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. April in Texas

    Obama is real! He GETS IT. I don't know about most americans but I have 109 million reasons to believe Obama is not an elitist. Where Hillary lies about Bosnia then laughs it off if unpatriotic. I think Hillary and John McCain both need to look in the mirror before labeling another.

    Obama 08

    April 15, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. akaDoug

    Hillary is the one out of touch! This whole "bittergate" is way overblown...very typical of this quick sound bite and drama media! Obama isn't perfect but he is a world better than either Clinton or McCain!

    Anytime now we will be hearing from the angry and/or racist Clinton supporters! They have a right to be angry their candidate blew a perfect opportunity by running a horrible campaign and lying to try to appeal to a few people! Looks like it backfired!

    April 15, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. Skipper

    I could give a darn about how much money either of them has in the bank. I'm more concerned about who has the political clout to actually affect change on capital hill. Methinks Obama is not that candidate.

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

    Now I see why Michelle was never proud if America.
    It is because she had to be "scrap ice every morning".
    These couple is a joke.

    April 15, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. HM

    Another case of something taken out of context. Has anyone bothered to listen to the entire speech to see that what he said was true in the context of the entire statement.

    Once again, our wacked out political system is showing it's true colors.

    April 15, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. 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. Can you imagine what they will do with the country? 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 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. me

    For Susan of MO –

    You obviously did not hear all of Obama's conversation when he was discussing the people of PA and why they may have hard feelings. When you do, you can re-track your statement and an apology will do.

    April 15, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. Justin, Chicago

    This whole thing is a joke. It's not even worth discussing in my opinion.

    April 15, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Kelley

    I bet you even had to have free lunch just like myself. Obama is suppose to be an elitist and yet McCain has their "recipes". Let;'s go Obama I can't wait till NC!!!

    April 15, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. Fact1

    Some of the news articles about Obama's gaffe this past weekend mention that his remarks were made at a private San Francisco fundraiser. What they fail to mention, that this private San Francisco fundraiser took place on Billionaire's Row at the mansion of the Getty's. You know...the BIG OIL, Getty's. Obama made private rmearks to his wealthy patrons figuring he was safe amongs his own crowd. He is an elitist and that's the least of his problems. Bet on it.

    April 15, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  11. Sallie Mae

    Obama, please don't pay that lying, tequila-swigging, six-shooting hypocrite any mind.. ok? Ok, thanks! We love you and what you stand for. We know that your heart is in the right place and that's what is important. You 'are' change that we can believe in!

    OBAMA '08

    April 15, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. TAHARI in CT 4 OBAMA

    Now thats the tea pot call the "kettle black," no pun intended.

    Yes, Hillary has done a lot for poor people; yet and still, she has shown that her "Clintonist" arrogance in politics is more a form of elitism than anything and is certainly even more repulsive.

    April 15, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. James from TX

    Thanks for clarifying that you misspoke. We all do. Now get back to the economy it's killing me.

    April 15, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Stephen

    Well if he says that he's not an elitist then it must not be true.

    Just like how I'm the smartest man in the world. I've said it, therefore it must be true.

    What Id like to hear from the pundits is that wealth is not a pre-requisite for elitism. I know people that are financially worse off than me and they are elitist, whereas I know people who are better off than me and they are not elitist. And when I hear the pundits start talking about 109 million, I know that they preaching to the lowest base of stupidity and they should be ashamed.

    April 15, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Anna, SW Missouri

    I think the people of PA get it! CBS is reporting that Clinton cut her speech to just 5 minutes today because the people in the room were not paying any attention to her. Good for them! Maybe they are tired of Hillary's "uppity" remarks instead of actually hearing them say that they ARE bitter with the way Washington is acting like they don't exist.

    April 15, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Dem for Hillary

    Where does that cockiness come from then?

    April 15, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. Meme

    Senator Obama I'm your supporter and I'm getting tired of you playing these games with Senator Clinton. Please let's stick to the important issues. NAFTA, the Columbia Trade Deal, Penn, etc... Instead of wasting time answering this "Drama Queen" please put your attention into persuading the people of PA to vote for you. We'll play the games later..

    April 15, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Tootie





    April 15, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. AZM

    Three years ago you lived in a condo with no garage...
    So inside of 36 Months you go from that to a 1.6 Million dollar Chicago home... What happend?

    Oh Yea... Rezko!

    April 15, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Ryan, Los Angeles

    Clinton will do or say anything to get elected. I loved the Clintons when Bill was in the White House, but Hillary makes my skin crawl...and her cackle doesn't make it any easier for me to actually listen to her. But the problem is that she would rather tear down Obama than talk about the issues. Its pathetic.

    But if she gets elected, I will vote for her over McCain – we can't have another Republican.

    Obama '08. If not, then Hillary.

    I find it silly and immature that some Dems will not vote for a Dem in the White House. We're on the same side people!

    April 15, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. joyce

    ok hillary
    now-it is time to get out. thank you obama. i am a white 65 year old who loves you and your family, and i look farward to calling you president and proud of it. i feel so bad the white people are so hard on you, what they seem to forget is your are one of us also. we are all one person, god bless you and i really doubt any wane will call you mr obama when you are president. it will be pr-obama. it is funny that bill and george is called mr clionton and mr bush. wow
    take care and watch your back

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. tom

    There is no question that Obama's comments showed he is a bit out of touch with how small town folks think, but that doesn't mean he doesn't care or understand about their struggles. We don't need a President to relate to every tradition or practice we pursue, we need a President that can recognize problems and set about fixing them. The very thing I hate about Hillary is how she pretends to have a connection with everyone. Her accent and twang changes wherever she speaks and she has a B.S. story to "connect" to every voter out their. Hillary going duck hunting? What a joke.

    I'd rather have a competant, honest President who will use his 8 years in office to get to know the people better while he serves versus one who pretends and claims to know the people and then spends 8 years ignoring them and doing what he/she determines is best without regard. We just had that. Hillary is a phony. I'll take the real guy. Obama at least says what he thinks versus spouting off B.S.

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Mike D

    I like how Hillary supporters act like they really care about Tony Rezko. Grasping at straws, just don't act like this in the fall please.

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Tanya K

    His true colors are still showing, but his suppoters won't admit it. He will not beat McCain in the GE if he is the Democratic nominee. To many Democrats will jump ship, because he is entirely to ARROGANT and UNEXPERIENCED.

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. california voter

    poor bo, lived without a garage for so many years...

    April 15, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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