Barack Obama has apparently decided to stand by his observation, first delivered in San Francisco on April 6, that some Americans in small-town Pennsylvania are “bitter” about the lack of available jobs. After Hillary Clinton and John McCain criticized his views as elitist and condescending, Obama repeated, and elaborated upon, his original statement Friday.
Update: Obama made even stronger remarks in a speech on Sunday, an excerpt of which can be found here.
The Washington Post:
“Of course they’re bitter. Of course they’re frustrated. You would be, too—in fact, many of you are,” Obama said.
He also addressed the same social hot-button issues that Clinton and McCain pointed to as evidence of elitism. “And so people don’t vote on economic issues, because they don’t expect anybody’s going to help them. People are voting on issues like guns, are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. They take refuge in their faith and their community and their families and the things they can count on. But they don’t believe they can count on Washington.”
Obama also returned fire on both his critics. “Here’s what’s rich: Senator Clinton says, ‘I don’t think people are bitter in Pennsylvania. I think Barack’s being condescending.’ John McCain says, ‘He’s obviously out of touch with people.’ Out of touch? John McCain, it took him three tries to figure out the home foreclosure crisis was a problem and to come up with a plan for it, and he’s saying I’m out of touch? Senator Clinton voted for a credit-card-sponsored bankruptcy bill that made it harder for people to get out of debt—after taking money from the financial services companies—and she says I’m out of touch?