April 12th, 2008
05:07 PM ET
13 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. Paul T

    So Clinton and McCain jump on the attack and twist Obama's words to suit their political ambition because they don't have anything to offer on their own except for their flip-flops and lies. This is another perfect example why we need to elect someone like Obama.

    April 12, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. Thierry Platt

    This man is simply a breadth of fresh air. This man will be president. You can't fight destiny. He is destined and simply the chosen one. All this so called dirty politics will have no effect on this man.

    April 12, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |

    No apology is necessary....Doesn't anyone recognize the truth any more?? I'm dizzy from the spin coming from the desperate Clinton camp and McCain is just as ridiculous. Thank God an honest man will be the next president. OBAMA 2008

    April 12, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Terry

    What he said is true. Only Republicans and their ilk would say otherwise. A far cry from blatant lies about sniper fire...

    April 12, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. Jan, DC

    With this addition, the last 8 ticker posts now have the word "bitter" in them. Surely there has been SOME talk today about the issues that really matter?

    April 12, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. USAF Sr. Airman

    Apology not needed. All this has been brought up, by the Clinton Camp. as a (poor) attempt to distract everyone from Hillary's many recent blunders.

    April 12, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. bk

    I bet Jack Cafferty can't wait to defend Obama tomorrow and say something ugly about Hillary. Jack may as well endorse Obama. To Jack Obama can do no wrong.

    April 12, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Kevin

    I honestly dont have anything against Obama while at the same time, i quite dont understand how he can get us out of the mess we are in. He is a orator there is no doubt about that but with Hilary i am sure power will change hands. Obama should agree to work hand in hand with Hilary if he truthfully love his country. He has made name and still making it.

    April 12, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Wow...

    This whole thing makes me really angry. What Obama said was perfectly fine. He is winning, Clinton is not and so she felt the need to attack him and twist his words completely out of context.

    Hillary Clinton is a disgusting human being.

    April 12, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Lou

    I think you all are making mountains out of mole hills here. The media just doesn't want this race to end, with it's record setting viewership. He was gaining fast in Pennsylvania, so lets see if we can stretch this thing out a bit more...hey cnn?

    April 12, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. E. Ader

    Liz to Hillary, "Knock it off".

    April 12, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Former NoDak

    Put a mirror on sterotypes...

    April 12, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. Obama Nation

    Will your silver tongue get you out of this?...if I ever said annything that offended anyone, I deeply regret it. There...now I don't have to worry about any of my past behavior.

    April 12, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. gg.va

    People don’t like to hear the Truth anymore. We all got used to be lied to. So when we actually hear the truth we get offended by it.

    April 12, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. andre

    I think the media will do anything to turn this primary election around in hillary clintons favor.As soon as the Illinois senator starts to make up some ground,here comes another controversy.Clearly small town people are bitter.Maybe if President Clinton and his lovely wife did not orchestrate the NAFTA deal sending jobs to other countries we would not be having this debate.

    April 12, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. That's Reality

    It seems that Obama is the one who joined a church out of bitterness and frustration when one considers his choice of pastor and mentor. Perhaps he thinks that is the only reason someone would be interested in faith or joining a church, but I doubt that is the reason the people he was referring to have faith and guns.

    April 12, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. Jonze

    Clinton News Network is in full effect. Eight "stories" about the singular topic when the Clinton Camp is pushing all of it's surrogates to push this story at all costs (hoping for a Dean Scream of their own) and CNN seemingly does what they are told.

    April 12, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  18. MG

    Geez, he's just being honest!

    Go obama

    April 12, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. gh

    Great job CNN at attacking Sen.Obama and giving Sen. Clinton enormous "Live" positive coverage. No favortism there! You gave a "live Broadcast" of Hillary Clinton's rally speech. While you only gave a snip-it of Sen.Obama's purposely making him look demeaning. Please show his entire speech also. I am very dissappointed in you CNN. You are usually pretty fair.

    April 12, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  20. Jean

    We had to expect the Clintons to raise some issue to take attention away from President Clinton's gaff on Bosnia. No need to apologize. You said it right!

    April 12, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  21. Gubby

    Obama is a media man. He has so much of money, he could buy any channel including CNN and MSNBC.

    April 12, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. John Richard

    Once again the media and politicans have made a big deal out of nothing. Can we stick to the issue?

    April 12, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  23. joel

    Hmmmm.... heremustbe some truth somewhere... but a man that is married to a woman worth over $100 milion can hardly talk about eltism..

    April 12, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  24. Tom

    How sad that in the greatest country in the world, with the greatest system of government, our politics have been lowered to candidates trying to capitalize on wording like this event. Does the Clinton campaign have anything going on other than constantly attacking others and trying to put negative spin on everything they do?

    April 12, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. rick

    I think Clinton and McCain should be worrying as to what is going on with the war and the economy rather than following every thing Obama says and does, maybe they would be in the lead in most of the polls instead of him.

    April 12, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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