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. David, Silver Spring MD

    People don't need a president who thinks they're idiots. People don't need a president who thinks people are sheep, happily living half the life they could as long as there's a Democrat in the White House. People don't need a president who thinks they can be placated with bread and circuses, with guns and flag day parades while the fat cats enjoy vacations in Europe and winters in the Cayman Islands. People don't need a president who claims to be a "fighter" while promoting trade deals that destroy their jobs and their children's hopes for the future. People don't need a president who claims to be one of them while raking in tens of millions each year advising groups how to get richer by exploiting the American taxpayer.

    People don't need Hillary Clinton.

    April 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. chuks

    Why are those who back hilary Clinton twist any little statement that obama makes? is it because they so behind on the delegate count? i know if the shoe is on the other feet i think they will be having a party.

    Just understand hilary that its time you back out of this race and do yourself good and lets look foward to novermelection with obama.

    April 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. Eric-PA

    Perhaps people are bitter for losing their jobs, but it is wrong to say then that these people turn to guns and religion because of the bitterness. I heard Obama yesterday or today say that he meant that people will not vote on economic issues and insteas will vote on gun rights issues. lol. Whatever. Too bad he didn't say that to the crowd in California.

    April 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. Someone

    You know what is demeaning?
    Listenning to hillary..

    April 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. Gail

    I found it demeaning way back when Hillary was First Lady, and said she wasn't going to be home baking cookies in the White House. I would think that there would be some other women out there that chose to stay home and raise their children who found that comment to be a little offensive. I think that comment has helped form my opinion of her. I will not support her.

    April 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Lilarose in Oregon

    About the FLDS situation:

    Surely the women who have given birth to the 400+ children now in protective custody have also lost babies, either as stillborns or shortly after birth. Where are those babies' bodies?

    Also, are any of the 400+ children now in protective custody disabled or disfigured? If not, wouldn't you think that some births would result in disfigurements (especially since there is alleged inbreeding)? If so, then were those babies killed for not being "perfect?"

    I think these are questions both the authorities working with this situation AND the media should address.

    I also believe that anything goes concerning this situation. Nothing should be considered impossible or improbable.

    How about it, CNN?

    April 12, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. Ian in Seattle

    What is demeaning to the American people is the Clinton campaign's tone and demeanor. Does she really think that people who have been out of work for 10 years, who were given an empty promise by the first Clinton administration that they'd be fully trained for tech jobs, who have been completely ignored by this Bush administration really aren't bitter? She really thinks they harbor no bitterness to the government that has neglected them for so long except during election season?

    THAT is out of touch. THAT is elitist thinking. Don't worry middle America, more of the same is on the way.

    April 12, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. Swannie

    one would think Obama might remember what this famous person said??

    Abraham Lincoln

    April 12, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Al

    Hillary please! You better start planning how you're going to spin the fact that you and your husband support Colombian free trade. Who insults the American people more than you. You are for the people when it benefits you and only then. I say $109 million, part of which came from free trade deals, certainly puts you further away from the average person than a comment that you twist to your own benefit. I, for one, am smart enough to comprehend what he meant.

    Get out of the gutter. I would not vote for you if there was no one else running!

    April 12, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. elizabeth

    There is some stupid people in the world. There is alot of bitter people in the world because of the economy and they are losing everything they work hard for President Bush got the world in an uproar, people are losing their jobs, people who are not in that situation would not understand because they feel they have it all together. But remember the shoes can always be on your foot too. Would you be bitter or happy for everything you work hard for. Learn to listen and understand before you judge what he was saying because it can always be you too.

    April 12, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Mary

    Give me a Break. Obama is just trying to say what so many of us ordinary
    citizens feel. For Hillary and the rest , they don't even understand what
    he was trying to say. Guess, she is like the rest of them that have been in Washington politics too long. They forgot what it is like to be just an ordinary citizen trying to make a DECEIT WAGE AND SUPPORT THEIR FAMILY. SHAME ON YOU, HILLARY CLINTON.

    April 12, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Lucas Hart

    Bye Bye Obama!!

    April 12, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Jose Rodriguez

    Obama's bus tour of rural Pennsylvania really exposed him to the "White trash". He spoke truthfully about them. They are backward for a reason. Obama's opinion is not elitist but honest. We should praise him and not pounce on him for these truthful comments.

    Arlington, TX

    April 12, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Marie

    Hillary has got to be the most divisive person ever created. I don't believe for one minute that Obama is pious or out of touch. On the contrary, He grew up poor, of mixed race, and abandoned by his father. If anyone has ever experienced any of these conditions, they'll understand that there is an ingrained empathy for the struggling that is within Obama.

    I think it's ok for the candidate's motivations for running for president be tested. But I think Hillary and McCain's should be tested as well. Somehow, I just don't think we'd get the entire truth from Hillary though.

    April 12, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Swing State Maniac

    Hillary cant win the nomination , whatever she says unless she believes in miracles not math like Huckabee. But what worries me is how she want to tear down Obama for the Republicans to win in November. Thats just plain arrogance on her part. She is out of touch with Americans

    April 12, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Bond_dallas

    Demeaning? The man is telling the truth,,, try that Hillary. Hillary is talking about NAFTA while she is making behind door deals for $800,000. That is what superdelegates are looking at.

    Oh please Clintonites,,, Obama said the truth. A lot of people are bitter. Absolutely bitter,,, and by the way, the reason the economy is in bad shape is because of the policies Bill Clinton and Hillary put together during the Clinton years. We are now feeling the effects of allowing China join the WTO and we are now feeling the effects of NAFTA.

    Only people not smart enough to see this will vote for her.

    April 12, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. I hate Billary

    yeah, we're bitter from the down-turn of economy. Thanks to you, MccBush and Billary!!! Take everything from us and get the money from the lobbysts for Nafta and columbian trade, Billary! should we feel happy now? what did Obama say so wrong? he told the truth, nothing offensive in his words, I don't get your point. I am more upset with you Billary, because you don't even kow that we're suffering and bitter!!!!!! Making 100 mill doesn't relate us to you for certain!

    April 12, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. Truth

    At least he did not lie like Clinton did. If the republicans want to use it they can go ahead. It is better than a chronic liar.

    At least we all know Mccain is OLD. That is not a misstatement.

    April 12, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. TK, Dallas, TX

    Perhaps Obama need to take a cue from hillary. When hillary gets in a bind because of somehting said all she have to do is "giggle" about it and it goes away. Gigggles are magic when you lie about snipers in Bosnia giggle about it when questioned and it goes away the media will stop asking you questions about it. From now all Obama have to do is giggle it works for hillary.

    April 12, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. Ed Barczak

    Bill Schnieder did a poor job in saying what Obama meant about clinging to their "guns" and religion. Schnieder said "they have hunting that they will do"; give me a break. What Obama meant was that they cling to their guns for committing crimes. Had he meant hunting, he would have said that they feed their family with their guns.
    Its funny, Obama has such good judgement, that he had the good judgement to pick people who are able to decipher what he meant.
    Thanks to his good judgement, he has was able to degrade the people of Pennsylvania and other small towns, and still live to insult others.

    April 12, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  21. Wyatt

    Bitter? No Hillery they should be dancing in the streets at YOUR comment that "they will roll up their sleeves." Hay, out of touch Hillery, THEIR SLEEVES HAVE BEEN ROLLED UP FOR A DECADE AND THEY STILL HAVE NOTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO BUT A SECOND JOB AT WALLMART OF McDONNALDS!

    April 12, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Kate, Atlanta

    I think she should make a central part of her campaign why she AND her husband continue to lie about that trip to Bosnia – the SD's should definately take that into consideration.

    April 12, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. JN

    To add : I wonder how many Ohioans and Texans would want their votes back now knowing you lied about Nafta...Before papers came out..."I don't support NAFTA" Papers come out that say you had 5 meetings about NAFTA before your good ole hubby approved it!!! Explain that demeaing lie...will you Billary?

    Still ducking from sniper fire????

    April 12, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. TX

    Shame on Obama for making the most recent remarks about small town people. People need to wake-up and just face the truth about Obama. He is scary and we cannot trust him to run this great country we live in. If Obama is the nominee I and many others will have to vote for McCain or not vote in November. GO Hillary, please keep fighting for the nomination. I cannot believe how anyone can vote for Obama knowing he is a big fake.

    April 12, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. Nadithjr

    Hillary you are out of touch with public and I don't think you have a chance against McCain and the hate that will be waged against you and Bill in the general election. I have been a diehard Democrat for as long as I could vote, 25 years now. If Clinton is the canidate for the Dem. party I will not vote for her or McCain, I rather just not vote.

    April 12, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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