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. Dawn

    I saw the tail end of a news show discussing how important these remarks were.

    Then I read the remarks.

    This is ridiculous. I think a lot of people being hammered financially in PA would definitely say that they are bitter. Many of us cling to religion in hard times. What is wrong with saying that? These are not condescending remarks. This is straight talk which I am sure the people of PA appreciate.


    April 11, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  2. Andy (Missouri)

    If we take Obama's statement in the context of all that he has said up to this point it shouldn't come across as particularly controversial. Obama was pointing out a simple truth... There is a large laundry list of things that people use to explain their frustrations. We blame the poor state of things on the lack of religion or the excess of it, we blame violence on too many guns, or not enough guns... we blame the loss of jobs on immigrants. In short, we blame our neighbors for our troubles. What Obama is clearly saying is that we need to stop pointing fingers at each other and turn our heads toward Washington that has perpetuated this blame game and make some changes there.

    April 11, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. Bill in San Jose

    Hillary on the attack again, if you can call this that. Straight out of the Republican gain-say field manual. Please quit Hillary before you discover something about yourself.

    April 11, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  4. Jags

    This is funny. All you Obamanites are saying again "just wait till you lose in pennsylvania." Didn't you all say that about ohio and texas as well??

    April 11, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  5. vkraman

    When a person loses his/her job, they cannot be upbeat, They will be bitter and ask the question "why me".

    April 11, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  6. Jan

    It was not just the "bitter" comment-it was the "small town American comment-indicating that people who own guns and go to church are somehow beneath him and his followers. I suppose all of his followers think taking cocaine is more respectable than hunting for a pastime. There is no way you can blame his indiscriminate, un-presidential "just words" on Hilary . Blame yourselves for letting him get away with the rest of his indescretions! None of my notes get posted by cnn because they don't exalt their favorite candidate. small-towner from Michigan

    April 11, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  7. Barry IL

    Senator Clinton herself so bitter these days.

    April 11, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. Love4politics

    Hillary is desperate and bitter...
    For the sake of the nation say NO to continuism...
    go OBAMA 08!!!

    April 11, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  9. Brooklyn

    We'll see how bitter HRC becomes when she is not the Democratic nominee

    April 11, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  10. WBW OHIO

    Everything he said is true.
    Why don't you ask the people in Pennsylvania that just lost 250 jobs to Mexico if they are not BITTER........

    April 11, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  11. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Well, Pennsylvania, Mr. Rendall will have a job as Secretary of Energy.
    Let's all stand up and clap for the new Energy Big Wig. He isn't
    gonna run for Governor. Is he not well liked?

    April 11, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  12. Tyler, TN

    I see it as this: The "American People," such as myself are going to vote for the ideal candidate. The "ideal" candidate will take office, and then the promises to the American citizens will be flushed out the white house septic tank. All candidates have a small evil side, that is what makes them a politician. Whether they are good or not is based on our votes, we will see what that leads to in January 2009. But considering the electoral college decides the candidate our votes are basically useless, and the most populous will not be voted in.


    HILLARY 2008!!!

    April 11, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  13. Thelifeileadlivelove

    The People of PA understand and the man was showing empathy and speaking honestly.

    April 11, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  14. Independent

    On the scale of 1 to 10, of damage, this is a good 10! I think Mr "O" has forgotten that small town America elects presidents AND senators.

    April 11, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Obama, made a statement as to what he felt while in parts of the state of PA. What is wrong with that? We say we want an honest Politian and when some tells the truth about what they feel they are looking down on people.

    Obama '08'!

    April 11, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  16. Marc

    I just laugh at all the bitter Obama fanatics. Better dig in because these, "off the cuff" remarks about the local constituents you want to win over will take it much more serious than someone whose from another state and already bought into their candidate of choices vision.

    April 11, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  17. bernj

    Well...people are bitter...they should be.....and they don't all live in Pennsylvania. Hillary....just quit...please. That fat lady is singing louder by the minute.

    April 11, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  18. clayton dickson

    as least obama will talk about important subjects,while clinton is afraid to stray from her script.

    April 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  19. jason pawlik

    I lost my job to china, I am very bitter. Open your eyes lady!!

    April 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  20. Marie

    All these personal attacks hurt my heart. Let's talk real solutions for Pennsylvanians and stop parsing each others words. Enough!

    April 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  21. NancyWDC

    It is pretty audacious for Obama to speak with such evident condescension about people in Pennsylvania being bitter. Guess he wasn't tuned in to the bitter invective that his spiritual mentor spouted from the pulpit for 20 years. Perhaps he hasn't notice that his wife seems bitter. By her own admission, she had never been proud of this country until recently (a turn that just happened to coincide with the meteoric rise in Barack's political fortunes).

    Hillary is right, America is not bitter, and we don't need some liberal elitist who went to private school and has never done a hard days work in his life telling us what it is like. Clearly, he has no clue. This is not about change and hope. It is all about Barack. Reject the cult of personality.

    April 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  22. John

    I watched both events and Barack Obama was talking about how African Americans are in this country. He was following up with race issue. What a lie from Clintons who are in bed with the media. It is high time Americans to wake up!

    April 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  23. Len

    Go Hillarious Clinton
    Don't give up and screw the DNC. lol

    MCCain 08

    April 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  24. Newman

    Yes Pennsylvania is bitter, and their hopping mad too. Just like I am at people who use caps lock in their blogs. Hillary and Bill support NAFTA which is responsible for many Pennsylvania job losses. Hillary does not care about the common man, and will treat them like children and lie, to get what they want. I'm bitter, they're bitter, we have had 15 years of Bushes and Clintons! Give up now, Hillary, you're finished.

    April 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  25. Brett

    Haha. He just shot himself in the foot...and there's no coming back from this one!

    April 11, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
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