April 12th, 2008
11:15 AM ET
15 years ago

Clinton: Obama's 'bitter' remarks 'demeaning'


Watch Sen. Clinton respond to the controversy surrounding Sen. Obama's recent comments.

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (CNN) - Hillary Clinton sought on Saturday to fan the flames surrounding Barack Obama's controversial assertion that voters in some small towns are "bitter."

Clinton told an audience of automotive workers here that she was "taken aback by the demeaning remarks Sen. Obama made about people in small town America."

"Sen. Obama's remarks are elitist and out of touch," she said. "they are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans, certainly not the Americans I know, not the Americans I grew up with, not the Americans I lived with in Arkansas or represent in New York."

Clinton aides said they planned to make Obama's comments central to their message on the campaign trail this weekend. The New York senator will campaign across Indiana Saturday, and will return to Pennsylvania on Sunday.

In a soft-spoken denunciation of her Democratic rival that lasted several minutes, Clinton played up her own faith and Midwestern roots before attacking point by point Obama's claims that people who feel disenfranchised in small town America "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."

"Americans who believe in God believe it's a matter of personal faith," she said, to periodic applause. "People of faith I know don't cling to religion because they are bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor but because they are spiritually rich."

On the issue of guns, Clinton said: "People of all walks of life hunt, and they enjoy doing do because its an important part of their life, not because they are bitter."

"I don't think it helps to divide our country into one America that is enlightened and one that is not," Clinton continued, finishing her remarks with a line she introduced on Friday in Philadelphia after the story broke: "People don't need a president who looks down on them. They need a president who stands up for them, and that's exactly what I will do."

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Karen Baker

    Pennsylvanians Bitter? How about Barak's preacher and his wife remarks? That's what I call bitter!

    April 12, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Lisa

    Hillary you are out of touch, you think that everyone is delighted to serve you and your campaign's needs without paying the small businessmen and women. There are lots of bitter, angry people working at jobs, who are losing pensions after loyalty with their employers –and Bill gets to enjoy a 8 million pension on the backs of the hard working people. Do you think the shy, polite immigrant workers doing cleaning are not bitter when they go home to the housing that they are being ripped off on? Do you think that the military men and women are not bitter and angry when they provide service to this country at the risk of their lives, and their families survive on foodstamps. When the service member returns home they are being denied medical and psychological services – and guess what McCain "the hero" refuses to stand by veterans by supporting the GI bill. Hillary and McCain are the ones who are out of touch and you can feel the brew stirring, and a lot of resentment from people who keep getting used.

    April 12, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Maggie VT

    Evan B what did Hillary promise you??? VP I bet!!!! I don't believe what Hillary Clinton says. I believe Barack was telling the truth and that is more than Hillary has done or Bill Clinton has done. No Obama didn't say the right words but that doesn't make him what you say he is. He told people the truth. This country is hurting, the people in this counrty are hurting. Do I believ Hillary will turn the country around? NO!!! She is the old politics of time, she lives in the past, the country has changed since Bill Clinton was president. You can't go back and no matter how much she talks about the "yester years", it can't work. That was then and this is now. Do you think just because the Saudi's gave Bill millions for his library, the will give us cheap oil? They haven't given Bush any cheap oil.

    No Hillary, Obama is not what you are. He is what you wish he was. I hope people wake up before April 22.

    April 12, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. scott from ny

    During the Bush Clinton Bush administrations hundreds of plants have moved overseas leaving million bitter at their their elected offfical because they have done nothing for them because they wre to busy spending trillions on Iraq or giving work to other countries through nfta. Bitter is putting it lightly when you have years making a company money and one day your working and earninig world is shattered along with future of your loving family. Obama is telling like it is. We expose the problem and get real what is happening before making a honest change. Insanity is voting for the same old people in Washington and expecting a change in policy. Obama is the only hope for sanity.

    April 12, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. Alston

    Hillary and her cronies have nothing else to cling onto ..

    Watch her harp on this nonsense for weeks to come

    April 12, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. Lisa

    Hillary has a problem with comprehension – if this is how she interprets comments, how is she going to effectively deal with foreign nations. She would misrepresent what they say as well.

    April 12, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Sharon Minnesota

    Just one note here. Since we are now looking at the demise of Barack Obama's campaign, please don't give up on electing an African American president in the future.

    Obama is not a good representative of the Black community. He's more to the left than he should be and has listened to a hate mongering pastor for 20 years without really hearing his message (or so he says). Radical is my judgement of Obama not Uniting as he claims.

    Hillary Clinton has the best ideas on how to bring us together as Americans of all races, colors and faiths.

    April 12, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. Sara

    Day by day, I dislike this woman more and more. Give it a break.
    Obama 08'

    April 12, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. applecrispbetty

    Please get back to attacking McCain, Mrs. former first lady. He's
    the guy Barack has to beat. He's already beaten you.

    April 12, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. marcy

    I think Obama speaks the way that ordinary people speak. He hasn't learned the political "DoubleSpeak" yet. I hope not ever! Everyone knows exactly what he means but the other candidates TWIST it to THEIR benefit! I for one AM SICK OF IT! Just like when you say "I hate the war in Iraq!",what that means in "DoubleSpeak" is "I DON'T BACK THE TROOPS!" PLEASEEEEEEEEEE! Is no one else sick of the press and fellow running mates making up LIES so they don't have to talk about the REAL issues?!? My husband is so mad at the government that he keeps saying,"At least we still have our guns!" Because more and more OUR government is letting us down. Our government is TOO big. It only runs on money! Money talks! Ask the lobbyists! Please lets keep our eye on the ball and vote someone in who will work for US and U.S., not just their own pockets!

    April 12, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Justin

    note: I meant last election, not last year, in my previous comment CNN probably didn't post

    April 12, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. one of a generation of steel workers

    Hillarious you have "roots" to play up in every part of the country don't you. We just heard you play up (emphasis on play) your pennsylvania roots.Perhaps that's why you're sounding more & more fragmented.

    April 12, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. Amy

    Of course she is fanning the truth because she has no substance. It is funny that while she is criticizing Obama she is using his lines her speeches.

    If she was in touch with the people of this country she would have said what he did in the beginning. She needs to get out while there is still a shred of respect for her left.

    April 12, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Grams

    What's demeaning is Hillary Clinton, laughing at her own lies! This is a big joke to her and I for one am no longer willing to take it!

    6 weeks ago I voted for her...I admit I was wrong! That is why I just sent $200 to Obama's campaign! The young people are right...it was us old people that elected Bush 1 & 2, and Reagan and Nixon and Clinton. It's time for a new and better way!

    Of my 7 grandkids that can vote all are voting for Obama...Thank God!

    I love America and I love Barack Obama!!

    April 12, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Patrick Blackmon

    If Obama gets the nod from gullible democrat superdelegates – remember, HE CAN'T WIN WITHOUT THEM EITHER – he will be crushed in the general election!!!!! I am a Hillary supporter and I will not only vote for McCain if Slick Willy Obama gets the gets nomination, I will even actually CAMPAIGN for McCain. At this point I don't even care about the Supreme Court nominations McCain will probably get. I was beginning to warm up to Obama but I steadfastly refuse to consider him anymore. He talks out of both sides of his mouth. I am gay and I have had issues with my country but I have always been and always will be a PROUD AMERICAN. America kept Western Europe safe from a Soviet tank invasion during the Cold War. How did Michelle Obama and Jeremiah Wright not remember that!!??

    April 12, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Very Bitter

    HRC is demeaning me by her remarks. I am bitter at how my government has done nothing for the people for decades. They are all too busy lining their pockets and sucking up to corporations. Who said there is no free lunch? Not Trent. All of them eat high on the hog, have great medical insurance, travel and monthly expense accounts triple what most of us have to try to get by on for a year. And the biggest slap in the face is our tax dollars fund all of it.

    April 12, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. hibbiejibbie

    Ohhhhh please!!!! Hillary and McCain have one common enemy right now and that's Obama! Obama is the real deal and everyone knows it! They both see he's the clear shot winner and they will prance on any opportunity to try and bring the man down – even by trying to twist, distort or magnify something he mentioned. Honestly, i can understand McCain pulling something like this – he's on the other side! BUT for the life of me, why is Hillary trying to destroy her very own party?! She will stop at nothing to win even if it means dragging down her own party along with her. She manipulative, selfish and patronising and this is the very reason i will not vote for her. She needs to work on her character, she is not painting a picture of someone who I can trust ? she is painting the picture of desperation!

    April 12, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. ben

    Does the Clinton campaign have anything positive to say about Hillary?
    Is their only hope to win the nomination based on saying Obama says
    dumber things than she does? She shrugs off her gaffs by saying that hours of campaigning and the constant stress cause her to say things
    she wouldn't normaly say.
    Obama has not been subjected to the same stress as she has? No. He has been campaigning in a vacuum. Or is it because she is a woman and they are allowed to misspeak because they get tired more quickly than men?

    April 12, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. E

    Obama was right!
    Obama should relate to poor people more than Clinton. HRC family made more money than the president of the United States. Why aren't the poor bitter about that? O BY THE WAY WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BOSNIA, PENN, BILL'S CONNECTION TO COLUMBIA, NAFTA, HER BAD IRAQ RECORD, and BILL CALLING HRC "OLD" AND "TIRED".

    April 12, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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