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. Gov-vie

    All you Hillary, Obama, and McCain backers are foolish. You act like little children.

    Of course Obama is going to mispeak – he is human. People expect him to be so perfect, but he's not. No one is.

    Hillary is a tough lady. She had to be in order to deal with Bill. However, her "hurt them now and worry about the consequences later" mentality is hurting the Dems. Honestly, I don't think she is trying to win anymore. It seems more to me like she is trying to make Obama lose the November election so she can say "I told you so" and run in 2012.

    As for McCain – he's just a Bush clone. Take him for what you see.

    Nonetheless, all three of them are human. How would you like everyone in America picking apart every word, gesture, comment, and smile. When was the last time YOU had to apologize b/c of something your FRIEND did or said??? Stop the scrutiny people!!!!

    April 15, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Obama 08

    Rezko gave the Clintons money and MOST Americans are Elitist. I do believe MOST of you run around saying this is the greatest country and look down your noses at other country like this country is so PERFECT. I am bitter everytime I PUMP gas. The dropout rate is a mess, the justice system is a JOKE so america is not always what it seems. I guess this means I am un patrotic. Whatever. Also for you people stuck on this Rev Wright thing does your Pastor(if you have one) preach the same sermon every Sun?? I didnt think so. Case closed LET IT GO!!!

    April 15, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |

    Why does everyone keep trying to bring Rezko into the picture.....The case with Rezko is with the Governor of Illinios not Obama...there's nothing illegal involving Obama and Rezko. The Man got a good deal on his house and he didn't even buy the house from Rezko....get a life people

    April 15, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Mark

    All I hear from you Clinton supporters is "bla bla bla, I'm mad because my candidate is going to loose and there's nothing I can do about it but be angry at Obama".

    April 15, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Bernice

    Obama stop focusing on her fooliness not one single person except those that were not going to vote for you anyway are even thinking about her saying this, to us it is a joke only showing how desperate she and her supporters are. They know as well as everyone else that this is only an excuse to justify them making a dumb dicision in voting for Hillary in the first place, in the second place they are bitter, but will not admit it simply because it came from your mouth. Truth hurts especially when someone you envy presents it.

    They are reaching for air!

    Oh! and this crap about her saying you are like George W. Bush is proof that she is insane and if anybody agrees with her they too are just as insane. stubbling in the night for a needle.


    April 15, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. Sean

    People wonder why the media is not reporting on certain things? Maybe that's because there's nothing to report! Get over it people...

    April 15, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Beth

    PEOPLE! He wrote two best-selling novels in the last few years! Hence his increased income and bigger home. Check out his tax returns...it's all there.

    April 15, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. mike

    Hillary Clinton Supporters:

    Just a couple of suggestions that might help your very insightful posts:

    PUT YOUR CAPS LOCK KEY ON ALL THE TIME. This really helps the less intellectually-gifted Clinton supporters "get it".

    Also, use exclamation points wherever and whenever you can – it shows you really care.

    After all, "When Substance Fails, Impressions Matter" is and will remain the new Clinton slogan. Repeat it in all caps with exclamation points as often as possible. Please... let's get out the vote for her highness. She is entitled to the presidency by virture of her gender, regardless of her character. No one can possibly dispute that. GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!

    April 15, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    All of you people putting Obama down crack me up. You're all COWARDS!..that's right cowards! You haven't a SHRED of evidence in anything that he has done over the course of his life to credibly label him an "elitist". Hillary Clinton used that term to give all you RACIST COWARDS an excuse to NOT vote for him. As with anything in life, when the chips are down you find out who your REAL freinds are. I always thought of the Democratic party as my friends...HOW WRONG I WAS. I'm glad I burned by Dem card and changed partys. I will be voting Independant from now on....If Hillary somehow wins the nomination, I will be voting for McCain....and I will NEVER again vote for a "woman's issue" (i.e. abortion rights)

    April 15, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. ILoveAmerica

    What could be more truly "elitist" than encouraging the 800 Democratic superdelegates to overturn the majority preference of tens of millions of American voters?

    April 15, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Retired Navy Veteran

    I endorse Senator Obama for President of the United States of America.

    As you may recall our current President Bush, he does not always say things correctly or proper.

    Let us America focus on Positive Change and Restoring America back to her greatness.

    Also, let us pray for the Clintons.........

    That she will one day endorse the true leader for America our next President Barack Obama

    April 15, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. SDunn

    It's a pitty how the Hillary supporters here are so misinformed about their own candidate. That ignorance scares me.

    April 15, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. rachel

    Hmm so sad so sad. I don't think I can bring myself to vote for Obama, his arrogance scares me. I think he is more arrogant than bush. People need to really question him and stop thinking that racisim will end if he is elected because he is mixed, because it won't. I wished I lived in a 3 bedroom condo, I wish I could afford to pay off my student loans, maybe send my neice to a nice private school like I am sure Obama's girls go to. Obama and Hillary are the same Obama mimicks everything Clinton says. I would rather have her. I just don't think Obama will get anything done.

    April 15, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Michael G- Ventura, CA

    Good for you Barack! Let her have it! You so far from elitism that it's NOT funny! The elite folks that are worth hundreds of millions are calling YOU an elitist! Wake up America!

    April 15, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. raf

    Good Lord, how is it that so few people see the similarities between this "elitist" title and the "flip-flopper" one that haunted Kerry. So many of you reciting this buzz word were, four years ago, upset because you knew the "flip-flopper" thing was simplistic and based on emotion.

    Same thing with Gore and the "condascending intellectual" rap he got. It's a label political opponents use because they know it works, and it's you idiots allowing it to work - just this time against your own party.

    April 15, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. Anonymous-IL

    To all of you Hillary supporters... There is plenty of mud to sling and most of it hits Hillary:

    WhiteWater, Peter Paul, William Hu to name a few. 35 years of experience racks up a lot of great "friends".

    If Rezko is the best you got, I'll go with the "elitist", thanks!

    April 15, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. Peter

    Wow, Barry! You had to finance your own law school education. What a heartbreaking story. That will go right up there with Lincoln splitting logs and FDR overcoming polio. I bet all those laid-off steel workers will really be able to relate.

    April 15, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. mary

    Show us your 2007 tax return!!

    April 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Change 2008

    Ok – I’m confident that everyone understands HRC’s kitchen sink strategy purpose. HRC indicated that, “after the election win or loss I will be ok”. I 100% agree that the Clintons will be ok, because they have $100M in the bank. Lets stop doing the Republicans dirty work and tearing one another down. Please! We are all better then that. This isn’t about Hillary or Obama it’s about us average folks who are looking for a little help. One voice, one nation = change we can all agree upon.

    April 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. Judy

    obama, it doesn't have ANYTHING to do with your background whether or not your an elitist. But since America does not know you, your words are a window to your soul and the saying those comments about religion and guns and bitterness can be interpreted as being an elitist. So there...

    April 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. michael

    McCain and Hillary are well established politician. they have been at it for years. I would love to hear what they say in private. People should just stick to issues. those twisting the words bitter to fit their agenda are basically saying small town people are so dumb to think on themselve. Their feeling have to be digested for their own good.

    April 15, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Andre-VA

    Bayou joe- what to do? Vote Obama!

    April 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. tupac

    Mr. President-in-waiting, there is no need to even bother explaining yourself to the fools in the media or to the Hillary supporters. Any sane-minded person knows exactly what you meant but a lot of childish-minded fanatics who post commentaries on this blog or who appear on TV will never pause for even a second to ask themselves the serious question(s). No matter how honestly you try to explain yourselves they will never be satisfied, are happy to cling to the nonsense being dished out by their queen of lies, you know, the one who brokered the peace deal in Northern Ireland, landed commando-style under sniper fire in the Balkans, spoke forcibly against NAFTA when she was co-president, made sure that she would never support the DNC to disenfranchise the Michigan and Florida voters last year, even when she was leading in the so-called polls.

    April 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. Tired of W, OH

    Porter said: Sometimes it's the self-made ones that are the worst…

    Porter, if Obama had everything in life handed to him as opposed to being a self-made man, you would be criticizing him for that, too.

    1) Obama is less of an elitist than HRC or McBush.

    2) Do you even know what the word "elitist" means or are you just spewing the canned rhetoric like all the other Obama-haters out there? Look it up on wikipedia.

    April 15, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. v.ananthan


    April 15, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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