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

    Some one posted the continuation of his speech. As a Canadian, I must say, I thought it was very profound. We lost a lot of manufacturing jobs here because of NAFTA as it applies to us too.
    The rest of the speech: " Many would recognize themselves in places I have been that are almost as hard hit as parts of Pennyslvania by NAFTA and China MFN. These are places largely ignored by politicians except during an election where people who need jobs are fed empty, meaningless promises that no one has any intention of fulfilling. I believe this sort of empty pandering would make you bitter as you watched all of your children move out of State to find employment and watched you neighbourhood(that you love) crumble around you because of all the jobs gone overseas. But you seem to think we shouldn't try to understand any of this, we should just use it for political gain". I wonder what HRC and McCain will have to say when the entire speech get out.
    BTW, CNN SUCKS!!!! With the exception of Jack Cafferty, who tells it like it is. Thank you Jack.
    " Sometimes the greatest act of courage is to tell the truth".
    Go Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  2. Rev. Christine Glover


    April 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  3. Ca4Hill

    Numbers don't add up for Obama:

    If he becomes the nominee, Obama is going to lose NH, MI and PA in the GE to John McCain, as well as put WI, CA and MA into play. Even if he wins IA and gets VA riding on Mark Warner's coattails, that would not be enough.

    On the other hand, Hillary Clinton can win OH, AR, and FL on her own as well as VA, and put NH, FL, IN, MO, TN and AR into play giving her a more than fair chance to win the GE.

    The General Election is winner take all, where every one has only one vote, and Obama will not be able to game the system like he did in Tx where he lost the popular vote, but still came ahead in delegate count, and the caucus states where less than 10% of the population (I am being generous here) decides who wins the nomination.

    It doesn't matter if he leads John McCain in the opinion polls, because the samples taken are not representative of the electoral college votes, but rather the popular vote, and every one knows the popular vote doesn't mean a thing.

    April 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. here's an idea

    Smart Obama people... read beyond the headlines...

    Hillary was not debating the definition of the word bitter.

    She was addressing the blatant elitism and condescension apparent in all of Obama's comments about the "little stupid people" that he plans to save by giving speeches of hope.

    April 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. John

    Interesting how CNN is working so hard to whip this into something groundshaking. The word choices used by CNN and the false buzz of jumping from one so called political analyst or partisan operative to another is clumsy and transparent. Give me a break.

    April 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. "Keeping it real"

    CNN blow it this time! You have shown yourselves as racist against Obama. There was absolutely nothing wrong with his comments. What I see is a lot of news folks ,the Clinton campaign and even old McCain trying to get in on the act. You're all afraid a black will win! Got you!

    April 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. end game

    PA neighboring states voted correctly for Hillary Clinton, the know who the real Borack Obama is. Ohio, NY, NJ , soon WVA and PA will show how is the lead Democratic Candidate is. KY will show TN is correct next.
    Hillary will prevail where Democrates live and work hard. I never seen a candidate work so hard to present her resume and experience for the job of President. PA will be 60/40 for Hillary on the 22nd.

    April 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. mjaber

    Another one of Clinton's plans to try to discredit Obama...

    April 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. Anthony Bell

    It so funny how hard she (Sen Clinton) is trying. What he said is true...She has never experienced hardship, therefore,she does not understand and it now shows!

    He has been there, and understand how people who has lost there jobs, and is dealing with hard times. Go to Chicago for one week and you will see how much he knows about that.

    As far as the statement he made about Guns, and Religion (That's a fact!). It's a fact when times become hard such as loss of jobs, people look at the crime rate going up, as well as people start praying more, and more for help from a higher power.

    Thank about it!

    April 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Candi

    Hillary why are you over looking the fact that your husband threw away jobs that are not coming back. These people are bitter but you don't see that because you have not seen these people.

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

    Of course we are bitter having our jobs exported to Mexico, having our government helping Banks but not struggling homeowners, paying thru our noses for the war while Iraq's are holding their billions in our Banks! How much more does the government want to suck out of working Americans? Well I am bitter and resentful that average American has the entire burden on its shoulders wile the rich and lobbyists are treated with special treatments by Washington thieves!

    April 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Women against Obama

    Obama people are so hilarious, I'm rolling on the floor laughing!

    Face it he got caught, he didn't think anyone was listening. Now that he insulted the people of the state of Penn. he will surely loose!

    He just says what he really thinks.

    Outsider my butt, pssst Mr. Obama I just want to remind you; you work in washington so you are washington.

    "Hillary o8"

    April 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. People

    It is almost sad that the news media is debating if people in America are bitter or resilient . They have lost a lot of jobs and you think they're sitting around a camp fire being resilient? Yes, they are bitter, won't you be if you're struggling for the $6.00 job with your son or daughter? And the media is lapping this up as though this is the worse thing that has ever being said. The media plays this and makes an issue of it when there is no issue in the first place. Telling the truth is now a problem in this Presidential election, how sad!

    April 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  14. Ron from VA

    Is there anything the OBAMA cultist won't tolerate from him??

    April 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  15. Ann Marie

    Obama Speaks Truth. America is so used to hearing lies that when she hears the truth she reacts. Hillary and McCain are so backwards that they can't even understand what Obama is saying. Pennsylvania understands and Obama speaks the truth on behalf of the people, because he's been there.

    April 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |

    Obama is just speaking the TRUTH!!!
    The man calls it as he sees it......he doesn't sugarcoat stuff to make you vote for him!! He knows what we're going through....he knows we're bitter....and he knows we're gonna cling to ANYTHING we can that brings us strength and comfort tto get though these times!!
    HOW can they say he's slamming small town America???!!!
    He GETS it!!!!!
    Hillary's comment of her not seeing bitterness in pennsylvania is because she's blind to everyone but herself....she'll SAY anything to win!!

    VOTE OBAMA!!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. karen, pa

    I am angry! I am angry when I am my country is using billions of money in Iraq and shipping jobs to Europe. I'm Bitter with gas prices 4 dollars and 5 dollars when our troops are dying in Iraq for no good reason. I am Bitter for many reasons.................No apologies needed!

    April 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. AlwaysforHillary, NYC

    These latest controversial comments made by Obama is similar to the attitudes his own stuck-up wife has about America. And it's no wonder they have these kinds of attitudes since they sat in a church for 20 years listening to bigotted, racist, America-hating hate speech by Jeremiah Wright!!

    Obama is a FRAUD and A LOSER!!!! God forbid this jerk gets the nomination because he NEVER will win the general election!!!


    April 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. A True black American

    CNN you are avery useless and wicked organizaion is it only Obama supporters that are sending messages on this topic .Look at ypourselves you keep deleting Clinton supporters messages and posting that of Obamas .YOu are an otganization of no relevance . YOu are very useless and a place for idiots. just fold and change your duty to campaigning for Obama.
    Useless people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. Jon

    Go get em'

    Hillary 08

    April 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. Mary in Georgia

    Obama an elitest. Come on! Obama is telling the true. Hillary said that she is angry over so many people losing their jobs. What's the difference in bitter or angry. Just a different choice of words.

    April 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  22. Cajun James

    This is the best spin yet. The two rich eleteist candidates attack the only one who was born poor and pulled himself up out of poverty over a comment that the American people, who have lost their jobs to outsourcing promoted by Washington eleteist, are bitter or angry
    If Clinton & McCain are not aware of how people feel when Washington encourages outsourcing of their jobs; they have no business running for President.

    Cajun in Washington State

    April 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  23. LC

    I am from pennsylvania and NO ONE is like this. He is an lieing scumbag. I am sick and tired of the press kissing up to this jerk. I can't wait until he comes back to Pa so I can spit in his face!

    April 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. bk

    Did Obama read my mind – I am discriminated at work – less hours – transfered to 64 mile round trip – I am angry, bitter and I have turned to God and to my lawyer to help me out . Anybody in my place would have turned violent like the guy with the beard who shot and killed 9 people at work. To speak the truth it needs guts. The people who heard Obama were ordinary people that included union people. Wolf talk with three other people earlier- all unanimously agreed that Obama said what is actually happening in this country. Hillary there is a way to bow out gracefully. Your bad exit will spoil any chances of chelsea, if she has any ideas to pursue politics.

    April 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. Jo Ann

    I think this is so silly, and for Hilliary Clinton to come across like a goodie to shoes after she has lied on numerous of occusions to the american people along with her husband. If she wins the demoncrated race, it will be a shame for america. The media is so hungry for anything that they think might be news worthy it is disgusting to try and make something out of nothing..

    April 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
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