April 15th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
6 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. Karen, TN

    To Joanne who said Obama would not be where he is without the black vote, I would like to say that no democratic candidate can get where they are without the black vote. They are a substantial part of the voting public and their vote carries exactly the same weight as yours or mine. The black community tends to rally around a democratic candidate, and this time it's Obama. Last time it was a white man. Your comment is very racist. Just an observation from another typical white woman.

    April 15, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. King of NJ

    only unintelligent Americans could fall for Hillarys claim that Obamas an elitist ... I mean COME ON!!! she is the one out of touch!

    April 15, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Montana's for Barack Obama

    Hillary lies straight up- Shoots "Canadian" whiiskey and makes remarks like a drunken sailor while dodging bullets from sniper fire...

    I do not trust Hiallry..

    Many people I talk to in Montana are very PR-OBAMA..

    He will win because true americans want a true and honest leader. Enough of the lies our country has endured from our representatives..

    Vote Barack Obama in 2008..... he doesn't lie..

    April 15, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. TK

    You know what's funny, most of the comments from HRC's supporters seem so misinformed and down right ignorant. Is't only one person posting them with different user name?

    April 15, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. republican

    GUYS, I THINK YOU ARE ALL BEING TOO SENSITIVE TO SMALL ISSUES...C'MON, PICK A CANDIDATE AND MOVE ON....GAS WILL STILL BE EXPENSIVE REGARDLESS OF WHO'S RIGHT ON WHO SAID WHAT.

    April 15, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Frank, CA

    Yea, Obama!
    You keep serving up the truth and we hear you!
    No to the politics of division!
    No to the politics of destruction!
    No to Hillary Clinton!!!!!!

    April 15, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. Stewart from North Carolina

    The next time I hear Rezko mentioned against Obama, I think I'll just recall the glory years of Whitewater and whatever the Saudi's have done for Bill Clinton lately. Ahhh yes, such fond memories. The Clintons and Hillary's fans really don't want that brought up again, do they? And you know the Republicans will this Fall. There is so much more slime on the Clinton side, I don't think they want to go there.

    April 15, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Geez...

    There is some exaggeration in this story. I have read a great deal on Barak's mother because I find her really interesting and intriguing. Barak did not have a struggling childhood. It may have been different, but certainly not sparse. He does not have a Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton story, that's for sure. Also, when I was a newlywed, I certainly did not have a condo and I had student loans. These things do not exempt one from being an elitist. A great many wealthy and/or famous folks grew up in "struggling" situations. It is attitude that creates elitists, not education or wealth.

    April 15, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Tired of Idots

    Once again here we go with the speculation. Obama as owned up to his relationship with Rezko but he is not being indicted. I wonder why! Maybe because he did nothing wrong. So let that go too.... Can we talk about stuff that makes sense. How many of you actually think that any politician who supposedly has as many connections as Hillary and John are going to actually do some work for the American people. They'll be to busy from day one trying to pay back political favors. We need a president of the poeple, for the people, by the people.

    GO OBAMA '08' '12'

    April 15, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. colene

    Barack was wrong because there are more bitter people in america everywhere. We are all suffering in one way or another and we want help. So please everyone stop fighting and just go out and vote.

    April 15, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Lisa

    First want to let Steve know that Obama's grandparents that helped raise him was no where near rich. Read his book and you would know that.

    Second why are we still even discussing this stupid topic. Maybe he misspoke but in the long run he is pretty much right on the money. I am from a small town, single parent and hit hard by the economy. I am very bitter with my government and I own guns and go to church, but what he said did not offend me in any way. People need to stop worrying about such nonissues and worry about who is going to make our economy and country a better place.

    Obama knows what the American people want and he is what we need!!!

    April 15, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. Head Shaker fro PA

    I love the show of intelligence in these forums. Anyone with half a brain can understand what Obama meant in his statements. Maybe if people would make decisions on their own rather than letting the politicians and TV make them for you, you would not be so quick to jump on the "bittergate" bandwagon.

    I love it when people say that all Obama does is "lie lie and lie again,", but they never really cite what he is lying about. Politicians are the same, they will make a mess-up and then attempt to fix it to keep themselves in the race. Nobody is perfect. I respect Obama for sticking by his true statement, as well as not throwing his pastor under the bus when that was not politically correct.

    The problem that I have with Clinton is that there seems to be no true direction for her campaign. It's like a hit or miss tactic. She will keep throwing things out there, and if they don't resonate with the voters, she moves onto something else. The fact that she is milking this whole bitter controversy scandal shows that she will do whatever she thinks it will take to win. She might call herself a fighter, but she is only fighting her own bad judgement these days. Obama, aside from the recent problems, has stayed on point with his message. If everyone wants to claim rezko for his sudden increase of fortune, anyone with google can see that he made his money off of book sales. But I guess that its too much to ask for people to actually find things out on their own.

    April 15, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. PA voter

    I am so sick of your stupid ads NON STOP

    GO AWAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

    you are not welcome in the bitter state of PA ...

    April 15, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. vince - Phoenix - (forgive me cnn, for I have sinned)

    Susan from MO.... (and anyone else "CLAIMING") Obama "lost" their vote...

    please... at 'least' be honest with yourselves....

    he never HAD it to begin with.....

    April 15, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Vacman

    Clinton continues to throw out false names and call people who oppose her names to scare people in voting for her!! Obama is no elitist and whoever believes that I have land to sell you in Iraq!! Candidates constantly throw out names so the media came make a big deal about nothing!! The name calling and falsehoods are coming from one direction and that's the falling ship of the Clinton campaign!! She didn't think Obama could the nomination like Richardson said and now she's pulling out all the stops!! I have a name to call Obama,"The Democratic nominee for 2008!"

    April 15, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Mike USMC 95-99

    He's correct, people are bitter, disillusioned, and generally ticked off at the morons in the WH, Congress, state governments, punditocracy, and the corporate media ...

    It's about time someone says exactly what realt folks are thinking .. enough of this feel-good, flag-waving BS that the Rethugs like to use and the BS "I'm the most experienced" poop ... What we need is someone who is beyond all that BS and gets to frickin' work on day one ... not wondering who's favor to repay from day-one ...

    Enough is enough, I'm bitter and proud to say so ...

    April 15, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. Vacman

    Clinton continues to throw out false names and call people who oppose her names to scare people in voting for her!! Obama is no elitist and whoever believes that then I have land to sell you in Iraq!! Candidates constantly throw out names so the media came make a big deal about nothing!! The name calling and falsehoods are coming from one direction and that's the falling ship of the Clinton campaign!! She didn't think Obama could win the nomination like Richardson said and now she's pulling out all the stops!! I have a name to call Obama,"The Democratic nominee for 2008!"

    April 15, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  18. Thall999

    Gov-vie! Thank you. I say the same thing all the time. There's a BIG difference between making a gaffe or an error and all the candidates do it over the course on a long election process.

    However, I do differentiate this with just LYING and sticking to this LIE even after it's brought to their attention.

    While the Democrats are fighting, John McCain is riding around on his scooter saying all kinds of things and running into all kinds of stuff. As with Americans Airlines, his handlers have pulled him off the turmac and it now doing maintenace on his wirings.

    Now ,his Economics plans sounds more like 100. Once he gets to 101 Economics, the Democrats are in Trouble! The RNP will hang a "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" sign on his scooter and that will be it. lol

    April 15, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. shirley riley

    all you people out there who dont like the clintons need to grow=up you need to get a life. obama is nothing but i lier?

    April 15, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. K in NH

    Okay, he might not be an elitist, but neither is he in touch with average Americans in any way. His career has been one long campaign with one goal – the White House. That's not the kind of experience that will be effective. It's certainly not the kind of experience I would vote into office.

    April 15, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Melissa, PA

    First..i must say that I am not supporting ANY of the candidates...they all make my skin crawl, because when you actually do your research, you find they ALL are liars.

    What i find hilarious though is that the people not ticked off by his "bitter" and more remarks....are those of us in PA. And you know why? Because we listened to it all...not just the excerpts that the press post to try to cause controversy, so that it's all more "exciting" so people will watch.

    We ARE bitter at the government...rightly so...and being here in the smack centre of PA, i can tell ya.....we love our guns ;-)

    What i find MORE insulting is Hillary's sudden, extremely FAKE southern accent she's been putting on so thick lately, as she "pulls up her boot straps". It's insulting, and just makes me want to slap her every time she talks to us here. And she wonders why she's losing her lead big time. Just because we have a lot of farms, and like our guns, does not mean that we are hicks, and does not mean that we are southeners. Last i checked....we are still in the northeast.

    April 15, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. Zeka-jones - Ontario,Canada

    Hillary sarrogates,
    Stand by, this is going to backfire back in Hillarys face – don't take my ward for it, Obama is loved all over the world even here in Canada hey

    April 15, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. one nation under god!!!!

    Hey dems you will never understand rural america because they believe there are more important things than money.Iknow it must be shocking to the materialistic left.

    April 15, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Neil K, Lake Forest CA

    Anyone who can be in a position to run for President IS elite. None of them are like us. Stop looking for "the guy/girl I can have a beer with."

    We already elected that guy, and look where it got us.

    April 15, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. shirley riley

    obama is not what this country needs right now?go hillary o8?

    April 15, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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