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. Rita L. Childers

    Obama is not only "elitist" he is also arrogant" and too smooth with his speeches...this one just may "do him in!" I hope!

    April 11, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. Susan

    I think that Obama hit the nail on the head...
    PA has a reason to be bitter...
    Their government has basically let them down...
    Jobs overseas...lost pensions....
    They need some HOPE
    He sees their pain...
    Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. Christine D

    I love you bitter people blaming Clinton. You are as out of touch as Obama.

    April 11, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. Roberta Meditz

    Obama is speaking the truth. I live in a small town and drive 375 miles one way 2 times a week to work. (Thanki goodness I have a hybrid) Yes, folks are a bit bitter. The young college-educated are leaving or are becoming ranchers.

    April 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. cory

    How in God's name is this a slam to small towns?? It's just a fact times are hard people are bitter! The only opponent that would have me vote for Hillary would be Bush himself. This is a ridiculous issue!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  6. Marlon

    Im so sick of Hillary and Bill, They say one thing and the media immediately believes everything they say as if she's the golden child, why is the democratic nomination revolving around a loser. if he made a mistake im sure he will correct it. But my God, it's not as bad as a lies she told. I heard the tape and it didnt seem that it was meant to be derogatory.

    April 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. robin

    What is the deal
    Hillary need get a grip on herself . Means nothing to me .,

    April 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. Peter Bond

    First, his wife's and his reverend's anti american remarks, Now this... When are people going to realize that Obama is not what he seems? He is an opportunistic politician that cares very little about America. Watch out, USA!

    April 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. raj

    you obama fan do not know wat a lie is a lie is been in a church for twenty year and do not know that mentore is a races that a lie

    April 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. Herman

    Americans, big city or small town, are bitter. A war that continues for no reason, higher gas prices and just general mistrust in our leaders. It is amazing that people would not be bitter,

    April 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. l. hawks

    Obama can't win the general election. He has made too many Swift Boat opportunities for the Republicans. His ephemeral rhetoric contrasts poorly with Hillary's proven competence.

    April 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. Jason

    They are bitter because Hillary took away their jobs while she made Millions and another $800,000 planning another job sapping Columbian deal.
    Shame on you, Hillary!

    April 11, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. winter86

    I live in ohio and National City Bank will be outsourcing 2000 jobs to India. Yes I'm mad as ****!!!. and If you loss your job to trade deals and corporate elite gains you SHOULD BE AND HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE UPSET, ANGRY AND BITTER. I'm talking to you "AVERAGE AMERICAN WORKER"

    April 11, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  14. mikefrieman

    Hillary. Get a grip. Stop twisting his words. Your done. Grab that towel. throw it in. Head back to NY. Bye bye

    April 11, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  15. Mike

    ......................and the Chicago Politician that is Obama finally comes out!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. LT, Cumming, GA

    You are right Hillary, but people don't open thir eyes as they are under tyhe charm. IF BHO was to be elected, a year from now, nobody will have voted for him, as they will have realized how he trully is.
    Go Hillary, don't stop fighting because America needs you.

    April 11, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  17. Dave/HI

    After listening to the news media on CNN and MSNBC TV stations, I believe both the Clinton and McCains political teams were over reacting toward Barack's comments. Also, those (3) pundits (2) democrats and (1) republican analysts on the LouDobbs show were over critical and made a big thing out Barack's statements. I recommend to those political analysts and teams should wait on hear Obama's explanation to his statements that were considered demeaning and etc. I'd say to those that are over critical, keep your mouths zippered until Barack's reply.

    April 11, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. Kevin

    What Obama should be saying now is that these workers have every right to be "bitter" for what the Clinton's brought on them with NAFTA. And besides how can she argue with the workers being resilient, optimist positive and rolling up their sleeves as the opposite of being "bitter". Does someone need to help her with vocabulary and maybe even the journalist involved in the article as well needs it. Cause one can be "bitter" and yet still be "resilient, optimistic and roll up their sleeves. If anything bitterness can encourage it. Hillary make sense and and stop lying and maybe more people would start to like you. Actually I like you, just wouldn't vote for you.

    April 11, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. DA

    I would say the word fits!!!
    I know I'm pretty BITTER!!!!

    April 11, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. Livedit

    It might not be true for all Pennsylvanians but when you have lived through the loss of your spouses job and practically losing the family business you know there is truth in what Obama said. Too bad we are not comfortable with hearing the truth when spoken. Just too happy to put our own twisted understanding to this empathic statement. This was our Reality. You would be bitter too if not for the grace of God.

    April 11, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  21. monica

    If we really think about this everything Obama said is true. We are bitter for the lack of jobs. Most religous people due turn do god when things seem hopeless. In some urban area some have turned to crime(robbery) due to economic situation. In addition we are as Americans mad, because alot of our jobs are being given to illegal immigrants. And we do sometime think negative of them. So I ask you what was false about his comment or degrading about his comment?

    April 11, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. Wendy, GA

    LOL, my grandmother told me to "turn on the TV so she could see what kind of lie Hillary's tellin'".

    So every generation knows she's a liar.

    Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  23. Adam

    So people are calling Hillary elitist? Is that why her and Bill donated 10% of their income to charity while the Obamas donated 1%?

    But ya of course Hillary doesn't care about the poor.

    April 11, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. Theresa Armstrong

    Hillary is desperate. Is that all she can come up with. I used to like the Clintons, but this election has just shown me who they truly are, which is ugly and manipulating. Obama all the way!!!!

    April 11, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  25. Not for Obama anymore!

    So Obama, in one sentence:

    1) Lumps religion, xenophobia, and gun ownership as if they are all morally equivalent.
    2) Gives his explanation for the sociological foundation of religions: According to him, people are only religious if they lose their job. Fascinating. Religion has been around for thousands of years. At last, Obama has explained it!

    It's not just that this is clearly offensive to any person of faith, but, my gosh, it's just plain shallow as analysis goes. Is Obama really that STUPID?

    April 11, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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