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. Patricia

    Didn't NAFTA cause a lot of the job losses that exist in Pennsylvania today? Maybe they had jobs during the Clinton Administration, but when NAFTA actually went into full swing, a lot of those jobs got shipped overseas and we now have a real mess.

    April 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  2. midge clegg

    This woman is losing her freakin' mind. Are you kidding us, Hillary? You REALLY think Barack Obama is an elitist who doesn't respect poor people? You better dig deeper in your sorry mudpile, maam.

    April 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  3. GM from MN

    "Smart Dems vote for HILLARY"

    Cali Girl are you serious.....you must be dreaming if you think smart people are gonna vote hillary.....Clearly you aren't one of them.

    Hillary lies out both sides of her mouth and you eat it up.......

    This women doesn't admit to mistakes and would never dare appologize for any mistake or lie that she makes.

    April 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  4. Richard

    Suprisenly, men like Bill Shnidner on CNN fail to understand what Obama was saying. Maybe he should stick to his startistics

    April 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  5. R Phillips


    April 11, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. Ann

    The reporter from Huffington Post who posted this story will look real foolish when Obama is the next President of the United States, and realizes that what he said is the truth.

    April 11, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  7. Janice

    I changed my political party affiliation today from Republican to Democrat in order to vote for Hillary in the primary in NC.
    However, I changed my mind today. While the media is making a hoopla out of the truth in Obama's statements today. We ARE SICK OF ALL THE POINTS HE MADE ABOUT immigration and trade agreements. HE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD WITH A SLEDGE HAMMER!!!
    Presidents Carter, Reagan, Clinton and the Bush's have SOLD THIS COUNTRY OUT. Their care has only been what the WORLD thinks of us–NOT WHAT THE LEGAL AMERICAN PEOPLE think of their country.

    With free trade we now have no choice but to accept low quality products at much higher prices than before NAFTA and the like. And talk about wasting resources–these foreign made products (which I will not call "goods"because any quality or good is totally missing. Most communities are having to expand landfills for this junk.

    GO OBAMA–you've convinced this American that you are the right person for the job.

    April 11, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. Tom

    Is this the best the Clinton campaign can come up with in the final stretch of the Pennsylvania campaign? Sounds pretty deseparate.

    April 11, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. Ron

    I've been bitter for 7 years – No joke!

    April 11, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  10. eileen

    More of Obama's real thoughts coming through. Him and his wife are arrogant, elitest and racists. With their radical ideology I cannot believe people take them seriously. NOBAMA


    April 11, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  11. A CANUCK

    Obama is being truthful......and it hurts. But how can you rectify a problem if you don't face up to it and meet it head on? Think about
    this before endorsing Hillary's soap opera rhetoric !!!

    April 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Supa D

    We are sick and tired of the same old stuff in office If Obama was a white guy white the same message I would still vote for him .
    I thnk he told the truth. When times get tough every body want to go to church to pray for that blessing. We pay tides and even put extra money we don't have in collection. Some people tur to drugs and liquor or even drugs. And by the why do you think we are putting so much pressure on congress to do something about imagrants........OUCH We are bitter he owes no excuse for this one.

    April 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. Billary "Rodent" Clinton

    Billary..... you are truely a rodent...... You spend so much time grovelling for crumbs to dismattle the Obama campain...... When are you going to wake up and realize that people don't care what you have to say!! Your followers are sheep and that is the reason the rest of the world hates America. WE WANT CHANGE and you are clearly not the change we are looking for. Stand up America and lets show all politicians who really run the country.... POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

    April 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. paul

    what is wrong with with the people of america when it is politics time what is wrong with obama telling the truth i am bitter vicously bitter i have not worked in three months yet i have to survive i guess it is only people who dont have any thing to worry about have the time to gossip about someone telling the truth why be polically correct i can point out a hundred thousand people in my neck of the woods who are bitter keep on telling the truth obama win lose or draw dont back down.

    April 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  15. Doris Bibbs

    I wouldn't use the word "bitter" I think "PISSED OFF" is a better word.

    April 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. Reality check #1

    Obama is an idiot!

    April 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  17. Mike

    It's sad that McCain and Clinton would stoop so low. Barrack's comments were simpley the truth. Hell I am mad and somewaht bitter; however, how can this nation pull together and do something about it.

    April 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  18. Truthteller

    Instead of twisting the words of a man of stands behind what he says, maybe you should revisit the question that stumped you this morning concerning your husband's $800,000 that was paid by supporters of a bill you once voted for now protest.

    Maybe he should just laugh and grab his face like you do instead of answering questions truthfully without worrying about the political outlashing and misinterpretation.

    EDWARDS '08

    April 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  19. Jim

    Geez, how many times does Obama have to hit the American public over the head before they wake up. There are two groups of voters, those who saw through Obama right away and those who saw through him to late!

    April 11, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  20. James

    Very bad move for Obama and he is so WRONG! I lived in Philly from late 1995 thru late 2005. Could not be further from the truth. They were however MUCH happier during the Clinton years than in the Bush years. If bitter at all it was against Bush and his horrible administration but the did not cling to guns......etc.

    This proves what has been tried to get across for a long time now and that is he simply is NOT ready. Wake up people or you will regret your decisions.

    April 11, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  21. JP


    April 11, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  22. USAF Sr. Airman

    When I lost my civilian job... I was very BITTER.......

    April 11, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. mapdon

    oh...now Barack Obama has slipped and the truth reealed...he is SOOO not ready to lead this country....people in small towns will put Hillary in office.....thank god....

    April 11, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  24. spiesveeta

    What a desperate attempt – she will do anything to get elected ... it is sad!!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  25. CHERYL




    GO HILLARY!!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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