INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (CNN) -– Sen. Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton’s top backer in the May 6 primary state of Indiana, argued Saturday that superdelegates need to evaluate Barack Obama’s “bitter” remarks when deciding who to back for the Democratic nomination.
“I think it’s a real potential political problem and it’s something for superdelegates and voters to think about,” said Bayh, who was made available to reporters by the Clinton campaign to speak about the controversy.
“The far right wing has a very good track record of using things like this relentlessly against our candidates, whether its Al Gore or John Kerry,” Bayh said, “I’m afraid this is the kind of fodder they might use to harm him.”
The popular Indiana senator said Republicans were able to tarnish Kerry’s war record and turn Gore into a “serial fibber,” and predicted they will “use this to damage Barack, the Democratic party, and ultimately frustrate the change that we need in this country.”
Asked if there was some truth to Obama’s remarks, made at a San Francisco fundraiser last Sunday, Bayh acknowledged there is “frustration and some justifiable anger” in America because of economic hard times.
But Bayh disagreed with Obama’s depiction of economically downtrodden Pennsylvanians, a characterization Clinton called “elitist and out of touch" in her own remarks earlier in the day.
“I think you’re on dangerous ground when you morph that into suggesting that people’s cultural values, whether its religion or hunting and fishing or concerns about trade, are premised solely upon those of kind of anxieties and don’t have a legitimate foundation independent of them,” Bayh said.
- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby