April 12th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Bill Clinton avoids 'bitter' controversy

(CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton didn’t touch the subject, but the Clinton campaign used his appearances in rural North Carolina Saturday to hammer at Barack Obama’s “bitter” comment on small town voters.

Speaking before Clinton came to the stage Saturday in Winterville, the former chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party laid into Obama’s remarks. Tom Hendrickson told the crowd, “My message to Senator Obama is, we are not frustrated. We are not bitter. We turn to our faith because we believe. Amen. We hunt and fish because it's a part of our culture and we enjoy it. So, Senator Obama, don't pity us and think that we're bitter and frustrated. We're hard working family folks who are smart and we get it.

The Clinton backer said, “We don't need the pundits to tell us what we think. In the words of that old Hank Williams song, 'We're country folks and we will survive.”

The former President left the issue alone in his remarks at Winterville, one of six stops he’s making Saturday in the eastern part of the state.

–CNN's Steve Brusk

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. jackie landry

    coming from someone who voted for bill clinton ,who supported him in good times and bad during his presidency,i am here to say that i'm am totally fed up with him and his wife. i have seen a side of them that frankly they should have kept behind closed doors. i can't even look at bill anymore with the same feeling of awe that i once felt.i truly believe they are the democratic equals of the bush clan...power hungrey and arrogant enough to believe that they are the only ones who can save this country and that we owe them somehow because to alot of people bill clinton was a great president...enough is enough..bill you had your place in my history book but you and your wife have totally shown your other side during this election.... bill you lost a fan,and hillary you will never get my vote!!!!

    April 12, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. Pamela

    Good. Him and his wife need to shut up.

    April 12, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  3. Ravi

    Bill Clinton has enough baggage to touch the "bitter" controversy. Sen. Obama's comments are no different from what John Edwards alluded to earlier in his campaign about "two Americas." He was not labeled unpatriotic or elitist by his competitors. The Clinton camp has faced so much controversy these days (not least of which Sen. Clinton's repeated Bosnia LIE) that they have opted to go for the jugular on what is essentially a non-issue. The Clinton campaign's less than discreet efforts to inject race into these elections should be viewed as a far more serious issue than a misconstrued comment about discontent in rural America.

    April 12, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  4. ann

    There is a problem here. Every time Barack say something the media is always analyzing his words and runs with it. When Hillary says something and she says "her words were mistated and she didn't get enough sleep and it is alright. Her and her husband has made 109 million dollars since 2000. Her and husband do not know how it really feels for someone to lose their jobs, house in foreclosure, and etc. I think the american people need to look at the Clintons for who they are. They don't care about the minority in this country. They are looking out for themselves. Bill is wealthy, Hillary is wealthy, and of course Chelsea is well to do. The people needs to put someone in office that can relate to the people needs.

    April 12, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |

    why are people so easily offended at the truth yes he could have worded it better but the bottom line remains the same times are hard people are bitter i know i am at times everything he says the media pounces on it like a lion in wait bur it is clearly ok for sen clinton and her husband do tag team lying matches and where is the outage sen clinton when that phone rings at 3am who will answer you or bill and if you happen to answer and it is a crisis will you cry about it or lie about it......better yet dont answer the phone let it ring america would be better off if you did.......mad as hell in kc

    April 12, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. cc4obama

    Give old Bill time...he'll put his foot in is mouth again. He can't resist! After all, he's over 60, so he won't remember that Hillary told him to "chill out".

    April 12, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  7. Brenda

    I listen to Bill Clintons speech today, It seems as though he's potraying Hillary Clinton as the change candidate. Is Hillary Clinton changing her position to the change candidate from the experience candidate. Hillary needs more than that to become the Democrat Nominee, she needs a miracle. Both Mccain&Hillary are affraid of Obama. He will be the next President of the United States of America.

    April 12, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. Disgusted


    April 12, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. Pete, Pa

    The survey said 81% of American feel the economy is headed in the wrong direction. Could some of those American live in small town America? 71% of American fell worst off than 4 year ago could this lead to frustration and bitterness? Obama hit the nail on the head. We need a President that will tell you want you need to hear, not what you want to hear. The truth sometimes hurt, but nerveless it is the truth.

    vote for change OBAMA 08!!

    April 12, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. Deborah Morales

    The good senator has said that he mistated and has apologized.

    Is Hillard trying to use this as a life raft for her sinking ship?

    How many times did Obama comment on her shortcomings during the past week?

    Hillary will try to milk this as much as she can, but it won't work. We have friends in PA rural land who strongly agree with Obama.

    April 12, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  11. Penn State

    ....antipathy to people who aren't like them...?

    So does this mean that the people of Pennsylvania are racist against people who are not like them? Who are these people that are not like the people of Pennsylvania? Obama needs to choose his words carefully. Look up the word antipathy people before you get angry at my comment people. The people of Pennsylvania are being called racist right now.

    April 12, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. O holy Cow...

    That is not even CLOSE to what was actually said... Gotta hand it to Clintonians – they sure do know how to TWIST words... That put my independant vote right over – to Obama...

    April 12, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  13. Independent

    Obama BOMBED! ,,,,,,,, No other way to put it.

    Wasn't HE the one a few months ago that said, "words DON'T matter?"

    I think he's going to feel the impact of his words from his latest mindless ramblings.

    April 12, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  14. jay

    When I get bitter I pray that the Clinton's will just go away before I go and get my gun!!

    April 12, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  15. Ziggy

    Now I know why this country and its people have always been screwed up by its government , be it a demopcratic or a Republican one. The reason is simple, the american people does not like to be told the truth. It is true that we americans from small town or big town, are bitter like hell, and instead of facing our leaders like Clinton or McCain who lie to us everyday, we get diverted by them to guns and religion issues. We have been so manipulated by politicians that we do not know where our economic problems are coming from. So we keep on voting on a platform of guns, religion, abortion, gay marriage issues, because we are told that's where our problems are coming from. Finally we have someone, Obama, who is telling us where our reals problems are coming from, and how to address them, but we don't like the truth, because we are used to being lied to.

    April 12, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. Laurence, N.N.,VA

    Of course not! He knows better! Your false crisis didn't work the way you thought it would did it? "Obama attacks small town america." Please! Hillary and McCain gonna wish they hadn't touched this one. People aren't as dumb as you thought they were huh CNN? What's the word?! Obama '08

    April 12, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  17. Buck Burris

    There are some fat cat politicians who are not frustrated, not bitter, but those who have been betrayed by the government those politicians made have every right to be so. Those who have seen their job vanish, those who cann't find deccent paying work, they have a right to be bitter. Some who have been hit hard by the Iraq war might well be aasking what it has gotten them. We know who supported it. the votes are on record. We laugh bitterly at the pretense to have opposed it when the votes were for it were clear. They were even followed up by votes for Kyl-Lieberman. Now any guilty of that caannot pretend to intelligernt people that they were opposed to war and more war.
    But aalthoughg we can spend billions upon billions for a war we do not want and was never justified, we see cuts in all needed social programs - even in those for our wounded veterans. If you are not bitter about that, you should be!

    April 12, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  18. Lee From Treasure Island Florida

    That's right, we're all surviving just fine as we get kicked out of our homes and they are foreclosed. The company we work for moves overseas with Clinton tax breaks(NAFTA). The health care cost we can't afford keeps us from going to the doctors. We juggle month to month which bills to pay – pay the high cost energy bills or pay cut throat gas prices or buying food with rising economy cost, while our 'responsible' credit goes down the toilet. But the government bails out the Banks & Lenders. Almost 20 years not a President did anything about alternative fuel, yet Kennedy put a man on the moon in less than half that time! But our present administration, and former Clinton let the lobbyist and the oil companies rule the day, and rake in record profits, causing us to be dependent on foreign oil. But, We will survive. But you are wrong Mr Hendrickson, America is frustrated, and bitter. And you can tell Hillary and McCain the same. Mr. Obama words rang true, no matter how you twist them, he did not lie, he did not belittle, he did not cast shame. You do though, when you think we are so naive. Not this time. Not this time. Not this time. Enough is Enough.

    April 12, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
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