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Obama Defends ‘Guns And God Clinging’ Slam

From his champions at the New York Times:


Opponents Call Obama Remarks ‘Out of Touch’

April 12, 2008
By JEFF ZELENY

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — As Senator Barack Obama sought to broaden his appeal to voters in southern Indiana on Friday, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain separately criticized him as being out of touch with the middle class, seizing on a remark Mr. Obama made at a California fund-raiser about “bitter” Americans.

At the fund-raiser in San Francisco last Sunday, Mr. Obama outlined challenges facing his presidential candidacy in the coming primaries in Pennsylvania and Indiana, particularly persuading white working-class voters who, he said, fell through the cracks during the Bush and Clinton administrations.

“So it’s not surprising then that 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,” Mr. Obama said, according to a transcript on the Huffington Post Web site, which on Friday published the comments.

The remarks touched off a torrent of criticism from Mrs. Clinton, Mr. McCain and Republican activists and party officials, all accusing Mr. Obama of elitism and belittling the working class. Mr. Obama forcefully rejected those charges when he arrived at a rally here on Friday evening, drawing a standing ovation in a crowded gymnasium when he painted both of his rivals as entrenched Washington insiders.

“No, I’m in touch,” Mr. Obama said. “I know exactly what’s going on. I know what’s going on in Pennsylvania, I know what’s going on in Indiana, I know what’s going on in Illinois. People are fed up, they’re angry, they’re frustrated, they’re bitter and they want to see a change in Washington. That’s why I’m running for president of the United States of America.” …

In Pennsylvania on Friday, Mrs. Clinton was first to seize upon the comment Mr. Obama made at the California fund-raiser. The Democrats are embroiled in a vigorous battle for the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

“It’s being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter; well, that’s not my experience,” Mrs. Clinton told an audience at Drexel University. “Pennsylvanians don’t need a president who looks down on them; they need a president who stands up for them, who fights for them, who works hard for your futures, your jobs, your families.”

After her remarks, aides to Mrs. Clinton issued several statements criticizing Mr. Obama, including ones that contained criticism from Republicans. Soon, the McCain campaign also weighed in with criticism of Mr. Obama’s remarks at the California fund-raiser.

“It shows an elitism and condescension toward hard-working Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking,” said Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to Mr. McCain. “It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans.”

While the Obama campaign initially dismissed the criticism in a written statement from its Chicago headquarters, his advisers quickly concluded that Mr. Obama’s remarks could be a political liability as he sought to win over working-class voters. He responded with unusual force at a town meeting at a high school in Terre Haute, Ind., seeking to explain his statement that voters are bitter.

“Here’s what’s rich,” Mr. Obama said. “Senator Clinton said, ‘Well I don’t think people are bitter in Pennsylvania. I think Barack is being condescending.’ John McCain said, ‘How could he say that? How could he say that people are bitter? He obviously is out of touch with people.’ Out of touch? Out of touch? John McCain — it took him three times to finally figure out that home foreclosure was a problem and to come up with a plan for it, and he’s saying I’m out of touch?”

The audience, made up largely of Democratic voters, rose and applauded as Mr. Obama delivered his defense. Late Friday evening, the Clinton and McCain campaigns criticized Mr. Obama once again for failing to express regret for his remark.

“Instead of apologizing for offending small town America, Senator Obama chose to repeat and embrace the comments he made earlier this week,” said Phil Singer, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton. He added, “Americans are tired of a President who looks down on them, they want a President who will stand up for them for a change.”

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, issued a similar response.

“Instead of apologizing to small town Americans for dismissing their values, Barack Obama arrogantly tried to spin his way out of his outrageous San Francisco remarks,” Mr. Bounds said, adding: “You can’t be more out of touch than that.”

Note how once again the New York Times reports a story that might reflect negatively on their candidate or overall agenda only when they can present his side, his defense.

(They should change their slogan to “All The News That’s Fit To Pinch.”)

But oddly enough, the charges in this case are actually untrue. Mr. Obama is not at all out of touch. Quite the contrary.

He definitely has his finger on the pulse of the San Francisco billionaire crowd and the rest of the America-haters of the left. And, after all, these are his core constituents.

We’re just not suppose to notice. And certainly we’re not suppose to object.

Unless we want to be called bitter gun-clinging, God worshipping, xenophobic racists.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Saturday, April 12th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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