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. Sandra

    Hillary is full of it. She is so ridiculous. Obama was stating a fact about some of the people in Philadelphia. She is grasping at straws.

    April 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. Dems2008

    This is STUPID!!! Stick to the issues!! And John McCain is jumping on the bus with Hillary!! That should tell you something!!

    I can't take it anymore! Hillary get a life!!

    April 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. Key West Sun

    Folk get off the she voted for the war, If Obama had a vote at the time he would have voted for it to, Rezko had a deal going in Iraq at the time, so Obama would not go against that, but had he been in the senate and seen the same intel,been under pressure to act,He would have voted for it...............

    April 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  4. Matt S

    Umm, did I miss something? What did Obama do wrong exactly? You know you're desperate when you plan an attack on your opponent based on what you perceive an an incorrect use of an adjective. Has Clinton really sunk this low? I've always supported Obama, but at least I had respect for Clinton. Now its just become one dirty campaign trick after another from her.

    April 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. s callahan

    This is almost funnty that she would make an argument on this.
    Who the heck wouldn't be bitter losing a job..it strains the famly, looses the house,car,and the education of their children.
    Add to the worry of how to put food on their tables. Sure they are resliiant..that what we AMERICANS ARE! Bitter? All while her scheemy husband supports bringing these same jobs to Columbia as he did and she support through NAFTA in Meixico...come on! Hillary get a life.....

    April 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. Tjaye

    I'm going to take a wild guess and say this is just one more piece of the kitchen sink that missed Obama by a mile.

    Obama '08!

    April 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. Its True

    I would be bitter too if my city lost jobs due to NAFTA and both the Clinton and Bush administrations broke Pennsylvania promises that they would create more jobs and failed to do so. Hmm, 16 years worth of lies.

    April 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. La Raza

    Ok. Where is the story here?


    April 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  9. Paul

    Here's a thought. Obama has raised about 230 million. But he never cared to even come forward and pay half of the cost for Michigan and Florida to redo their votes. I think that Michigan and Florida are the bitter ones. Obama can't beat McCain with two whole states holding a grudge against him.

    April 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. Carole, FL

    Talk about semantics and playing with words. Is she saying Pennsylvanians should be happy they have lost their jobs, lost their homes, in a war we shouldn't be and are paying an exhuberant amount for gas? Let it go Hillary, there are alot of bitter people who are hoping for a change for the better. We've been lied to and fooled enough............

    Excuse me people, but the economy was great during the Clinton years because of the dot.com boom. Of course we had a surplus, jobs were a plenty and no deficit. What happened after the dot.com burst, the government (the Clintons) went after Bill Gates.

    April 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  11. Dems2008

    How can Obama be the elitist? He didn't make over $100 million the last few years!!

    OBAMA 2008

    April 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Shamile

    Obama is arrogant and so are we black people going to be when he gets in. I can not wait. We are going to take over the states from the stupid white people voting for him – and the kicker is – they dont even see that they are doing it.

    Black power – African Amercians stand up and vote for Obama – we will RULE this country.

    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. LT

    I am feeling bitter that the Clintons continue to lie to Americans. At the Federal level, they've been lying to us for about 16 years. They lied at the state level prior to that. How's that for "experience"??? Ready to lie on day one. No thanks, dude.

    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  14. ben

    I have an IQ of 138( I used to, but I am now 80 tears old and am quite sure it has slipped a little) I speak two languages fluently. And I can't spell worth a hoot. I am sure my vocabulary is more extensive than yours!
    I taught English to government employees in Mexico.
    Why do you feel it is important to point out a misspelled word?

    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. Brenda

    Obama is judging people that he doesn't even know. He is basically saying that Pennsylvanians are gun toting, Bible thumping racists; people who hate everyone because they have lost their jobs. That's pretty pathetic if you ask me.

    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. uchujin

    Again, a perfect example of how HRC doesn't understand the importance of correct usage of vocabulary and calling a spade a spade. Let's not mince words, but lets also not take them out of context and spin them to mean what we want them to. Go Away Hillary! You couldn't talk straight to people if your life depended on it.

    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. Sebastien

    Obama speaks the truth though.

    It's tough language but it's blunt and honnest.

    Hilary just spins for gain, as usual.

    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Quinn Filla

    His comments are the the nasty truth, so Clinton and McCain don't like telling the truth???????? If I lost my standard of living to a job sent overseas or across the border, I would be bitter too. The overall point is at sometime the bitterness gets you nowhere and you have to try different things or move, etc..... That is change many americans are not willing to do and they stay bitter and blame everyone else 20 years later why their life is not where it needs to be.


    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  19. Rick in Oregon

    Bitter is not even the worst part about his comment. His elitism comes in when he starts saying how they grasp on to things and feeling presented for them, like the poor little stupid people don't have enough brain power to handle thinking for themselves.

    If I had heard those comments, I certainly would have been offended and consider them very bigoted.

    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  20. Jerald Sampson

    If anyone is stupid enough to believe that people aren't "bitter" because they can't put food on the table for their families, they must have over $100
    million in the bank. Oh, I forgot, Hill and Bill do.

    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. jer

    They are bitter and I relate to them in that I work for an auto company and they are trying to get rid of me now and I don't know what will happen in the end as I can not retire now because I have a family that depends on me to work hard and bring home a good check. But they are trying to cut my feet out from under me. I have done everything expected of me on the job.
    So ya I am bitter but I do just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope the economy gets better so they have to rethink their policy.

    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  22. Sean

    So which is worse, Obama saying that Pennsylvanians may feel bitter about losing their jobs, or Hillary's family making almost a million dollars profit off of the policies that actually caused them to lose their jobs in the first place? I'm sure that if you posed this question to Hillary, she'd just laugh and talk about angels dancing on pins again....

    April 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. Balack Obama

    Michelle Obama

    "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels
    like hope is finally making a comeback,"

    April 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. George

    Wright...admitted terrorist Ayers....Michelle never proud of the country until recently, I'd never vote for Obama, too many instances of poor judgement in the past to make me think he is a leader

    April 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. NV for Obama

    Bitterness an ugly thing; HRC should know, her campaign, indeed, nearly her every comment reeks of it these days, as she sees Pennsylvania and the nomination slip away and turn toward Change we can believe in. I am from Pennsylvania, and having lived in both small towns as well as bigger cities (i.e., Pittsburgh), Barack's comments about the folks in those areas ring absolutely true. They are a bitter bunch, which is in large part why I moved years ago. But most are good folks and judging from the blogs I see everywhere and from news from family and friends back East, not everyone is trapped in the politics of the past. People everywhere know the status quo must give way to the politics of change and that hope that brings with it. Now more than ever OBAMA '08 '12!

    April 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
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