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. Lynn

    How "bitter" are the Clintons because they are losing and will she be relilient and optimistic when she loses?? McCain's comments are also pathetic...these two are old aged politics that didn't and won't work.

    This campaign is too long and is getting petty both with the media digging for fodder as well as the candidates...Clinton is doing the same thing as before Ohio...keep throwing things, hoping one will stick.

    A real pathetic role model for a nation and young girls!

    OBAMA 08

    April 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. HD

    Obama will win Pennsylvania and this will all be over soon.

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. Mat

    Okay..let me get this straight: so when you've lost your job, your house, and you're working more hours for less money.. you're not bitter?.. I need to know how to do this.. I'll be happy!

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  4. SD4Obama

    I am bitter. I'm seeing so many people losing what they have worked for. But to say Obama is condensending is ridiculous!! Lots of us are bitter, but Hillary takes the cake.

    She needs to take a long walk off a short pier.

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. breh/California

    Would you be a litter bitter too. The American people can not continue to live off the promises that were made in broken by the Bush & Clinton families. Hillary's just reaching for anything to boost her failing campaign.


    OBAMA 08!

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. L. Tran, TX

    Obama is bitter because he listened to Pastor Wright and like his pastor so much. The rest of us just work harder to make ends meet.

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Anna

    how many republicans are blogging here as Obama or Hillary's fake supporters?

    Disgusting !!!!

    Go Democrats – let's show them in November

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. Lola

    bitter=anger toward a system of trade than has let us down?.....yes. Losing your job and future does not equal optimism, Hillary. Resilient perhaps with a tiny sliver of HOPE that somebody NEW can turn things around....and that is not you.

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  9. Jim from Seattle

    why won't the Superdelegates intervene at this point and end this thing? Hillbillary have this week sealed their fate...let's get on with it.

    si se puede!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. Fred

    Perhaps he 'Misspoke', Hillary!...like really misspoke, instead of creating this fantasy story about sniper fire.

    Obama '08

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

    well, I would be bitter too. wouldn't anyone? Hope for the future is a wonderful thing. Hillary can talk and spin all she wants, but when it all falls together, where didi those jobs go??

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

    For someone that doesn't think words matter all that much she sure has a fun time twisting them.....

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. Garett -- Denver

    It is a politically unpopular statement, no doubt. At least when it is taken out of context.

    However, it's also a statement that is completely true and based on the way things actually are. I mean...come on people, can we really not accept the fact that people go one way or another - self-destruct with guns or self-affirm with god - when they are in times of despair?

    Give me a break...

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. Democratic no matter who wins

    I believe he can acually see things that Hillary with her Millions does not see. And Senator Obama is not looking down on them he sees they need to be lifted up! Hillary wake up and look at reality already; not everyone is as comfortable as you!

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |


    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  16. Mikhailovich

    Obama's statement sounds about right to me, but it's hard to speak the truth in American politics without someone, or a lot of people, rounding on you for speaking the truth.

    April 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  17. aris lapson

    Is ironic because WE also do not need a president pointing everyone using silly arguments. Where the intelect go to?

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. This is to Kathleen

    He misspoke? SO we can say the same thing about the sniper fire? She just used the wrong word?

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  19. Tim, Seattle WA

    Looks like the 'kitchen sink' is about empty, eh Hillary?

    I read the full statement and he is absoultely right about bitterness setting in when you are told your job is going away with a promise of re-building...and then it doesn't happen..,..and then the next Pres says the same...and it still doesn't happen.
    It happened to me 10 years ago...and I was bitter too. Spin it how you will, but he just connected with me again.
    Its not condescension or elitism......its empathy...and its the truth

    Obama 08'

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Mike

    I'd be bitter if I lost my job to a foreign plant and my Government wasn't doing anything to help prevent it. I'd be bitter if they were giving tax breaks to my old employer. I don't see this as condescending at all. I do however see McCain going after Obama a lot more than he is Hillary despite them having very similar proposals. Seems he knows who the real threat is.

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  21. Joe

    I lived in New York every day in which Mrs. Clinton was a U.S. Senator and the only person that she has worked hard for from day one was herself and her run for president.

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. Lyz in Maryland

    I try not to be too critical of Clinton, but I cannot believe that she expects anyone to take her latest gambit seriously. There's nothing objectionable about Obama's comment.

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. doonie

    If those comments are accurate, they are also TRUE! What part of it are we unwilling to admit or acknowledge? When faced with our own personal economic challenges, as humans, right or wrong, we DO & HAVE looked for sources to blame, embraced "bad for us" practices, in frustration and anger. Americans, the Obama job and real message is getting us all PAST that, having our goverment accountable for giving tax breaks to corporations long gone to Mexico or overseas while robbing Americans of much needed jobs, not denying mindsets that each one of us has likely practiced at one time or another under the Republican regime. Focus on the issues!

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. Trader-Steve

    This is what happens when you have nothing really to criticize the guy about and will say and do anything for power.

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    I don't get it.........If I lost my job and my field of work didn't come back for several years, I would be BITTER!!

    Is this the best you can do Hillary? Are you hoping that he "misspoke"?

    I used to support Hillary, until she became a giant lie machine. Now, I'm BITTER!!

    Thank you Hillary, for dragging the best Democratic Nominee for President through the mud, and destroying the integrity of the Democratic Party with it.

    You have shown your true colors with the lies, deceit, and utter hatred that has come from your Campaign.

    If McCain wins, you are the RALPH NADER of 2008.

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
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