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. Ross in MD

    What a stupid thing to criticize Obama for.

    Of course some people who have lost their jobs are bitter.

    Obama made Hillary lose her dream job, and now she's completely bitter!

    April 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. Nick

    So CNN is now reporting unverified quotes? Interesting. Even DRUDGE pulled it off his site, that should tell you somthing.

    April 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. John

    This is Pathethic. He was speaking the truth. These things happens when people losses theirjobs. He was sympathizing with them. All Hillary and Mccain are interrested in is spinning his words.I was undecided but now im gonna vote for Obama on april 22 cause i can see who truly cares about us.

    April 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  4. theresa denton

    It is not elitism!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT IS "ON POINT"!!!!!!!!!!! Pennsylvanianians are very smart folks, they have more of a clue than CNN ,, come April 22, they will do the right thing for themselves and the rest of the country!

    Pennsylvania for Obama 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  5. Susan / PA

    Dont keep me in moderation

    Obama is telling the truth!!! We are angry at NAFTA, food prices, gasoline, but we are a resiliant people. Hillary and McCain are just spinning this to their own advantage.

    Whats wrong with someone stating the truth???? I am in the over 50 crowd and we have struggled here in PA all our lives...period. Clinton adm didnt make it better and Bush sure as heck didnt either. So McCain and Clinton..you are the ones that have it wrong!!!!!

    Vote Responsibly April 22nd

    April 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. dbacchus

    Nice UPDATE. That's right Barak, attack McCain, ignore HRC! She is so done.

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

    hmm, . . . . this rings a bell. Reject/Denounce & now it's bitter/angry?
    This is pathetic.....I'm beginning to feel sorry for her; well, not just sorry – Sorry AND Saddened!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  8. MrObvious

    Obviously, the issues are not the problem, we just need to eradicate bitter from the dictionary.

    April 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. life's_a_google

    pensylvania is just like your campaign VERY BITTTER!! and if we sent you and Bill to the white house, we will be a very bitter american too!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. Barb Canada

    Turn to religion, guns, because they are unhappy about their lives? say that 3 times over and re-ask yourself your opinon!

    April 11, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  11. OZ

    OBAMA will survive the Republican attacks ...... WHY? Because the PEOPLE are FED UP!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. patriot4life

    why don't we quit taking everything someone says and twist it into something that doesn't mean anything.. if we are going to go there how about we go and ask senator mccain why he embraced the young man at a rally this week or the past, when he said, "you have your tiger woods, we have our mccain" i wonder why nothing is being said about that.. with all the he said she said mess.. i am now a confirmed and all the way supporter of obama!!! I just want to hear the facts not the rhetoric.. its amazing how this is so twisted.. UGH!!!! i am disgusted with the entire process.. if i lost my job knowing that my ceo was paid 18million in 07 while i am out of work.. i would be bitter.. hello!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. Read

    CNN how did u not do reporting you guys got the whole thing out of context wow I did not think u was fox

    April 11, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  14. sandy

    Of course Pennsylvania's are bitter as well as people from all other states. The media and the Clintons have taken this out of context on purpose. Everything he has said is the truth. Good for him for speaking up and telling it like it is. Lets see how long the media dwells on this to try and bring him down. Go Obama

    April 11, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  15. Mary

    I don't see Senator Obama's remarks as being degrading. I think he speaks the truth.

    The pundits are ready to pounce on every nuance. They need to get a life.

    April 11, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  16. Joyce in Florida

    Whoops. Looks like Senator Obama misspoke. Too late to cover it up though. California Girl, I agree with you. When the Clinton's were in the White House, we were doing pretty well. Now, we have no retirement and living paycheck to paycheck like most. We don't need to listen to his empty words of his campaign nor of his life going to Ivy League college, etc. He has no experience to run our country. He should go back to Chicago. Please don't give up Senator Clinton. You are the strongest candidate and will prevail. GO HILLARY 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  17. Shannon from Washington

    I really think Hillary should run as McCain's V.P. She is SOOOOOOOO LAME!

    April 11, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. Hillary 08!

    TO: Mike in PA

    I feel the same way about your candidate. He and his supporters show all the signs of an inflated ego. Good Lord, why is it whenever BO gets criticized you people come undone at the seams? In your eyes, BO
    is like off limits completely. As much as you would like to believe that he's infallible - HE IS NOT!! The fact that you and he think that he is - is disgusting!

    April 11, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. Justin

    Yeah, Bitter... You cant use "Bitter" to describe these folks who have lost there jobs and gone without. I'm glad Obama can use a word like bitter in this case, cause its understandable for people to be bitter when they have gone through false promises through previous presidencies and have nothing to show by by putting there faith in what has been said in the past. Thanks Obama for trying to use the best wording possible, but perhaps the people of Pennsylvania are a different phrase all together... PISSED OFF! Cause I would be with lack of jobs lack of pay and lack of support from previous leaders!

    April 11, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  20. Ian

    Ok, what Obama said is the truth, so what's the problem? Oh, I know: we want politicians like Hillary of Bush. Politicians who are uncapable of telling the truth and stake their political philosophy on pandering to whatever constituency they happen to be targeting at the moment?

    April 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  21. mn mama

    It wasn't the bitter remark that bothers me so much, It 's what he said they did with their bitterness, guns, religion, hating immigrants. Sounds like he's been listening to The rev Wright too long. He is again showcasing hate , giving people reasons for division. There is no hope in hate, no vision in hate, no unity in hate. This statement is the exact opposit of what he "preaches".
    He will not be getting my vote. I will vote against one who so wants to divide this country.

    April 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  22. Disgruntled in Florida

    Awwww, Did someone step on widdle Barry's toes?

    Yes, Obama you are out of touch. You need to focus on the people in this country who are paying for EVERYTHING. It's definantly NOT your "core."

    April 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  23. Rod Thompson

    "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

    I will rephrase this for all the dumb people in the world blowing this out of proportionHow dumb can people be.. Put yourself in the position of a bitter person. You cling to your faith, You protect the things you got or provide some since of Security, You begin to look at people who are not like you, You have issues with immigrants taking your jobs....Does this help all the dumb people out their!!!!You are frustrated with the powers that be...

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

    CNN should stop asking high profile supporters of Clinton and Obama what they think, and get a man out of the street and ask the people. Am I surprised that a CLinton support on CNN's payroll says this is a horrible comment. GIve me a break. I'm still looking for the news here.

    April 11, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  25. D.R. King

    Oh thank you almighty Barrack Hussein for bringing your great insights to us poor ol' dumb, huntin' and bible-thumpin' country folk! Does this mean I can stop wasting my time by going church? Do you think if I go get myself some of that ed-u-cation stuff I will get over my love of guns and learn to accept the tidal wave of illegals over running our country? You fill me and all my redneck friends with so much hope!

    April 11, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27