Barack Obama,  Hillary Clinton,  John McCain,  President 2008

Barack Obama Watch: The Small Town “Bitter” Flap


Keith Olbermann and MSNBC segment on the “Small Town” Obama comment flap, April 11, 2008.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama came under fire on Friday for saying that small-town Pennsylvania residents were “bitter” and “cling to guns or religion,” in comments that his rivals said showed an elitist view of the middle class.

Obama’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain both pounced on the comments that Obama made last weekend at a fund-raiser in San Francisco.

The Quote:

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, 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.

The Hillary Clinton Response:

“As I travel around Pennsylvania, I meet people who are resilient, who are optimistic, who are positive… Pennsylvanians don’t need a president who looks down on them, they need a president who stands up for them.”

The John McCain Response (Steve Schmidt, Spokesman):

“It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking,” Schmidt said. “It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans.”

And, Barack Obama pushes back against the Clinton and McCain criticism in Terre Haute Indiana this afternoon (video below)


Well, there goes Pennsylvania for Obama and a quick apology will be forthcoming in the morning, Flap believes. Another flap on the order of Jeremiah Wright is probably enough to sink Obama’s candidacy.

Anti-tax crusader and conservative activist Grover Norquist thinks Obama’s campaign is already irreparably harmed.

“That sentence will lose him the election,” Norquist told ABC News. “He just announced to rural America: ‘I don’t like you.'”

“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.”

Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s campaign guru agrees with Flap that this dooms Obama’s chances in Pennsylvania.

Power Line blog thinks Obama’s campaign is done.

Barack Obama’s arrogance has been evident for some time, and it’s no shock, perhaps, to learn that that he shares this bigoted opinion, common among urban liberals, of people who live in “small towns.” But to actually express it, in public, at a campaign event, is stunningly stupid. Nevertheless, Obama did it:….

It sounds like Obama is scaling back on his effort to appeal to religious voters. And what’s this about the yahoos’ “anti-trade sentiment”? Would that be like opposing the Colombia trade agreement? Hypocrisy is not unknown among politicians, but Obama seems determined to set a new standard.

Flap says wait for the apology tomorrow morning and then watch the Pennsylvania polls early next week. American voters have already endured weeks of Jeremiah Wright. This may be the straw that breaks Obama’s campaign’s back.