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. Sane Doe

    vic nashville,Tn April 11th, 2008 6:23 pm ET

    "Go Hillary

    Don’t Give up
    Get him

    Hillary 08"

    Hillary Clinton revels in pathetic desparate attacks and all you can say is "Go Hillary"

    This isn't a boxing match; it's an ELECTION for crying out loud. Smh

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




    JUST GIVE IT UP!!!!!!!

    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. Kris from AZ

    There she goes again trying everything she can to get one over on the people. Cheap and dirty..she must think we are stupid.

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. dbacchus

    If somebody is BITTER it's HER with her deeply wounded sense of entitlement for the presidency. Now those folks that lost jobs shouldn't be bitter. Big deal! Look at the "real" tragedy: former first lady Hillary Clinton will remain in that capacity for the rest of her life. We all should be sympathetic.

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. MPG

    When you make over $109 million using words, I guess you can spin it any way you want.

    Unfortunately, however, Senator Clinton has allowed herself to be pegged seems to be flexible with the truth. Even though some of these truths may be painful, I'd much rather deal with a candidate who is willing to speak candidly and openly about the issues and wanting to work towards a solution.....you can't work towards a solution if you aren't willing to accept, understand and embrace the difficulty. Besides, she at first spent so much time talking about Obama's "pie in the sky" speeches......and here he is being candid about what some of the PA voters have either expressed to him or what he sees for himself....and here she comes with the "pie in the sky" "everything's okay"....and it's not.

    NAFTA and the Bush Tax Cuts, cuts in capital gains tax have benefitted her, and yet she claims to want to push what is essentially a socialist agenda on the American people that will be on the backs of the very ones that are already struggling........give me a break already.

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  6. sasha kando

    I would be bitter too if Bill and now Hillary (under Penn's name) were to send my job overseas or to Colombia! On top, Hillary is trying to nit-pick every word since she has nothing of substance to offer. If I made millions of dollars over the last 8 years, I would of course not be bitter. Now, on minimum wage, I have to help support Bill's spending too. Who would NOT BE Bitter?? Face the facts and reality.

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Is Sen. Clinton living in some kind of fantasy world?

    Of course people are bitter! This is in no way derogatory, neither does it mean that Sen. Obama is looking down on them!! This is a word, used to describe people who are angry and disgusted at their jobs being shipped out of the country!

    Of course thy are bitter!!

    Is this the best that Sen. Clinton can come up with? Does she think that the people of PA are so gullible as to be fooled by her play on words. I am going to give the people of PA a little more respect.

    Sen. Clinton GET A LIFE!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. Balack Obama

    Michelle Obama's thesis ... is unavailable until Nov. 5, 2008, at the Princeton library.
    (not until after nomination, wonder why?)

    "There was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the black community, I am obligated to this community
    and will utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit the black community first and foremost."

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. Jan, DC

    The only "BITTER" one here is Hillary because the voters have "robbed" her of her entitlement to the nomination.

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. Nelson

    American Politics can at times be laughable, disgusting and tragic all at once.

    A senator whose joint tax returns show that she and spouse have earned $109 million in a relatively short period of time and a male senator married to a wealthy beer company owner/executive are critical of an African American Candidate who has risen from humble beginnings and is at the threshold of history, for making comments intended to address the effects of past policy decisions, twisting them into something they were not intended to be.

    Sadly, at least one person in the listening audience will be swayed by the spin, and we will have one less vote for change, one more vote for politics as usual.

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  11. Dems2008

    ...And Hillary is just one of us!!

    April 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. tv

    Obama is so clueless! He irked me with the Bataan death march comment and now this. Maybe he should just keep to the change and hope spiel, it's safer that way.

    April 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  13. S4Obama

    Well, I see the majority of you have reality in check. Nothing I really need to add. I'd just like to know what Obama lied about and how he is responsible for comments his pastor made.

    April 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. d

    Well I read Obama's comments. What broils me is I may be bitter, BUT that is NOT the reason I am totally against illegal immigration, or against the Trade pacts, or against the NAU, SPP, Country long road.............that is NOT why I am bitter. I am totally against those concepts because they are wrecking havok on our Country, wrecking havoc on those entitlements I feel they should not recieve, wrecking havoc in our jails, wrecking havoc of our Nation's Sovereignty. Shame on Obama..........................he just doesn't get that all these major issues are NOT good for our Country, my Country, your Country.

    April 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. Bill Denton, TX

    Who cares? This opportunistic pathogen would accuse Jesus Christ of being too concerned for those He left behind by coming back if she thought it would get her elected President.

    We have an arrogant woman who thinks the country owes her something for staying in a lousy marriage for 30-plus years out of ambition. Folks do this every day in private, but somehow it is America's fault in her case.

    April 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Rebecca

    What? They aren't allowed to be bitter about what has happened to them? HRC is off her rocker, she is totally spinning this and it's dispicable.

    April 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. Dave

    Why doesn't Obama make some innocuous statement every day like I like chocolate ice cream better than vanilla.
    Or He like's to swim in the ocean more than say a lake.
    Just fo fun.
    See if Clinton get's all indignant.

    April 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. patricia

    "Concerned" you should be concerned about your own touch with reality and the truth.

    April 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  19. MK, Los Angeles, California

    Bad times usually do make people bitter Sen. Clinton perhaps you would not know that seeing how you have made over 109 million dollars in the past 7 years!

    April 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  20. Bob

    Don't look now,, but well beyond Pennsylvania Americans are bitter about the plethora of lousy deals foisted upon them by our own government and greedy business types. If America continues down this same road we are destined to collapse into chaos. How well do the greedy and powerful think they will do in that environment?

    April 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  21. LT

    Seems to me Clinton is the one who is feeling bitter.

    April 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  22. Cindy

    As in his speech on race, Obama speaks the truth. Clinton speaks platitudes.

    April 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  23. Karen

    I am guessing the people on this site are Republicans. Are the Obama supporters aware that the percent of Clinton supporters that won't vote for Obama is now up to 33%? Another 18% aren't sure, in other words are likely to stay home. 51%? Wow, some people really don't like him.

    It is amazing/entertaining/fun to watch Obama's supporters psyches try to twist and justify everything he does and says no matter how moronic.

    (Fine with me, I like McCain)

    April 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  24. typicalwhiteartist

    You can spray all the verbal Febreze you want ad nauseam over Obama and his effete prissy out of touch verbage but the stink will never come out.
    Wonder why he made those comments about Pennsylvania in California, I'd think he 'd just be more effective making them to the people that he was talking about.
    Why do you think that might be?

    He doesn't deserve to be dogcatcher.

    April 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  25. Kerri, South Elgin, IL

    I'd be bitter about it, too. Good thing she latched onto the word "bitter, not that his comments were about how these people have been ignored by previous administrations... This woman sickens me. If she wins the nomination, I won't cast a vote in November. I can't vote for someone so manipulative, so willing to do anything for personal gain. You just can't trust her or her motives. She's frightening.

    April 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
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