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. Vivian

    Hillary is a liar, Mccain will keep us at war for as long as he can, Obama is our only hope. He is not perfect, never claimed to be and let the first one without fault, cast the first sotne. Who does Hillary think she is calling Obama elitist? She has got to be out of her mind. Obama was speaking to people who are wealthy and were at a fundraiser. He was only trying to get his point accross to them and let them know that they may be doing ok, but there are a lot of people out there who are not and are frustrated with washington and the politicians promises that have not been kept, after 25 years and several administrations. Hillary out right lies and some idiots still vote for her. I'd rather vote for someone who misspeaks than someone who lies. I would rather vote for someone who is not perfect at words sometimes, rather than soemone who is rehearsed and lies.
    Obama 08

    April 15, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. FRED Atlanta, GA

    Quite SAD how truely some clinton supporters are so BLIND, case and point some of her supporters really do sound BITTER how come hillary supporters NEVER and I mean NEVER questions things she has said during this entire campaigne. I have yet to see her supporters questioning the SAME LIE she's told on 3 different occasions but as soon as the video told a different story she has sleep deprevation her supporters said nothing, she said wright wouldn't be her pastor but it was ok when he was invited to the white house for dinner and praying for Bills misdeeds again her supporters said nothing the moment Obama said something to which at least the man has come out and said his words were ill chosen and apologize for offending people I have yet to see CLINTON come out and apologize for many of her misstatements some of you really need to wake up!!!

    April 15, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. radster

    If anybody is wondering where Barack made his money over the last years:

    He's written two bestselling books, which were not just successful, they are very good as well. Recommended! If you want to know who the "real Obama" is!

    April 15, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. Alex H

    Anyone who thinks Obama is a racist and an elitist are proving his point: there is antipathy in this country. Btw... go look up the word. It does NOT mean racism.

    April 15, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Crocus

    What is so gosh-darn awful about being elitist? Some elitists–think Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy–have made pretty good presidents!

    April 15, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Carmon

    Hillary, what do you have to say about the 800,000 dollars your husband got from the Columbian Government. She responded:

    Ha do ha do ha do ha do.

    "How many angles dance on the head of a pin".

    By that response alone lets me know that she is a straight face LIAR and she is hiding something and actually think it's funny.

    April 15, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Jan

    Will the real Barrack Obama please stand up? jeff tobin makes him out to be a poor boy with a mother on food stamps and, due to his genius, he made his way to the presidential nomination. Another story is that he lived in and grew up in the "paradise" of Hawaii and was sent to the best private schools by wealthy white grandparents. Maybe someone could tell us the truth. we know nothing about the man . And, Tobin, what do you expect Mrs Clinton to do ignore his gaffes? She IS running for the same job, is she not? I would be disappointed in her if she sat back, weakly, and allowed him to win on his oratory. He is slashing and burning as much or more than her, but you are giving him the green light!

    April 15, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |

    Obama, the word that describes you best is not elitist......its racist!!!!

    People don't stand for this. Vote Hillary in 08!!!

    April 15, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. sacto joe

    The notion that a poor black man who picked himself up by his bootstraps is "elitist" is beyond laughable. It exemplifies the extreme measures the Media Moguls will go to to pull him down and reduce his chances of becoming President.

    The fact is, the right wing FEARS Senator Obama far more than either Senator Clinton or Senator McCain.

    Beyond this, the sick truth is that Senator Clinton is using the right wing's attacks to pull this truly great and honorable man down, just so SHE can become President! She has taken the low road, and will forever be dishonored by her actions.

    April 15, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. Monica, Texas

    For all those Hillary supporters who continue to bring up Rezko why aren't you asking about Peter Paul and his trial that is soon expected to start. We do not see CNN or any of the news outlets discussing this matter...Why the imbalance on reporting????

    "I know you comment is waiting moderation"

    April 15, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. OH my

    And Obama WAS NOT at Rezko's house....
    and Obama was not at the sermon...

    April 15, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Renee

    Obama, stood up for the people speaking about their economics conditions and in trying to explain he got twisted but he didn't mean any harm and The Clintons and McCain both have more money than Obama and Obama had to work his way up and saw the hardship on people economics . in my personal opinion, Obama is more in touch with people economic conditions than HIlliary or Mccain could ever be. and Obama is very, very far from being a Elitist that is very funny.

    April 15, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. SDunn

    Wow Hillary's Peter Paul trial is coming up. I wondering if you Hillary supporters will be talking about Rezko then. Such hypocrites.

    April 15, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Mike from Calgary

    Obama is a gentleman, a scholar and a man with grace as described by Rudyard Kipling .. a man who can walk with kings and not lose the common touch.
    Hey how bout that tax return from the Clintons, you know the people who BROUGHT SELF-SERVICE TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE. Boy... did they ever help themselves. Lots of money for dry cleaning eh!

    April 15, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Mandi from Maine

    McClinton is the absolute definition of elitism.

    April 15, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Kevin

    Just becasue your mama wanted to live her life without a job (she had an education she chose to live off of food stamps) does not mean you, yourself, are not an elitist. An elitist is someone who feels above everyone and strives to achieve that goal. Obama you fit that description to the letter. The sad part is you are fooling people that are thirsting for change (most of the bad things have been caused by liberal whining and media coverage). I hope people wake up and throw this empty suit in the garbage!

    April 15, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Kentucky Bob

    Given the way anything said can be twisted, turned and spread across the country overnight with today's technology, it's not surprising that our democracy still works so well. It's surprising that it works at all.

    April 15, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Leonard

    We all kow that it's time for change and to do that some have to follow while others have to lead. The Dems are ready and Obama has been selected. Lets pull together and see it happen.

    Go Obama!!!!

    April 15, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. Deb, IN

    I don't know about anyone else but I don't want a comedian in the White House!!!!!

    Every time he says something stupid he tries to create a joke out of it.
    Well Barak Obama I'm not buying it. Being President is no laughing matter. We are in a recession and need someone that can solve real problems.

    April 15, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. fred2 the idiot took my name

    LMAO Sure your not!!!

    Get out now!!

    Ryan, Los Angeles, I find it stupid that someone would vote for a Democrat...just because they are a Democrat!!

    I am a Democrat and will vote for McCain if Hillary isn't the nominee!!

    A 4 year old would be better than Obama!!

    April 15, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Tesor

    I have lived in Pennsylvania all my 50 years of life.
    Obama is right we are bitter about the lack of good jobs. If you don't understand all the details of why we are then you are out of touch.

    April 15, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Kevin

    I can't believe Obama is lying again!

    He said he had to scrape ice off his car EVERY day.

    Anybody from Chicago knows that this isn't true, you only have to scrape 7 months out of the year.

    What a lying, out-of-touch, fake, arrogant.... oh wait a second, I'm not Howard Wolfson, what am I doing...

    April 15, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Lee WV

    The funny thing about this is that Hillary is using the names of Al Gore and John Kerry as examples of elitist,and it hasn't been 2 weeks since the headlines read"Can Al Gore save the Democratic party?"This is not going to help her enough.She will win PA but not the monster win she needs.Then she will lose as much or more back in NC.The Super delegates are going to abandon her if she stays on this course of negativity.

    April 15, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Jesse


    Obama... EARNED his way through life with honest hard work!

    He is the example that many people need to see to lift them selves up.

    "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.

    Obama is hope and faith that hard work and honesty will pay off and can lead you to achieve.


    Clinton... a proven LIAR... making $109,000,000 MILLION... who will say anything to win.


    Mmm... wonder who the elitist is... can anyone say don't throw stones?

    April 15, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Donj, NJ

    Hillary supporters always recall Rev Wright issue to make their case against Sen. Obama whereas each week Sen. Clinton gives people something new to call her out on. Let's see what happens next week.

    Obama '08

    April 15, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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