, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Susan MO

    You may fool yourself Obama, but not America. You knew what you were saying to the people of Pennsylvania. How rude, & insulting. Then, to top it off, you 'made light of it'.......basically laughing about what you said to them.

    America does not want a president who slams the people.

    Lost our vote

    Now For Hillary Clinton!!
    Clinton 08

    April 15, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Barb Canada

    4 years ago? Isn't that right around prime Rezko time? Wonder if it was paid in full, one lump sum? Paying off your student loan, while buying a new house, hmmm

    April 15, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. SLO Bear

    Superdelegates need to take away the keys to Hillary's demolition derby car asap.

    April 15, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. Dave in NYC

    Clinton's made $109 million and they are still asking *us* to finance their campaign? With all that money, you'd think they could afford to do this all on their own, so why do they need our donations? That sound elitist to me.

    April 15, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. A.

    Anyone who thinks Obama is an elitist is simply not listeing.

    Obama 08.

    April 15, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. me


    April 15, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. RJL for the USA

    The CLINTONS are a joke. They have more than enough money to pay off their debt on the campaign trail (especially those debts owed to small businesses) but opt to ignore these little guys. Based on what we know about their past, present and can infer about their future, they should stop throwing "big" words like "ELITIST" around.

    April 15, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. GoHillary

    Ofcourse you're right Barack!

    Hob-nobbing with Rezko and quaffing champaign isn't elitist at all. What were you doing at his party, serving the guests?

    You're so lame and a con artist.

    April 15, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. ben

    I think Hillary is bitter that Obama is "stealing" her nomination.

    April 15, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. Barb Canada

    Small town Racism, and the best you can say is it's silly season?

    April 15, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Joanne

    Thank god for REZKO you'd still be in the same house You are so arrogant Honestly, if it were not for the Black vote you would not be where you are. Coming from a typical white woman..............

    April 15, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. sozzi

    Hillary, McCain, Hannity, Rove, Buchanan, & Scarbourogh, if Obama is an Elitist, what is Bush & his croonies.

    April 15, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Allison, NH

    Go Obama! Yes, Hillary is so in touch...with her $1,000 make-up jobs per day...the lake camp her grandfather built that she lived her summers at (what typical American has more than one house?)...the expensive schools and her corporate ties....yes, she's soooooo in touch with me.

    Go have another shot of wiskey, dear Hillary. You're going to need it when Obama kicks your butt.

    April 15, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Jim Shimmer

    Obama is no way an elitist. The elitist are Billary with 109 million $ of income and McSame who owns 8 hours and is millionare and his wife is super rich..

    We always let the rich rule us and then we complain. We are responsible for what is happenig to this wonderful country.

    Wake up people, choose Barack Obama.

    April 15, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Desiree

    How come if anyone says any thing against Obama, they're racist?

    April 15, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. Michael, VA

    I know human nature. You are what you say in private. You show your true colors behind the scenes. You say what you truly believe when you are comfortable with the people around you. This combined with the Rev. Wright issue and the house dealing with Rezko has me very concerned with the trust factor of Obama. I fear this is going to haunt him in the General Election, and then 4 more years of Republicans. I am starting to feel Clinton with all her baggage has a better chance. At least her baggage is known. There is just a looming feeling with Obama that has me uneasy.

    April 15, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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