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. Helen, MS

    LOL, who does she think doesn't know her games.

    Hillary, you won't be able to change the subject. We we are on to you.

    Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. applecrispbetty

    No Hillary they are not bitter. They are singing in the streets. There's no reason why anyone should be sad about losing a job.
    Hillary basically asks us to suspend all human reason.

    April 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. dadd

    Elitist sounding yes, damaging to PA as well, bad move Obama. Hillary was quick to pounce eh? A little too quick, opportunistic looking, but this could be an advantage for her...

    April 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Generation XYer

    I lost my job and I became bitter and blamed a lot of different people and things...I believed that this is America and how could someone who is qualified be unemployed and seemingly unemployable when compared to someone who is willing to work for less...so, yeah, people get bitter!

    April 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. jd

    sad...just sad

    April 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. Mary

    You Hillary supporters crack me up.
    I guess she really has you brainwashed and can't see the truth.

    April 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. dougamore white

    Not surprising the opposition is jumping all over this. It's the truth,and most red blooded, optimistic Americans don't want to hear that. God forbid !

    April 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. Kim

    PLEEEASE HILARY! Have some tiny sense of decency. America is ready for a women leader. One like Golda Maier, Indira Ghandi or Margaret Thatcher. Just not a greedy, immoral monster like Hillary. Sometimes I think Hillary supporters would vote for a Pit Viper if it had a vagina.

    April 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. andrea, Illinois

    I would be bitter too, if i worked 12 hours a day and still struggled to pay the bills, feed my family etc. The reality sometimes hurt, but we all know that our country is in recession. Let's face the truth! These people have every right to be bitter!!!
    How does she dare to get down on Obama over these statements! If I made $10mio. plus a year, I would just shut up and go away.
    Now she is really getting desperate and stupid! Please, just go away, you and your Colombian consulting husband make me sick!

    April 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  10. CHERYL

    I AM SO SICK OF .............


    .................................GET OUT..........................................

    HILLARY 2009!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  11. Patty

    Hillary isn't saying that people shouldn't be bitter. She is saying that a candidate for the presidency shouldn't be saying that. A candidate should be trying to help to build people up not put them down the way Obama made it sound. Obama people just love to twist and turn the facts and make them out to be totally opposite of what is meant. Talk about taking things out of context.

    April 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. ryan m

    obama is a fake.

    April 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. FEDUP

    Obama 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," At least they are not anti-American like Rev. Wright?

    April 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. John, Las Vegas, NV

    Yeah, good strategy, pin your campaign's hopes on an untaped, uncorroborated report by a blogger from a closed door meeting. Billary, can you possibly get any more desperate for stones to toss at Obama?

    April 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. toadman

    How is telling the truth about a communities bitterness a form of elitism? I don't get it...this political season is going way sour. I'll still vote for Obama in November but I fear the democrats will lose because of all this crap. Way to go Dems...

    April 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  16. Robert Briscoe

    Wow. Obama makes a perfectly intelligent and accurate remark and Clinton slams him for it.

    April 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  17. Tim in Maine

    Ok. What part of Obama's quote was not true? I have never met a true blue collar worker who was not bitter when their companies arguably traded their jobs for profit margins. Mortgaged the employees long-term future for short-term gains.

    Pick a city decimated by job losses: I'm sure they're all just full of happy, "resilient optimists." Now who is out of touch with average Americans?

    Hillary will spin anything to get her family back into the White House and McCain probably still thinks Flint, Michigan is a thriving community.

    April 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. LennyInDelaware

    Why is it that these Obamabots are so stupid!!!

    Obama said it!!!

    Your Obama will show his true color soon. You Obamabots do not know him yet cause he is new

    Wait for sometime.... when it is all too late.

    He is not what you try to believe in.

    April 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. Dems2008

    Hillary has a lot of time to scrutinize every word Obama says. Sometimes a word just means that word. I would be bitter too, but why can't you also be resilient!! This is such crap. Stick to the issues and stop the whining.

    Obama 2008

    April 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  20. Tim

    Lol since when does people being bitter mean that they are somehow less than Obama? People can be bitter. Even Obama will admit that alot of black americans are bitter, like Rev. Wright. It doesnt mean he looks down on them for being that way, they have every right to be that way.

    April 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. StarxZilla

    Hillary Clinton is the hole in the democratic ship, can we please... put a STOP to this? The Clinton's have become a politcal circus once again... *hands in head*

    April 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  22. Jane MN

    To "Concerned Democrat:"

    If I ought to replace Obama's name with Clinton's in your comment, it will be a perfect fit.

    April 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. Elder

    Obama said similar comments in New Orleans before Louisiana primary. After he won that state, He didn't care New Orleans anymore.
    When he was invited to be in New Orleans Commitee by African Americans. He chose not to go.

    April 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Hillary, this is the statement that will ruin you in this election.
    These people lost their jobs 25 years ago, with the government
    promising that work will come!!!! Can you imagine that you have
    lost your job and you can't feed your family. Hard working men!!!
    Hillary, Obama captured their pain, Here!!!! Obama felt their
    hearts and souls. HE TAPPED INTO THEIR PAIN!!!!! This is a
    man that will NEVER walk away from those people once he
    wins, he will remember them and he will be back!! Hillary,
    you and Bill and maybe Chelsea will never feel deeply as
    Obama because he is getting down to the nitty gritty feelings
    and giving them Hope. Hope is an understanding soul like
    Obama. Somebody listened to their Pain Something you and
    Bill can never do. Obama has a gift.

    April 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. akaDoug

    So much spin it's making me dizzy!

    Hillary is trying with all her might to change the subject off her negatives (Mark Penn, Bosnia, Bill, NAFTA, $800k, Peter Paul, Angels dancing on the head of a pin, etc) and hoping to stick something, anything on Obama! "Bitter" is the best she can get!

    By the way – War heroes don't win elections...good campaigns do! Ask GHW Bush, Dole, and Kerry...in 3 of the last 4 elections the one that didn't serve the military during war time won the election! In 2008 the best campaign, with the best candidate that has raised the most money is without question Obama! This despite Ms. Clinton's name recognition, her politicial machine and her vast monitary resourses!

    Obama is the only one of the Democrats who can win in November!

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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