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. Concerned Democrat

    Obama does not respect the American public!

    Manipulation concealed under the cloak of "running a good campaign" isn't what America needs right now. We have too many serious issues.

    Obama's campaign is using a "win at all cost" strategy. Ignoring what's bad (negative) in relation the Obama and spinning the opponent’s strengths against them.

    There is no way he can win the general election. He's only come this far because of a flawed Democratic caucusing system. There will be no caucuses in the general election.

    If he thinks that people that see through him now are going to vote for him anyway in the Fall, he (and the DNC) is truely mistaken.

    Sorry Dems, the Republicans will win the Whitehouse yet again!

    P.S. Obama’s campaign must really think that voters are stupid! How sad.....maybe they are right…….

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. HD

    Let's talk about real issues like can the American people TRUST the Clintons again? Can we? Who made $800,000 off of speeches to support the Columbian trade agreement?

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Marianne

    Go Obama!! Democrats need to get together and support him so he CAN beat McCain. I'm a Republican who changed parties so I can vote for Obama in the Primary – NO WAY can I support McCain. No way will I vote for Hillary –

    We need a fresh face – – Obama is it!!

    Go Obama!!

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. Jack in ND

    So he chose odd words.

    So did you, with your comment about people "mixing fresh batches of amphetamines".

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. Relevant

    Every time you see someone post a comment that says, effectively, "I'd vote for McCain before I vote for Obama"...

    Remember that that is a Republican plant trying to screw with our nomination process, or, an uninformed Democrat whose opinion has been swayed by the Republican wolves-in-sheep's-clothing. The Republicans are doing EVERYTHING THEY CAN to keep Obama from getting the nomination because they know McCain doesn't stand a chance against him. In an Obama/McCain primary, Obama would win by a landslide! The only people who don't know that are the closed-minded Clintonistas who are being targeted by Republican interference schemes. Don't be fooled!

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. King of NJ

    G R A S P I N G F O R S T R A W S ! ! ! !

    its over Hillary go down with grace!

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. HGM

    She is such a manipulator a fake and a hack. My lord, what do people see in her I'll never understand. its easy to role up your sleaves whe your hubby are engaged in shady deals to make 110 million but it is a bitter pill to swallow when the average working man gets laid off.

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Peter Kavanagh

    Now she is going to "mis speak" his words .
    She will do anything to distract people from her imploding campaign .
    Come on Penn . Don't let negative kitchen sink tactics fool you , DON'T GIVE INTO FEAR .

    Obama 08 !!!

    YES YOU CAN !!!

    April 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. NickSanDiego

    WOW..............That isn't even a STRAW she is graping at that is simply AIR!!!

    I must say I am Surprised that McBush ALSO jumped on that one. Obama MUST be the one if this is the best these professional mudslingers can come up with!

    Obama Has it Made.

    April 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. All I hear from her is "BLAH BLAH BLAH..."

    Clintons really need to shut up..........Barack Obama is the one who can bring change and will..........if democrats loose its going to be because of Hillary.............She voted in FAVOR for the war......she is a irresponsible candidate.........she lied about the sniper fire.....what makes you think that she wont lie to us when she is a president.......who cares if she claimed the responsibilty for lying....the point is she lied and voted in favor of the war.....
    HILLARY CLINTON IS IRRESPONSIBLE AND A LIER....she needs to step down.....

    April 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. Michael

    Any people from PA responding to this?

    April 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. Antoinette

    Im failing to see the big deal Hillary

    I think you're taking his words out of context and making mountains out of mole hills because you have told 3 LIES in a row and are trying to deflect attention

    April 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. dave, michigan

    At last maybe Obamas facard will break open and we will see him for what he is, an inexperieced fool.

    April 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. david


    OBAMA 08

    April 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. Darryl- Montebello

    There she goes AGAIN, twisting and turning. How is saying someone is "bitter" construed to be looking down at someone? Give it a rest, Hillary, you and your staff are so lame.....

    April 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. Sam

    She gets slimier by the minute.

    April 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. bk

    Obama has lied to you from the beginning he has lobbyists working for him. He lied about NAFTA and said there was no meeting and then the following week said there was. He lied about his father and JFK. He lied about Rev. Wright. The difference is the media is trying to destroy Clinton. So they never tell you the facts about Obama.

    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. GL

    Good lord, when will this woman be done already?

    Super Delegates, Gore, Edwards, Buellor, anyone? Please inform her that she has lost this primary bid.

    12 more days of this crap will be the death of the Democratic party...

    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  19. Dave in DC

    This is a response to the last post (comments closed), but....

    If Bill Clinton secretly wanted Hillary to lose, would he do anything different from what he has done? IOW, without making it too obvious, could have done more to HARM her campaign?


    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  20. Darth Vadik, CA

    Well, people are bitter, when people lose jobs, not because of them, but because of our economic policies which reward companies that took their jobs to China and India.

    At the same time you have freaks on TV and radio telling you "free market" and "free trade" are good things and illegal immigrants are taking your jobs, you do get upset and bitter, but you get upset at the wrong things, and turn to things you wouldn't otherwise turn to.

    What Obama has said is absolutely 100% CORRECT.

    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Way to take it out of context you corporatist.

    When you lose Pennsylvania will you please drop out?

    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. Russ T.C.

    How weak of an argument is this against Obama. This is a big deal? You have got to be freaking kidding me. lol

    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  23. brandon

    So Obama says that he understands why Pennsylvanians are upset about losing their jobs... and Hillary tries to spin that as a bad thing? This is really getting ridiculous. For the millionth time, I would have no problem with Hillary if she campaigned on her strengths, as Obama is doing, but she just keeps attacking. And she's not attacking about anything worthwhile! This isn't about positions or ideas! It's about a candidate who will do anything to win... even when she can't win, even when it doesn't make any sense! Big thumbs down on this one, Hillary.

    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  24. El Queso Grande

    Obama says, "...the jobs are gone and nothing has replaced them."

    Has anyone ever considered WHY nothing has replaced them? It's because of INSANE taxes in the midwest and the bitter, hostile workforce of former unionized workers who managed to "strike" themselves out of a job and run their employers out of the state to greener pastures.

    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  25. Ken, LA California

    I did not know that Anglosaxons require English lessons, I thought the word bitter means exactly bitter. Let me try a spin, Clintons comments leave a bitter taste in my mouth. Get a grip lady and drop out of this race.

    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
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