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. Dylan

    it is truly sad how people are ignorant people competely miscontsruing his words... words that are very accurate. it's even worse that intelligent people who know that these words are harmless are, nonetheless, using them to pander to these ignorant people.

    as a young american, obama inspires me. mchillary makes me want to give up on american politics completely.

    April 13, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Alfreida Kirksey

    Mr. Obama is speaking the truth. Unfortunately, there are many people who want to continue with the sugar-coating of the state of the economy and the war. And, there are those who are so used to hearing the sugar-coating, that they don't know or just refuse to listen to the truth when it is stated. Most citizens, not just in small towns and rural areas of Pennsylvania, but all across America are "bitter," or if you prefer"angry," about the state of the United States. We are tired, just plain old tired, and we want a change. So, Mr. Obama, continue to fight for the people of this wonderful country and get us back on track for what we know this country can be and should be. Thank you, Mr. Obama.

    April 13, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. Alexa

    A little late Sen. Obama!

    April 13, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Michigan Born & College Educated

    I want to ask the Obama camp how they can claim the San Francisco speech was “distorted” as they claim. I heard the audio clip word for word. Cling to guns? Cling to religion. Go ahead Barack and keep clinging to Rev. Wright and Michelle! CLINTON '08!!!

    April 13, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |

    Obama puts his foot in his mouth again, this guy is a joke hr has no idea about how to repair the damage to america, all he can do is talk, all talk and no substance.

    April 13, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. Elder

    Obama comments were like his former Pastor preaches.

    April 13, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Ola

    While Americans sit at home and debate about what Barack Obama said or didnt say, time homes are been foreclosed, soldiers are dying in Iraq, gas prices are increasing and wait for it....... the country is going downhill with no one to help!

    This is the same hand we have been dealt with for the last 30 years and when someone says it like it is and wants to change things we crucify him. If we werent so blind by our prejudices and biases we would see the bigger picture. Barack Obama is a breath of fresh air and yes he could have worded it better but that doesnt make it less true. Im sick and tired of old politics. Its come to the point that HRC (a democratic nominee) is joing forces with the Republicans which is a shame to watch. If you've lost your job, home or a family member in Iraq, you'd be bitter. Please lets keep our focus and deal with the issues!!!

    We want and NEED change!

    April 13, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Michael G- Ventura, CA

    To Cindy: I'm your age and have been a Democrat ever since I could vote. You need to realize that the term "bitter" came from the very people Barack was speaking of. All you have to do is read the posts from people on this and many other blogs.(not the hateful ones)
    The Clinton campaign is divisive and hateful.
    As the analysist on the Situation Room put it: "Hillary Clinton has totally distorted what Barack Obama said".
    You need to seperate fact from innuendo.
    I have such a connection with Barack Obama.
    I think you should look at the Republican alternative and vote what is right for America.
    I'm sorry you feel disconnected. I'm sorry that I've turned from a Hillary admirer into a person who loathes her.
    There is a better way.

    April 13, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. alice2

    I do not see what is wrong with anything Barack said. People are fed up with the current way of doing business in Washington. What's wrong with using"bitter"? The Bush administration does not listen to the American people. Chaney when interviewed recently, the interviewer said the majority of the American People disagreed with the way they had handled Iraq & more, Cheney said "SO"--. He/Bush does not care. That means we are satisified? No, I do not think so!! I want CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN.

    April 13, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. michael wallman

    Obama, said it right for PA and now add NY in there.

    April 13, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Glen

    Words are like bullets, once fired they cannot be taken back.

    April 13, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Hillary is a liar and opportunist

    "We won't be lectured on being out of touch by Senator Clinton, who believes lobbyists represent real people and is awash in their money and who can't tell a straight story about her lengthy record of supporting trade deals like NAFTA and China that have devastated communities in Pennsylvania and Indiana. She won't change the broken Washington system that all too often leaves American workers behind, but Barack Obama will."

    Obama 08

    April 13, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Jack

    Should this be called: BitterGate or SmallTownGate??

    April 13, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Ben, MD

    Folks! Obama may have made a mistake in choosing the words, but his point is very valid. Hillary and McCain don't have ANY ARGUMENT to make on his point so they are stuck with ONE SINGLE word.

    Don't be childish, he is right although he could have chosen better words.

    Get over this. Help restoring some sanity to politics and economy.


    April 13, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Edd

    I lost faith in you! You'll never get what the real feelings & situations of people like us! So detached, full of rhetorics.

    April 13, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. notbitter

    Obama's lips keep moving, but all I hear is Howard Dean's infamous

    April 13, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Mary O'Bryan

    Where are my comments? Again, only showing those in support of Obama and of course, mine are not? Also, why are you cutting off comments on the articles where you know Obama is going to be underfire? Why are you, the MSM, in the pocket of Obama? My guess, paid off by the RNC and/or the DNC as well as Obama!!! You guys are sexist and this must be stopped.

    April 13, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. michael wallman

    Obama, best v/p Huckabee

    April 13, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. michael wallman

    Obama, wright is right

    April 13, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Michelle

    Bitter is right. There is no need to explain what is meant because anyone with sense understands exactly what Obama means. I totally agree that he has listened to the gripes and complaints that many have had over the years and he put them out there. Seriously, would you rather have Clinton out there "misspeaking" about everything, or someone that can tell it like it is?
    OBAMA 08!!!!

    April 13, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. Independent in Florida

    I agree, you did not say it 'as well as you should have'.

    You should have said:

    People in PA are bitter because our ex-President became a lobbyist for foreign Governments instead of lobbying for them.

    April 13, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. Peter in Oregon

    I'm surprised the CNN moderators let "April in Texas's" articulate and thoughtful post through.

    My comment is that I completely endorse what "April in Texas" wrote.

    From what I've observed during this campaign, Obama is the most honest candidate still running. Bill Richardson was also an honorable candidate. Hillary and John are your typical garden variety politicians.

    OBAMA '08

    April 13, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. James of CA

    I will abando HILLARY if you can close one big blue Democrat state & close the deal! I will!

    April 13, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. Bryan

    You think? The only time Obama says anything right is when he is reading from a speech. When he is stumbling he has no script. He does not perform well with out it. Come on America Obama is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Get out and Vote for Hillary.

    Hillary 08

    CNN POST THIS, Yesterday I wrote 3 blogs and none showed up. I know I'm for Hillary but be fair.

    April 13, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. Vonnie

    Hooray for Senator Obama!! The media, Senator Clinton, and yes even John needs a cane knew exactly what Senator Obama meant when he said that we are bitter under the out of touch rule of Bush. The people of Pennsylvania as well as the rest of this country and many other countries who turn to the U.S of A for guidance should be rejoycing as well. Finally someone who is telling our twisted government how we really feel.

    Barack Obama for President

    April 13, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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