April 13th, 2008
10:40 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama: 'I didn't say it as well as I should have'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/04/13/obama.clinton/art.obama.afp.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Obama told a North Carolina newspaper if he offended anyone, he deeply regrets it."]

MUNCIE, Indiana (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama on Saturday tried to clarify what he meant when he said some small-town Pennsylvanians are "bitter" people who "cling to guns and religion."

"I didn't say it as well as I should have," Obama admitted in Muncie, Indiana, on Saturday, the day after he first defended his comments, "because the truth is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation - those are important."

The Illinois senator made the controversial comments at a California event that was closed to the media last Sunday.

Obama defended his point of view amid intensified criticism from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain that's he's elitist and out of touch.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. Tom,des moines

    Because that how his supporter r. They have so much hatred toward anyone that say anything about Hussein Obama,especially Hillary clionton family. All u,I and million of Hillary supporter can do is fighting back and make a donation to Hillary campaign. I know Hillary will win this thing by the end of june primary. Hillary poll is up in 9 out of 10 statest that r remain in primary contest. PLEASE, DONATE,,,,,,,,,,,,,DONATE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,DONATE,,,,,,,,,,,DONATE and DONATE to HILLARY CAMPAIGN NOW!

    April 13, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Dotty of Maryland

    I guess people would be upset when Obama said some Americans are bitter. Of course we are over joyed we are lossing our homes, of course we are thrill beyond believe that some us have lost our jobs, some have lost pensions and health and life insurance, some of us can not even get another job because there are none and this all started with the CLINTONS and NAFTA, WHO IN THE WORLD WOULD BE BITTER ABOUT THIS. We should get a cheering squad with banners saying. WE ARE NOT BITTER, WE ARE HAPPY about lossing everything Obama.

    April 13, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Brandon

    For those attacking him. Honestly ask yourself is what he said wrong? Don't take it out of context, read the full transcript. I think you will agree it's the honest truth that offends the overly sensitive.

    April 13, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. Ken C

    I hope that the Obama cult members um I mean supporters are enjoying the moment.McCain will dominate in the general election and then Obama will just be a memory never to be heard from again.

    Also, I don't think Obama will be sending refunds to the stupid, naive people giving him all of that money after his defeat.

    McCain '08

    April 13, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |

    When will Americans stop playing word games and realize a true man of the people (all american people both black and white) who doesnt play traditional political games that are designed to only further the plight of the rich.

    Clinton and McCain are treating you like little gulible children. How on earth can anyone be stupid enough to view Obama as being either an elitist or out-of touch when compared to the super-rich families of Clinton or McCain. Are we Americans really this STUPID?

    April 13, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. Christines

    No Barack Obama! You said it just the way you wanted to say it to the San Francisco elite!

    April 13, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. M. Powell

    Neither do I uderstand why when Hillary lies, Hillary supporters attack Obama.

    April 13, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Christines

    No Barack Obama! You said it just the way you wanted to say it to the San Francisco elite!

    April 13, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Ron

    HE SURE DID NOT...Now he is going to have to spend the next 2 to 5 days explaining what he really meant by the statement. As an American who works in the auto industry..learned the lastest technology..and now unable to find employment because American Car manufacturers are outsourcing the work to India, South Korea, or Brazil ( and soon China). HELL YES I AM BITTER..WHY you ask, because our companies have gotten MILLIONS of dollars in TAX write-offs to build technical centers in other countries just so that they can outsource our work. If they are going to outsource work, jobs, the companies should have to take ALL the RISK...NO WRITE-OFFS!! In addition our Government has heard for YEARS that the cost of Insurance was becoming a strangledhold on our business and THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING!!! I believe that WE (average Americans) have been ignored and let down. Our economy can be integrated into the world economy in a manner that is more of a Win -Win, where both the workers and the CEO's reap benefits. The way it is now..the CEO's get ALL the GRAVY and the workers get left behind!!

    April 13, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Helena

    Senator Obama you are correct. We are angry & bitter about a lot of things in this country: War in Iraq, economy, health insurance, education, etc. Hillary Clinton & John McCain are the ones "out of touch" with real Americans and reality. They are both multi-millionaires & were born into wealth – they have never had to struggle.

    Obama 08!

    April 13, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. LennyInDelaware

    That's righ Anonymous.

    When no one is around to monitor his speeches... his true colors show!!!

    That is only the beginning!!!

    If you let Barack speak with not one to monitor him, his true color will show.

    And since he is new to the eyes of the people, they thought that he is the savior!! Yeah Right!!!

    Wait and give time... and you will know the real Obama is!!!

    April 13, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. Antoinette

    Clinton's Lies

    Or Baracks Truthfullness

    Ill take the latter

    He said nothing wrong. If i lost my job, i think id turn to my religion for help instead of Government. Better luck with the church than Georgie Boy

    April 13, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. carolflowery

    it has never failed yet, "racial" issues is always brought into this whole political machine now by some poster, in all the "tickers" not just this one, I dont believe any of the posters here have actually realized it isnt necessary, but they keep doing it time and time again, at this point
    I wish a Native American was running for President, the true people of this country that deserve a leader, Im sick of all this crap to tell you the truth

    April 13, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Mike P. In GA

    I am so floored over what some people view these comments as "elitist" or "divisive." Dude, people out here are "Bitter". The other day, I walked by the GA Department of Labor and every person I seen walk out of there went in with a common denominator... "NO JOB!" So, some of you people on this blog obviously don't understand the meaning of this. You spend all of your time hanging onto every word that a candidate has to say and you don't understand the bigger message.

    Since you want to hang onto words read mine: 80,000 jobs lost in March alone, record breaking gas prices, cost of Iraq = about $200 million everyday (that's about $2314 per second), global warming, foreclosures to name a few, oh, I can’t forget about the sniper fire.

    So, if you are contemplating the word "bitter" or "cling" you must clearly have way too much time on your hand. By the way America lost another $69,000 in Iraq by the time you finished reading this posting.

    April 13, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Fred

    Boy the to faced clinton supporters are slinging the BS showing their true colors. Dont forget the Clintons are as dirty as they come.

    April 13, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. Willyoupostthis

    Again with the explanations...

    If you can't make a simple speech in front of rich donors without having to yank your foot out of your mouth, how can we trust you to say the right thing–THE FIRST TIME–to foreign dignitaries and heads-of-state. Are you going to have a chance to go back and 'explain' yourself to them?

    And why make these remarks to rich San Francisans anyway, rather than to the voters of smal town Pennsylvania about whom your remarks referred?

    April 13, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. Phyl

    Has it occured to anyone that there are people who may have said just this to Obama, that they are bitter and dismayed with their economic situation and the government has done nothing to help them? I'm sure he didn't make all this up so Hillary could demean him.

    Interesting that Bill Clinton and Hillary both acknowledge that now that Hillary is 60 she has a problem with her memory, as well as he does, and when you get to to be 60 you'll know what he's talking about. Any one really want a president with memory problems?

    April 13, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. G Mehreteab

    Obama may not have phrased a sensitive and politically issues diplomatically. However, the fact of the matter is self evident. Every four years presidential hopefuls visit small cities and make empty promises. Once in the White House these communities are ignored.

    Obama's point was that these honorable people have been relegated to think in terms of social issues instead of economic issues such as jobs and decent livelihoods.

    It is wrong for the Clintons to cling on pseudo issues such as gun ownership instead of bread and decent housing. Obama has the vision to bring our country of small towns and large cities together. On the international issues, our country needs Obama who can stand to the world as a proud American president.

    April 13, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Arthur-Texas

    Obama is a big liar.His ignorance about small town usa and the hard working people that live there is amazing.
    He will can never be president of our country if he looks down on the majority of us.

    April 13, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. NewMexicanDem

    For you Obama supporters who blame Hillary for CAFTA. Check the facts and you'll find that she voted against it twice and has voted against the subsequent bilateral agreements that have been negotiated with Latin American countries. I realize that most of you would just rather demonize the woman that look at objective facts; ie when given an opportunity to actually vote against free trade agreements that she believed did not serve this country's interestes, she voted against them.

    April 13, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. Uncle Sam

    Shouldn't a candidate know the cultural values of the country he intends to lead?

    Americans for McCain '08

    April 13, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Dee

    There is nothing "controversial" or "elitist" about this remark. It is absolutely true. Surely a news network such as CNN is sophiscated enough to know what is obvious. People often become single issue voters when they feel that they have real no ability to change their political or economic landscape. Politicians, especially right-wing politicians know this very well. This is exactly why we have so many of them pandering to the"guns-rights activists" or the "anti-gay marriage ammendment proponents" or the "no amnesty for undocumented immigrants proposals" or the "English-only advocates" Instead of trying to spin the idea in a negative and fault-finding way, why don't you use the opportunity to explain how unlikely political alliances are sometimes developed...or don't you get it either?

    April 13, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. OrchidIsleGuy

    Obama's choice of words, context and resulting furor says more about the Clinton campaign then Obama himself. HRC will stop at nothing to win. Every misstep Obama makes – she is all over it. Yet, she has very little to say about her wrong vote on Iraq and when she herself "misspoke" regarding her visit under fire – no fire whatsoever – to Bosnia. This-win-at-any-cost on the Clinton side disgusts most of us. Number 2 has to try harder; but such blatant negativity is pushing us undecideds towards Obama.

    April 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Obama Has Substance

    There is obsolutely no need for Obama to apologize. He has spoken the truth. That is what campaigning on the issues that matters is all about. Not she kitchen sink tactics that hillary dish out everyday. Once again CNN keep playing this over, over and over again. And their commentators keep distorting and changing his words.
    Cnn i know you will nto print this but that is find with me. The world is watching you and know that you are influencing the voters. This will only come back to haunt you as viewers willl stop watching CNN. So you can make a choice to play this dirty games and lose viewers or carry the news in an unbais and fear manner. The people need to make their choice for the best Canadiate base on the issues and their character. Not on who CNN thinks they want to represent them. it is not about you and your fears. Obama is a fine man, he would not have said anything to hurt or to look down on the people in these small town. So for Hillary to try to use this to gain votes shows us how dishonest and desperate this woman is. She knows that Obama is not an arrogant, proud, deceitful man so why is she playing this game. It will come back to bite her at the pole. Because as most of the people in this blog has written they are seeing her for who she is. Thank God. CNN Don't Delete... Print... We love you CNN just try to be less bias towards Obama...

    April 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Len Albuq New Mexico

    Hillary, Are you paying attention? You lost me and my friends and neighbors. We all have had enough of you trying to twist and distort everything that Barack O'Bama says. If you are so smart, why can't you understand what he meant by his statement. We all certainly did. It's because you are part of the problem that America finds itself in today. If you really want to win you will have to distinguish and separate yourself from the Powers that BE and have Been. The only candidate that has done this is Barack O'Bama. He just called it as he sees it and it is Voter Ignorance and Apathy. The issues that he was talking about have been decided over and over, time and time again. Not to discount their importance, but we the American Public are tired of the same old crap that politicians run on. It's time for the Government to get to work and do their jobs. Republican voters really have bought into it. They don't even realize what damage their Party has caused to the Country. The truth is that the Federal Government does not want to work anymore or be responsible for Social Security, Medicare, and the Environment and just run on a platform that their Party best represents the core values of Americans. It's fear tactics to get elected, and then they go about their business of enriching themselves and their friends while ignoring the American People and the Country. I am a Gringo and I say Si Su Puede. Yes We Can vote all of you career politicians out who have sold America down the drain. I want a leader who can call a Pig, Thief, Corruption, Unpatriotic, Liar, Greed, Hypocracy, Crime, Laziness etc exactly what it is. The TRUTH. The Gvernment has failed America and the American People. If you are smart you will get behind this guy and give him all your support because he will need it. With Hillary you can bet the Country and its citizens will remain DIVIDED.

    April 13, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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