Clinton hits Obama over reported ‘bitter’ comment

April 11, 2008; Political Ticker

(CNN) — Democrat Hillary Clinton is seizing on comments Barack Obama recently made in which he reportedly said some Pennsylvanians who have lost their jobs are “bitter.”

“It’s being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who face hard times are bitter,” Clinton said during a campaign event in Philadelphia. “Well that’s not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania. I meet people who are resilient, optimist positive who are rolling up their sleeves.”

“Pennsylvanians don’t need a president who looks down on them,” she said. “They need a president who stands up for them, who fights hard for your future, your jobs, your families.”

Obama’s comments were reported earlier Friday by the Web site Huffingtonpost.com. The Web site says he made that at a fundraising event in San Francisco last Sunday.

“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not,” he reportedly said.

“And 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,” he also said, according to the Web site.

McCain’s campaign also criticized the comment Friday, saying “It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking.”

“It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans,” Steve Schmidt, a senior advisor to McCain, said.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not confirm Obama made the comments.

“No one from our press office was there — we don’t have a campaign recording–we are neither confirming nor refuting.”

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