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. Diane

    this guy is a fraud....

    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Independent

    Of course, I dont expect you to post this...but I genuinely wish that Clinton would just piss off...what a disgusting person she has turned out to be...like a cornered dog with a mouthfull of mud...

    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Dem for Hillary

    Hey, Dave in NYC. They can only spend so much of their own money on campaigning.

    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. tomdavie

    I love all these Liberal replies.

    Liberals come on here, and using their line of logic, insist Obama told the truth.

    Small town americans are BITTER . Wholesale. All of em.

    In fact, they therefore cling to GUNS and RELIGION cause them crackers gots nuttin else to think about.

    If only they were enlightened LIberals. Then they would truely be free.

    Only liberals understand anything .

    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Richard, FL

    McCain and Clinton should stop the nonsense about Obama's statement. If you want a REAL elitist statement, here's one:

    "And so many of the people (Katrina victims) in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
    - Barbara Bush, wife/mother of the last 2 Republican presidents, 9/04/06

    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. Tym

    Why is it that anytime a white person criticizes Obama, its racist remark?

    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Rey (American Canyon, CA)


    The only reason Obama keeps slipping is because he busy dodging the sniper fire constantly lobed by the Clinton camp.

    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Paul

    Obama just offended millions of Americans. He did not apologize but stood by his comments, now he sees it backfired, he is trying to justify his poor judgment. Stereotypes are the result of a lack of information =ignorance. Do we need a Harvard alumni who pretends to be better than his fellow citizens?
    We do not need anyone to look down on any of us, ' cause by doing so, he is not offending a few, but all of us.


    April 15, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Reality

    Anyone with an ounce of common sense would know he is not an elitist. The person who is doing the name calling is the one that is the most ELITIST!!! It still blows my mind reading some of these ridiculous comments. Humm... just started making money a few years ago vs been rolling in the dough and living the good life for 25 years. I'll leave this for other bloggers to decide.

    April 15, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Different Mike

    Isn't that special Barack. Was that after you grew up in private school in Hawaii, and after you built your new 1.3 million dollar home or do I have my dates mixed up? Also, please explain why (i'm confused) you were living in a 3 BR condo when your wife was making 300,000 plus as CEO of one non profit and CFO of another corporation. Sometimes in life you just have to ask yourself "does this story add up"? In this case I think it's obviously NO!

    April 15, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Mike D

    Hillary's 30 years of experience for the people of pennsylvania include being a corporate lawyer for walmart, who's job it was to crush labor unions, and NAFTA. We salute you hillary, for sending our jobs away and then telling us we're resilient.

    April 15, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. F.F

    Talk about the pot calling the Kettle black. "Elitist" from the mouths of John MCCain and Hillary who are both millionaires or married or millionaires.

    Its a shame the people of PA don't seem to be seieng thru' all her barbage! They will in time!

    Obama will rise above this crap! He always does!

    April 15, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. laura, CA

    He got a fantastic deal on property from Rezko.
    also known as...
    A bribe.
    Nah, he's not elitist or anything slimy. Just a nice guy trying to do right for the people.

    April 15, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. k. Littleton, PA

    . . . Hillary is a master at taking her many character flaws and trying
    to turn them around on the other candidate. That's why she's losing.

    April 15, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. VA


    April 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. t

    Susan MO,
    he's laughing at how much you people are freaking out about it.

    April 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |

    Go away Obama, you can not win, get out of the race and let the best lady win it for the democrats.your racist attitude and your lying about your record will be your down fall in november. the republican swift boat bunch will eat you alive.

    April 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. JimmyBoy

    Why would anyone that went to an elitist university like Harvard ever be considered an elitist?

    How could someone that has had a silver spoon for so long be considered an elitist?

    How could anyone who listened to the down to earth, nitti-gritty, common vulgar sermons of ex-Reverend Write for twenty years ever be considered an elitist?

    Obama is just a down-to-earth kind of guy like all the young gun-toting, heat packing young blacks on the South Side of Chicago.(I been there.)

    He is more like Hillary who grew up in Park Ridge, Il with a very low crime rate, a hardworking suburb. ( I been there. )

    And he is just like the small town local yokels he referred do. (Been in a lot of small towns, I am proud to say. Live in one now.)

    And this was obviously a mis-speak on his part(this Harvard graduate), because he would not say anything at all to lose one vote in Pennysylvania(Been there, enjoyed it.) because he needs them desperately.

    April 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. GoodblesspresidentBarackObama

    For God sake Hillary and her husband made 10M for the last 6 years and she calling Obama an elitist who just fished paying his student loan two years ago grow up with a single mom with food stamps.

    What a joke she must not be as smart as I thought if she thinks she can fool the American people by this comments. Shame on you hillary.

    April 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. Mia

    Steve – please take a minute to get your facts straight. Barack Obama grandparents were NOT rich, far from it.

    Try google man!

    April 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. Pure Amazement

    At how ridiculous some of the posts are. People should really get over themselves and invest in common sense!

    April 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  22. gary

    Barb Canada,

    4 years ago Barack got the proceeds from his book, a little over a million dollars, not quite the 27 million Bill Clinton took in from his book and other proceeds, nor the 50 million he got talking on behalf of Columbia and the like, or the 31 million that went to Clinton"s "foundation" by helping to broker exclusive rights to the uranium mining in Khazakstan for his Canadian buddy. I don't think the Clintons want to get into an in depth discussion on where their money comes from.

    April 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. Mary - PA

    If Obama is an elitist as much as Hillary is honest.

    April 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Dave in NJ

    This is truly amazing. Obama makes a true statement, perhaps put out using the wrong words, but real Americans agreed because they understood what he meant. It is sad that the media once again has looped something & ran it in the ground. Yet HRC can lie repeatedly, not answer the simplest of questions, keep Penn on board, not release 2007 tax filings, and still not be grilled by the media like Obama. It let's you know who the real elitest people are,HRC. If the supporters of HRC are so hateful and opposed to having an african american as president, then they deserve whatever befalls them. I guarentee them by the time Hillary or
    McCain finishes screwing up this country, we all will be bitter, broke, busted and disgusted.

    April 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. freddie

    And another thing...the media is really making me ill on this one. They are all spewing the same garbage almost verbatim and it's really sad! Why don't they turn this around on HRC the way they should be...they all know he just bumbled his words up a little. And Hillary knows a thing or 2 about "misspeaking" and "misremembering" doesn't she? Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow seem to be the only members of the press who haven't lost their everloving minds!

    April 15, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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