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. Spider

    Wow, Stag. You are one confused Obama supporter.

    April 13, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Tracy

    Why didn't he make these comments in Pennsylvania when was campaigning there rather than in a closed door session in San Francisco? Obama can't be trusted. He is a political opportunist of the worst kind--says anything, does anything to get elected.

    April 13, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Soupy

    Oh my God, this story is so misleading that I can barely stomach it.

    April 13, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Chris

    At least Obama is admitting it was a mistake unlike Hillary. These are some of Hillary's actions or words.

    1. I did not have enough sleep (Bosnia lie)
    2. I couldn't remember (although i said it 4 times ) – Bosnia lie
    3. I misspoke (Bosnia lie)
    4. I was given the wrong information (pregnant woman lie)
    5. Penn is fired but still working for me.

    Hillary is the liar and hillary supporters are totally out of their minds for supporting her. Wake Up people.

    Obama is only true and honest candidate. When he makes a mistake, he admits it. Go Obama.

    April 13, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Dora

    Turn to guns,religion and racism. Well that sounds more like a Rev. Wright remark than an educated man. I guess all those sermons did soak in, I mean those he didn't hear.

    April 13, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. hsl

    I'm not sure Obama really likes the American people all that much.
    Hidden agenda perhaps?

    April 13, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Hayden

    The only reason he got as far as did is using " words and speeches" and it will be the end of him too.

    Hillary 08

    April 13, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. Ex-Hillary supporter

    I would feel bitter if I shared the same plight of many Pennsylvanians, virtually abandoned by the powers that be.
    This is just another example of the Clinton machine distorting Obama's words in their desperate attempt to detract from their abysmal and divisive campaign.
    A vote for Clinton is a vote for corruption and lies.

    April 13, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Desiree

    People do not cling to religion, they embrace it and they are not doing this because they are bitter or upset with the goverment. If he would had stopped after the word bitter it might not look so bad. He should leave religion and family values and culture out when talking about bitterness.

    April 13, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |

    What I don't understand is why this guy is still running? Why don't people see through the bull he professes?

    April 13, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. Toni

    As a human being, I have to admit that sometimes the truth stings. However, it makes me grow when I'm able to accept the truth, as well as constructive criticism. So, now I'm confronted with whether I would prefer a candidate to represent me who is at least being truthful, or whether I want a candidate to represent me who distorts the truth, i.e., a liar. Go figure!

    April 13, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. david

    Is anyone else as sick of this dude as I am?

    April 13, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. j

    Obama speaks truth and Clinton is outraged! That sums up this campaign.

    April 13, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. observer

    At least better than her well fabricatef heart breaking stories.

    April 13, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Dixon, Des Moines Iowa

    Finally, candidates who can admit when they did something wrong and apologize, wow. I have to say that it is a stretch for Hillary and/or McCain to call him out of touch and an elitist. Hillary barely knows what the truth are after all the stories she has told, half truths and out right lies she has told. McCain, he just can't remember.

    April 13, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. aaron

    am i fed up and bitter with the politics as usual in washington for clinton and mccain?


    I am glad someone said it.

    I do turn to my faith when i pray for the troops, pray this war ends, and pray that people do not believe Hillary's lies.

    April 13, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  17. ruby

    When obama goes "off text" and just talks he ends up back pedaling and explaining himself. Could it be that those times are when the "real obama" speaks?

    Wake up, obama supporters. You are buying into a manufactured package and have no idea who is really inside. Too many people see this for what it is for him to be elected.

    If you nominate obama, mccain will win the presidency. Is that what you really want?

    April 13, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. ne, pa independent

    Thank you for speaking the truth. It's about time somebody did.
    I'm in PA, and yes, I'm bitter. In fact, that's putting it mildly.

    April 13, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Alex

    The problem isn't really that he said rural voters were "bitter", it was because he said they "cling to guns and religion." That makes him sound pretty elitist and out of touch.

    April 13, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Urbana, IL

    Obama as well as his pastor always use BITTER words to describe the AMERICAN PEOPLE! I just do not understand why people was so inspired by those guys! I wonder young and educated people, according to media, have strongly supported this guy! I am happy that I am not the one, so pls think twice when you make the decision who is going to be your next president! Do not elect another George Bush in the White House!

    April 13, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. matt

    I get bitter when I think about you, Obama.

    April 13, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Roxanne NY

    Oh shut up Mr. Snob! Just go away! Leave us alone with your self wrighteousness!

    This time we get it from the horse's mouth himself! Who are you going to throw under the bus this time? Please, leave your poor grandma alone this time!

    April 13, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. HP Boston

    It is clear the Obamabots will blame this whole thing on Senator Clinton as is their need. They have a "bitter" pill to swallow this time. So spin and spin he said the words, Wright said the words, Barack is way over his 15 minutes of fame.

    April 13, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. James

    Can we all just stick to the issues? This sort of stupid debate (or debating whether or not there were snipers in Bosnia) isn't going to solve the countries economic problems. And shame you CNN for making non-stories into headline news!

    April 13, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. fred

    You mean unless someone writes what you should say...you are a total screw up...just like George Bush!!

    April 13, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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