June 11th, 2008
12:35 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain resurrects ‘bitter-gate’

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/11/art.mccaintownhall.ap.jpg caption="John McCain said Wednesday that he'll win the state of Pennsylvania in November"]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John McCain on Wednesday blasted presidential rival Sen. Barack Obama’s controversial statement in April about “bitter” Pennsylvania voters.

In a town hall meeting in Philadelphia, McCain said he doesn’t agree that voters in the state “cling to their religion and the Constitution because they are bitter. I am going to tell them that they have faith and they have trust and support the Constitution of the United States because they have optimism and hope and that is the strength of America.”

McCain was referring to remarks Obama made before the state’s April 22 primary that decades of lost jobs and unfulfilled promises from Washington have left some Pennsylvanians "bitter" and clinging "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."

WATCH more on the 'bitter' controversy.

Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton used Obama’s words to attack him as out of touch with Pennsylvanians. Obama later said that the remarks were badly phrased, but accurate.

McCain made it clear that he will “compete and win” and even “carry this state” in the general election – a state that has voted for the Democratic candidate in the last two presidential elections.

“I will carry this state and I will be the next president of the United States.”

Full Story

soundoff (345 Responses)
  1. Patricia in Las Vegas

    I am bitter that we have to endure this man!!!
    Does not make me an elitist ... I'm a hard working, white, over 50 woman who is voting for Obama!!!! Can not wait for that breath of fresh air come January 2009!!!!

    June 11, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  2. aware

    McCain 08 the only wise choice. 🙂

    Our troops will come home when and how it is prudent to bring them home. If you want failure and multiplied carnage in Iraq, just pull them out per Obama's schedule. As for the economy, if you want to see a stock market crash, vote for Obama. If you want extreme left-wing judges, vote for Obama.

    Obama is a far-left wing elitist, and I totally agree with Senator Lieberman's response when asked if Obama was a Marxist. This is a good queation, and there is more evidence to support it than not.

    However, the extreme Left-wing Democrats would not see Marxism as a negative. I learned this in an American University! 🙂

    June 11, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  3. Mike in Calgary

    Hillary for VP – but for which Party?


    June 11, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |

    Highlight the ANTIPATHY part.

    The media conveniently forgot to quote that part IN ALL their analysis.

    So Obama was able to lie and twist it around to say I did not mean turning to God or Guns was a bad thing. I meant that people turn to their traditions and faith.

    Yeah... what tradition of antipathy would he be refering to?

    Well the second part of the sentence was turning to ANTIPATHY for other Americans.


    June 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Norb

    McCain could have replaced Billy Bob as the lead in Sling Blade.

    June 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. Phil in KC

    I'm surprised we had as many good candidates this year as we did. It's a wonder anyone would want to go through the scrutiny and nit-picking that has been the hallmark of this campaign.
    And to Hillary – thanks for the negative campaigning. It showed the Republicans exactly where they need to focus.

    June 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Natalie

    Wow! This from the man who wants to run a civilized campaign based only on the issues huh? McCain is a liar, hypocrite, warmonger, elitist, and flip-flopper! I hope the US is smart enough to vote for Obama in Nov.

    Obama/Clinton '08

    June 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. Reality Check Richmond Virginia


    June 11, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. George

    so what ? no matter we are bitter or not , we will vote for Obama. Even if he says bitter we will get universal healthcare. Mccain thinks that he cares about us. He cares about drug companies. we knwo rupublicans very well.

    June 11, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. MAC IS WACK!!!!!!!!!!

    McCain is desperate to get our attention off of the economy and the war so he's resorting to this shameful tactic. He has voted against everything we, Barack and Hillary stand for. He does not support our troops. He votes against them. He supports the war though which has killed our economy. He votes against women and people of color and homosexuals and wildlife and forests and farmland.

    Anyone Dem who would vote vote him is no Dem

    June 11, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. 58 yr old white guy

    McCain voted against Martin Luther King JR's birthday as a recognized holiday. This guy is a creep. He would never see my vote.

    June 11, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. George

    Sen. McCain has lost in his own mind somewhere out there on the campaign trail. This guy doen't know what kind of campaign he wants to run. The first part of the day he want to run a clean campaign focused on the issuses and if he misses that mid day nap he want to play dirty.

    He reminds me of that old uncle that wants to keep telling you the same story over and over and over again like it was the first time he told it to you. Then he sits there wondering why you're not interested.

    I think he just happy to have someone listen to him talk.

    Hillary fanatics, why is it so hard to face reality? If you want to vote for Sen. McCain that is your right as an American citizen. The question you need to ask yourself is do you want Sen. McCain to be the one nominating the justices for the 3 or 4 Supreme Court seat that will be coming up within the next 4 year? If you are happy with that and the war vote in Sen. McCain.

    June 11, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. RRO

    All of you blaming Hillary for this are unbelieveable. Obama said that, the Republicans would have used it weither Hillary used it or not. Let the guy take responsability for his own comments.

    Weither he likes it or not he is going to need those rural vote if he is going to "change the electoral map". That comment sure seemed like the "politics of division". It was no ones fault but Obama's, you jump up and down on Hillary for any gaff she makes, well Obama did it to. Until Obama can move past this it will keep comming back.

    Democrats...maybe 08'

    June 11, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Ron L

    Interesting he can remember that, but he can't remember what HE said just 3 days ago....


    OLIVIA and all you other Hillary supporters... SHE LOSS!!!
    IF she was a good as you claim, how did she BLOW a 20 to 30% lead in ALL the major polls, and a $30 million dollar campaign fund advantage.
    FACE IT...she is a very smart woman but she has quite a few personality qualities people (male and female) REALLY can't stand...

    YOU NEED TO TURN THE PAGE....this chapter is OVER.

    June 11, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Karen

    Don't give HIllary too much credit. Hillary was just using the same old politics.

    June 11, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Brian, NJ


    Powers that be did not shut Hillary down, she LOST to a Senator in his first term. She BLEW it. She runs a schitzofrenic campaign that's millions in debt and THAT's who you want as President.

    Is it worth another soldier's life to get Hillary in 2012?

    You won't get Hillary in 2012 anyway because if he loses, we will enact retribution in 2012 to make sure she loses. You support Obama now and we'll support her in 2016.

    June 11, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Heather

    First he's nattering about Jimmy Carter and now he's talking about stuff that happened months ago. *shakes head* Give us something new, McSame.

    June 11, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Dickson

    That is non issue, Americans are far more inteligent than falling for that crap,............ Macsame,!!!!! the real issues will determine this election, period.

    June 11, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Jerry in Boston

    CNN moderators, you are a disgrace.

    You deleiberately censor vigorous criticism of Obama and only post those kind of comments when the authors complain about you not posting their comments, in a transparent attempt to make them look foolish.

    You disgust me.

    June 11, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Informed voter from florida

    The only "bitter" person they need to be talking about is Michelle Obama and the factn that she hates "whitey".

    June 11, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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