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. Serge

    Obama is an elitist. I cannot believe he is still standing by his comments. He has a Phd; I am sure he knows the meaning of such a simple word (i.e., bitter). Give me a break. We are learning the hypocrite he is.

    April 15, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. T D Trent Supports Change!

    Joanne,

    You said that:

    Honestly, if it were not for the Black vote you would not be where you are. Coming from a typical white woman…………..

    WELL, WE SEE HOW SMART YOU ARE, AFRICAN AMERICANS MAKE UP 12% OF THE U.S. POPULATION. IF 100% OF AFRICAN AMERICANS VOTED FOR HIM ( WHICH HAVE NOT), HE STILL WOULD NOT WIN. SO TYPICAL WHITE WOMAN PLEASE READ AND STOP JUST TYPING ANYTHING. BECAUSE IT MAKE THE OTHER TYPICAL WIHTE WOMEN WHO ARE EDUCATED SEEM VERY DUMB! AND I DONT THINK THEY WANT YOU SPEAK FOR THEM ANYWAYS!

    April 15, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. obama08

    hello the last perosn hillary clinton should be calling an elitest is obama. if anything she is the one out of touch i dont see her as our president.

    April 15, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Bayou joe

    Oh great one; Obama, save me from my ignorance. I have this bitterness that won't go away and I don't have a gun or religion. Tell me o great one what do I do.

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

    Some of your comments are as "shallow" as Hillary Clinton's frame of mind. It's always the blind ones who don't have an inkling (or just choose not too) make the most stupid remarks. Apparently, Steve don't know the definition of "elitist". I've never known people on food stamps or live in trailer parks considered "elite". Why does the truth hurt so bad!!!

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

    On you tube I saw the same "wedge issue" point Obama was trying to make from 2004. It is a clearer statement of the issue people should look at it

    April 15, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. April in Texas

    T Steve.. LOL Obama's grandparents are far from RICH and he only made 1 million after two books. Hes still very much a person of limited means when compared to Hillary and Bills 109 million and The McCains fortune of at least 110 million..

    Obama 08

    April 15, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Madison , PA

    Clinton makes a lot of money but still own people money, too much debts... how can she be a great President? She does not respect people in Pennsylvania... She wants people to finance her campaign... This is a joke..!!!

    April 15, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Different Mike

    Well so much for the 1st Amendment. I didn't realize I either had to be in love with Obama or Hillary to quote here.

    April 15, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. trollfighter

    They only appear to listen to what the crooks tell them to listen to.

    When a species is too stupid to evolve, then the species becomes extinct.

    April 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Living in the USA

    Let me see. Hiliary gets insurance free for life. Most people in Pennsylvania have no insurance or they can barely pay for it. Hiliary gets free plane rides on a private plane. Folks in Pennsylvania pay for their airfare and has to get on a redeye at 5:30am to cut costs. Hiliary gets Secret Service protection for life. Folks in Pennsylvania has to wait for the police to come. Hiliary lived in the White House and never paid the mortgage. Folks in Pennsylvania are losing their homes because they can't pay for their mortgage. Yet she still says she has not seen any bitter people since she has been campaigning in Pennsylvania. Now that is elistist is to not recognize the misfortunate/poor in front of you as if they don't exist.

    April 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. No McSame

    Silver spoon Hillary calling someone elitist WT-? Never had to worry about where her next meal was coming from in her life. No college loan to pay back because dear old dad and mom took care of it for her.
    Obama spoke the truth about us hard working people that have lost jobs over the years.
    As Bill said "give me a break".
    Don't be fool anymore America.

    April 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. MIKE, PA

    THIS GUY JUST TALKS... TALKS ANYTHING.. LISTENS TO ANYTHING ANYONE TALKS.... WE ALL KNOW HOW HIS WIFE AND HIM ARE PROUD OF THEIR COUNTRY.

    HOW CAN ANYONE LISTENS TO REV WRIGHT AND CLAIM THAT THEY LOVE USA.

    STOP TALKING... THINK BEFORE YOU TALK.

    April 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Roz, IL

    "he's so arrogant" hillary supporters please, so what if he's arrogant. Hillary is arrogant, egotistic and a freaking nutcase to boot.

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

    Which is better. Telling Americans lies about sniper shut in Bosnia or Saying what we Americans are going through and better about it, now becoming a political football. Remember how lies led us to Iraq. We can't be deceive by those liars any more. It is time for liars like Hillary Clinton to look for Monica. LSKY.

    April 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Nisha

    Steve- He has not made millions of dollars. You got the wrong candidate. Do your research and then open your mouth!

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

    What kind of president would you prefer?

    One that at least tries to figure out why he is not connecting with certain people and keeps a dialogue with them. One that doesn't lie about what he said even though it was a poorly worded statement. One who is still winning in spite of fighting two battles at the same time, or

    One who tells everyone exactly what they want to hear. One who lies with impunity and cannot admit to the lie. One who has lost but would rather try to win even if it handicapped their party for years to come.

    I will vote for Senator Clinton in November if she somehow wins the nomination from Senator Obama because I dread the idea of Senator McCain making 2-4 Supreme Court appointments.

    But it is obvious to me who is the stronger candidate among the two individuals. I believe Obama is a rare breed of politican and he has my complete support.

    April 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. female grad student NYC

    living in a CONDO in Chicago for 13 years is his way of proving he's POOR??? I think that's a bullet in your foot..... i guess he just wants to prove the elitism comment right...

    The Clintons have only recently made more money, Hillary didn't grow up wealthy by any means. The Clintons and the Obama's income is close enough that saying one is poorer than the other is just splitting hairs.

    Neither of them are poor, they've both made 1mill or more in the last several years, so let's move on from this distracting bs.

    April 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Jo

    Hillary was never in touch with the people.

    She has NO clue what it's like on the streets.

    I'm sick to death of all her lies and blaming other people.

    This white woman could not and will not vote for someone like Hillary who lies all the time.

    Hillary makes me sick !

    April 15, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. BJ in PA

    What about Hillary's connection to the secretive religious group called "The Family"? Their belief is that God has destined the "elite" to rule. Oh, that's how she came up with the word "elitist". Doesn't matter, CNN. You, like everyone else, won't post this because it would make Hillary look bad and maybe end this marathon primary.

    April 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Paul, Maine

    . . .Senator Obama does not have to apologize for being intelligent.

    April 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. NOBAMA NO WAY!

    He seems to "laugh off" a lot lately – what an arrogant pr*ck.

    VOTE FOR HILLARY!

    April 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. California Girl

    Fact 1:

    Thank you for the the truth and the facts. You got it on the button!

    April 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. 43 year old white man

    YOUR THE BEST OBAMA\ BOB JOHNSON IS STUPID HE SOLD BET ANYWAY

    THE NEXT PRESIDENT OBAMA 08

    April 15, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. zorba

    For those calling Obama an elitist, I suggest you educate yourselves as to who he truly is by reading Dreams From My Father, which he wrote over ten years ago. Calling him 'arrogant' is first cousins to calling him 'uppity.' Since when does self-confidence, intelligence, articulateness and knowing how to counter-punch equal arrogance in American politics? Gimme a break!

    April 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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