April 11th, 2008
05:57 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton hits Obama over 'bitter' comment

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/11/art.clintoncomment.ap.jpg caption="Clinton is seizing on a recently reported Obama comment."]

(CNN) - Democrat Hillary Clinton is seizing on comments Barack Obama recently made in which he said some Pennsylvanians who have lost their jobs are "bitter."

"It's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who face hard times are bitter," Clinton said during a campaign event in Philadelphia. "Well that's not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania. I meet people who are resilient, optimist positive who are rolling up their sleeves."

"Pennsylvanians don't need a president who looks down on them," she said. "They need a president who stands up for them, who fights hard for your future, your jobs, your families."

Obama's comments were reported earlier Friday by the Web site Huffingtonpost.com. The Web site says he made them at a fundraising event in San Francisco last Sunday. On Friday evening, it posted audio of the comments that verified their accuracy.

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not," he said.

"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations," he also said.

McCain's campaign also criticized the comment Friday. "It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking," said Steve Schmidt, a senior advisor to McCain. "It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans."

(UPDATE: The Obama campaign responds after the jump)

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not confirm Obama made the comments.

"No one from our press office was there - we don't have a campaign recording–we are neither confirming nor refuting."

UPDATE: The Obama campaign released a statement in response to the criticism: "Senator Obama has said many times in this campaign that Americans are understandably upset with their leaders in Washington for saying anything to win elections while failing to stand up to the special interests and fight for an economic agenda that will bring jobs and opportunity back to struggling communities," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.

"And if John McCain wants a debate about who's out of touch with the American people, we can start by talking about the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans that he once said offended his conscience but now wants to make permanent.”

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (658 Responses)
  1. AD

    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. Amy R.

    Thanks to the Clintons and NAFTA, they should be bitter about their job losses. Hillary is playing with words and grasping at straws.

    April 11, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Mandy, California

    Pennsylvanians can be bitter and still be resilient! And I don't think that Obama was looking down on them. I think he was empathizing with them.

    Is HRC so desperate that she has to start a fight over nothing?

    She is the one who is bitter!

    April 11, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  4. Bukky

    All is she saying is that "the people are happy to be s c r e w e d"

    April 11, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Well, Hillary he used the wrong freggin word. Let it go.
    Please leave. Please

    April 11, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Ryan


    April 11, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. Mike

    I have all about given up on convincing the Obamatons what they are in store for. It matters little now because if Obama gets the nomination there is no way he can beat McCain.

    If a war hero John Kerry couldnt beat AWOL George Bush in 2004, then Obama a non military, church American hating goer hasnt a chance against a POW war hero like McCain.

    Looks like another 4 years of Republicans. If Hillary gets the nomination then I we as democrats have a realistic chance to win.

    Think about it. All of Hillary's demons are known for years. She has a solid record of work and helping the poor. She has been outspent by Obama, attacked by a huge Obama machine and she is still here. If that kind of persistence cant beat McCain than nothing will.

    April 11, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    That's right Hillary...cling on to every crumb that you can to maintain a sense of relevance. As someone who has been in the position to which Obama refers to, I have been very bitter. Of course, since your household has made over 100 million these past few years, you have no sense of what real working people actually feel!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. Chris from San Antonio

    I'm a little dizzy from that particular spin.
    "Bitter" means Obama looks down on them? Gimme a break.

    April 11, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Joe

    Hillary.. you're just pathetic..
    you're holding on to straws.. as far as I'm concerned, you're now bankrupt on the respect front... you should just go away because the longer you drag this on, the more you're showing that all you care about is YOU... you're the only thing that matter in the world..

    April 11, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Sam in Indiana

    If you have lost your job and are going into foreclosure, you are bitter. PA people should be very mad. And they should never forget that the Clintons were the ones who supported NAFTA. And what about Columbia and Bill Clinton and their $800,000 gained from it?

    April 11, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  12. Michael Mee

    Talk about taking something completely out of context...

    Honestly, do people not understand politics? I've never heard Clinton say an honest thing. Maybe when you are around politics for a while, like I have been, you garner an appreciation for the subtleness of Obama.

    April 11, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |

    They don't need a lecturing, lying Millionaire like Hillary Clinton.

    Unfortunately she did not hear or understand the full comment ... maybe she came under sniper fire ? Barack Obama was straight up and real with the people. Confusing for a Clinton but absolutely the way to go !

    April 11, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. NickSanDiego

    Quick !!!! Look this way!!! No really LOOK THIS WAY!!!!!

    Typical. It is horrible when your name becomes a Verb and guess what ............

    April 11, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. KJ, CA

    Wow, much to do about nothing here. There are times that I am bitter about something and that is just reality. I am sure that there are people who have lost/are losing their jobs that are bitter about it. It isn't negative – it's reality.

    April 11, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. R. Fogle Houston, TX

    Oh please, Hillary is grappling for anything she can get. This attack is pathetic.

    April 11, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. Independent

    It's not elitism! It's the truth.

    Obama wasn't talking down to the people of PA or talking negatively about them.

    Obama was simply stating the facts...that in lieu of the jobs lost to the people of PA and many other places across the country, when politicians give them scapegoats and distractions – they latch on to them.

    April 11, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Texas4Obama

    Obama was telling the truth.
    Truth is something that the Clintons have no idea what that is!

    April 11, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. HH

    Alright Billary.

    Obama could beat the drum on Mark Penn,Bosnia,Bill Clinton.

    But he does not. That is why he is the democratic nominee and you are not.

    There is no way you will ever win this nomination it is over!!!!! Sorry Billary supporters.

    April 11, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  20. Sandra

    No matter how Hillary tries to spin it, I as a female would vote for any candidate who is a proven liar over and over again. Hillary Clinton can not be trusted and will never get my vote.

    April 11, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. David

    they should be bitter

    what a dunce hillary

    what a dunce.

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  22. Yvonne

    You're seeing want you want to see Hillary. You don't have the discernment to know if Pennsylvanians are bitter or not because you've never struggled financially. Obama understands.

    Obama '08

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  23. Dick in Sioux Falls

    Obama was simply saying it like it is. Who wouldn't get bitter over politicians promising improvement in the job situation and then never doing anything about it except when they're running for officed?
    Trying to put Obama down because of this is desperation indeed. Sort of how to cover up her own glitches and lies (misspeaking, or whatever she calls it.)
    Please Pennsylvania, Indiana and N. Carolina. Put an end to all of this and vote for Barama.

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. T L

    Bitterness leads to revenge. Is this his message of hope and change?

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  25. Marianne

    Don't know who Hillary talked to – – but some of us Pennsylvanians are bitter over our job losses. I once had a good paying job that got downsized. For the last 5 years I struggle to find any job to try to make my mortgage payment on my small house – while the govt is looking at helping out all the RICH folks who got caught up in the mortgage thing. Yeah, I am bitter. Talk to some more regular folks that are trying to raise a family and keep things going . . . . BTW – diesel is $4.60 a gallon – what is UP with that? Wake up and talk to the 'real' folks.

    April 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
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