Friday, April 11, 2008


This is the strongest I've ever seen Obama. It comes off very well, I think. If he had done this prior to Texas and Ohio things may have turned out differently. I'm curious about the reaction to this in the next couple of news cycles, since they've all jumped on him for suggesting that people are bitter and vote on cultural issues instead of their own economic interest. Here's what he said originally, the McCain and Clinton statements, and then his reply via YouTube.

Obama said, "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."

McCain replied, "Asked to respond, McCain adviser Steve Schmidt called it a "remarkable statement and extremely revealing." "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."

Clinton replied, "I saw in the media it's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter," Clinton said this afternoon. "Well, that's not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania, I meet people who are resilient, who are optimistic, who are positive, who are rolling up their sleeves. They are working hard everyday for a better future, for themselves and their children.`"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."

Obama's final word:

Let's face it, if people weren't bitter and frustrated all over America how could you explain a 25% approval rating for Congress and a 30% approval for Bush? You couldn't. Let's be real. I should note that I stole this format directly from a great post over at DailyKos. You can head over to see it in its original form, but I wanted to spell it out very clearly here as well. Hat tip to SusanG. By the way, Digg the Obama video by clicking this link. Get it out there everywhere.

UPDATE: The comments on CNN are excellent. This is going to backfire on McCain and Clinton big time. Watch this and listen, in particular, to Jeff Toobin. The other pundits are good, but Toobin is priceless.

I'm glad Obama finally channeled his inner Howard Beale:


yankz said...

Seriously. This guy hits hard and he hits fast. I love it. Makes this video even better:

But the issue is far from dead, and it's going to hurt him with the low-info voters who he's already having problems with. It's unfortunate, but I think it's true.

BTW, how about that Wang?

Mike Plugh said...

I agree that there will be some backlash from low info voters and the Fox people will make sure of that. It actually plays perfectly into their Obama is unpatriotic theme. He'll have to work this one carefully to continue turning it to his advantage or he'll lose it. This side issue almost needs a permanent caretaker in the campaign staff to babysit it and make sure it grows properly for him rather than against him

Wang was sick. Tomorrow is the big day. If Moose can duel Beckett into the late innings and keep it close we can avoid relying on Hughes to win the 3 game series. Otherwise, he's going to get a huge Boston test on Sunday.

bfadds said...

Great post Mike-- really linear. I have to say that I appreciate the "Network" Howard Beale shout out at the end. I thought it was also great of Obama to deliver a great amount of sarcasm during his speech in Indiana. It was almost a "Are You Serious" stance when talking about the reactions of McCain and Hillary Clinton to his initial comments.

Mike Plugh said...

This thing gets more and more insanely cartoonish every day. I want to feel good about Hillary Clinton too, but she's such a wooden marionette it's hard to deal with. I can't wait until we get Obama and McBush in a room together to duke it out finally.

mike's spot said...

plugh you'll have to forgive me- but i'm gonna snip a lot of my argument from professor L's thread into yours.

He puts bitterness, guns, religion, racism (which is really what I think obama meant when he says 'people who aren't like them) and anti-immigration and anti trade sentiment together.

He takes issues he doesn't like (guns for instance) and puts them with broader issues they aren't related to (like trade)

Guns have nothing to do with it. Neither does religion. I feel Obama is saying 'those poor dumb yokles don't even know who to blame'

obviously thats a bit of exaggeration for effect, but thats the sentiment. A lot of gun forums are blowing up at this because they already hate Obama for being so against the Gun owning segment of the population. (and he is very anti-gun)

I don't think Obama is getting any tighter scrutiny then the other candidates would have received. It just seems that way because Obama has less blow ups I think.

I think his speech is a bit elitist. It is condescending. there is too much 'they' and not enough 'we'. WE are all Americans. We as a nation have let people fall through the cracks. We need to work on it. Not 'they are bitter' and 'they cling'

children cling to their mothers when they are afraid of the dark. Americans who had their jobs taken away aren't clinging to guns and religion, but rather to the notion that the people elected to watch out for them actually would do their job.

These people in 'small town Pennsylvania' and the non-nondescript mid-west(where ever that is, but apparently its not worth mentioning) are not some bunch of blathering 3 year olds who can't form a coherent thought.

They are people who have seen their elected representatives trade the livelihoods of workers for the dividends of shareholders.

They are Bitter- Obama was right in that sense- but as to why they are bitter, he is just as clueless as those who came before him.

Mike Plugh said...

Mike, I posted my thoughts on this at your blog. Anyone interested can head over to Mike's Spot.

SamBam said...

Mike! i couldnt agree more, Clinton and McCain are going to be regret their word choices on this one because Obama makes an excellent point that people ARE bitter, and rather than evade the truth or sugarcoat, he said it like he sees it. Obama is going to rise above this latest controversey just like he has in all of the other incidents in recent months.

great post!

Mike Plugh said...

Thanks Sam.

It already looks like this has blown over. Obama has held steady in the PA polls and has actually gained in Indiana and nationally.

This thing could be over in 3 weeks.

mike's spot said...

for a second there I almost thought sammy agreed with me.. . . i shoulda known better :)