Saturday, April 12, 2008

Barack Obama tells it like it is 

And some people don't want you to hear it.

Below is text and video of Barack Obama responding to the most recent production of Fainting Couch Scandal-Opera Theater now playing on the Clinton and McCain channels - as well as among some of the usual flabbergasted flutterskulls (talking to yooo Kitty Pilgrim!) in the network and cable news media - in response to statements he made in San Francisco, CA on April 6, 2008.

Barack Obama, Terre Haute, Indiana, April 11, 2008 [ Barack Obama.com ]:
“When I go around and I talk to people there is frustration and there is anger and there is bitterness. And what’s worse is when people are expressing their anger then politicians try to say what are you angry about? This just happened – I want to make a point here today.

“I was in San Francisco talking to a group at a fundraiser and somebody asked how’re you going to get votes in Pennsylvania? What’s going on there? We hear that’s its hard for some working class people to get behind you’re campaign. I said, “Well look, they’re frustrated and for good reason. Because for the last 25 years they’ve seen jobs shipped overseas. They’ve seen their economies collapse. They have lost their jobs. They have lost their pensions. They have lost their healthcare.

“And for 25, 30 years Democrats and Republicans have come before them and said we’re going to make your community better. We’re going to make it right and nothing ever happens. And of course they’re bitter. Of course they’re frustrated. You would be too. In fact many of you are. Because the same thing has happened here in Indiana. The same thing happened across the border in Decatur. The same thing has happened all across the country. Nobody is looking out for you. Nobody is thinking about you. And so people end up- they don’t vote on economic issues because they don’t expect anybody’s going to help them. So people end up, you know, voting on issues like guns, and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. And they take refuge in their faith and their community and their families and things they can count on. But they don’t believe they can count on Washington. So I made this statement-- so, here’s what[s] rich. Senator Clinton says ‘No, I don’t think that people are bitter in Pennsylvania. You know, I think Barack’s being condescending.’ John McCain says, ‘Oh, how could he say that? How could he say people are bitter? You know, he’s obviously out of touch with people.’

“Out of touch? Out of touch? I mean, John McCain—it took him three tries to finally figure out that the home foreclosure crisis was a problem and to come up with a plan for it, and he’s saying I’m out of touch? Senator Clinton voted for a credit card-sponsored bankruptcy bill that made it harder for people to get out of debt after taking money from the financial services companies, and she says I’m out of touch? No, I’m in touch. I know exactly what’s going on. I know what’s going on in Pennsylvania. I know what’s going on in Indiana. I know what’s going on in Illinois. People are fed-up. They’re angry and they’re frustrated and they’re bitter. And they want to see a change in Washington and that’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.”

Listen here

= = = = =

Obama, San Francisco, CA (April 6, 2008):
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. Washington Post (includes video)

Hillary Clinton and John McCain are displeased that Barack Obama is saying things like that. I wonder why.


Jack Cafferty, Jeff Toobin and Gloria Borger explain why.

CNN (transcript) / THE SITUATION ROOM (April 11, 2008):

BLITZER: There's new controversy right now involving something that Barack Obama said over the weekend on the campaign trail -- the audio of that only now emerging.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ...they fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration. And each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to 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."


BLITZER: All right. Gloria, he's already being hammered by Hillary Clinton and John McCain, for that matter, for supposedly being an elitist and speaking ill of the people of Pennsylvania by suggesting that the economic problems there are causing them to become bitter and buying guns and becoming xenophobic and all of that. What do you think? Is this a real issue out there?

BORGER: Well, Hillary Clinton said today, you know, I don't see bitter people out there, I see struggling people or whatever it is. But she said that people aren't bitter. I think the people are angry. And maybe -- and maybe Obama's terminology was inartful, but I think he's expressing a sentiment of mad as hell voters not going to take it anymore that we've seen throughout this election. And that's why, perhaps, voters are saying over and over again that they want a change.


BORGER: So I think Hillary Clinton is trying to make him into the elite candidate but he's talking about people being angry.

BLITZER: All right, and Hillary Clinton responded to the Obama comments this way, Jeff. Let me play her little sound bite.


H. CLINTON: It's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter. 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.


H. CLINTON: They're working hard every day for a better future for themselves and their children. Pennsylvanians don't need a president who looks down on them.


BLITZER: All right. Jeff, what do you think?

TOOBIN: I think that is so ridiculous.

CAFFERTY: I agree.

TOOBIN: I mean that is not at all what Barack Obama said.

BORGER: Right.

TOOBIN: I mean I just think this is an example of how a campaign between the two of them can be purely destructive and not elevate either candidate. I mean Hillary Clinton is clearly distorting what Obama said. And, by the way, what Obama said is factually accurate.


TOOBIN: It's been true throughout history that people who have economic problems lash out against various others. I just think it is embarrassing for the Clinton campaign just to hang on to this as if it's some sort of gaffe by Obama.

BLITZER: It's not just the Clinton campaign, Jack. It's also the McCain campaign.

They issued a statement saying, "It's a remarkable statement and extremely revealing. It shows an elitism and condescension toward hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking. It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans."


CAFFERTY: Oh, really? And this is from John McCain? Amazing.


BLITZER: No this is from Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser for John McCain.

CAFFERTY: Look, Jeff's right. They call it the rust belt for a reason. The great jobs and the economic prosperity left that part of the country two or three decades ago. The people are frustrated. The people have no economic opportunity. What happens to folks like that in the Middle East, you ask? Well, take a look. They go to places like al Qaeda training camps. I mean there's nothing new here.

And what Barack Obama was suggesting is not that the people of Pennsylvania are to blame for any of it. It's that the jerks in Washington, D.C. , as represented by the 10 years of the Bushes and the Clintons and the McCains, who have lied to and misled these people for all of this time while they shipped the jobs overseas and signed phony trade deals like NAFTA, are to blame for the deteriorating economic conditions among America's middle class. I mean I'm a college dropout and I can read the damn thing and figure it out.

BORGER: You know, in this case, the Hillary Clinton campaign and the John McCain campaign have the same goal -- and that is to portray Obama as this sort of effete elitist who doesn't understand the real working class people or Independent voters. And so they're both on the same side on this one and it's obvious why.

BLITZER: You know --

TOOBIN: I think --

BLITZER: Go ahead, Jeff. Do you want to make a little point?

TOOBIN: Well, I just think it's remarkable that Barack Obama, this guy who grew up in a single family household with no money, who lived in Indonesia, who, you know, was -- came from very modest upbringings, somehow he's the elitist? That's really a pretty extraordinary sort of contortion of his background. I mean --

BORGER: It's that Harvard/Yale thing, yes.

CAFFERTY: (INAUDIBLE) One hundred and nine million dollars in the last eight years, did he?

BORGER: Right.


BLITZER: Yes. He made a few million on that book, but that's another story.

Video of this CNN/Situation Room segment can be viewed at this: Daily KOs Diary link


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