Posted: April 14, 2008 5:39 PM
McCain Campaign Calls Obama's Remarks 'Elitist'
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain gave his two cents about Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama’s comment that residents in some small Pennsylvania towns and economically depressed areas of the Midwest are “bitter.”
“I think those comments are elitist,” the Arizona senator told the annual Associated Press meeting in Washington, D.C. on Monday “I think that anybody who disparages people who are hard-working, honest, dedicated people who have cherished the Second Amendment and the right to hunt and the right to observe that and their values and their culture that they value and that they’ve grown up with and sometimes in the case of generations, and saying that’s because they’re unhappy with their economic conditions? I think it’s a fundamental contradiction of what I believe America is all about.”
Obama’s statement, which he made to a fundraising event for wealthy donors in San Francisco, was first picked up by Huffington Post citizen journalist Mayhill Fowler.
“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,” Obama said, according to Fowler. “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’s campaign turned the remark into a fundraising pitch.
“Barack Obama’s belief that small town Americans are ‘bitter’ exemplifies the differences in this election,” an e-mail from campaign manager Rick Davis read. “We cannot allow this elitist philosophy to make its way into the White House.”
Clinton and her campaign were quick to pick up Obama’s statement in hopes it will sway voters in Pennsylvania who head to the polls on April 22.
“He said that they cling to religion and guns and dislike people who are different from them,” Clinton said Monday in an address to the Alliance for American Manufacturing in Pittsburgh. “Well, I don’t believe that. I believe that people don’t cling to religion, they value their faith. You don’t cling to guns, you enjoy hunting or collecting or sport shooting.
Obama said his words had been distorted, according to the New York Times..
On Monday, the Democratic National Committee filed a suit with the District Court to force the Federal Election Commission to act on a complaint they filed in February against McCain. The DNC claims that McCain broke FEC rules by exceeding spending limits during the primary. The Democrats allege that McCain filed to accept public financing but then later withdrew after his fundraising picked up.
McCain - who is expected to but has not officially said he will accept public financing for the general election - has taken Obama to task for not promising to participate in the public system if he is the Democratic nominee. Obama’s campaign has pointed to its large number of small donors instead of large donations from wealthy lobbyists and political action committees as a different sort of public financing.
McCain also took a swipe at Obama while denouncing former President Jimmy Carter’s meeting with Hamas, the Palestinian party that is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
“Refusing to take a stand, as Senator Obama has done, is not the strong leadership we need today.” McCain’s statement read. “If Senator Obama is not decisive enough to condemn former President Carter, how can he be strong enough to deal with the threat they pose to America and to our allies?”