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. Gary Chandler in Canada

    Hillary Clinton is saying there are no bitter, disenfranchised Americans!? Yet another example of her misspeaking. In between dodging bullets, she accuses Obama of being the one who is a liar!
    Even while there is talk of right wingers forming a Christian party she denounces Obama's note that some people vote on religious grounds, as some vote on gun or trade issues as well.
    Obama was verbalising a true poliical reality, not a philosiphical issue she is painting it into. She is SO dishonest.
    There are no Americans bitter with economic and political outcomes!!?? Yes or no?

    April 13, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. DJ

    Obama has nothing to explain. The way he said it might have been a little offensive, but he was speaking the truth. While Hillary Clinton is pointing the finger at Obama accusing him of being an elitist, her thumb is pointing right back at her. She should be explaining herself on the Columbian trade pact and all the lies she's been caught telling during her campaign. What a hypocrite!!

    Obama 2008

    April 13, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. Reality check #1

    Another "bone-headed" mistake? Obama seems to do this on a regular basis then turns to say, "Oh, a little mistake, let me explain this." Well, he has ran out of explanations. His true colors are showing just like his wife and pastors have shown clear. He is not what he wants us to think he is. He is a racist and a liar and does not concern himself with the less fortunate. What a piece of work he is!

    April 13, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. mitch from ark.

    do not apologize for telling the truth!do not tell us what we want to hear,but, what we need to hear,the truth!if anybody out there,is not "bitter" about our stagnated government,then they are just dumb.i've been ticked off for over 25 years,with the typical washington politicians,that never really get anything done,without lying or deceiving the people.i can't believe how 'gullible',billary supporters are.we have a chance of changing the politics of the past,but,attacking someone for telling the truth,is only going to put the finishing touch,on a failed campaign ,by billary/mcbush-cheney.

    April 13, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. CW4Barack

    Obama is right people are bitter, frustrated and angry at our government and McCain and Clinton who are millionaires need to be careful this spin does not back fire on them, because they can't say they are in touch with the American people, when they have been living in an economically wealthy bubble!

    April 13, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Africans for Hillary

    Ok , yes he said what he said, yes he thought no recording was going on , and yes it shows a great dgree of weakness in Obama 's ideas and speechs when no preparations are involved , what i dont understand is .. WHY his supporters attacks Hillary for it !!! , sure the media will try to bail him out no surprise in that to me ..

    April 13, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Diane

    You're ignorant and arrogant , Opra-bama!

    April 13, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Leroy

    America, needs to grow up. Do we want sound bites or a message?
    Do we really want a conversation or a dialogue? Understand this, if Obama's campaign is derailed because of words taken out of context, it wont be Obama's lost but America's. Its time for America to take responsibilty for it's actions and it's duplicity. Its time for a change.

    April 13, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Nancy

    Obama, Don't let them intimidate you into believing you said anything wrong. Stand your ground and the people will follow!!!!!!!Anyone with a brain (and that would be any Obama supporter) can see through her desperation. She will crumple.YES WE CAN AND YES WE WILL!!!!!!! Haven't you all had enough of the Bush's and Clintons in your lifetimes?

    April 13, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Denis

    I do not personnally believe in guns but I do believe that people have a right under the constitution to own them (not hand guns). Obama has proven to everyone that he is an elitist.

    April 13, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Joe

    The truth has leaked out. The person who started this whole Obama 'Bitter' controversy is a Hillary supporter who lied her way into an Obama rally with a hidden recorder. This whole thing is another contrived farce like the NAFTA garbage Hillary pulled just before the Ohio vote. More disgusting Hillary monster treachery.

    April 13, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Eric

    Obama has defended his "bitter" comment; he has apologized for it; and he has said he could have said it better. How many positions is he going to take?? If he is flip flopping on whether he should have used "bitter" or not how can we trust him not to flip flop on more important issues?

    April 13, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. woman for Obama

    Obama is a man willing to speak the truth – and tell it as it is.
    Hillary is talking to people like they are bunch of idiots.

    April 13, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Ron R

    Thank you for speaking the truth and being honest with the american people. If you spoke these words in any other venue but within a political race, Im sure not a single person would have questioned your motive and intent..

    April 13, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Jennifer (Canada)

    Looking on from the outside, I wonder why the small things seem to matter more than the real issues. This is really sad and an attempt to prevent Obama from taking PA. Obama is hardly elitist but rather too honest for his own good in this "dog eat dog" game of politics.

    April 13, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Christian, Tampa FL

    Let's let Obama clarify his remarks, and let's let McCain clarify his 100 year war comment, and let's let Hillary clarify her Bosnia story.

    There. And by the way, Hillary and McCain, I am a bitter voter who will definitely cling to religion and antipathy if either of you are elected. 😉

    April 13, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. T from Texas

    Thank you, President Obama, for being straight with us the American people. At least you don't lie to us like Hillary or won't suck us dry like McCain/Bush. Godspeed to you, sir as you lead this country in the years to come.

    April 13, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Val in PA

    Ann Marie (post 4/13 @ 11:32am)

    I agree with you 100%. Clinton and McCain have nothing in common with the average voter, and therefore know nothing of our plight. They are blatant opportunists, which only proves they are both "out of touch elitists". UNBELIEVABLE!!!

    April 13, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. lola

    obama,clinton and mccain they all speak of freedom but whenever someone disagrees with them they pretty much all say the same thing and that is your wrong and I'm right and your a bad person if you have a different oppinion.

    April 13, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Pennsylvania Joe

    I'm trying to figure out what's controversial about this?! There are a lot of bitter voters out in America after the last eight years!!!

    This election cycle has definitely gone too long when people get riled up about using the term "bitter."

    Give me a break.

    April 13, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. cocoObama

    I'm one of the people that doesn't see anything wrong with what barack Obama said.He obviosly wasn't speaking about everybody, but there are many people who are bitter about many things. It's also interesting to note that Barack Obama never comments on Hillary's 'misspeaks', he refused to comment on 'Bosnia' lie, but Hillary will jump at the slightest opportunity to call Obama names.

    April 13, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. Pa Voter

    Isn't it just like the Clintons to pander with a "shot and beer" move, and argue about the definition of a word, instead of offering any real change or real solution to anything?

    Vote for CHANGE!! Obama '08.

    April 13, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. Kent, Illinois

    Obama is speaking the truth we all believe. Us regular joes of this country are bitter. You people can spin his comments all you want. Obama will give us the voice of reason we need in Washington. Hillary is all done when it comes to winning the nomination.

    I used to have alot of respect for her......................Obama 08


    April 13, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Deborah

    Obama for President in 2008

    Bring Oprah back to the campaign.



    April 13, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Tur

    This is a non-story and will backfire in Clinton's face...wait and see. Obama is the new face of this country...Go Obama!!!

    April 13, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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