Updated: Looks like this story's got legs...
by alegre, Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 07:53:20 PM EDT
The Sunday shows were all abuzz over the comments Sen. Obama made in San Francisco last week And this evening's news (NBC I think) led with the story of the back and forth of it all. Hillary's campaign posted the following on the Fact Hub this afternoon...
Sen. Obama's Damage Control Letter Omits Controversial Remarks>
4/13/2008 3:24:51 PM
Today, the Obama campaign is circulating a letter describing his controversial remarks in San Francisco last Sunday:What Sen. Obama said is that over the last 25-30 years, working class people in places like Pennsylvania have been falling behind, and that politicians in Washington haven't been looking out for them. He also said that, as a result, many people have become frustrated, angry and even bitter about all the broken promises.
That is not all that Sen. Obama said. The campaign is attempting to paper over the most controversial portion of his remarks: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.
I think Obama was a bit ticked off at people challenging him over his comments. The AP posted something an hour ago about some comments Obama made on the campaign trail today. Seems he's taken up the tone Hillary did in Ohio after Obama sent out those discredited mailers re NAFTA and healthcare. Top all this off over the way folks have called bullshit on his misleading ads in Pennsylvania with his claims that he doesn't take contributions from big oil (nobody does - it's against the law) - I think the stress is staring to get to the poor guy...
STEELTON, Penn. - Democrat Barack Obama lashed out Sunday at rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, mocking her sudden vocal support for gun rights and saying he understands the concerns of working class people.
"She knows better. Shame on her. Shame on her," Obama told an audience at a union hall here.
"She is running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment. She's talking like she's Annie Oakley," Obama said, invoking the famed female sharpshooter immortalized in the musical "Anne Get Your Gun."
Obama continued, saying "Hillary Clinton is out there like she's on the duck blind every Sunday. She's packing a six-shooter. Come on, she knows better. That's some politics being played by Hillary Clinton."
Annie Oakley? Is this guy serious?
She called him on his BS - and rather than address the honest reaction by people in small towns to his insulting comments he lashes out at Hillary. Seriously - people are hurting and the only thing he can say is that people are responding to the tough times by favoring his opponent over him, while clinging to their guns and bibles? She called him on the insulting remarks and this is all he has to offer up in response?
As for his "shame on her" lines... he's taking a page right out of Hillary's Ohio playbook. It's bad enough he copies her economic plans but now he's copying what she says on the campaign trail.
Well, Hillary's team had a thing or two to say in response. Apparently, Obama's camp followed up his little outburst with a campaign memo. Hillary's camp posted the following on Fact Hub - take a look...
Obama Campaign Embraces San Francisco Remarks, Lashes Out With Attack On Hillary
4/13/2008 4:55:27 PM
Sen. Obama and his campaign continue to embrace his controversial remarks at a San Francisco fundraiser where he said small town votes in Pennsylvania and elsewhere "cling" to guns and religion out of bitterness and frustration. At the same time they have released an angry memo attacking Hillary's views on gun rights, trade and lobbyists. Here are the facts:
1. The memo attacks Hillary for "an overly-narrow interpretation of the Second amendment." When he was running for the state senate in 1996, Barack Obama supported a total ban on the sale, manufacture of possession of handguns.
2. The memo attacks Hillary suggesting it might be in the interests of the U.S. for China to enter the WTO. But on September 8, 2004 at the Illinois Farm Bureau, Sen. Obama said China's membership in the WTO could help the U.S. combat unfair trade practices:So I think it is important for us to negotiate our trade agreements recognizing that the global economy has shifted... What that means then is that when the Chinese government devalues its currency by 40%, we've got to make sure that we bring China before the WTO. The same way that we get brought before the WTO if other countries think that a disadvantage, that they are being disadvantaged by our existing trade policies. [Illinois Farm Bureau, 9/8/2004]
3. The memo attacks Hillary for accepting money from lobbyists. But Sen. Obama takes money from lobbying firms, state lobbyists, former lobbyists and spouses of lobbyists. Sen. Obama has accepted $2.8 million from firms that employ federal lobbyists and ten of his top bundlers have been federal lobbyists. More info here.
They also followed things up with this press release...
Response to Sen. Obama's Outburst
Phil Singer, Deputy Communications Director, issued the following statement tonight:
For months, Barack Obama and his campaign have relentlessly attacked Hillary Clinton's character and integrity by using Republican talking points from the 1990s. The shame is his.
Sen. Clinton does know better -- she knows better than to condescend and talk down to voters like Senator Obama did. Senator Obama's outburst won't change the fact that he has embraced his characterization of the millions of Americans who live in small towns.
Guys as much as I'm guessing Camp Obama wanted to sweep this story under the rug, it doesn't look like they're going to get their wish. Between the back and forth of it this weekend, the Sunday talk shows and this evening's news, I think this may continue on into the new week.
Meanwhile, they're not happy with Obama's comments in Altoona, PA. They're not bitter, but they're not happy either. They note BO's initial comments, and then his failed attempt to clarify what he said by repeating his insulting remarks in Indiana yesterday - he even called them bitter again. Take a look at how folks in Altoona reacted outside his campaign office today...
(That sign by the way says "I am not bitter!")
"He is definitely out of touch with the voters in Pennsylvania to blaspheme them the way he did," said Hollidaysburg resident Ted Manna.
Stacey Drugg of Altoona said Obama's comments showed he did represent working people in Pennsylvania or working people period.
Manna said everyone has their own beliefs, but it shouldn't be up to a presidential candidate to tell them their beliefs are wrong.
"All the citizens of Pennsylvania should, rightfully so, be upset that he said we hide behind our religion and our guns," said Manna.
Joseph Antal of Ebensburg said, "With all that's been happening in our area, and in Johnstown with the flood, we rebound back from adversity."
Altoona... isn't that the place where Obama went bowling in his shirt and tie, and near where he fed a baby cow with a bottle with his suit on?
Either way, they're not happy with him in Pennsylvania. The article finishes up by saying that locals organized 5 other protests at BO's offices around the state today over his "bitter" remarks.
The next round of polls in PA should be interesting - stay tuned.
Looks like the campaign's added something to Fact Hub regarding tonight's forum on faith. Take a look...
Sen. Obama's New Spin On 'Cling': It Was A Compliment
4/13/2008 11:38:10 PM
After several failed attempts to explain the comments he made in San Francisco, Sen. Obama used tonight's faith forum to claim that he was actually complimenting small town America for its faith in God and respect for longheld traditions like hunting. But tonight's explanation isn't consistent with what he actually said in San Francisco.
In his actual remarks (which he stands by), he grouped faith and guns in with "anti-immigrant sentiment,""anti-trade sentiment" and "antipathy to people who aren't like them." Presumably, Senator Obama doesn't think it appropriate to cling to antipathy for others.
More to the point, the remarks Senator Obama made in San Francisco suggest Americans in small towns don't have strength to deal with economic realities so they fall back on what Senator Obama implied is a culture that is backward and outdated: guns, superficial spiritual propping up, and emotionalism that stigmatizes people of different backgrounds.
Sen. Obama on April 13:Well, first of all, you know, Scripture talks about clinging to what's good... What I was saying is that when economic hardship hits in these communities, what people have is- they've got family, they've got their faith., they've got the traditions that have been passed on to them from generation to generation. Those aren't bad things.
Sen. Obama's original comments on April 6: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)...
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. 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.
Complimenting eh? Yeah. I don't think the folks in Pennsylvania are going to buy that one. They're smarter than that and I think Obama's adding insult to injury in thinking they're going to buy this newest explanation of his.