Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator John McCain are seizing the moment to call Senator Barack Obama an “elitist” after he called blue-collar Americans “bitter” at a meeting with private donors in San Francisco on April 6. At a speech in Indiana on April 11, Obama responded to a question regarding why Pennsylvania voters are not backing his campaign. Citing the healthcare, pension and outsourcing crises, Obama called politicians on the lack of resolution to the collapse in the economy over the last 30 years. Instead, Obama claimed that workers are resorting to voting on gay marriage and gun laws while relying on community and faith rather than trust in Washington.
Now misconstrued as a stark criticism of blue-collar Americans, fragments of the heated speech have been repeatedly re-run by the media. However, the comment was meant to inspire working Americans to vote for a campaign that promises change. “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,” Obama said.
Obama has faced a string of criticisms as opponents sought to define his tone as condescending and elitist; McCain’s spokesman has even called him “out of touch.” Feeding the fire of the mudslinging, the media has continued to run the segments in which Obama seemed to criticize the workers. In context, the senator simply meant to empathize with the fellow Americans he wishes to help as a potential president.
As the Democratic campaign comes to a close, Clinton, who is desperate to discredit her opponent in light of the recent revelation that she exaggerated her account of her trip to Bosnia, has cited Obama’s comments as “demeaning” and unfounded. Rather than acknowledging the workers’ disappointment over the economic circumstances in the United States and thus the truth in Obama’s statement, Clinton is taking the opportunity to suck up to voters by calling them “optimistic,” which does not reflect the low percentage of eligible voters that choose to vote.
While Clinton has been accused of untruth and insincerity, she is taking the opportunity to criticize Obama’s choice of words. In response to Obama’s speech, Clinton reminded the audience that her grandfather was a worker at a lace mill in Pennsylvania. However, she missed the point