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. Patrick

    It's 3am.... and the country is facing an imminent attack.... do you want your President to have a senior moment? Perhaps forget their responsibilities while the nation is under attack? Happened already... on 9/11 perhaps?

    Don't vote old... vote Obama. New ideas for a new generation.

    April 11, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. Trollmaster CA

    and just like the Iraq war, Hillary failed Americans when she had the chance to oppose these worthless free trade agreements.

    So Americans should rightfully believe that Hillary will not be a president who stands up for them, who fights hard for your future, your jobs, your families. She had her chance and she blew it.

    April 11, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. Shane

    It's not just Hillary , even McCain campaign also attacking on this very statement.

    April 11, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. uchujin

    Hey FEDUP! Are you blind, deaf or just plain stupid? Boy has she got the wool pulled over your eyes! Thank goodness it likes like she's finally losing support and won't get the nomination. I guess what few smart voters that were for her are finally seeing the light. How 'bout you?

    April 11, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  5. disappointed

    hillary, is bitter because, husband bill, bosnia, lady at hospital, columbian money, being caught in all her lies, lies and lies, whos bitter now, maybe you.............

    April 11, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  6. Wolf

    Clinging to guns.......is that his unground comment so that Farrakan, et al have the oK to go get their guns? Remember this too was his excuse for why Reverend Wright is anti-American and anti-White....do you see the pattern?

    April 11, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. AJM in The OC

    Anyone who has lost a job, faced a foreclosure, hates the War in Iraq, has mounting medical bills, or can't figure out how to pay debts related to a college education is BITTER these days!

    April 11, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. RachelBSW

    Really, is this the best the Clinton's have. I knew they were the best at "SPIN" but really, Obama saying that Pennsylvania's are angry over a loss of jobs is not what I would consider "breaking news". I know a lot of people in PA who would agree with Obama about this issue. He isn't accusing people of being bitter, he's saying they have a right to be bitter.

    April 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. For Freedom

    That Obama can sure be dismissive and condescending of his fellow Americans who have to struggle each day just to survive.

    He could bail them all out by donating his daily campaign contributions. But he doesn't care how much money he wastes just to buy the nomination.

    April 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. Shirley, Silicon Valley, CA

    Sugar coated sweet talk from Hillary Clinton does not cover her core of lies. Hillary says anything and does anything just to get votes!

    April 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. Lisa from GA

    How can Hillary take Barack's comments and twist them.. how low can she go and if she thinks that the statement made is not true..." then she is the one that is not in touch with the american people... its not just Pennsylvians that are angry... it is all americans that are not lobbied like Hillary and her entire campaign. Hillary needs to go somewhere and cackle again.. because no one found this funny but her.!

    April 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  12. Matthew

    How dare CNN make trivial the comments that were used by Obama. I am so tired of the reporting that CNN has taken regarding the candidates and the support they've given toward Obama. It is a disgrace what was said by Obama. I live in Pottstown PA.... a smaller town just west of Philadelphia. We are not "Bitter" and use religion or guns to remedy our hardships. We are happy with our families and the support from our friends. How dare Obama use the terminology he use. I do not like to be categorized as an individual that is out of touch. His comments once again show how out of touch he is with the American people. I would never vote for any individual that would catergorize individuals. – "your typical white" male.

    April 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. Norma

    PLEASE make it stop!!! Please, April 22, please come and go!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. Kirko

    Obama's comment was once again taken out of context by Clinton AND McCain. However, I think we can all agree that 250 people in Reading, PA , who are losing their jobs because their candy factory is moving to Mexico, are NOT dancing in the streets and celebrating being unemployed. I'll bet anyone that they are bitter. Wouldn't you be bitter? Thank you Clintons for NAFTA. Now, more Pennsylvanians will be jobless because of you.

    April 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. Ross Lovely, Lexington, Kentucky

    Hillary is so silly. He never insinuated that they had no right to be bitter. Instead, he was saying that these people are bitter because they've been screwed time and time again by a government that overlooks them.

    April 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. Sharon Olds

    If only the Clintons had some real amonition. This is pretty pathetic, like grasping at straws. Will the Real Superdelegates Please Stand Up and end this race before the democratic party is nothing but a punch line for every late night sitcom.

    April 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  17. Tex

    Hillary is so desperate. Obama is no elitist. Hillary and Bil just made $110 million in the last seven years. Obama is correct in that the people of this nation and that definitely includes PA are bitter and want change. She is twisting his words and media will show it.

    Hillary is a proven liar who lacks character and integrity. She too is bitter over how this campaign is turning out and obviously is still extremely bitter over Bill's affair wiith Monica and his disgracing himself, herself and Chelsea and the nation.

    Hillary so sad!

    April 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. Joan

    You Obama supporters somehow just dont get it.

    This isn't about what Hillary said, it is about the elitism of what Obama said.

    Now you may or may not agree with him: but that is hardly the point.

    He just washed off painted all the religious, gun-loving people who as bitter. Whatever you think of that, it is an incrediblty stupid thing to have said. It won't resonate well with those "bitter" people.

    April 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  19. Mike, Toronto

    She's managing her campaign so poorly, and she is so negative, that I'm wondering whether she's presidential material at all.

    April 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  20. Chris

    This Hillary line sounds familiar to the last time a person got elected when he had brought a mess on the country. Didn't Ronald Reagan get a second term by telling people how proud he was of them for rolling up their sleeves, standing tall in the face of adversity, and being resilient?

    April 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  21. Sherry Paul

    Obama people grow up and open your eyes. didn't your mother ever tell you that calling people liers is rude and childish. If Obama is anything like his supporters, McCain will eat him alive because he hasn't grown up yet. Give us all A break and stick to the issues at hand and look at the candidates records on voting. If it is real important to America, Obama votes present. He doesn't take a stand on any issues. That way he can say if it goes wrong I don't agree. HRC's closet is wide open, but you keep Obama's closet closed. Do you think McCain will let you keep it closed. You had better let it open now so he can wash it aside like he did with his church and his grandmother.

    April 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  22. CP

    Hillary, just stop showing desperation. Obama was right. There is nothing wrong with his statement.

    April 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  23. AJ

    Sometimes the truth hurts. And if it hurts bad enough hopefully it will get people up and off their behinds in order to do something about it. That's why we need real CHANGE in Washington.

    No one else is talking about the issues Obama talks about. Hillary says she meets people who are optimistic, well so does Obama, but he is the only one talking about the people who aren't. I'm tired of Hillary's game playing.

    OBAMA '08!

    April 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. here's an idea

    Lets get on with fixing our problems instead of mocking fellow Americans for their struggles.

    Hillary Clinton is the champion of working people throughout the USA. She is the only one fit to lead this country to a more prosperous future.

    April 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. 123

    I found the term "ordinary people" used by Obama on American Idol offensive also.

    April 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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