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. Peter

    Obama you have to apologize to all Americans.
    Do not ask our vote.
    You insult our intelligence.
    One speech in 2002 against the war, lots people were and are against. At the time you had no to vote, and maybe if you had voted you would vote
    A second speech about race and the last what you think about the typical Pennsylvanian and American people.
    Not enough to be the President of the USA.
    Hillary 08

    April 13, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Jay, IL

    Obama is a good speaker. He can use speeches "solve" a lot of problems and make people excited.

    April 13, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. Netta

    I UNDERSTOOD EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID!!!! It was perfectly clear. To most of his voters, it was clear.

    Hilary is so pathetic. She has no morals whatsoever. She will do anything. She can't help but attack. That is all she has left.

    I always get disappointed when I see these type of "political dustup". Barack has already warned people about this in his many rallies. He warned that the political powerhouse of this country will try all kinds of distractions for the American people to focus on so that the major issues will never get its proper attention. They want us fighting over nothing so that we won't notice something!! So far this trick has not worked or stuck. If the best they can throw at Obama is a six letter word, McCain and Hilary already know that Obama is the next president of the United States. They can't understand it.

    How can he be an elitist when he grew up in a very modest single parent household with no daddy?????? That is an oxymoron to the notion of an elitist. Where did he get his elitish mentality? While working in Baskin Robbins or as the poor scholarship kid at college? Which one of those life experiences taught him to be an elitist? His mother died worrying about paying her medical bills. He is the most down to earth candidate this country has every had and, if we blow it this time, we deserve what we get: NO JOBS, MORE WAR, MORE DEBT, HOME FORECLOSURE, NO MEDICAL INSURANCE, NO SOCIAL SECURITY, HOMELESSNESS, UNEMPLOYMENT and the list goes on and on.

    Just mark my words.

    April 13, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Democrat for Big Mac

    This just shows how negative BHO is towards America. His wife is just became proud of America for the first time in her life. He attends and calls Wright is "SPIRITUAL LEADER" and listens and follows him for 20 yrs who is spilling hatred towards America and now BHO himself looks down on us in closed private meeting.

    WOW, Obama fans really need to ponder what he is made of.

    April 13, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. roland

    my mother in law worked for fruit of the loom for 26 years until bill clinton signed nafta int law so they moved her job and 500 people jobless and gave her a 184.00 monthly, yes she is bitter

    April 13, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. Eric

    “guns and religion”. It is obvious what Obama was saying, " that every time Democrats go against Republicans in an election. They always place amendments about guns and religion on the ballots for people in red states to vote.

    April 13, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Beth FL

    Sen Obama is an ELITIST. He was raised by his mother and grandparents(grandma was a bank vice president)-Attended the most prestigious high school in Hawaii (Puna Hou currently 15K a year)-Columbia- Harvard....Pleaaase....it's clear to me what he meant by these comments.

    April 13, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. Barb Canada

    Speaking on behalf of all Canadians Marlene, is elitist, I strongly disagree with you, I have antipathy for people who think they can speak for everyone

    April 13, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. sivananthi


    April 13, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    His true color is coming out. He's double-face politician, he could have said what he said infront of thousands of crowds in PA but instead he he said in front of few millionaires/billionaires in SF, a private fund raising.

    April 13, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. lisa

    Oh, please. Obama has put his foot in his mouth and no one likes it. He doesn't it a lot and the press doesn't cover it. I don't for one minute believe he is in touch with America. I think he's a puppet with someone else pulling the strings. What he says and what he believes are two different things and his tripping over himself shows it.

    April 13, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Jen, Gainesville

    Do you prefer hurting truth by Obama or embelished lies by Hillary? It is a no-brainer for me.

    April 13, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Bitter-True

    It is true a lot of us are bitter about a lot of things. Hillary needs to stop playing politic wth the true. But then again, she doesn't know how to tell the trurth.

    April 13, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Jed in Texas

    Lou dobbs will get my write in vote.Hes a true populist.

    April 13, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Robin

    We advised the Obama campaign months ago that Obama needs a speech coach to watch what comes out of his mouth. Obama has collected millions in donations. Obama's words are negative about himself, sometimes gives omens. Obama campaign consistently ignored us, never an acknowledgment. If he just continue his stupid words., he will loose, too bad!

    April 13, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Enrique

    What I find condescending is Hillary Clinton padidng her resume and blatantly lying about her experience in Bosnia. What I find elitist is Hillary Clinton's sense of entitlement to the presidency because of her name. Hillary Clinton is completely out of touch with working Americans.

    April 13, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. Jacqueline, NY

    I encourage everyone to read Carl Bernstein's article on AC360. It is articles like these that should be in the headlines. The article was well written.

    April 13, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  18. Dennis in Spokane

    It's great to watch Obama stay on message and unflapabble while the media and the other two campaigns co-ordinate their faux outrage over a nontroversy. Obama simply told the truth about politicians never delivering on changing the system of lobbying and economic double standards while pandering to single issue voters.

    Obama appears more cool and presidential every day while the MSM and McClinton look more and more like chicken little.

    April 13, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Hans

    So, Obama is an "elitist" just like Gore and Kerry? If that is the case, please, Americans, do yourself a favor and vote for Obama in November! If more of you had voted for one of those other "elitists" in '00 and '04, the country wouldn't be in the mess it is in now after eight years of one of those non-elitists.

    April 13, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. Chuck in Oregon

    Your right you could have said it much better. But I must admit what you said was true. I must admit having been unemployed for a little over 16 months now, and the prospects of finding employe at my age is much more difficult; I my self feel much of what you say from time to time, so I can relate. You just could have said it much better.

    April 13, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  21. Jacqueline, NY

    If everyone life was perfect, all Churches would be empty!

    April 13, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Andy, Iowa

    So this is what it's like when a presidential candidate tells the REAL truth...

    April 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Denny

    Obama supporter, not fan, thank you very much.

    Bitter works for me. I'm bitter and better for having Barack in this race.

    Barack 08

    April 13, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. sarah

    Parsing another candidates speech certainly won't get me to respect you any more or less (Clinton and McCain).

    But it will certainly will make me wonder what either of you are made of. Integrity? I think not. Spin doctors – oh yes yes.

    I will sit watch the two of you spin, while a good many dizzily engage your madness.

    April 13, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Ships Ahoy!

    To take the word Bitter and spin it out of context as was done is just plain stupid. Obamas come back from that was second to none. The hillary troup will be more carefull in the future. Opps! they have no future/ sorry I mispoke or lied or something. bill can you help me out here. What the hedoubletoothpicks is going on. We are taking on water and we might just sink. Are we on the Titantic?

    April 13, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
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