April 14th, 2008
12:15 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain calls Obama's comments 'elitist'

(CNN) – John McCain on Monday called Barack Obama's recent remarks about small-town Pennsylvanians “elitist” - but he stopped short of describing Obama himself that way.

In his remarks to the Associated Press Managing Editors conference in Washington - his first public appearance since the firestorm over Obama's reference to some Americans as "bitter" began - the presumptive Republican nominee took the long view.

He praised those who suffered through the Great Depression for their contributions to the nation telling the crowd that “it had not shaken their faith in and fidelity to America and its founding political ideals.”

“Their faith had given generations of their families purpose and meaning,” he continued, “and their appreciation of traditions like hunting was based in nothing other than their contribution to the enjoyment of life.”

When asked after his speech if he considered Obama an elitist, he responded, “I don't know, I think those comments are elitist.” He described them as “disparaging” to people “that have fundamental cultural, spiritual and other values that in my view have very little to do with their economic condition.”

When pressed, McCain said he didn’t know Obama well enough to describe him as an elitist, saying only that his comments “are certainly not the vision that I have of America and its strength and its greatness and what its fundamental values and beliefs are.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Barb

    I think americans are voting for Obama for the wrong reasons. They are voting because they hate Bush, the Clintons and anyone else that is part of this government. That is going too get the american people in trouble , because I don't think Obama should be talking too Iran. Iran put a price on the heads of america's military fighting in Iraq if he talks too Iran he is saying that is acceptable. Obama is not ready to be president until he can respect the american people the same way he respects Rev. Wright.

    April 14, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Oh brother! I thought McCain was above such cheap shots!!

    Now. . .once he is actually running against Obama as the Democratic nominee, I am wondering if he will go back on his word and start dragging up the tired refrain about Rev. Wright. I'm betting that he will, and this makes me sad.

    April 14, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Motov8n

    Ninja_Turtle McSame-as Bush. "Not This Time!!!! OBAMA – 08

    April 14, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. Mike

    Apparently McCain was the only one who had it correct (IRAN). Satellite view from Sunday shows a longe range missile facility in Iran but everyone said McCain was wrong about that. It will take moronic Democrats about 30 seconds to put all our lives in danger. They will probably fire the missiles while Obama is meeting with his buddy Ahmadinejad just to make a point. Maybe they can invite Hugo Chavez along for laughs. For those that call Republicans the "war mongers" digest this for a while:

    WWI-Woodrow Wilson – Democrat
    WWII- Franklin Roosevelt-Democrat
    Korea- Harry Truman – Democrat
    Vietnam- John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson- Democrats

    These high school Obama supporters need to take a history lesson.

    April 14, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Pat Riot

    Why call him an elitist when SOCIALIST is such a better fitting title?

    April 14, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. Mari s.a. Texas OBAMA 08...........

    "ERIC............... WAKE UP"
    Keep giving the Republicans your views bc they are blind side by what is going on!

    Obama 08

    April 14, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Tony

    The media has turned itself into a laughing stock. Fox is right wing propaganda, CNN and MSNBC are all about keeping the race going for ratings.

    Is it any surprised that when PA was in double digits, they were focusing on Hillary’s comments about sniper fire where they ignored them before? Is it any surprise that when PA started to get close, they had to have these Obama slips and comments taken out of context to make sure Hillary wins PA by a large enough margin to keep the race going?

    Obama’s comments in context were about the frustrations of people being ignored and lied to for the last 2 decades by the Clintons and Bushes, but of course they would focus on “bitter” and eliminate context while running Hillary over and over saying “people are tired of being lied to for the last 7 years by their government and now Obama’s elitism”.

    I am tired of the gross lies and distortions. CNN, Fox and MSNBC can miss my viewership. I am going to Comedy Central. At least then I will get to laugh more at this horse race coverage as news corporations try to invent news to feed the 24 hour cycle even when it is a gross distortion.

    April 14, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Randy

    Obama uses a lot of metaphorical language, and that's why people like Hillary seeks to take advanage of misconstruing what he says to try to incite and fool the public. It is a shame that the media dances to her tune. As to McCain, he is struggling to get his two brain cells to connect properly – so he dreads the idea of taking on Barack in the Fall.

    April 14, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Jake Jamahl, Atlanta

    Perhaps Obama should leave his wife to marry up to a trophy wife with a beverage distributorship fortune to wipe away this elitist scarlet letter?

    April 14, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Mari s.a. Texas OBAMA 08...........


    April 14, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Ratgurl

    Hey Nina "We need president who does say things right the very first time!!!!!!!!!!":

    You mean like Hillary? Yeah, SHE says thing right the first time, all the time.

    I see you're trying to pretend like you have something to say, but really, you don't.

    April 14, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. gil

    Be careful John. If Barack loses I'm voting for you unless you keep up this kind of nonsense. As it is, there is very little difference between you and Hillary anyway (other than the Hero thing and oh yeah, you aren't her)

    April 14, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. Doug R.

    McCain is frustrated and angry old man and it's going to be very enjoyable for us to view him losing his temper when the race kicks in to high gear. If any candidate is an elitist, hands down, it is McSame. This man left his first wife for a younger and very wealthly woman. He has no values or morals.

    April 14, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |

    why pick a fight with clinton over her party drink?
    by the way everyone else was at that party were drinking.

    but this man really dont know how to pick his fights.

    April 14, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Talk about "elitist". McCain is asking for people to donate to
    pay for "poor Mr. Guilianis" debt for his campaign fund!!!!!
    Have you ever heard of such a thing? McCain should be
    asking for donations to help the poor of America, not Mr. "spend
    N.Y. money instead of his own money to woo his girlfried about
    the country at America's finest of hotels and restaurants. No
    expense spared when the taxpayers pay for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    McCain is a crook
    Guiliani is a crook.
    McCain is an elitist.
    Guiliani is an elitist.
    Guliani's wife is an elitist.
    They won't win this election unless they cheat, which is possible.

    April 14, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Whoops, I forgot Hillary is a crook
    Hillary is an elitist., So is Bill!!!!!

    April 14, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. David, New Castle. PA

    Pennsylvanians–do the right thing and junk the Clinton machine once and for all so Barrack can focus on all the problems we face. McSame has no program and will need a walker soon. Hillary and McSame are identical gimme politicians surrounded by lobbyists payting now for the next administration to keep them greased. McCain lives off his wife's Budweiser fortune and is a veritiable elitist. Hillary gets cash through her husband's work for Columbian trade deals which she uses to finance her sorry campaign. Her sense of entitlement to this nomination has turned her quite spiteful and ugly. PA Democrats–please join me on April 22 in throwing her (and her smug, disgraceful husband) out of the race.

    April 14, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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