Did They Gotcha Obama?

The corporate media pundit class thinks they ‘got’ Obama. I think it’s just more silliness but it looks like they’re going to run with it.
In Guns, God and Government: Obama Courts Bitter and Clingy Pennsylvanians the silly, snarky ABC News’ The Note writes,

Did Barack Obama just hand Hillary Clinton and John McCain a nicely gift-wrapped, up for interpretation, potentially damaging quote?
… [Obama:] “You go into 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. “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.”
So far, the Obama campaign is not confirming nor refuting the comments, but Clinton has already weighed in on the stump in Philadelphia.
“I saw in the media 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,” Clinton said. “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.”

And more,

Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist who leads an influential weekly meeting of conservatives, went as far as to argue that Obama’s line would cost Democrats the White House.
“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.”

I think Obama did a good job of describing some of how small-town people have been tricked into voting for Republicans. And I think a lot of those people are going to see it, too.
Update – It is starting. Republicans Quickly Pounce on Obama Remarks,

Within moments, Republicans had pounced. Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign told Politico’s Jonathan Martin that Obama’s comment revealed “an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking.” Schmidt added: “It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans.”
Within hours, the National Republican Congressional Committee had issued a release pushing Rep. Chris Carney — a vulnerable freshman Democrat from Pennsylvania — to condemn Obama’s remarks.

Here is my take on how they’ll use it. They’ going to run with “Obama doesn’t like you.” This gives people cover for bigotry. It’s not that they don’t like him, they can use this to say he doesn’t like them. But Obama does pretty well describe the “Reagan Republican” voters here. And those voters are coming to understand how they have been played. They vote for Republicans, Republican hand the treasury over the Wall Street. They have handed over their pensions, health insurance, jobs, and now their sons and daughters in Iraq so a wealthy few can have ever-bigger jets. And they are figuring that out.
UpdateHillary is also jumping on it, using the Right’s talking points. Great. This sort of stuff only helps the Republicans if Obama becomes the nominee. And Obama is right.
Late update – Obama takes it and knocks it out of the park:

4 thoughts on “Did They Gotcha Obama?

  1. Silliness? I’m a former 20-year resident of Pennsylvania. Trust me this is not silliness. And to suggest that disparaging comments about “small town, rural America” is insignificant just confirms many people’s rising suspicions: Obama is not “The One.” Or the second or third, for that matter.
    Next time, why doesn’t he just kick those unemployed miners, factory workers and construction workers while they’re down. I’m sure that will work.
    Give me a break!

  2. from swimming freestyle:
    “Barack Obama is a remarkably eloquent man and turning into a remarkably capable politician. But if the Senator believes it’s smart to insult voters from a state critical to your success, he’s hit one of the worst false notes yet in his campaign.
    Yeah, I know what his campaign said, and that may have been what he meant. But a sophisticated candidate doesn’t refer to voters in language that can be construed as derogatory or insulting. Obama asserted Pennsylvania voters are bitter and so simple and lacking in maturity and intelligence that they address their frustration by clinging to primitive and reactionary crutches rather than addressing their problems in constructive ways.
    It’s divisive. And not the way to attract the voters you need most.”

  3. I guess it’s another instance of “a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth”. Bully for him, though.

  4. Well, I seem to recall a certain blog entry from last year condemning Obama for using Bush-administration wording on Social Security “reforms” so it would seem that Mr Obama has a problem when he speaks, as Jay notes. (We’ve spent the past 7 years criticizing Dubya for his flaws as a speaker–even with a script–so ANY “misstatement” or “misunderstanding” by a “progressive” politician is going to be highly magnified in the general election.)
    As to Hillary’s “jumping on it” and “using right-wing talking points”, one would do well to recall that the infamous photo of Obama in the tribal wear was touted by Matt Drudge who merely claimed that it “might” have come from the Clinton campaign and that was more than enough for the “Hillary Hit Squad” to use it as more “evidence” of Hillary’s naked ambitions.
    The FACT is, Obama screwed up in NOT being clear with his words. Of course, none of the Obamabots will accept that reality. That would imply that Obama is just a mere human being and not some demigod sent to save the United States.
    This is essentially ANOTHER “typical white person” statement (something which won’t play well in the general election either).

Comments are closed.