April 12th, 2008
05:07 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama: If I offended, I deeply regret that

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/12/art.bo04122nd.ap.jpg caption="In an interview with a North Carolina paper Saturday, Sen. Obama tried to quell the controversy around his recent remarks."]
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Barack Obama said Saturday that if he has offended people with comments he made almost a week ago where he labeled small town Pennsylvanians "bitter" and that they "cling to guns and religion" then he regrets it.

"Obviously, if I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that," Obama said in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal, according to a transcript provided by his campaign.

"The underlying truth of what I said remains, which is simply that people who have seen their way of life upended because of economic distress are frustrated and rightfully so," he told the North Carolina newspaper. "And I hear it all the time when I visit these communities."

Earlier in the day, Obama told an audience at a town hall meeting in Muncie, Indiana that he didn't word his comments "as well as he should have," but did not go as far as using the word "regret."

Obama first made the comments Sunday at a closed-press fundraiser in San Francisco.

Update with statement from McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds:

“Voters will reject his so-called truths that he still stands by. His remarks were false. The importance of our Second Amendment and our country’s longstanding history with faith and spirituality are born in history, not bitterness and frustration. His view is absolutely restricted by elitism.”

- CNN Political Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (216 Responses)
  1. carol

    wow, and the media was waiting such a moment to come. let's see how low this country is about to sink because either Obama made an honest mistake or just like they wanted. Now they will promote Hillary till the end game......c'mon now!

    April 12, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. Jane

    Barack Obama has lost my vote!!

    April 12, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. OR for Obama

    I don't understand what you said that was so horrible. To me it is just another low blow tactic by the desperate want to be. I feel sorry for her. What a joke she will be to america if everytime the going gets tough she slam blast some foriegn country for not letting her have her way. To me she is the perfect example of a wealthy spoiled brat.
    I also feel if she is going to continue to comment on how things were so wonderful for america when her and bill ran the white house in the 90's, then I think we should take into consideration his policies as well as hers. Let me see...NAFTA, Columbia..etc.

    April 12, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. joe

    If he is running for the presidency, then I expect him to make mistakes now and when he gets the job. Simple reason,
    He is human and that is a fact!

    April 12, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  5. Ron

    Taking the heat isn't fun? what happens when Sen Obama is going to be president? anything said would deemed as racial. How can something like this become the president. Its not about speaches its about action. Atleast when you are giving a speach say the right thing please..

    April 12, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. FrankSmith

    For the uneducated Hillary supporters, here are other words that you can easily use in place of "bitter" if you have been harmed:

    hostile (as the Clinton supporters might want to feel when Obama gets the nomination)
    cheated (as Hillary feels about Monica)
    strong feelings

    Let us not waste time on words because Hillary says words are "empty; only solutions matter." I love you, just simple words!!

    April 12, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Ken

    All what Obama said is true and the people funding him had a right to know his progress. He is on the campaign trail and I expect him to realize or get certain impression with different people. Anything less is utterly wrong!

    Obama 08,12!

    April 12, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. JN

    The other thing I want to say is why does Barack always have to apologize for everthing he says...Billary lies to all of us and do we ever hear her say she's sorry...How about the Bosnia lie, travelgate, the war, the fake insurance story. Why is she excused from telling the world she is sorry...Because she isn't...

    April 12, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. Tom in MA

    Spin it Obama! Your only regret is getting caught. Both your words and your intent were perfectly clear. People caught in bad circumstances can be bitter but the rest of what you said was pure garbage and demeaning to small town people for so many reasons.

    April 12, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. Suzie Applebee

    McCain and Hillary... get over yourselves! Oh that's right.. you two have NEVER said anything that didn't come out quite right! HA!!

    OBAMA '08 obama '08 OBAMA '08 obama '08 OBAMA '08!!!

    April 12, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. Hillary 08

    OBAMA IS LYING!!! Yesterday he was blasting McCain and Hillary and had nothing to apolygize about for his demaning comments on small town America.


    April 12, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Truth Hurts

    Tucker, leave it to the voters, Kapish?

    April 12, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Cindy, PA

    He is right! we are bitter....you still have my vote

    Because at least you didn't lie about it. I rather have someone who tells it like it is. Then someone I can not trust with lies after lies when SHE is talking.

    April 12, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. April 2008

    OMG, there was nothing offensive about his comments and what he said was true. Hillary is very good at twisting his comments for her advantage. McCain to the opportunity of that as well. Apologies is not what The Clintons and McCain can understand.

    April 12, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. disappointed

    No duplication with my comment at all, so I bet CNN will not print it because its a Clinton Negitive.............she has been caught lieing but it seems the media has more with the word bitterness than showing all the Clinton Lies

    April 12, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  16. Eddie

    This has got to be a new low,when he said bitter he is trying to give understanding to how people are feeling . He is not making fun of or being disrespectful of Americans,But what he should have said was people are mad as hell!!!

    April 12, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. Bitter Voter

    Boy! This is poliics at its worst! You can tell desparation when people twist and misinterpret every little thing you say!

    April 12, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Texas

    What do you expect him to feel – this is what he experience with Rev. Wright. People get bitter and cling on to their guns or religion.

    April 12, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. andrew

    OK...so Obama gets into some turmoil for speaking the truth and Billary just keeps on lying.

    April 12, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. Ruben

    Yes, I am "bitter" and I am "frustrated". I'm glad someone has realized that many Americans feel this way.

    April 12, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. Grif

    Nickel's & Dimes... Have you really got that much Change in You? I doub't it.

    April 12, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. Adam

    Bitter didn't offend me. I am angry and bitter about so many things, these past 8 years especially. Obama hit it right on the head. Clinton's got it all wrong. And so does McCain.

    April 12, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. JULIE MN

    what he means is, I regret it ONLY if it costs me votes! Obama is ANTI-AMERICAN....

    April 12, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. Bussta Brown

    Well McCain probably knows an elitist when he sees one since he an the Republican party have held that title for what seems like a lifetime.

    April 12, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Joseph from AZ

    No matter how many times Obama has to clarify what he said, some people are dumb and ignorant to face the treality....goooo ObAmA...

    April 12, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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