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. gerry

    Nice try Hillary, but the Columbian problem and Bosnia aren't going away.

    Try more ducking

    April 11, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. Ifeanyi Azubike Houston Texas

    If anybody celebrates loosing their jobs to capital with, I am one worker who will be very bitter if I have to live on food stamps because my job was shipped abroad. If anybody feels anything other than bitterness over the greed of the corporations that move jobs overseas then tey must be seeing sniper fire.

    April 11, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. Nick - Arlington, VA

    Mike -> "Looks like another 4 years of Republicans. If Hillary gets the nomination then I we as democrats have a realistic chance to win.

    Think about it. All of Hillary's demons are known for years. She has a solid record of work and helping the poor. She has been outspent by Obama, attacked by a huge Obama machine and she is still here. If that kind of persistence cant beat McCain than nothing will."

    -if she is such a better and stronger candidate why is she losing in delegates, popular vote and states won? and dont go bring in MI and FL...even if those were counted (althoguh he wasnt on the MI ballot) he'd still be up.

    -Hillary's "demons are known for years," so its better we know how dirty the Clintons are, while we only know one real dirty spot on Obama?

    -she started the negative attacks...if anyone denies that, look in the mirror, say it out loud, then listen to how ridiculous you sound. she is only still in there because her last name is Clinton...it is over it is waning.

    -people who wont vote for Obama because Clinton lost are simply cutting off their nose to spite there face! Hillary and Obama are 95% ideologically the same...McCain is on the other side of the planet.

    April 11, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. adrain_andrews

    anwhat u all and see whatch how they miss spoke with out knowing thew full story again her and mccain no they can no bet this guy and they both woth a shout at the prize philly she has bad judgement and she was a part of nafta and full of lies. She is a lier and i hjave lost all respect for her she will try anything to win. buy the way he might be stating the truth that why he wonts to help the world not just philly. we as amercian need to get use to the new america go obama08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  5. werner

    Obama was totally honest and telling it like it is.

    Apparently for the media and Hillary, honesty is a problem

    April 11, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. Scott in Austin

    She would know something about being bitter. Is she really going to mis-represent another well put statement by Barack? If she cherry picks the right words from all the right speeches she might be able to come up with something almost as negative as her campaign.

    Rolling up your sleeves doesn't get jobs back and saying you'll fight hard for everyone's jobs is what every politician says. Understanding an evolving job market and being able to listen to all sides of the issue and help find a consensus is what prepares a community to be prosperous in the future. Addressing the issues, and yes, "bitterness" that can come out of being neglected by the federal government for the last two decades, is opening the door for positive discussion about real issues rather than just promising to get jobs back.

    April 11, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  7. Rosalind

    Once again the Clinton and McCain campaigns ratchet up the rhetoric and parse words. It is true that when people are suffering as a result of this miserable economy and they can't find their way, they will reach into their despair and cling to ideas that make them feel better or to cast blame.

    To recognize that truth and to speak to it does not mean that Barack Obama is casting them aside. Because he understands this dispair means that he will change how our government works so that people in despair can look forward to a better day.

    These two campaigns will resort to any bait and switch and ugly tactic to defeat Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton is afraid of losing and she will latch on any word to win. John McCain is so tied to the "guns and ammo" crowd, he should say nothing. Because of his love of war, this county has had two billion dollars per day sucked out of our economy for this miserable war in Iraq.

    I pray for this campaign to be over and Barack Obama will move into the White House, after it is fumigated.

    Obama Supporter

    April 11, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  8. Janet E. McCoy

    Isn't it interesting how a "blogger" managed to relate Senator Obama's statement at this fund raiser. However, what I would like to know from this "blogger", was Sen. Obama responding to a particular question?

    If such a "blogger" is going to report things, why not write it properly and stop the slanting. Some of these annoying "bloggers" really get me.

    Does such a "blogger" know anything about honesty. If you must "blog" do it right. Be fair!

    April 11, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. Mr. B.

    Another true statement..........? Many people are bitter.

    It appears that Hillary & McCain are way out of touch !

    America Is Ready
    Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. EJ

    Regardless, it's typical for Clinton to cling on to pathetic little distractions like this. They're desperate for anything they can get.

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

    Why is this being reported? It's gossip that hasn't been verified. Do you have journalistic standards?

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

    We do not trust Obama! He is great about talking change and hope when it is only more of the same. The best he has been offering is new idea, but he has not have the courage to do what is necessary to make it happen. He is on the senator floor for three years now so what has he accomplished? Words are just words America! Obama – clean up inner city Chicago first then you can preach.

    Obama will say anything to get votes as he couldn't run on experience because he doesn't have any. We will definitely not vote for Obama who has a spiritual mentor that hates white people and the U.S, we dislike Obama not because of his color but because of the man he is NOT. We do not think Obama is ready for this job. Hillary or McCain should be the President and Obama should keep learning the ropes, get the experience he needs to run this Country. Obama will not win, because we will make sure he doesn't.

    If not Hillary, then McCain! There is NO other option!

    April 11, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. DH

    Do you know the story of BILLY THE LIAR (the same goes with HILLARY THE LIAR) – he/she missed the train…………………

    April 11, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Wayne

    The donors, nations and others who gave the Clintons 109Milion dollars in personal wealth and 500M to the Clinton Library will OWN THIS COUNTRY if she is elected. Plain and simple.

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

    Billary true colors are finally-HERE! OBAMA/08 of course.

    April 11, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  16. Be sorry for yourselves

    Obama supporters – don't be sorry for Hillary supporters – Hillary might not become the nominee (that is yet to be seen), but Obama's chances of becoming President are next to none – soooooo – sorry Obama supporters!!

    If I didn't want Hillary to be President I would love for Obama to be the nominee and watch the Republicans take him to task – he has got it coming.

    April 11, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  17. Del, MO

    I'm bitter, that Hillary is stil in this race. She is a non-issue.

    Send her to the enemy, she will wear them out just by talking.


    April 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  18. mehrnoosh

    He said some of the people are bitter since they are experiencing huge problems everyday, isn't it true?

    Obama 2008

    April 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. Ben

    Hillary is the worst of the three options left. She is the most divisive...most disliked and distrusted by Americans.

    What America needs is to move beyond the absurd partisanship of the last 15 years. We're just all tired of everyone listening to their respective extreme talk radio stations and hating on 50% of America (or more).

    America does not need a President Clinton and 4 years of bickering.

    President Obama or President McCain at least offer a possibility and opportunity for some semblance of national unity. A President Clinton rules that possibility out.

    April 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  20. R. DEEZY

    Here we go again from Kitchen sink to the trash can!

    April 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  21. Fran

    You're right Sam in Indiana. people are angry and mad if they have lost a job but that says absolutely nothing about what their personality is like. Just leave it up to Miss Hillary to turn this comment into something negative, just like she is. Give it up Hillary. Go Obama!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  22. David, New Castle. PA

    I hope my fellow Pennsylvania Democrats do the right thing and end the miserable Clinton campaign so Barrack can take on McCain without further distractions. Yes, many people are indeed quite bitter after all these years of Bush and friends running the country and the economy into the ditch. They are bitter about tax cuts for the rich (like the Clintons). They are bitter about an insane and unwinnable war perpetrated under false pretenses of WMD's. They are bitter about unemployment and poor prospects for the future. They are bitter about corporate greed, out-sourcing, plants moving abroad, and many other things. To suggest that Obama's recognition this is 'condescension' is just the last desparate throws of an overly ambitious politician who does not seem to read the writing on the wall at which she keeps throwing things, hoping something will stick. Let's hope the Clintons read it better soon and just get out of the way.

    April 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  23. HILLARY!

    BO has NO idea what small town America is like.....he AND his wife both look down on all of us.......an elitist will never make it to the white house, never.......

    April 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. john williams san diego, ca.

    Your Royal Highness...Bill is geting mad when you tell him to quit lying for you. Like you said i have 35 years of my own experience.

    April 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. Obama Richardson

    Geez, she's really trying to find "something" to pounce on.

    Can't people be bitter while trying to move on in a positive fashion? I know that I can. Get real, Hillary, they're bitter! You need to move on yourself and not be so bitter.

    April 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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