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Obama's "Shame on her" attack on Clinton. Video

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"She's talking like she is Annie Oakley," said Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in a speech Sunday, as he tries to deflect attention from his comments about "bitter" down and out blue collar workers and their views on guns, immigrants, trade, etc.

The Obama campaign was circulating this YouTube video and transcript. (at the click)

OBAMA REMARKS IN RESPONSE TO LATEST CLINTON-MCCAIN ATTACKS

STEELTON, PA - Senator Obama delivered the following remarks before the United Steelworkers of America in response to the latest attacks by Senators Clinton and McCain:

BO: So listen, I’m not going to speak long. I ‘m here mainly to just say thank you to all of you. You guys have been unbelievable supporters. You have been great friends. More importantly, you have been fighting the good fight here on the ground in Pennsylvania for so many years. And all of you know that it is time for change. Now I want to focus our attention a little bit on what’s been going on on the last couple days on the campaign trail. I’ve been running for 15 months now, which means there are babies who have been born and are now walking and talking since I started running for President. I am always amazed and surprised by the twists and concerns of the presidential campaign. Over the past couple of days we’ve seen a whole dust up about me talking about the frustrations and struggles of workers, not just here in Pennsylvania, but all across the Midwest including my home state of Illinois. Now, I am the first to admit that some of the words I chose, I chose badly. Because, as my wife reminds me, I am not perfect. She reminds of this frequently and events often remind me as well. So I am not a perfect man and the words I chose, I chose badly. They were subject to misinterpretation. They were subject to be twisted and I regret that. I regret that deeply.

But, when people suggest that somehow I was demeaning religion, when I know that I am a man of deep faith somebody who in my own life has held on to faith, held on to my confidence in God during times of trial and tribulation it sounds like there’s some politics being played. When people suggest that I am somehow being elitist and demeaning hunters, when I have repeatedly talked about the tradition that people pass on from generation to generation, hunters and sportsmen and how I have consistently spoken about my respect for the Second Amendment. When people try to suggest I was demeaning those traditions, then it sounds like there’s some politics that are being played. And what really burns me up is when people suggest that me saying that folks are mad, they are angry, they are bitter after 25, 30 years of seeing jobs shipped out, pensions not fulfilled, healthcare lost, the notion that people are surprised and are suggesting that I’m out of touch because I spoke honestly about people’s frustrations. That tells me there’s some politics going on. Now I have to admit that I expected some of this out of John McCain. John McCain said I was out of touch. He said I was being condescending and elitist: people aren’t bitter. And I’m thinking to myself. Here’s a guy. It took him three tries before he actually came up with a plan to deal with the millions of people who are about to lose their homes because of foreclosure, who wants to perpetuate Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while ordinary folks are struggling to pay the gas bill and the light bill, and gas at the pump. And he’s saying I’m out of touch. Do you think I’m out of touch? Or do you think he’s out of touch? So, I expected this out of John McCain.

But I’ve gotta say, I’m a little disappointed when I start hearing the exact same talking points coming out of my democratic colleague Hillary Clinton. She knows better. She knows better. Shame on her. Shame on her. She knows better. She is running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen. She, how she values the second amendment, she’s talking like she is Annie Oakley. Hillary Clinton is out there like she’s out in the duck blind every Sunday. She’s packing a six shooter. Come on. She knows better. That’s some politics being played by Hillary Clinton. I want to see that picture of her out there in the duck blind. You know, come on. When Hillary Clinton says I’m out of touch, I just have to remind people of the track record. Senator Clinton, this is the same person who has taken more money from lobbyists than any other candidate -- Democratic or Republican. Taken more money from drug company lobbyists and insurance company lobbyists and she is saying that I’m out touch. Who do you think is out of touch? This is the same person who took money from financial folks on wall street and then voted for a bankruptcy bill that makes It harder for folks right here in Pennsylvania to get a fair shake. Who do you think is out of touch? This is the same person who spent a decade with her husband campaigning for NAFTA and now goes around saying how she was opposed to NAFTA. Does that sound like she is in touch with Pennsylvania? Does that sound like she is in touch with you? This is the same person who says she is voting for the Colombia trade deal. Turns out that her top advisor, her top strategist was working for the Colombian government to get the bill passed. Does that sound like she is in touch with you? She must, what’d somebody say? What’d she think you were? Come on, she knows better than that. She knows better than that.

So, here’s the thing, every four years we get politicians coming before you and they say the same things. They say that they are going to fight for you. And they say they are going to bring all the jobs back. And they say they are going to get healthcare done. And they say that they are going to be making sure that our trade deals are fair. You guys have been hearing it, you’ve been hearing it forever. And things haven’t changed. And of course you’re frustrated about that. Of course you’re angry about that. Of course you’re bitter about that. But here’s the good news. The good news is that when we started this campaign we said we were going to do something different. We said we weren’t going to take PAC money. We weren’t going to take money from federal lobbyists. Because I wanted to be accountable to you. And there were all kinds of people who said well he can’t, you know, he’s not going to be able to compete against all those big money interests in Washington. But you know what they didn’t understand? They didn’t understand you. They didn’t understand that you were tired of a politics that was all about turning each other down. You wanted a politics that was about lifting each other up. They didn’t understand. They didn’t understand that you were going to finance my campaign with $25 contributions and $50 contributions. They didn’t understand that you would help build the best political organization out there. That could compete with anybody no matter how many big endorsements the other candidates got, we had the people on our side. And so I’m here to say to you, all of my friends in labor, that you have funded my campaign. I am accountable to you. Those lobbyists they have not funded my campaign. They will not run our White House and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I’m President of the United States of America. And because you have somebody who’s listened to you, who’s been working.

Listen let me describe how I got my start. Let me describe how I got my start. I started in public service, moving to Chicago after college so that I would be working with folks who had been laid off at steel plants just like the ones I drove by on the way in from the airport. This is back in the early, mid-80s. Tens of thousands of people had been laid off. And I worked with churches where my faith was strengthened and I worked with laid off steel workers and folks who had fallen on hard times. And when I got there, they were frustrated. And when I got there, they were angry and there was bitterness there. But we worked together. What I discovered was that when ordinary people can come together, we can do extraordinary things. When we get passed the politics of division, distraction and we start actually focusing on what we have in common with each other, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, when we come together there is nothing we can’t accomplish. And that’s what this campaigns been about. SO if you are ready to stand with me, if you are ready to stand with bob Casey then we can actually provide health care for every American, instead of just talking about it. We can start providing pension security for every American instead of just talking about it. We can start providing a world-class education for every child, instead of just talking about it. We can start making sure that our trade agreements are fair for American workers instead of just talking about. That’s what we’re looking for. We don’t need more talk. We don’t need more empty promises and we definitely don’t need this kind of politics – politics as usual – that’s the word I was looking for. We don’t need to try to mangle somebody else’s words or score cheap political points. What we need to do is come together and actually solve problems because the problems out there are big.

4 Comments

A few statements and comments on this 'BITTER' & 'Elitist' issue.

It is dishearting to view, listen and read Talk-Show hosts, T.V. journalist(term use loosely), Print Media and of course Blog-o-spherer(s)DUMB DOWN THE AMERICAN VOTER over picayunish linguistic-histrionic over ONE word. I reviewed my Webster dictionary and I be damned if 'DISAPPOINTMENT' was not included in describing the word 'BITTER'.

Please explain to me how Senator Obama is an elitist someone? Using Webster again it defines this as meaning a group who expect certain privileges because of status or consciousness of belonging to an elite. If this was the case, he would have taken his fine-tuned intellect unto walk street upon graduation from Harvard, and began to make the six figure salary which Senator Obama easily could attain.

He did not do this!! But instead pursued local community activism to help those who would never been able to afford a legal mind of his stature.

I am tired of people bringing this BLACK MAN DOWN because he went to Harvard. Yes, I said Black Man, some people will not let him simply be a man. If this disturbs anyone, it simply means you have some issues to work on.

George Bush I and II went to Harvard and look at the mess they created while in office. If any such people should be called elitist it would be the Bush's! George #II quite obviously benefited from elitism can easily be pointed out by a 'C' student being elected(election stolen) to the most powerful office in the land.

Answer me these two questions: How many would want a doctor to perform brain surgery(any surgery for that matter) on them knowing this person were a 'C' student in Medical school?

How many would want this person as a Defense Lawyer as well? This is why America's economy is in the tank and our troops fighting a senseless war! A below average student is running the country people!!

Now that is what I am 'BITTER' about!

You tell em Doug!

LOL!!

Yeah, I'm bitter. I don't like it when jokes are made in my name for frat boys and sorority girls who don't understand feminism.
Gotta go spin in my grave now.

I don't think the concern is solely over Obama's use of the word "bitter" to describe Pennsylvanians from small towns, but also that Obama has on occasion grouped people together and described them in a way that negatively stereotypes them. (A previous example of this was when he referred to his grandmother as a "typical white person.")

He's not being accused of being an elitist because of his Harvard law degree or because he is wealthy. It's because sometimes he seems out of touch with "regular" Americans. This view of him as an elitist is exacerbated by the fact that so many of his supporters are wealthy Democrats (the so-called "latte liberals"), where the lower and working class Democrats have tended to support Clinton. And as a sidenote, while Obama may not have made the big bucks right out of Harvard, it's not like the Obamas were hurting for cash -- his wife was presumably earning a decent living at large national law firm Sidley Austin.

Arguably, with his statement at the California fundraiser directed toward wealthier individuals, he caricatured and belittled the views of working class Pennsylvanians who (regardless of their economic circumstances) hold genuine beliefs -- in their religion, in their right to bear arms, in certain positions with respect to immigration or trade -- by lumping all smalltown Pennsylvanians together and making it sound like they cling to beliefs and faith only out of desperation and frustration. It was a shallow observation that did not properly credit people for having real and genuine belief systems and intelligent and well-reasoned thoughts of their own.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 14, 2008 12:03 AM.

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