Obama lashes out after 'bitter' weekend

April 15, 2008 10:55:59 AM PDT
John McCain took his first shot at Barack Obama over the so-called "bitter" comments. Hillary Clinton tried to do the same thing but was jeered. And the Obama campaign is in full damage control mode. All of this is over what happened a week ago at a San Francisco fund raiser.

So what does this mean in the fight for the Democratic nomination?

Talk about your bitter pill. The Obama campaign really doesn't want to talk about this anymore, but it's not going away, at least not yet.

Senator John McCain opened up on Barack Obama over comments Obama made at a San Francisco fundraiser.

"I think those comments are elitist," says McCain.

A week ago in Pacific Heights, Senator Obama told supporters the reason he's not ahead in Pennsylvania is voters there are disillusioned and bitter over decades of economic hardship and politicians' broken promises.

"It's not surprising then that they get bitter and they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who are not like them," said Obama.

McCain says Obama is out of touch.

"These are the people that have fundamental cultural spiritual and other values that in my view, have very little to do with their economic condition," says McCain.

Speaking to steel workers in Pittsburgh Monday morning, Hillary Clinton brought up her rivals comments but did not get a warm response.

"I know that many of you, like me, were disappointed in remarks that he made," said Clinton.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama sought to reframe his comments

"And contrary to what my poor word choices may have implied or my opponents may have suggested, I've never believed that these traditions or people's faith has anything to do with how much money they have," said Obama.

Obama's campaign is attempting to put a lid on this. Calls to Bay Area campaign surrogates are being referred to Obama's campaign headquarters in Chicago. This is not the first time a candidate has suggested that hard economic times can drive voters to cling to social issues.

In 1991, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton complained the first Bush administration was using race to divide Democrats. He said: "the reason [Bush's tactic] works so well now is that you have all these economically insecure white people who are scared to death."

"It's a good point and a nice quote and it goes to the point that other people have said similar things," says ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain.

But it isn't going away says Cain. We are going to hear more about Wednesday night at the Democratic debate.

"You can bet that Hillary is going to have some remarks prepared to attack him for what he said," says Cain.

Professor Cain says Obama needs a good answer to Clinton's attacks on this issue or it's going to stick around and be a factor with the 20 percent of voters that make up their minds in the very last few days before they vote, and incidentally, they vote a week from Tuesday.


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