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. Really? Huh? Really?

    What else did he say?

    Was there a follow up comment where he had a proposal to offer these communities in order for them to pull themselves up?

    Come on. Can we get the whole entire statement instead of "hearsay" without the full context?

    This is weak reporting.... to not provide the full context of the story and simply take it from, what was probably a memo floating around by the Clinton campaign.

    She seems to never run out of sinks.

    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. Lanny Davis

    yeah she's not bitter!
    this is what you do when you got nothing ...

    April 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. dorothy

    I would expect that Hillary Clinton, who was to WIN in this State, and the Gap is closing, she will say and do anything to create doubt, regarding Barack Obama, But Hillary Clinton, need to clean her own back yard, and watch her own words which are coming out of her mouth. John McCain, is in another world, and time frame, I do not believe it is because of his age, but some people like to stay in the Past.


    April 11, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. DH

    Do you know the story of BILLY THE LIEAR (the same goes with HILLARY THE LIAR) – he missed the train................................

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

    This lady is pulling down American politics. She'll stop at nothing to get elected. Perhaps, they are looking for power to do more shady deals

    April 11, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. JB Hull, IA

    Pander, pander, pander... Yep, I'm sure everyone in Pennsylvania is perfect and no one has any hard feelings about losing their livelihoods.... I'll take Obama's truth telling over this crooks lies any day

    April 11, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  7. reddy devarapalli

    clintons are famous to twist the words.of course she is desparate

    April 11, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  8. Tim

    This is getting so tiring. It is really just pathetic. I'm looking forward to it being over. I don't want to have to hear about or see Hillary for a long time...

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

    Hillary can't understand poor people, of course she cannot, she made 109 million, if you make that kind of money, you just move out of reality of day to day life, basic expenses.

    April 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. Liza

    Umm.. Who cares? Hillary is bashing Obama over this? This seems petty to me. I'd might be bitter too if I lost my job.

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

    looks to me like he was empathizing with the people, not looking down on them

    He can do that because he has grown up poor, see you cant empathize because you did not. With your Summer Cottage in Pennsylvania. Ha Ha

    April 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. California girl

    Oh' come on, Obama, is that the best you could do!

    Don't forget, Mr. Obama, we had a wonderful 8 years with Bill Clinton, no war, no foreclosure issues, no economic issues, no gasoline issues, our stocks skyrocketed, plus we had a surplus and no deficit! Yes, in President Clinton's presidency! Are you loosing it, (dimentia)!

    Smart Dems vote for HILLARY

    April 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. KRLOS

    Obama's true colors are finally coming out

    April 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  14. Holly in Scranton PA

    People have lost jobs in Pennsylvania, healthcare, food, gas and the mortgage situation has everyone. So, yes people are bitter. Obama just got finished paying student loans and only made millions from two recent books. I think he understands the struggle a little better. Hillary and Bill support NAFTA and make millions a year doing.

    April 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. James

    Out of touch is someone capitalizing on their previous contacts and government service to earn $109 million.

    Out of touch is failing to understand how $800,000 in your JOINT bank account, earned by lobbying on behalf of the Columbians is a conflict of interest.

    Out of touch is taking every single stupid little word out of context and twisting it. Of course there are some "bitter" people in PA as a result of loosing jobs to NAFTA. Would a more "in-touch" word be disappointed, bankrupt, disillusioned?

    April 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Eli

    Obama a JOKE!!! Thats all there is to it.

    April 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Paul, Chicago

    Everyone who is being hurt by life will be bitter, until someone changes their situation. Clintons are responsible for what these people feel. I sympathesize with them.

    April 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. leslie

    Of course she leeped on this remark and she is mostly likely lying in her response and the McCain campaign having the nerve to comment after they have no domestic agenda is shameful. Both McCain and Clinton are part of the multimillion dollar club and have no real idea of what real change is.

    April 11, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. Herman LA, CA

    All I can say it the truth hurts and sometimes will set you free if you follow your heart.

    Obama 08!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. A thought

    If Obama spent as much time rehashing every screw up and lie that the Clintons have made JUST IN THIS SEASON ALONE it would be all he got to talk about.

    He doesn't
    He doesn't NEED to.
    We KNOW!
    He KNOWS we know because he KNOWS we are INTELLIGENT!

    Hillary treats us like Idiots.

    April 11, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Teresa

    Well Hillary, that's not what I heard. People are still losing their jobs because of the NAFTA trade if you haven't been observing the news media.

    Yes there people bitter because their jobs are about to move out of the United States to Mexico.

    Thanks for acknowledging that.

    April 11, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. bk

    Obama is a millionaire too! He has always lead a privileged life, went to the best schools. He's anti-american and hates white people too.

    April 11, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  23. Women 4 Obama

    Of course you would be bitter, why wouldn't you?

    Bill Clinton signed NAFTA into law at the urging of George Bush senior. Then did nothing to ensure regular American's get the updated education and training to compete and startup new non-manufacturing, non-industrial jobs. Of George W. Bush junior hasn't done anything to improve education and training and attract new industries.

    So, you bet, Americans like PA are bitter at the same old same old.

    April 11, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  24. Raymond Cocteau

    Only a complete FOOL would believe that the Clintons are for ordinary people. By their own admission, they are worth over 100 MILLION dollars, live in mansions and fly around on private jets. For them to say that Obama is the elitist is laughable at best.

    They know NOTHING about what it is like to struggle for a living and only adopt this "we are for the regular people" stance to get elected. The Clintons are the most disingenuous people running for office.

    April 11, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. marie

    He (Obama) was telling the truth, theres no us trying to sugar coat it People are bitter when they lose their jobs

    April 11, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
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