April 13th, 2008
10:40 AM ET
13 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.

Full story


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. dona bee

    people are bitter-Hillary laughs @ the question on Colombia trade keeps mark penn and drinks canadian whiskey.so people get your guns ,bible ,and wait for China to take over. What arole model for the next generation.db

    April 13, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Smiley from Conyers, GA

    The fact of the matter is most Americans are bitter. If there's ever a I just lost my job, my home is in foreclosure and I am up to my neck in debt party please invite me. I'm sure most Americans would love to celebrate being broke and unemployed...WOOHOO!!!!

    Kudos to Barack for actually letting those in Washington who never come to our parts of town unless it's an election year, know that we won't stand for the same lies anymore.

    April 13, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Dan

    Osama is just another wanta be as is Killpatric. Both are silver spoon born black men who don't know what real life is about. Sheltered, educated, perpitraters.

    April 13, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Linda in Texas

    Oh please. Here we go again. What about what Obama said about Mark Penn? I'm sitting here watching CNN and all they can talk about is his use of the one word "BItter." Now all of a sudden words matter to Hillery and talk TV news.

    And because he's an eduacted Black man who can speak intelligently about anything and to anybody and use words that most people are afraid to say – less they affend SOMEBODY, he's suddenly seen as elitist? How about simply well prepared for the job he 's a candidate for?

    Who reported multi-million dollars of income on their tax return last year? Who donated millions to charity – a self serving one they created themselves where they can control the money coming in and going out? Isn't THAT elitist? Oh, that's right, words don't matter.

    April 13, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. fran

    When you are wrong, you have to be able to say so. That is the problem with the guy in the whitehouse today. Obama was wrong for making a negative and general statement about people in small towns. It's no different from someone making a negative general statement about women, or blacks. He should say he was wrong. I can respect that. Hillary has done the same thing, she was wrong about the sniper incident and she should have just said I was wrong, it was a mistake....oh that's right she did.

    April 13, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Dan

    Another thing comes to mind. I can't imagine these types of comments are thought of very favorably by John Edwards. Blue collar democrats are who he fights for. I wonder if we might see a scenario where Hillary could end up with a John Edwards endorsement. And the affect that would have on the race could be the end of Obama's campaign.

    April 13, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Alex knows it all

    A word of advise to Sen. Obama. please move on. Do not keep talking about the issue. Follow Sen. Clinton on this. How she moved on after revelations that she lied on Bosnia issue and the hospital issue. He evasive demeanor on her tax returns and Columbia trade deal.
    If you stop talking about, others will also.

    We all knows that Sen. Clinton is a divisive opportunist and very shroud politician. She will sell her mother if it gets her to a better place

    April 13, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Darla

    It is really very disappointing to read many of these comments. Unless we would like to see another four years of the same Bush policies, democrats must come together for either Clinton or Obama. It seems obvious that both of these individuals would make excellent presidential candidates. That said, as a Clinton supporter and a woman, I am really quite offended at the disrespectful and inappropriate way in which people talk about Hillary. It seems that there is little hesitation about using the words hate, b@#ch, manipulative, fat, immoral, etc. when referring to Hillary or her campaign. I doubt that such words would be widely used with regard to a male candidate. Hillary has struggled to be successful in an election where the media has been largely and obviously in support of Obama (e.g., Chris Matthews, Keith Olberman). Hillary is articulate, knowledgeable, and experienced, and she has had to be very tough to stand up to the media attacks and attempts to write her off despite her nearly equal support. If Hillary had said what Obama said (i.e., “It's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”), there is little doubt that that the negative media attention would have been intense. Of course, we must acknowledge that candidates who are constantly under scrutiny cannot be expected to speak perfectly all of the time. However, this comment came off as insensitive and disrespectful and an apology is certainly warranted.

    April 13, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Ophelia/FL

    Barack Obama is a good for all people, people speak differently. I am very BITTER that Hillary knowing him as a person, would still try and use this as a way of again calling him a raciest. She once again showed us who she is inside. We should be talking about Penn& president Clinton and what she already knew and has not explained! Mcsame is only talking more war. He knows nothing else.

    April 13, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Corey, Maryland

    You said it just fine, Clinton and McSame need to shut up because you actually get what people are feeling in this country. Dont let them beat you up on this, you are the only one that is right!!!

    Obama Richardson 08!!!

    April 13, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Tim in Canada

    At least someone is speaking for smalltowners, regardless of how it was said they now have a voice. They even made front page. The question is, how are those politicians going to help ease their frustrations?

    April 13, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Benmyoho

    I agree with sivananthi. When their spoiled candidate squirms, the doting Obamamots bare their fangs at Hillary Clinton. I think they are a weird and pathethic bunch. Obama and his blind supporters certainly deserve each other.

    April 13, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    I have to say to this point I have not been an Obama supporter, but I have to say that he's speaking a lot of truth in this episode. I have to applaud him for his guts to say this. And I feel his comment is being so misconstrued that it may cost him the nomination. The way I took his comment after reading in full was that people in Washington really aren't ready to make things better, they only want to dangle some hope in front of those who hurt the most long enough to get their support. Once that's accomplished then leave them. And Obama is throwing this tactic in the faces of those politicians guilty of this charge! In the end truth hurts and this rings true for me loud and clear. We as a public are sticking to the words of "guns and religion" only because that's what they'd like, meaning Clinton (btw, I've supported her til now). People, he's not singling these people out as being bad. I think he's airing out what needs to be discussed. Look at what this country has done til now. We put a man in office who has committed every sin morally possible. He has blood on his hands, and those of us who voted for him went on the impetus that he was a man of God. This man of God, has judged, tried and killed innocent people who deserved to live all based on lies. You cannot be at the top position of the world and be this oblivious!! Again who put him there? It was an overwhelming Christian right group that got him the seat. I'm not saying these people are to blame, what I am saying is that they were had because they believed that Bush was a man of God as they are. People use your brains, ask the right questions, get those wheels rolling and ask hard questions that are necessary. Obama to this point has been underwhelming for me, I felt he had the ability to become great but didn't possess that certain something. If he has the guts to say something like this, I believe he has what it takes to make it as an honest president. I do hope that this does not become a scandal BUT to invoke a debate that many sides need to participate in. And if you're looking to win votes, like Clinton and McCain are at this point then they're going to do the same thing again.... dangle a carrot, we submit, and then they abandon us once again.

    April 13, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. Susan / PA

    Cheryl for HIllary,

    Sen Obama was NOT wrong. Therefore, he need not appologize.

    People all around this country are bitter and do turn to what grounds them....faith, voting on gun bill, their anger toward NAFTA ( Hillary and Bill started Nafta) ...so yes, some will not understand because the havent lived it.... thats OK Those who have lived it do NOT need an apology... We know he understands.

    OBAMA 08

    April 13, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. T Baker

    – the vast majority of you are simply willing to accept propaganda and distortion as a way of life. I suppose it’s easier to have someone else think for you…

    One of the best comments I've read on this board of fools in a long time....

    April 13, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I Don't understand when Hillary Lies the media doesn't cover it. I was reading what some Hillary supporters wrote. That we were duped or idiots or, all are a bunch of rich latte sipping hippies, or poor black people, or elitist. Well If I applied the same standard to Hillary supporters, you guys would be disingenuous, stubborn, uneducated women, with poor manager skills, and husbands with promiscuous tendencies. My point is labeling, stereotyping, and name calling is childish. I'll admit people on both sides do it, but it leads to division. I've seen most of it come from the Clinton camp. Go on Obama blogs and we welcome Hillary supporters to make their case. Clinton has been the most condescending candidate in the race. She always talks about what she'll do, and that the American people need a fighter. Guess what some of the most important changes in America were led my the citizens. Example: Civil Rights, Abolition, Equal Rights, and the Revolutionary War. Obama recognizes this and harness the power of the people to make Change. Why do you think he wins so many states.

    April 13, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. MM

    I Don't understand when Hillary Lies the media doesn't cover it. I was reading what some Hillary supporters wrote. That we were duped or idiots or, all are a bunch of rich latte sipping hippies, or poor black people, or elitist. Well If I applied the same standard to Hillary supporters, you guys would be disingenuous, stubborn, uneducated women, with poor manager skills, and husbands with promiscuous tendencies. My point is labeling, stereotyping, and name calling is childish. I'll admit people on both sides do it, but it leads to division. I've seen most of it come from the Clinton camp. Go on Obama blogs and we welcome Hillary supporters to make their case. Clinton has been the most condescending candidate in the race. She always talks about what she'll do, and that the American people need a fighter. Guess what some of the most important changes in America were led my the citizens. Example: Civil Rights, Abolition, Equal Rights, and the Revolutionary War. Obama recognizes this and harness the power of the people to make Change. Why do you think he wins so many states.

    April 13, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. kris k

    I am in total agreement with Pete from Oregon. I wish CNN and media stations would stop showing only the negative or controversial parts of Senator Obama 's speeches. For once we have a politician that touches on uncomfortable issues and issues that we might not want to hear or think about. He knows he is taking a huge risk by broaching on some of subjects other politicians have avoided because of fear of what the voters will think. So, he could have worded his statement on how the people feel about the economy differenly, but for the most part he was right on with his message . He is looking through clear lenses, while our President has the rose colored ones on . He is in touch with reailty people ,it is the other two candidates that need to wake up and start really talking to the people .

    April 13, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Charlie, PA

    WOW – lets get excited about nothing. This is blown out of proportion. For Hillary and McCain to claim Obama is an elistist is a JOKE! They both are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Hillary has lived either in the governor's house or white house or Chapaqua for the past 26 years – she has not been in touch with anyone for decades – she only claims to be in touch during the election season.

    April 13, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. Grif

    Chungu Obama!

    April 13, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Honesty

    "I didn't say it as well as I should have"
    "I never heard incindiary comments from Wright" "I was not at the pew"
    "I only worked for Rezko's business as consultant briefly"
    "I only received 70K from Rezko"
    "You are likable enough Hillary"

    I never jumped on the OBama vanwagon. I saw him always looking above people not at them, pointing fingers, and in his "wonderful" scripted speeches, a slight detectable anger comes out that is subtle but certainly there. I do not trust them. After the Jeremiah Wright story broke out (how many more there may be), I realize he is at the very least – an opportunist.

    April 13, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Obama Supporter

    Waaaah. I want Obama to win. Waaaaah. Hillary is a big meany. Waaaah. Hillary is a liar. Waaaah. Hillary is better than Obama. Waaaaah. Hillary or McCain. Waaah. Hillary '08

    April 13, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Rafi, NY NY

    Are there seriously nine Ticker items about this?

    April 13, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Coline for Obama

    To Cheryl for Hillary: Barack did NOT say anything thing wrong! If you lost your job, I think you'd be bitter and angry and rely on what you have left. What is so wrong about that? If i lost my job and neither Bill or Bush were doin something about it, I'd be furious and bitter...! So, what the hell are you complaining about? Hillary has said and done worse things than that...Didn't she have to apologize to the black community? Uh...YES!!!!

    WE NEED TO GET RID OF HILLARY!!!!

    VOTE BARACK OBAMA 2008!!!!

    April 13, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Lisa

    Barack what are you doing? The people in the small towns are the only people who voting for you anyway. You cannot win a big state to save the life of you.

    What are you doing in San Francisco anyway? Didn't you already lose there? You Should stick to campaigning in the rural areas, they are the only people that can relate to you.

    April 13, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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