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. Anonymous

    With Wolf Clinton look like a sainte , He is happy when Hillary is bashing Obama. More than 3 weeks your are after Obama give him a brack.

    April 11, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. George

    That's right Obama. Stop looking down on them people!

    Hillary '08!

    April 11, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. nyDEMO

    Hillary doesnt care that the point is true...she justs wants to drum up something to cover the fact her husband LIED for her last night and that PENN who STILL WORKS FOR HER is actively trying to screw the American worker.

    April 11, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. Liz S. in California

    Obama just tells it like it is. He never tries to sugar coat the reality of things and the diisatrous economic state that our nation is in. Truth is.... people ARE bitter, resentful, angry ....and then some! ....and really, who can blame them? Get your head out of the clouds Hillary.... it is easy for someone who has 110million in revenue to say "I'm resilient or optimistic" but take someone who earns 50K losing their job and I guarantee you they feel bitterness and anger first and foremost!

    OBAMA 08!!!!!

    April 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Robert Bauer, Sonoma County, CA

    This is a sick and twisted spin on Obama's comments that reveals the desperation in the Clinton camp. She has nothing to say that's original. She only reacts to Obama's speeches – and, she does so in a devisive and negqative way. What Pennsylvanians really don't need is a devisive and negative president who has no qualms about twisting the truth.

    April 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. Gene

    This may be the dumbest retaliation as of yet. Hillary and McCain's campaign person are insane.

    No... people who live in impoverished towns aren't bitter... why would they be? They're like Oompa Loompas dancing around and singing, cheery and optimistic. I'm so tired of politicians trying so hard to avoid reality. It's just sick. Of course people who live in poverty and places where there are no jobs are bitter. To say their not is to say that they are out of touch of the reality of their situation. It's Hillary and McCain who are out of touch and trying anything they can to be politically correct about every word that comes out of their mouths... Hillary more than McCain. I guarantee you they're not even close to this 'polite' when they're not in front of a camera.

    April 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Ryan, Los Angeles

    Here comes angry and mad Hillary now that her lead is dwindling!! Kitchen sink round two.

    I hate the woman, but would rather have her in office than another Republican administration.

    Obama '08!! If not, then Hillary '08!!

    April 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. T. Tucker, Pennsylvania

    . . . .We sure remember NAFTA, and who's responsible for it. And we
    are not happy about it. Senator Obama was telling the truth. He's not
    looking down on us. He knows that we are down, and not patronizing
    it like Hillary is patronizing.

    Yes We Can

    April 11, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Paul

    I used to be a supporter of Obama until he said that these good hard working people were bitter. No more now! It's over!!!

    Don't give up Hillary!

    April 11, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. luis

    this is too funny!

    mccain is senile; and hilary is a millionaire, so obama is condescending, and an elitist!!!!!!!!!

    laugh of the day!

    April 11, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. cathy

    So he used the word "bitter"? They are bitter. I would be too.

    April 11, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. Kevin T

    Well said, Barack. When people lose faith in their political and economic systems they will very often have their scapegoats as anti-immigrant folks do or their cushion as conservative fundamentalists do. It's about time we have a political system wherein individuals can believe in a wider political community instead of turning to fringe groups that look for scapegoats or alternate realities.

    April 11, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  13. vicki, PA

    I feel really sorry for Mrs. Clinton to try to do this. She cant never understand that is really human feeling to feel bitter if you lost your jobs, your home thanks to free trades they are supporting. Mr Obama can understand this. Just too pity and another points down for you in votes and one point up for your negativity.

    April 11, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  14. Doug vickers

    first Obama will probably not get muchin the way of votes from those small towns to begin with .So this thing is much to say about nothing for a lot of what he says everyone knows is right

    Hrc and McCain are grasping at straws

    April 11, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. Sean

    Anything to try to steer attention away from her made-up Bosnia story, or Bill still claiming her story was true, or her campaign's chief strategist actively pushing trade deals she claims to oppose, or the fact that money Bill made off of said trade deals helped fund part of her campaign, or any of any number of other outrageous things she's done in the past few weeks alone.

    April 11, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. Brian

    Is that her words or Colombia's money talking?

    April 11, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. Caryle -

    Having been downsized a couple of times over the past 13 years, you bet your bid for the People's House that I am bitter! Give me a break. Have you ever been homeless Any of you candidates? We need someone that is real, I can't believe that came out of her mouth, oh wait, I just misspoke LMAO!!!! But truthfully, I have lost thousands of $$ with each "RESTRUCTURE!"

    Obama /Edwards 08

    ps John, please back Obama, you would of had my vote hands down but you left before AMERICA had a voice

    April 11, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. Naren Patel

    Good try, Hillary. I do not think that your desparate attempts to bring Sen. Obama down, down, down to your level will do you any good. Every day you and Bill Clinton speak and misspeak or lie, we, the voters, learn who you really are, and Obama looks far better candidate for US Presidency t han you or Sen. McCain.

    April 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. SDO

    You are a piece of work. You always attack Obama personally, he only attacks you on the issues. You are too petty to be the President of the US.

    April 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. Wanakee

    I'm bitter that all my hard earned tax dollars are going to a 'war' in Iraq, so count me in that bitter column with the good people from Pennsylvania. We have a right to be bitter, but we have to turn the bitterness into positive CHANGE!!!

    OBAMA 08

    April 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. Sandy in PA

    Obama's true colors have been exposed once again. It certainly is a good thing the media is finally reporting on who this man really is. President? I don't think so.

    April 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. A DEMOCRAT '08

    Umm... isn't he just speaking the truth?

    April 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. Chad

    Leave already!

    April 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Charlie

    Well, looks like Obama misspoke. Hillary knows a thing or two about that...

    April 11, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Bitter Desari

    Umm I lost my and I am very bitter too. Are you supposed to be happy when you lose your job?

    April 11, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27