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. Mike

    The Clintons overpayed their taxes by 10% in line with Hillary's stance on reducing tax breaks for the rich. Obama took advantage of every tax break even though he claims he is for removing this tax break too.

    The Clintons gave 10% of their income to charities like the Nelson Mandella fund. Obama gave $20k a year to his church under Rev. Wright that visits Lybia with Farakhan and preaches America is at fault for 9/11.

    We see where Obama puts his money.

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. bill pike

    i am bitter over iraq, bitter over so many good people without jobs, bitter that when i see the coffins of our soldiers that bush/mccain/clinton are not there to greet every family. one should look up the word bitter in webster and you will find that 80% of the people are bitter about this administration. hello

    April 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. TMH

    The hardworking workers who have lost jobs, houses and hope have a right to be "bitter". Do you expect them to be jumping for joy? Obama is saying it like it is.

    Hillary and Bill will never understand how the workers who have lost jobs due to NAFTA truly feel as they (the Clintons) have made MILLIONS out of the trade deals, including $800,000 just for Bill speaking on behalf of the Columbian trade deal.

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. Danny, TX

    Poor Hillary, she just wants to be relevant. Two words–she lost.

    Obama 08

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. Ann Aloha FariMedia, PA

    Are CNN's ratings still going down for being subjective with it's Pro-Obama Campaign? Just wondered. So far I have yet to get a comment on here but it's okay...the surge to veiw selective shows on CNN is working and all the Pro-Obama reporters and advisors on this network is to blame.
    Articles of this nature are far and few between. Shame on CNN and Msnbc for their Pro-Obama coverage and reporting.

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

    It finally makes sense to me. I have finally figured out her campaign strategy.

    She believes she is married to the American people.. Like my wife at times, she is going to bicker, and argue, and drag this out until all of us simply throw our hands in the air and go, "Ok Hillary, you know, you're right, you win...." Even though she has already clearly lost, and has no basis to her argument. It's no wonder to me why so many women support her, they're the only ones who understand her.

    You can't argue argue with crazy people. Please CNN can we get back to the issues at hand instead of this tabloid journalism you've been "reporting" since Ohio.

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. Anne

    Bitter? Oh Yes...bitter and frustrated and angry and desperate. The Clintons have no idea what it is like to live close to the edge, paycheck to paycheck, and then have Washington insiders with corporate connections come along and undermine your very existence.

    This arrogance just plain infuriates me.

    Maybe they should try living on MY salary for a bit...aaarrrgggh

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. m.dizzle

    wow..talk about twisting words around...oh My poor little Hill..

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. Ernst

    Yes! they are bitter and it's because of NAFTA. Hillary was a cheerleader for NAFTA until it lost popularity and she started running for president. She'll get my vote only if I have to choose from two evils (Hillary vs McCain), and if I don't get upset by the fact that the superdelegates might take the nomination away from Obama and hand it over to her. However, the fact remains that McCain is the worst thing that can happen to this country.

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Tejano

    PA Democrats are not stupid. They know that the Clinton Democrats were the ones behind NAFTA and the Democrats also want a One world Government. That is why George Soros is giving tons of money to the Obama campaign. The goal of the multimillionairs that take our jobs to India and China is to control not only theUnited States but all the countries. World trade is good, but we are always on the short end of the stick.

    Latin America and Mexico are not our problem. The problem is China and India with their cheap labor and poor working conditions in their manufacturing companies, most of whom are owned by American and British investors. Where do you think that George Soros makes his money. Not in the United States of America.

    His insurance policy is named Barak Obama.

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. Eric disgustedinCalifornia


    so much spin this should be a ride at six flags

    i gotta think even Hillary supporters think this is a bit breathless

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. Sam Acker From Charlotte NC

    Did CNN decided to give a free ride to Hillary Clinton? You guys have been covering her campaign, and her remarks over and over for the last few days. But of course no talk about Penn her lobbyist chief of staff.... Or her millions, or her Bosnias' lies.
    This is free advertizing!
    She is incapable to have a staff that works together with a team spirit. It is just a reflection of what she is, a calculating woman who will do anything for her ambition.
    She had a lobbyist as her head of staff, and she knew that he was lobbying for the Columbian trade way before he quit her campaign.
    Now, she is attaking Obama for some stupid stuff that you are going to repeat over and over...
    I am going to vote for Obama, because he was against the war from the beginning, not because of calculation!!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Lou

    Well thats just stupid...is she suggesting people who lose their jobs are happy go lucky? Maybe she can ask her campaign workers after she loses.

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |

    This is why people are turned off by the Clintons. They will run with anything. Obama has yet to slam them on how they differ on free trade or how they lie and joke about sniper fire.

    Honest, Fair, and True.

    April 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. HILLARY!

    Nice way to spine BO's disgusting remarks onto Hillary....It isn't her fault he's such an elitist......his "words" are belittling and he should be ashamed, he owe's PA an apology!
    GO HILLARY.....someone who will fight for small town America and ALL Americans!

    April 11, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. Trish- PA

    First of all, lets all just take a pill and chill out until we find out what context this was said in, if it was really said at all. And if it was, I am from Pennsylvania, and I agree with him. Even if this is the exact context of the statement. I know a heck of a lot of people who are bitter about a lot of things from lack of jobs, low salaries, poor or no health care. Yes, some of us are bitter thanks to George W. Bush. And I know some people who have turned bitter enough to have done things they later regretted in frustration. Truck drivers in PA are thinking about throwing in the towel and leaving their trucks sitting right where they are. I don't know about you but that sounds a bit on the bitter side to me. So if you aren't from Pennsylvania, shut your pie hole because you have no right to speak for us. And if you are from Pennsylvania and you don't agree with Senator Obama, then you must be a doctor or lawyer pulling in $100,000 a year or more.

    April 11, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. Roger

    He was giving milk to a calf. He was bowling. He was having a beer at a bar. He was just trying to find something that he was good at.

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

    Clinton can be the most bitter. Afterall she's the one who made a mess out of a campaign that otherwise would have carried her to the most important job in the world.

    April 11, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. Shane

    hillary is right, Pennsylvanians need somebody to lift their moral not laughing at them like Obama is doing.

    April 11, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  20. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Okay, then I'm happy about losing my job, I'm happy because of NAFTA, I'm happy because I've lost my home, I'm happy because I don't have health care, I'm happy the war is costing billions and John McCain wants to stay there for 100 years, I'm happy because Bill and Hillary make $109 million dollars, I'm happy because the country is on the wrong course. I'm happy to say Obama spoke the truth and didn't misspeak.

    April 11, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. Liz


    1. fyi; Bill Clinton is not running for president, so why do you think things with Hillary will be like the 1990's? You make no sense.

    2. learn to spell. its dementia, not "dimentia"

    you sure don't sound like a Smart democrat.

    April 11, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  22. Cathy

    I would be bitter too...and maybe have some negativity in my heart if I lost my job and see no relief in sight. Please Clinton stop trying to create drama!!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. AMK

    Please tell me again how jobs "fell through the Clinton Administration"? The job market and the economy could not have been better in the 90's. That's why it was called "the Roaring 90's" Obama.....

    April 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. Matthew Chicago

    Mike, What solid history of work does Hillary have. Barely 6 years in the Senate, otherwise she has been Bill's cheerleader. What helping the poor has Hillary done, NOTHING, a failed healthcare plan. An Obama machine is attacking her? What are you smoking. She has hammered away at him so that if she isn't the nominee, no democrat will win, she is a spoiled brat. Bill needs to put her over his knee...wait she isn't an intern. Vote Hillary either 4 more years of Bush via McCain or 4 more years of investigations (Whitewater, Travelgate, theft from teh WH when laving)

    April 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. hill

    Love the clinging to guns comment...what is he thinking.???

    April 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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