Obama Again Clarifies PA Remarks

Last night in Indiana, Obama came out swinging to justify his remarks about PA voters. Today, Obama says he erred.

[Obama] said on Saturday he erred in how he expressed the concerns of those voters...Obama told a campaign rally in Muncie, Indiana, his description was clumsy and did not convey his meaning. "I didn't say it as well as I should have," said Obama,

...Obama said he believed many voters were indeed bitter about the economy and he meant to say "when you're bitter you turn to what you can count on." "So people -- they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community," he said. But he said he had not meant to imply that was a bad thing.

"The truth is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation, those are important. That's what sustains us," he said.

What he said initially:

Those voters were "bitter" about job losses and other economic woes and so "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," Obama, an Illinois senator, said.

Is he digging himself into a deeper hole? Clinging to anti-immigrant sentiment isn't a bad thing? Isn't he still saying PA voters harbor anti-immigrant sentiment that have been passed down to them through generations?

The Chicago Tribune has the video to today's comments. He also says the brouhaha over his comments is "a little typical, sort of, political flare up." The AP has more on Obama's newest clarification.

< Obama Interview On LGBT Issues | Hillary Again Attacks Obama Over PA Remarks >
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    I think (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by nell on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:04:39 PM EST
    He is making it worse by continuing to justify his remarks, but I think he will get away with it because BTD's theory so far is holding out - the media is spinning, spinning, spinning to justify his remarks.

    The situation sees to be getting a bit messy in Indiana, however:

    INDIANAPOLIS - (WANE) - The Indiana Republican Party is calling on Indiana Democrats in Congress to denounce Barack Obama's criticism of Midwestern values at a San Francisco fundraiser last Sunday.

    Indiana Republican Party spokesman Jay Kenworthy issued the following statement on Barack Obama's comments posted below.

    "Indiana is full of decent people who support gun rights because they believe in the Constitution and place a premium on religion because they are people of faith -- not because we are bitter as Obama stated. Perhaps this is something Barack Obama doesn't understand, but surely our Congressional delegation does.

    "I can't imagine Hoosiers supporting a candidate who thinks so little of them."

    Former Speaker John Gregg issued the following statement in response to recent comments made by Senator Obama:

    "I am offended to hear of Senator Obama's recent comments at a fundraiser in San Francisco. If this is the description of small towns in the Midwest that Senator Obama is telling people in San Francisco, he clearly hasn't spent enough time in Indiana. Those of us who live in small towns across Indiana are hardworking Americans who love and fight for our country, and live where we do because we believe it's the best place to raise our kids and call home. Senator Obama should focus his campaign on offering plans to help struggling Hoosiers create a better life and not mock them for their small town values and religious beliefs."

    As Grover Norquist said (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:10:21 PM EST
    "Now you can vote against that guy not because you don't like him," Norquist added. "You can vote against him because he doesn't like you."

    And that is a hint of how Obama will be characterized for the general election.  

    Electability? I don't think so.


    I hope this story has legs. It shows (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by hairspray on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:10:54 PM EST
    how out of touch Obama really is with those he says he champions.  Maybe the big donors in SF are his real core group.  The dismissing of 900 potential delegates (quickly reversed) is another example of the real Obama. If Darcy hadn't complained loudly over at the big orange, would anything have happened?

    Tentacles would be more like it (none / 0) (#116)
    by felizarte on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 03:02:22 PM EST
    and I doubt that the Clinton would let these words fade from the coming political discourse.  Neither should they allow it to happen.  This is a club that Obama has handed to McCain and Clinton to beat him on the head with.  

    This is what scares me (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by frankly0 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:13:30 PM EST
    about Obama more than anything else.

    He's not only going to do damage to himself.

    He's going to damage the entire Democratic brand if he becomes our nominee.


    Well... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by kempis on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:18:23 PM EST
    If Obama is the nominee, the Democrats will simply be adhering to tradition: Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Mondale....

    The Dems tend to nominate people who do reinforce the "liberal elite" image. The GOP, on the other hand, nominates cowboys and swaggerers. Sure, they're phony, but they embrace the very guns, god, and anti-gay rhetoric that Obama criticized.


    liberal elite (none / 0) (#31)
    by Nasarius on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:28:47 PM EST
    The key part of that image, I think, is that they're gutless, boring, out-of-touch wimps. Obama has eliminated the "boring" part, but he exudes the rest in spades.

    Somehow, we really are stupid enough to nominate this people.


    Completely wrong (none / 0) (#64)
    by LonewackoDotCom on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:58:16 PM EST
    Obama as the candidate could lead to a resurgence of the Democratic brand, as he travels from small town to small town educating people on why they're wrong.

    As for Jeralyn's comments, apparently Obama's "anti-immigrant sentiments" have been passed down through generations, from their immigrant ancestors. Of course, there might just be a possibility that BHO was misleading in order to cover for his support for massive illegal activity, but let's not even consider that.


    You give away exactly what is offensive about (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by rooge04 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:51:23 PM EST
    Obama with your statement that:

    Obama as the candidate could lead to a resurgence of the Democratic brand, as he travels from small town to small town educating people on why they're wrong.

    How bout instead of him telling everyone why they're wrong he tries to show how he may be right?  On policy and all that. Instead he goes around---as do his surrogates---telling everyone they're wrong.  That if they don't vote for Obama they're simplistic dolts.

    That is the core of what is wrong with Obama and mostly his supporters. They think they're smarter, more knowledgable, more educated...better.  Not only is it completely untrue since most of the HRC supporters I know have been around politics for a long time and know a whole hell of a lot more than probably Lord Kos and his followers...but it's one of the most offensive things you can say to people.  You're too dumb to know better.  

    Perhaps Obama and some of his supporters are the ones to dumb to know better since they keep saying the stupidest things.


    Magically decoded (none / 0) (#132)
    by LonewackoDotCom on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 11:01:11 PM EST
    The first paragraph of my post was satirical. The second was snarky.

    Anti-immigration sentiments (none / 0) (#92)
    by Black Mare on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:31:33 PM EST
    have indeed been passed down with each wave.

    Are you saying Obama is anti-immigrant?  The white folks in PA are rabidly anti-immigrant, at least the poor, uneducated ones are.

    You wouldn't believe how often I have to explain that illegal employees are contributing to Social Security.  Even after a lengthy explanation they don't get it.


    Don't forget to tell them (none / 0) (#103)
    by Fabian on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:13:28 PM EST
    how much they send home in remittances instead of spending it here.  Earn money here and spend it in Mexico.  How does that help the local economy?

    Anyone who shops at Walmart (none / 0) (#118)
    by reynwrap582 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 03:15:18 PM EST
    or really any other place with low-priced, foreign-made goods is earning money here and spending it in another country, regardless of where the transaction takes place.

    Do you reveal all the costs and benefits? (none / 0) (#133)
    by LonewackoDotCom on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 11:06:32 PM EST
    Do you reveal all the costs and benefits of supporting illegal activity, or do you just cherry pick a few benefits and hand-wave away major costs, including the non-financial costs such as giving foreign governments PoliticalPower inside the U.S.?

    Foreign Gov political power in US? (none / 0) (#135)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:05:18 AM EST
    I imagine you mean the Saudis and Dubai right?  But wait they don't have illegal immigration problems do they.  Cause I don't see how what you said makes sense.

    I meant to agree with you. Apologies if it came (none / 0) (#95)
    by rooge04 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:52:55 PM EST
    off as the exact opposite.  As I just noticed it did reading my comment back! ;)

    Perhaps this episode (none / 0) (#117)
    by felizarte on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 03:04:44 PM EST
    would give him a better understanding of what experience means and what it can accomplish and the mistakes that can be avoided in a campaign to win hearts and minds.

    AP hits his "arugalance" :-) (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:18:19 PM EST
    and "highlights" it as his "Achilles heel" in the link here -- an image of superiority projected throughout the campaign, etc.

    Wow.  That's bad -- as it's AP's story, so it's the version that will be reprinted most widely.  And I don't recall that his image has been seen as a problem before, but his awful comments now are bringing out long-latent criticism like this?

    But we'll see whether it sticks -- whether it's part of an SNL skit tonight, whether it's mentioned on Sunday morning shows, whether it comes up in the Sunday night debate . . . say, with a question about immigration again, as he has not apologized for that part of the comments . . . and then whether it becomes such a part of the buzz that it really hits home in the heartland, i.e., whether it makes it into Leno's monologue next week.


    Don't you worry about this (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by frankly0 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:22:12 PM EST
    gaffe just going away anytime soon.

    The Clinton campaign has clearly made a decision to go at this leather and tong. And I'm sure the McCain campaign has done the same.

    They can smell the blood in the water.

    The MSM can't let it drop if both the Clinton campaign and the McCain campaign will talk about nothing else. That's how the MSM works.


    Obama's image (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by myiq2xu on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:26:53 PM EST
    is still being defined.  That's what happens when you have a candidate with a blank slate for a record.

    The GOP will paint him to be a stereotypical pointy-headed liberal in the Modale-Dukakis-Kerry mold.

    Without a record, the only thing he has to counter the GOP's efforts are words.

    You know - "just words."


    I'm a belgian endive and soybean (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by MarkL on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:29:40 PM EST
    kind of guy, myself.

    Ah, remember when Dukakis (4.00 / 3) (#39)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:35:13 PM EST
    told Iowa farmers that they could improve their future by planting Belgian endive?  I wonder if Obama is strewing arugula seeds across Indiana.

    Love the new words (4.00 / 3) (#34)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:30:39 PM EST

    Anyway, just a side comment.


    Can we get a link (none / 0) (#37)
    by OxyCon on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:34:09 PM EST
    to the AP story plz?

    As noted, it's above already in the intro (nt) (none / 0) (#41)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:35:45 PM EST
    D'oh (5.00 / 0) (#49)
    by OxyCon on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:42:56 PM EST
    My best Homer impression, ty.

    Now I see (none / 0) (#69)
    by OxyCon on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:02:47 PM EST
    ...the context of what you posted earlier. The AP comes right out and says it:

    "The flap threatened to highlight an Obama Achilles heel -- the image that the Harvard-trained lawyer is arrogant and carries himself with an air of superiority."

    This is something I've been hammering home all over the Internet for months now. For this to appear in an AP newswire article shows me that Obama's arrogance and sense of superiority are easy for all to see.


    Yep -- my quote marks were not clear (none / 0) (#71)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:05:14 PM EST
    I guess, so good that you picked up the full sentence.  Glad to know that you agree that this is surprising -- and may mean that this gaffe gives legs to a larger image problem.

    LOL. Not an image. (none / 0) (#97)
    by rooge04 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:54:20 PM EST
    It's actually who he is.

    The legs of the story will come. (none / 0) (#24)
    by MMW on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:22:57 PM EST
    The more people who hear what was actually said (not the anti-Clinton spin) will increase those offended by it and the more they will speak up. Wait till the right wing talk radio gets wind of it. It's the weekend. The media's spin will likely cause a backlash against the media (like labelling them "liberal" did to push them right). I don't think voters want to hear that they are small minded and bigoted. I don't think it is right to say that people who are unhappy with the economy would choose to vote based on unrelated issues. That basically calls them foolish.

    The question for Obama, that he has not been able to answer, is what are you proposing to do?


    I think what is also disturbing (5.00 / 3) (#109)
    by Anne on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:23:20 PM EST
    is that aside from what he said - which was bad enough - it was never intended that we know that he said it; it just reeks of "this is just between us," from one who clearly views himself as a member of the elite class, speaking to a roomful of elitists gathered to shower him with money.

    He gladly takes the money of the little guys - brags about it, hits Clinton over the head with it at every opportunity - these people who probably cannot really afford to do it, who are sacrificing to do it, and then he goes into a venue with people who could freakin' buy the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and belittles and condescends.

    If I'm one of those low-dollar donors, and I hear these remarks, I know in an instant that this guy is not the least bit interested in me.

    One thing's for sure - he's got that audacity thing nailed; too bad it has nothing to do with hope.


    He was being polite (none / 0) (#125)
    by BarnBabe on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 05:22:21 PM EST
    I am one of those small town PA persons. I was annoyed last night and this morning I woke up and realized what he was saying. He was nicely saying the people who live in the small towns of PA are red neck racist and it is hard to get them to vote for him.  It is like describing Pennsylvanians as a lot of Catholics. Quite the opposite of a Rev Wright Christian Church if you get the picture. I would always laugh about that quote because I knew what they were trying to say but couldn't say it because they would be labeled.  

    Nell (none / 0) (#56)
    by Andy08 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:47:13 PM EST
    do you have the links to those comments? Thanks!!

    Here you go (none / 0) (#130)
    by nell on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 06:27:43 PM EST
    Thank you (none / 0) (#131)
    by Andy08 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 06:54:56 PM EST
    Maybe (none / 0) (#96)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:53:22 PM EST
    Olbermann can use this issue for another one of his Special Tantrums. Because we all know by Olbermann standards that everything that goes wrong in the known Universe is Hillary Clinton's fault.

    Although it stuns me that when someone opens their mouth, puts their foot in and someone else points out what they've done it is the pointer-outer that is in the wrong not the foot-put-er.


    Not only that (none / 0) (#112)
    by jen on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:41:08 PM EST
    but the rest of the States are all primaries! Not his strong suit, and this will show him to be even weaker than he has been in most of the other primary states.

    The Obama's seem to think (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by zfran on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:10:13 PM EST
    that because they say something (this has happened before with some remarks)that it is so and they do not need to therefore apologize to some they may have offended. They instead have shown that they pass the responsibility on to someone else, as he passed it on the Sen. Clinton and McCain. I was taught and have taught my children to take responsibility for what I do and say (I realize this is not always easy), apologize, if necessary, and go on. Sen. Obama wants to be President and President means of all the people, and not all of the people are the same and have the same values (as him)or others.

    He says something offensive (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by myiq2xu on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:18:30 PM EST
    to many voters, and Hillary gets blamed for calling him on it.

    Of (5.00 / 3) (#98)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:57:05 PM EST
    course she does. She made him say it. She zapped those offensive words right into his brain and made him spit them out. She's not a B-tch after all, she's a witch. Kinda like Charmed with wrinkles, heavier set and with more clothes on.

    Obama thought his original insult (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by OxyCon on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:12:30 PM EST
    ...was acceptable when he said it in San Francisco.
    Now he's just again attempting to sweet talk his way out of it.
    There is nothing he could ever do to lose his adoring legions, who, because of their devotion to him, are obligated to defend him. But I seriously doubt that Obama is ever going to pick up one new supporter from here on out.

    The numbers of undecideds... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by white n az on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:18:40 PM EST
    are very small in most of the decent polls at this point so the outcomes seem fairly certain unless foibles such as this occur.

    Then of course, the trend seems to have been for late deciders to fall Hillary's way.

    Last I say, SUSA had Hillary +9% in Indiana and that is a key state for the nomination and it is precisely why "I didn't say it as well as I should have," becomes an important issue.

    He was hitting small town PA which is for all purposes, lost to him but it will hurt him in small town IN which is very important to his effort to lock up the nomination.

    Leaves little doubt as to why Obama can't seal the deal.


    He was not just hitting small-town PA (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:22:06 PM EST
    as his comment began with saying that region was just like (and some say western PA is in) the "small towns in the Midwest."  That's definitely Indiana, and the state Dem leaders are saying so.  Good for them.

    After a day of getting hammered... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by white n az on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:12:42 PM EST
    he has decided that it is better to stick with his theme and bend it a little than to admit that he screwed up.

    Why does it seem as though you now have a good feel of how an Obama presidency would play out.

    I think we presently have an administration that instinctively 'knows' how middle America feels...

    SO ?

    The evolution of his clarifications (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:16:21 PM EST
    is interesting to me. His campaign's first reaction was to have him fight back and stand by his remarks. Overnight, that didn't work, so now he's up to he "erred" and was imprecise with language. How long till we see an apology?

    I suspect it will be at tomorrow night's faith forum  if not before.  Depending on the campaign's internal polling on the effect.

    Axelrove... (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by OxyCon on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:29:28 PM EST
    ...is already writing Obama's slick response on this for the faith forum.
    He's probably going for "maximum lower extremity tingling" per MessNBC.
    And on that note, since we're talking "small towns", here's a video tribute:
    John Mellencamp - Get A Leg Up

    Gallup (none / 0) (#23)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:22:39 PM EST
    He's had a two-point overnight downtick in the Gallup poll.



    Rasmussen (none / 0) (#35)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:33:34 PM EST
    tracking poll, though I prefer Gallup but like tracking polls better than most others . . . anyway, Rasmussen tracking poll already, yesterday, had Obama dropping precipitously in recent days from a double-digit lead down to 7 points, then 5, then 3.  

    And as both of these three-day polls ended yesterday, I bet they don't even include much if any fallout from his anti-middle-America comments.  So with the debate this Sunday, too, it will be interesting to see what they turn up next week for nationwide numbers -- when there will be a new SUSA poll for Pennsylvania, too.


    I don't much countenance their accuracy (none / 0) (#46)
    by white n az on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:41:29 PM EST
    so the numbers are not as important as the trend.

    That said, OxyCon suggested up thread that Obama has for all apparent purposes capped out and leaking at this point would pretty much doom his chances.


    Exactly -- as noted, tracking polls (none / 0) (#60)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:53:27 PM EST
    tell me a lot more about trends than single-day snapshots.  And I like Gallup's methodology and universe better.  But the downside is that this will take some days to truly surface in tracking polls.  Ah well, patience is a virtue, so they say. :-)

    Rasmussen on teevee (none / 0) (#61)
    by waldenpond on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:53:48 PM EST
    last night... he comes on to review his polling.   He didn't much discuss the polls this time. but said that Clinton now has a real issue to take to the superdeez.  Not very positive for Obama IMO.

    If the Wright affair is an indicator, you (none / 0) (#26)
    by MarkL on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:23:13 PM EST
    won't. Eventually, Obama will return to saying that his original remarks were correct, just as he now says that Wright is a great guy who says a lot of great things.

    Fuller reporting, please (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by child on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:20:44 PM EST
    Here's a more complete look at Obama's remarks from the NY Times:

    "''Lately there has been a little typical sort of political flare up because I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois who are bitter,'' Obama said Saturday morning at Ball State University. ''They are angry. They feel like they have been left behind. They feel like nobody is paying attention to what they're going through.''

    ''So I said, well you know, when you're bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community. And they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country.''

    After acknowledging that his previous remarks could have been better phrased, he added:

    ''The truth is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation, those are important. That's what sustains us. But what is absolutely true is that people don't feel like they are being listened to.

    ''And so they pray and they count on each other and they count on their families. You know this in your own lives, and what we need is a government that is actually paying attention. Government that is fighting for working people day in and day out making sure that we are trying to allow them to live out the American dream.''

    I understand the partisanship on this site--that's all well and good and to be commended; yet it seems as if some here intentionally want to deny the truth of his statement in an effort to derail Mr. Obama.  What we see, then, is a classic case of desperate politicking (a.k.a. subverting the democratic process)

    Look, Obama admitted he could have phrased it better, but everyone is familiar with the truism he is voicing.  Alas, we are all-too-familiar with the posturing that passes as "leadership" in contemporary election campaigns.  

    Obama could have phrased it better (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:26:35 PM EST
    "Obama could have phrased it better" is a euphemism for W.O.R.M.  

    Obama frequently mis-speaks in ways that take days to recover from, and often many W.O.R.M.s.  Imagine a President  Obama and the many, many W.O.R.M.s that could easily come out -- about international relations, no less.

    We want a president whose mis-speaks are "safe and rare," not "scary and frequent".

    This just shows a guy who isn't politically finessed enough to be leader of the free world.


    He could have... (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by andrelee on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:59:14 PM EST
    talked about leadership without the  negative stereotypes, talked about the need for government, familial and community support without the negatives stereotypes, talked about anything without the negative stereotypes. It maybe that 'we' all know it's true, but 'we' all should also know that the people he's talking about don't think of themselves as desperate gun-clinging, religious, xenophobes when times are tough. If anything, if they are like that then, they are probably like that when times aren't tough. Even further, if he would have just added the qualifier 'a few', he could say, 'Oh, I certainly wasn't talking about everyone...'. It's revealing that 'we' all know how 'they' are, which is probably a good reason that he said it to an audience who also knew how 'they' are and was maybe trying to connect with them by reflecting their own ideas. If that was the case he should have thought more about successfully connecting with, not just the monied folks, but the voters in the upcoming elections by reflecting THEIR ideas about themselves back to them. That would have worked a lot better at establishing a connection than his WORM necessitating comments.  

    The response in articles and the media (5.00 / 4) (#67)
    by waldenpond on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:02:05 PM EST
    are that 'elitists' and certain 'Democrats' are going to say it's true.  I was raised in a small time, I'm not bitter, not clingy.... he and his supporters need to stop what they are saying and stop it now.  

    It does no one any good to say that people are ignorant and will vote against their own issues, etc... just another way of saying 'low knowledge' as if small town people are incapable of evaluating candidates on multiple levels and deciding who to vote for.  

    If people don't want to vote for someone who condescends to them, I imagine it is because for us typical, small town, low knowledge voters who sit on the porch swilling beer with a gun in our laps, it is because we can smell a fraud and know when we are being bullsh!tted and that person will never represent their interests.


    But he's still insulting (4.00 / 3) (#59)
    by badger on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:52:32 PM EST
    and he's still wrong.

    I've lived in small towns for 35 years - worked in factories with small town, blue-collar people, gone to pot-lucks, bowled in a league, PTA meetings and lots of community involvement, even gone to church with them (I'm an atheist, one of my best friends is a Lutheran pastor), and I see them and talk to them every time I drive into town to run errands.

    I'm not familiar with the "truism he is voicing" because it simply isn't true. People aren't bitter. Clinton is actually right on this: people are resilient, optimistic, hopeful. People vote on gun issues or practice their faith because those things are major parts of the fabric of their lives.

    As to "anti-immigrant" - that's BS too. People know that they lost their factory job because it moved overseas, or the bank foreclosed on their orchard because Mexico closed its markets while we left ours wide-open to Chinese imports, and they lost a dollar on every box of apples they shipped, or their family dairy farm can't compete with factory farms.

    Obama has no plan and no intention of doing anything about any of this. Clinton has some but not nearly enough. The fact that clearly Obama understands none of this makes him look that much worse. It's not subverting the democratic process to point those things out.


    Links provide fuller reporting here (none / 0) (#25)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:23:01 PM EST
    to save bandwidth, which is limited here.  That's all.

    The gaffe process (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Truth Partisan on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:33:41 PM EST
    Hey, Obama has his gaffe process down. There's the "can't throw stones" push-back with the Hillary and McCain aren't perfect lines (last night) and when that didn't soften up the refs, there's WORM--you might have noticed the Obama Internet Team out in force last night in a lot of places pushing all kinds of liberal buttons...I'm guessing there will be more Obama team talking about how we don't know what he means nor what we're talking about.(That's one of my biggest problems with Obama--if he just started touting helpful plans that he had for PA we Democrats would all be better off.)The spin is that Obama was not trying to be offensive, he was being caring--that's the famous GOP "reverse spin" on your opponent's strongest point, that Hillary has real policies designed to help real people.

    Ouch for Obama (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by waldenpond on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:35:33 PM EST
    This was on CNN, Fox and MSNBC.  This morning, 9:00 and 10:00 hours.

    On MSNBC, Richard Wolffe compared him to Bush, tired, not wearing enough make-up in his hearing, at first thought campaiging was beneath him, thought of as elitist, likes the photo ops (then goes on to say nice things but wouldn't quite commit to 'smart')  What was that?  They discussed Obama having a problem with the working class and women.  

    Fox said he was attacking traditional values, aristocratic, elitist, out of touch, brought up bowling and arugula.  They covered Obama response: Clinton awashed in lobby money, Nafta, Washington broken Clinton won't fix it.  Then stated that just like Wright, Obama has refused to explain or apologize.  Comments coming in about M Obama.

    Cilizza: short term-white lower middle class, long-term like John Kerry... Dems out of touch with ordinary voter.  Benefit 24 hour news cycle, churn itself out and move on, but it will come back.

    Other talking head: Difficult to redeem himself, he reinforced SF with additional comments, Wright, blogs, BLT, will McCain use?  The prediction is that Obama will start attacking.

    Clinton and McCain's comments keep getting coverage.  I'm guessing this goes in to next week. Expected on Sunday shows and on....

    TV quoting articles now...Marc Ambinder:  Dukakesque.  

    Clinton will be covered live in Mishawauka(sp.) IN when she's on to see how she responds.

    For the record this is what he actually said: (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by 1jpb on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:35:45 PM EST
        "So, it depends on where you are, but I think it's fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people are most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre...they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to `white working-class don't wanna work -- don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's...there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.

        Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long. They feel so betrayed by government that when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by -- it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, then that adds another layer of skepticism.

        But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, `Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What is the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is so we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- to close tax loopholes, uh you know uh roll back the tax cuts for the top 1%, Obama's gonna give tax breaks to uh middle-class folks and we're gonna provide healthcare for every American.

        But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of 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. 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.

        Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background -- there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing."

    Now I'll get out of the way so that folks can continue to 1) apply these comments to communities and people that don't have the four characteristics BO explicitly describes, and 2) assume that his comments mean things about these communities and people that he didn't actually say.

    Kudos to the few (if there are any) who chose to criticize BO without making leaps of interpretation that are contradicted by some part of BO's original comments.

    So... he leads into a suggestion that (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by MarkL on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:39:17 PM EST
    small town people are anti-immigrant bigots by musing over how some people don't want to hear things from a black man? Methinks that Obama is making unpleasant excuses for his failure to connect.
    Thanks again for showing the entire remarks for the umpteenth time so that we can all see how truly clueless Obama is.

    a clueless, elitist, snob running (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Kathy on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:55:39 PM EST
    for the dem nomination by insulting core voters.

    Yeah, that's a lotta change.


    "suggestion" also (none / 0) (#70)
    by 1jpb on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:03:44 PM EST
    I've seen "imply" or "basically"

    It's so funny how these criticisms aren't based on what he said.  Read all of his comments, he was not bashing people.

    If what he said is so bad, why can't critics stick to his actual words?


    um, (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by MarkL on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:05:35 PM EST

     it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, then that adds another layer of skepticism.

    Josh Marshall could give you lessons in Obamaneutics.


    Please don't dominate the rap, jack (5.00 / 1) (#122)
    by angie on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 05:04:28 PM EST
    if you've got nothing new to say.  
    You have posted his entire comments (by my conservative estimate) about 10 times now since last night.  Listen up: We heard you the first time.  We've all read them -- the only difference is that the rest of us (unlike you) seem to understand them.  Posting them again to try to convince us we are wrong isn't helping your cause.  Do us all a favor, next time you feel like posting them, don't.

    This replicates your comment last night (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:41:50 PM EST
    and your claim that there only is a problem for voters to whom all four comments apply, etc.

    Nonsense.  It's not a multiple choice test with the correct answer being "all of the above."  Anyone with any one of these buttons can be concerned -- you don't need to be a well-paid, secure, atheist, pro-immigrant gun-toting deer hunter to wonder What Obama Really Means about the Second Amendment.  You don't need to be a pro-gun control but religious  Midwesterner to wonder whether Obama only "clings" to his church in bad times.

    Stop repeating and come up with something new.


    The four characteristics of "they" are (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by 1jpb on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:51:54 PM EST
    1. no evidence of change in their daily lives
    2. PA and small towns in the Midwest
    3. the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them
    4. 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

    This is what he said.  A very specific demographic, who should be bitter and angry when politicians make empty promises (like HRC in upstate NY), while pushing wedge issues (like HRC and flag burning, which had no chance of passing.)  

    Facts are facts, even if people chose to ignore them.


    Facts are facts, but assertions (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by MarkL on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:55:50 PM EST
    are just words. Your point 4 is flat wrong.
    Things were better under Clinton.

    Yes, for many people, but not for (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by 1jpb on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:05:42 PM EST
    everyone, that's precisely what BO was saying, there is a demographic of people (with these four characteristics) who have been left behind.

    and , according to Obama, (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by tree on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:10:07 PM EST
    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

    This was his description of people who don't want to vote for him.


    It's hard to be left behind by (none / 0) (#81)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:12:48 PM EST
    successive administrations after this one, as they haven't happened yet.  His statement is just silly as well as insulting -- and so are those who try to defend it.

    I'm not mean (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by 1jpb on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:18:21 PM EST
    so I didn't respond to you about this yesterday, but look up successive.

    1.  Following in uninterrupted order; consecutive: on three successive days.


    I'm not mean, either; I'm accurate (none / 0) (#99)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:05:07 PM EST
    and Jane, much as you might think Obama already is coronated, Bush is still in office.  There have been no successive administrations to his.

    you aren't mean (none / 0) (#123)
    by angie on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 05:08:02 PM EST
    and you aren't too sharp either if you think there has been successive administrations after Clinton/Bush.

    The "they" he was talking about (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by tree on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:08:05 PM EST
    have ONE characteristic: "they" don't want to vote for him. His  original statement was in response to a question about why he is doing poorly among some voters in Pennsylvania. He essentially placed the blame for his failure to get more support in PA on backward, close-minded, bigoted voters. And then he went into a vapid pseudo-sociological reasoning for why they are so close-minded as to not realize what a glorious candidate he is. He doesn't do humble. He's not big on self-responsibility.

      But even his pseudo-sociology was bad. If some small-town voters are so bitter because the Clinton  Administration has let them down, then the last thing they would be doing is voting for Hillary Clinton instead of him.

     Obama was trying to connect with his wealthy fundraisers by appealing to their prejudices. We don't need a "transformative" candidate who doesn't have the vision or the courage to confront stereotypes of every kind.  


    Nice use of "essentially" (none / 0) (#85)
    by 1jpb on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:15:56 PM EST
    I can add that to "basically" "suggested" "imply"

    You're proving my point.


    Nice use of a non-response (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by tree on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:21:51 PM EST
    I'll take it as proof that you have no valid rebuttal point. See how easy it is to play your game?

    and the point that you are missing (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by white n az on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:11:33 PM EST
    is that the entire construction is to attack Bill Clinton as proxy to attack Hillary because the base assertion is that Clinton bears a primary responsibility for their bitterness.

    I suppose it doesn't occur to you that:

    • This is a direct attack on Bill Clinton
    • This is an attack on Democrats in general
    • This harkens back to his hearting of Reagan
    • This is the type of negative campaigning and framing that his campaign is so eager to accuse Hillary of conducting

    This is divisive of the Democratic party on so many levels that one has to wonder why he feels it necessary to tear the party apart in order to win.

    Don't be like Obama (none / 0) (#119)
    by felizarte on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 03:20:48 PM EST
    admit he made a mess for himself; he stepped on it; and he is still slushing around in it.  A mess is a mess.  The only thing you can do is see it as a mess; clean it up and move on.  But if one continues to deny that it is a mess, one continues to look at it, wasting time figuring out what to call it.  And one loses.

    But this is just my opinion; my general observation about cleaning up messes in general.  Actually, I hope no one in the Obama camp would pay attention to what I have said so that my candidate (Hillary) would win.  


    It doesn't require (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by myiq2xu on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:43:33 PM EST
    "leaps of interpretation," just taking his words at face value.

    It takes an Obama supporter to give us a WORM interpretation.

    "What Obama really meant was . . ."


    I'm an Obama supporter (none / 0) (#89)
    by Black Mare on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:23:32 PM EST
    What he meant was what he said.  There are poor white people here, and they doubt everyone.  It must really seem funny when this guy who is supposed to be poor comes by as the next possibility.

    'Supposed to be poor' - yeah, lower-class white people here really do think poverty is acceptable or expected for black people, but not for them.  It's something I'm just beginning to grasp, and it has at least an element of racism though not entirely explained by it by any means.

    They aren't exactly thrilled to have Hillary Clinton explain them to the rest of the country, either.


    Okay (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by kayla on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:06:52 PM EST
    So, basically, Bill and George screwed up a bunch of people lives, because, obviously, poverty and the loss of jobs has never existed before their administration, (and please remember that Hillary is married to Bill and McCain is Bush III and they will only perpetuate that precendent!) and so they are bitter and can't be shaken away from their guns, their religion, and their xenophobia.  Now, this is very tragic and something has got to be done about it!  Sure, they want concrete plans and innovative ideas that will help lead this contry in the right direction, but that isn't what I'm going to give them.  I'm going to give them inspiration.  Some people will be moved and some not.  But it doesn't matter because I'm still trying to give them what I think they need.  Which is persuasion that a change can be evident even in your own little community.  And if they realize that I'm what they've been waiting for and vote for me, then they will learn to let go of those guns and churches... and thus find better jobs.

    Maybe I'm not understanding and I'm getting myself confused.  But is he saying his presidency is going to release small town people from the guns they're clinging to by fixing the economy?  Huh?  And what's wrong with guns?  I agree that isolation and poverty can help harbor these sensibilities that Obama is pointing out, but what about wealthy xenophobes?  Are they clinging to their money?  I mean... what is his point?  And I think it's great that he's trying to persuade people that the concrete plans will actually become evident in their every day lives, but HOW?  How will he make this so?  It's like he's saying (and I'm basing this off of a lot of things done and said by his campaign) that because he has an interesting background, he is the best candidate to lull people out of their backward and hateful ways.  Plans aren't necessary, because they will always fall into place and they're easy to implement anyway.  I understand the value of inspiration, but I don't find him at all inspiring, and I can't have confidence in someone who doesn't want to showcase his handle on the issues that I care about.  I'm actually a college aged spoiled brat from Northern Virginia, so I have no idea what these small town folks are thinking.  But come on, does he really have to explain their preference to Hillary in such an uninteresting, verbose, and self-important way?

    I'm glad that you posted the full statement, but it didn't help me understand his logic anymore than before.  I'm left with even more questions.


    What's with Obama's last paragraph? (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by dwmorris on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:10:31 PM EST
    The full text of Obama's statement keeps getting posted as if reading the offending sentence in its full context will somehow mitigate the blow back.  What I find facinating is the last paragraph that immediately follows the gaffe.  Up until that point, Obama is fairly cogent (even though I disagree with what he is saying, it is nevertheless articulated with reasonable clarity).  After that, his comments become almost gibberish.  It's like he knows that he just stepped in it, and then he tries to back peddle to the point that he sounds incoherent.  All in all, given both the full text and the particulars of the meeting, the whole thing is kind of creepy.  SF liberals (sorry, progressives) sitting around talking about how to get bitter impoverished white people to vote for a black candidate. Post-racial indeed.  Both my parents came out of extreme white poverty in the south and I find Obama's attitude extremely offensive.  The candidate of Hope(tm) trying to manipulate the bitter angels of our nature.

    So here's a question for you (none / 0) (#66)
    by joc on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:00:04 PM EST
    When John McCain or, more likely, some of the 527s working to get him elected play back the audio of Barack Obama saying the following, what do you think the explanation for be as to why communities in "states like Ohio and Pennylvania" are 'more skeptical' when a "46-year-old black man" comes calling? And what are all those millionaire Obama donors laughing at?

    Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by -- it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laugher), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter).

    Don't think for a moment that Obama won't be slammed by this during the general election. No one has been able to give a good answer to what Obama really meant when he said that, that doesn't make him look really, really bad. Any one here able to come up with an explanation?


    I'd answer if you were clear (none / 0) (#79)
    by Black Mare on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:11:51 PM EST
    Please make your question clear.

    I may be embittered and Pennsylvanian and have plenty of poor white neighbors who are unhappy with HRC's happy talk, but I'll try to answer your question if I can understand what you're asking.


    Look at my previous post (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by joc on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:16:40 PM EST
    The questions are the sentences that are preceded with the question marks. They look like this "?"

    Thanks for using real quotes, but (none / 0) (#80)
    by 1jpb on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:12:43 PM EST
    This is no big deal.  HRC has made similar observations, although the BO comment seems more focused on the problems of the people, rather than the problems of the candidate, imo.

    I think you gave a bad link (5.00 / 0) (#104)
    by joc on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:15:13 PM EST
    It takes me to a quote of Hillary talking about the boy's club of politics. I'm not seeing anything remotely racial or demeaning towards the voters. Those are both present in Obama's words. If you see Hillary saying something either racially charged or demeaning to voters, let me know.

    If, on the other hand, your claim is that you see these two quotes as similar you are living in a fantasy world.


    Keep trying (none / 0) (#124)
    by ChrisO on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 05:19:53 PM EST
    but you're just wrong, and endlessly repeating what he said won't make people see the light. Since you're so insistent that we pay attention to what Obama said, let's review, shall we?

    "You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest,"

    Notice he didn't say "some of the people in these towns," he characterized whole communities.

    "each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. 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."

    Again, "these communities." He describes whole communities as being bitter. But the bitter part isn't the killer. I don't know how many times we have to point out to you that he said people "cling" to religion. Even in communities where people are "bitter," they take religion seriously. Suggesting that people's religious beliefs are based in anything but sincerity is just stupid. And yes, you can find individuals to fit almost any description. But he talks about communities, and he certainly doesn't narrow it down to only those people who fits the entire description, as evidenced by the fact that he says they cling to religion, or guns, or anti-immigrant sentiment.

    And just like with Rev. Wright, Obama is walking back from his comments, while his supporters are all claiming that he has nothing to apologize for. You guys need to talk more.

    On a larger note, simply from the standpoint of efective campaigning, voters don't want to be told they're bitter. The party out of power has to walk a fine line, talking about how bad things are but exuding positivity. Obama should be saying things like "you deserve better," not "you're miserable." This is just bad all around. He really better hope the MSM comes through for him big time with this one.


    Double wow. (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by tree on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:28:52 PM EST
    Despite the fact that many of us here have come from small towns and have said so, you've decided that Obama knows small towns so much better than we do. So we shouldn't be offended by what he said, we should be offended at ourselves, for being offended in the first place.

    Again, Obama was describing small town voters as embittered, and clinging to guns and religion and anti-immigrant beliefs,  in order to explain to his fat-cat supporters in SF why some Pennsylvanians weren't diggin' on the Obama love. Are you really trying to condone that kind of blatant stereotyping?


    Double plus good comment. (none / 0) (#101)
    by Fabian on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:08:31 PM EST
    Someone ought to tally up the excuses Obama is cranking out for Why Voters in State X Don't Love Him.  It's starting to sound like a   "I want to help them, but they just won't let me!"   whine.

    The one thing about Bill Clinton that always amazed me was how he could take a hit, pick himself up, dust himself off and just keep on going.  Politics is a tough game and you'll take a lot of hits.  Obama's responses to the hits he has taken has not given me much confidence in him.


    I acknowledge painful truth (none / 0) (#106)
    by Black Mare on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:17:31 PM EST
    I am sick to death of people here feigning delicate sentiments of offense every time Barack Obama opens his mouth and - oops - lets the truth slip out.  Jeralyn is in full attack mode any time I stop by to see if something important is being covered.

    I find the 'blatant stereotyping' you describe to be far too often true of my neighborhood and the general region of Northwest PA.  I never said there is complete homogeneity.  There are many, however, that fit the description Obama used when asked about voters in PA.  Read what he said and tell me what is incorrect.


    So revelation through inward condemnation? (none / 0) (#111)
    by davnee on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:38:34 PM EST
    That's Obama's message?  That's his contribution?  That's his role?  We should embrace him because he is going to birth our revelation that we are the ones we have been waiting for, not because we are the ones that are good but because we are the ones that are bad?  We must destroy the evil and awful and small-minded bitterness inside us, only then will we be pure and enlightened like our optimistic messiah who will change us for the better, who will make us just like the beautiful people that live in far away rainbow paradises?  And gee, I thought he was just offering us a pony.

    If it's true why is he now saying (none / 0) (#114)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:45:10 PM EST
    he erred in saying it.  Look if you think that taking extreme points of view to paint a whole class of people is saying the truth, then I am not going to discuss this any further with you.  But if you want to look at how talking about people's values and beliefs as something that they only cling to because of their economic situation and berate them for it as something that should or should not be done then we can discuss the merits of specific points.

    What I find ironic is that this is (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Florida Resident on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:37:27 PM EST
    the kind of statements that will turn off those same crossover votes he is supposedly so good at attracting.  And I don't care how you read it, it's the way they read it that counts.  BTW rural america has had the same kinds of values in good times as in bad times, those who are anti-immigration now were the same before, and it's the same for all the other stuff like guns, NAFTA, etc....

    Damage control? (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by jen on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:28:53 PM EST
    The AP version of this story went up last night, around 2 am PDT. Looks like someone went in and sliced that section out where O takes a swipe at Clinton admin!

    The full transcripted version:


    "You go into some of 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. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter."

    The new, improved "cleaned up" AP version:


    "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 it's not surprising then they get bitter"


    The Clinton slam was replaced by ... a series of dots. Somebody must have been checking with the Bureau of Labor! :)

    What Obama can't (4.57 / 7) (#2)
    by frankly0 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:07:05 PM EST
    get around in his original comments is the significance of the examples he chose.

    Basically, he described some of the most basic values held dear by people in Small Town America as being essentially crutches, as, effectively, delusional and negative beliefs that they turn to in a desperate bitterness.

    If you look down the list of things that Obama uses as examples of these values, it's clear that every one of them Obama holds in real disdain. It is their negativity and delusional qualities that unifies them as examples.

    His attempt to pretend that he was describing something good and admirable that people turn to is immediately undone by the third thing he lists, immediately after the first two things, guns and religion, that he's acting as though he meant positively: "antipathy to people who aren't like them".

    And how does he possibly get around the desperate dependency and delusional quality entailed by the word "clinging"?

    I don't see how Obama ever fully recovers from his clinging-to-guns-religion-and-racism remark. No matter what, the condescension of the comment will stick to him forever as part of his image. It's meaning is simply too clear and inescapable.

    I think you're right (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by kempis on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:13:32 PM EST
    A glance at the rightwing blogs backs you up. Everyone should hold their noses and check in at some of them. These guys are positively giddy about the opportunity Obama handed them to once again assail the Democrats as the out-of-touch-with-ordinary-folk party.

    The irony, of course, is that Obama is onto more than a grain of truth about how the working-class has been roped in by the GOP over wedge issues--as a result, voting against their own economic interests. Unfortunately, I don't think his observations will be well-received.

    It may good for some Democrat to attempt an "intervention" with the working-class by addressing head-on the way the GOP manipulates them. Unfortunately, talking about them behind their backs at fundraiser among the upper crust in San Francisco isn't the best way to do that.


    Oddly, one of the potential upsides (3.00 / 2) (#17)
    by frankly0 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:18:33 PM EST
    of this is if Hillary manages to become the nominee.

    She's going to look like the working class hero, defying openly the elitists of her own party.

    Her nomination could do a great deal to counter the elitist image many have of Democrats.

    At this stage, I can't imagine down ticket Democrats in red or purple states being anything but miserable thinking about having Obama running at top of the ticket.


    Clinton as working class hero (3.50 / 2) (#47)
    by Kathy on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:41:40 PM EST
    is exactly the narrative that we need to be pushing right now.  The way the repubs take down our guys (all of them guys) is by making them look like effeminate, liberal elitists.  They have done it time and time again.  

    They can't do it to Clinton.


    The People in "Small Town America" (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by myiq2xu on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:15:48 PM EST
    held the same values when they were doing well economically as they hold today.

    They weren't a bunch of "enlightened, latte-sipping liberals" until their jobs were out-sourced overseas.


    Static over cling (none / 0) (#44)
    by child on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:37:48 PM EST
    to adhere or stick firmly or closely to; be hard to part or remove from; remain persistently or stubbornly faithful to something; to be overly dependent on

    Contrary to Senator Bayh's spin or frankly0's spin, Obama's comment says nothing about the foundations of said beliefs; his word choice was "cling" and this is decidedly not a positive action.  It connotes a fearful and immature frame of mind.  This frame of mind has been instigated by economic disenfranchisement, yet there are some here who wish to ignore Obama's courage to speak to the effects of recent U.S. policy.

    It is beyond question that when material concerns dominate, certain aesthetic nuances recede into the background.  Obama's "error" is that his opponents are concerned only with defeating him and maintaing their hold on Washington and thus his remarks are an easy tool to this end.  His error is not in what he said; his comments are the opposite of condescension, no matter what the establishment candidates try to make us believe.


    So you think the people of (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by myiq2xu on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:47:07 PM EST
    "small town America" are fearful and immature?

    You're not helping your candidate.


    cling to this (none / 0) (#82)
    by child on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:13:11 PM EST
    "Small town America" (from which I hail), is not a homogeneous group with one mind, nor did BO suggest as much.  What he was brazen enough to admit is that hard economic realities motivate some to cling, that fearful posture from which "Small town America" should retreat-- a posture forced upon them by the establishment (McHilary, et al).

    Please stop already (none / 0) (#126)
    by ChrisO on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 05:28:57 PM EST
    He didn't say "some" cling. He was describing whole communities, and all of your spin doesn't change that. You can tell when a politician screwed up when his followers are reduced to praising him for telling the truth, while castigating his opponents for only wanting to win. I really think a lot of Obama supporters are so delusional that they really think it's an affront to nature to campaign against him. He's only interested in telling the truth, while McCain and Clinton are selfishly focused only on winning.

    I try to stay away from all of the cult characterizations of Obama supporters, but people like you make it really hard.


    "Clingy" is an adjective that resonates (none / 0) (#76)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:09:27 PM EST
    quite poorly with older women having been called that, btw -- a group in which Obama has been trying to make inroads.  Not good.

    agree (none / 0) (#52)
    by bigbay on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:46:03 PM EST
    it's over for him. And he did it to himself. I also suspect even more gaffes are coming.

    The guy has spent too much time with academic 'radicals', and this how they talk. I don't think he realizes what the big deal is.


    I think it's becoming (none / 0) (#113)
    by jen on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:42:54 PM EST
    pretty clear Obama hasn't a clue about small town American life. Why would he? He grew up far from mainland U.S. Nothing in his experience growing up gave him any inkling of what goes on in small town middle America.

    WORM* Version II (4.25 / 4) (#3)
    by myiq2xu on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:09:23 PM EST
    For someone who is so "eloquent" and has such good judgment, he has to explain himself a lot.

    *What Obama Really Meant

    The meta/WORM at dkos is stunning. (4.50 / 6) (#68)
    by Fabian on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:02:44 PM EST
    I kept searching for at least one diary that said "Obama made a mistake.".  I wasn't asking for much, just an admission that that sound bite was at least a bad choice of words.

    But the most common meme was "Did you hear the rest of his speech?  It was amazing!" plus "Did he ever smack down Clinton and McCain!" on Obama's attempt to spin it.

    Obama handed his opponents a gift wrapped sound bite that plays directly to his weakest voter demographic.  Sound bites rule this media.  Long winded explanations will be carried briefly and then dropped.  It was simply a bad move.  But the Obamans are just spinning like the Mighty Wurlitzer itself.

    (The other, even less savory meme, is "Obama told the truth, they really are bitter bigots.".  Way to go.)


    Of course this is all following (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by badger on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:14:16 PM EST
    the initial round of "Obama never said it" and "It's a made-up quote".

    It is worse than smacking Clinton or McCain (none / 0) (#115)
    by felizarte on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:59:45 PM EST
    he smacked down millions of voters.   This is a deep pit he threw himself into. The Republicans who have been wishing to have Obama face McCain in the GE couldn't wait to wage their campaign against Obama (before the nomination is settled)  McCain may just find himself facing Hillary.

    But he's all about (none / 0) (#120)
    by nemo52 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 03:24:34 PM EST
    Hope! and Unity!

    I actually just read a thread (none / 0) (#127)
    by ChrisO on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 05:31:16 PM EST
    at TPM where the poster was mocking Clinton and McCain for falling into Obama's "trap." No really, they really said that.

    Imagine (4.00 / 3) (#9)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:13:18 PM EST
    Imagine 4 years of W.O.R.M.s.

    Leahy says:  Obama Can Reintroduce America to the World

    No, I think Obama can introduce the world to W.O.R.M.s.  How many countries can he offend in 4 years the way he's offended rural America?


    NYTimes Spreading Meme Clinton Was Behind Story (none / 0) (#22)
    by Dan the Man on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:22:28 PM EST
    Link is here:  "The Clinton campaign is passing around the audio of those remarks (no surprise), via the Huffington Post."

    Heh.  Should add the Obama Blog Huffington Post.

    Assuming that is true (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by myiq2xu on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:36:26 PM EST
    they are still his words, no?

    Playing recordings of what Obama says = sliming him?


    no they aren't (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:27:53 PM EST
    they are saying the Clinton campaign got them from HuffPo -- everyone did --

    I usually agree with your astute read (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:46:31 PM EST
    Jeralyn, but here I have to also see that this unnecessary mention of Clinton furthering the story is part of the gamebook that she is the one "going negative" and "playing dirty" to "win ugly," etc.

    It actually makes media look stoopid for not heading to HuffPo themselves and having to have a story delivered to them rather than just downloading . . . so inserting this unnecessary mention of the Clinton campaign as go-betweens is telling.

    Speaking for myself, from my media experience, only. :-)


    "Passing around" usually means (none / 0) (#38)
    by Dan the Man on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:35:07 PM EST
    "passing around" something.  If someone was said to be '"passing around" tickets to a football game', would this be true if he just got football game tickets and not actually passing them around (ie giving them to others)?

    Fowler (none / 0) (#107)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:18:51 PM EST
    the citizen journalist who published Obama's remarks is a maxed-out Obama supporter. Here's the transcript of her on Lou Dobbs last night.

    Obama's position (none / 0) (#27)
    by kmblue on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:25:35 PM EST
    is indeed evolving.
    He insisted last night he was right the first time.
    I have the answer. Votes.
    Now we'll see what Obama is made of.
    And we'll see how his supporters handle it
    when Obama's position evolves in order to hang on to some votes.
    I will watch with interest.

    Next thing/best thing? (none / 0) (#53)
    by Truth Partisan on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:46:05 PM EST
    So what is the next Obama team step? Surrogates maybe?
    And what would be the best thing for us as Democrats? What's the best thing for our brand? The GOP is attempting in their numerous press releases to tie this firmly to ALL the Democrats.
    What's OUR best response?

    Yes, Michelle Obama goes to Indiana (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Cream City on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 12:51:03 PM EST
    this week, so we can expect to see her being the surrogate and telling us how poor they really were (watch media again omit mention of his prep-school years vs. Clinton going to public schools), how much they struggle even today to put food on the table in their mansion, etc.

    I think we will be spared, though, a Kerryesque photo of Obama in a flapped hunting hat, carrying a gun to shoot down innocent duckies for votes.

    As for what we can do -- it will take party leaders to separate Obama from the Dems, and they won't do it.  So his comments will continue to feed the GOP meme that Dems are out of touch with voters.  The smarter Repug pundits were saying last night that these comments probably will prove more problematic in the general election than in the primary.  And they were saying so with glee.


    What a good idea (5.00 / 0) (#129)
    by Nadai on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 05:51:34 PM EST
    It isn't like Michelle Obama has ever come across as arrogant or entitled.  I'm sure she'll do a stunning mop-up job.

    I'd consider responding... (none / 0) (#83)
    by white n az on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:13:53 PM EST
    but since the language you used guarantees that this post will be deleted, I would lose the context of any argument I would make.

    it was deleted for (none / 0) (#108)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 02:21:43 PM EST
    the obscenity it contained.

    Their poor tastes seem to bother you. (none / 0) (#90)
    by MarkL on Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 01:25:52 PM EST
    Does it make you bitter that their homes and appliances are not as pretty?
    Maybe you should mention that when you canvas for Obama (and I hope you do).

    Obama's problem is that... (none / 0) (#134)
    by rvail136 on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 06:21:55 AM EST
    ...he personally, won't admit when he's wrong...he generally blames it upon subordinates...and this comment about middle America just won't go away.

    McCain will use it, Rev Wright, and his "where's the Beef" (lack of substance) to sink him in Nov.

    Additionally, his attempt to "educate" all those ignorant unwashed masses, and the contempt that he generally holds them in shines through brightly.

    Add that to Michelle O's comments that she's "...never been proud of America in her adult life..." until now are going to fatally damage him in the general election.  

    Unfortunately, HRC is similarly damaged...drafting someone else at the national convention may well be the only viable alternative left.