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. theresa denton

    PLEASE YOU FOLKS ARE SOOOOO DESPARATE that you will twist and turn comments and meanings into something that are so far fetched from what Obama meant and said. People who have lost their jobs and are about to lose their homes "are bitter" that is nothing new. He was in no way blaming Pennsylvanians he was just on point and saying what has been history for years in reference to people who have every reason to be angry and bitter. Clinton campaign is deseparate. She needs to go away, mad or otherwise, just go away!!!!! Every time Obama is "ON POINT" people twist and turn into something it is not. I know he is so brillant and intelligent, that some folks just cannot understand his thoughts!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Obama 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. Shea


    April 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. M.S. Indiana

    People should be bitter, they still have bills mortage and kids to support, esp when loosing their jobs to Nafta and other agreement's...

    When enough people are bitter it could turn into revolution...

    No country for old men !!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. "Keeping it real"

    I think that CNN is in someway trying pull one over on Obama. He was correct in everything he said period. Hillary, McCain and news outlets like CNN are doing any and everything they can to upend Obama. Well I tell you, you better do better then this. He will probably win Pennsylvania for sure now because you've all showed yourselves to be racist!

    April 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. Leanna Bull

    Hillary will go to any extremes to win this election!! What in the heck is wrong with saying that people are bitter about losing jobs. It is very true. They are angry @ the white house staff, she tried to make him sound like they were not bitter. She know she is lying!! What about the hospital story, where she didn't get the facts before telling this sad story to get votes concerning the healthe care system.

    April 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  6. Theresa

    They need a president who identifies with them and are willing to speak up and try to understand where they are coming from and WHY they do not believe in the current administration!

    OMG, Hillary... Pennsylvanian's would be more able to pull up their sleeves IF they could find jobs!!!!

    Quit grasping at straws!

    April 11, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. Ray from Gainesville VA

    You're kidding right? I'd be bitter too. I see HRC jumped right on that one...didn't hesitate. Should I be surprised?

    April 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. Joe, York Beach, Maine

    Okay CNN...Sen. Obama has told you the truth now have a new title for this posting such as "Clinton Hits Obama Over Reported "bitter" Comment, but Obama Responds" Do the right thing. You never seem to do it anymore.

    April 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  9. JFK

    the obamaloons are so pathetic

    he cries about mark penn – well this is what you get – finally someone being critical of obama the phony

    April 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  10. Jay

    Of all the fat cats in Washington, Obama is the least "elitist."

    April 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. kenneth Williams

    The truth the whole and nothing but the Truth!!!!!!!! Ask Bill what he Thinks?

    April 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  12. cornelia

    Obama's comment is extremely accurate... Pelople rely on religion and guns when are frustrated by government ...

    April 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. steve

    Clinton is trying to play into her demographics as she did in Ohio and Texas
    Obama will prevail to get the nomination

    April 11, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. Concerned, Jefferson City, MO

    Furthermore, John McCain made similar criticisms about his remarks. Why is Sen. Clinton the only person attached here? Get some objectivity people!

    April 11, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |

    Hillary qualifies to be the next U.S.A president with all the experiences she is ready to lead this country to be the best country in the world.

    GO...HILLARY !!

    April 11, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. Blake

    How does one "roll up their sleeves" if one lacks a shirt? Obviously not literally, because I can afford to have the internet, I can afford to have a shirt. However if we have the capability to have cheaper transportation then we should. If we have the capability to spend more domestically because we are not in Iraq, then we should. If we have the capability to have cheaper energy, then we should. If we have the capability to create new jobs in research and development and carrying out new green collar jobs, then we should. If we have the capability to produce jobs domestically instead of outsourcing to other countries or relying on imports, then we should. I would be bitter too if we have the know how and capability to make a better America and did not seize it.

    I am not Barack Obama, but I am sure he would approve this message.

    April 11, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  17. Daniel

    Hillary O8

    Obama will never be the president Hillary WILL be.. He just doesent get what is going on, he only says what he is told to say.


    and obama supporters stop burning down building that houses the compatition.

    HILLARY 08

    April 11, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. D

    This comment along with the one about his Grandmother (and white people) is seriously making me rethink my vote.

    I REALLY did not like to think he lumps 'all whites' together.


    April 11, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  19. Barb Canada

    Wow.... Sounds like something right out of a Wright Speech!! WoW

    April 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  20. Monty

    Sounds like another soundbite, If I had a dime for every soundbite the changed the content of what was really meant, I would be able to pay down the national debt.

    April 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. Malina

    CAN ANYONE ON CNN QUOTE OBAMA on what he reportedly said about Pennsylvanians? I haven't seen a single quote or a single audio clip of these alledged comments. I hate media spin, both left and right, and CNN is in the middle of doing just that. Please stop fishing for stories with hypotheticals and unconfirmed comments.

    April 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  22. rjudy

    Its amazing to see all these wannabe thugs(i.e.college students on their computers with their mommy and daddy's dime) attacking our former First Lady with such vicious disrespect and knowing myself that about the time Bill was busy running our country into 8 yrs of prosperity these punks were wetting the bed and sucking their thumbs.
    If they think their disgusting disrespect of our former first lady and former TWO-TERM President will change Hillary supporters mind and suddenly vote for a man whose church IS racist,anti-american, anti-jewish,anti-italion,anti-white and attended same church for TWENTY YEARS, AND awife who has NEVER been proud of US then tey are indeed in need of therapy.
    WE will never vote for your candidate, and THAT effectively ends his campaign because without US he cant WIN. You immature idiots can give college lessons on how to cut your NOSE off to SPITE your face. HA!

    April 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  23. Bill

    sorry,..meant to say "keeping jobs in this country is not an over simplified answer" it is our survival

    April 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. Grant

    Woah, hold on there... Obama said people are bitter about losing their jobs?

    You mean... he's suggesting people get upset about such things?

    How dare he! This is an outrage! Major scandal! Run him out of town!!!!

    How desperate do you have to be to try to attack someone for saying people who lose their jobs get bitter about it? How divorced from reality do you have to be to think people are just fine with that and to accuse someone of "looking down on people" for saying otherwise?

    This is beyond absurd.

    April 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  25. tim

    Mr. Obama should step down and be a money raiser for the crazy
    church. In that position he could just merrily ramble along with some
    drivel that is never backed up with any experience in making decisions
    or real work or really anything but constant yaking.

    April 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
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