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. Arthur-Texas

    You are a big fat liar Obama.....

    April 12, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. Gubby

    If this was anything with with Hillary, by this time we would have seen thousands of comments putting her down. No one can make any adverse comments on Obama. He is highly previlaged by all blogs.

    April 12, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. James

    Clinton and McCain should be ashamed of the way they are taking everything out of context and fanning flames with nonsense. If anyone is out of touch, it is those two, who have spent their whole lives with Silver Spoons in their mouths.

    April 12, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. PK

    Please get rid of such people from this nation

    April 12, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. Nathan

    Im very affended by Barack Obama's remarks. He a very radical liberal and a typical lying politivian. He will never get my vote or my families vote.

    April 12, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. perfect

    Hundreds of pro-Obama bloggers posting how he did not misspeak, and/or how refreshing there was a candidate that was not going to claim he misspoke or was tired...

    And now Obama has tried to explain it as mis spesking 3 or 4 different ways.

    That is just too funny.

    April 12, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Elle

    Regret does not equal an appology !

    April 12, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. Frank

    This is the 10th article on the bitter non-story. Truly fine journalism. Where was the ticker for the Bosnia sniper incident or John McCain's violation of campaign spending limits?

    April 12, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. Cowboy Jack

    Should this be called: BitterGate or SmallTownGate?

    April 12, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. Mark

    I can't believe people are making such a big deal out of this.

    Since when does one speak the truth and gets burned for it?

    Hillary has been constantly lying, decieving, dodging or laughing off potentially damaging questions and enquiries...yet, a significant number of voters still want to vote for her. Why?

    Really, I fail to see how ANYONE would want this corrupt puppet as a president.

    April 12, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. Bitter Voter

    At least he is man enough to apologize, although I don't see the need to do so.

    April 12, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  12. C. Johnson

    "if I worded?" What an apology.

    April 12, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  13. Independent Now for Integrity and humility in Politics = Obama

    It's sad that everyone knows what Obama meant and can agree with those sentiments, yet people like Hillary Clinton who is a fellow democrat is trying to knock down Obama any way she can. She makes me sick and should go to hell

    April 12, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  14. Peg

    This is ridiculous! It truly shows how the length of this campaign is dragging on far too long. Every little word is disected. It needs to be over and if stupid people are offended by Obama's comments, then they deserve to have 4 more years of Bush by voting for McCain.

    April 12, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. Emma, Australia

    The last eight ticker entries have been about this.

    ... seriously?

    Slow news weekend?

    April 12, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. axt113

    Sorry Tucker his statements were dead on, people when they lose jobs and lose their livliehood tend to hold on to what is still solid in their lives, what they feel they still have some control over. Their faith and their family and issues like gun ownership for hunting and defense become more important to them in those times

    April 12, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  17. Laurie Johnston

    I'm confused. When Sen. Obama tells the truth it becomes the death nell for his campaign according to Clinton but when she tells lie after lie and continues to have entanglements that are completely unacceptable, og Ickes and Penn, she suddenly becomes the "go to" candidate! Unbelievable is all I can say to that!!

    April 12, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  18. Rob

    I don't trust this guy at all. He has been very affected by Rev Wright and thinks it is ok to sterotype people. The more his campaign goes on the more unappealing he gets. He has no "change" he has lies, which are starting to leak out.

    Hillary Clinton for President

    April 12, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. Nita

    This whole story on "bitter" is so over the top. What a waste of time for the Clintons to TRY to make something of this. He spoke the truth. Isn't that what America wants, a President that tells the truth??

    Obama 08!!!

    April 12, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Peter

    You say one thing in a closed fundraiser in San Francisco and something else on the stump in the Midwest. Go back to the Senate, Barack, and spend another 8 years growing up.

    April 12, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. Nick F.

    We are seeing one more example of the "politics of distraction." The big issues are war and peace, and the survival of humanity. Obama addresses those while so many others focus on "guns and religion" and are quick to exploit reactionary tendencies, insecurity and bitterness.

    April 12, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. Judith F.

    In the desperate battle to win votes, nearly anything can be turned into mud to throw. Many things can be suggested if words are quoted and discussed out of context. More petty tactics on the part of the opposition.

    April 12, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. I used to be a Democrat

    Obama its time to give up. You are not electable.

    April 12, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  24. Obama or Bust 08

    There is no need to apologize for teling the truth Senator Obama. America isn't accustomed to politicians who don't spin and distort as Hillary Clinton does. They have grown to accept the politics of destruction, so instead of contemplating what you said, they'd rather degrade you and your campaign.

    April 12, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  25. Tyler

    Clinton needs to make a new sign for all her un-educated voters on her podium stand for her next speech
    "You are not bitter"

    April 12, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
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