Election 2008

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Obama’s ‘Bitter’ Comments, Guns and Viability Dominate Discussion Before Democratic Debate

April 15, 2008 04:23 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
As the Democrats prepare for Wednesday’s debate in Philadelphia, Obama’s comments on rural “bitterness” and issues of general election viability rule media coverage.

30-Second Summary

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For the last couple of weeks, both Democratic campaigns have focused on trade, gun rights and religion in an effort to win the support of rural voters before the April 22 Pennsylvania primary.

Recently, these issues came to the fore after The Huffington Post published remarks made by Obama regarding the effects of economic disparities on small-town values.

Speaking at a fundraiser in San Francisco, Obama said that with the economic decline experienced by rural America over the last 25 years, “it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them.”

Although the comments quickly launched attacks from both Hillary Clinton and John McCain, it remains to be seen whether the statements will have a lasting effect on Obama’s primary chances.

However, a Quinnipiac University survey taken since the coverage of the remarks began does show that Obama’s “surge in Pennsylvania appears to have stopped,” The Boston Globe reports.

In addition, local Pennsylvania media have pointed to each candidate’s general election viability as the deciding factor for many area voters, suggesting that some think McCain could use Obama’s remarks against him if he wins the nomination.

Obama has nonetheless defended the remarks, noting that similar comments he made in the past attracted scant attention and suggesting that Clinton’s criticisms have little to do with policy.

The “bitter” controversy will undoubtedly figure prominently in what could be the final Democratic debate on Wednesday.

Headline Links: The debate in Philadelphia

Background: Guns in Pennsylvania, Obama’s comments and the first Philly debate

Reactions: Philly media analyzes comments’ effects and Obama’s opponents attack

The Philadelphia press
Opponents attack comments
Obama points to earlier comments

Analysis: ‘Obama Momentum Slows in Pennsylvania’

Key Players: FindingDulcinea’s Presidential Election Guide

Reference: The Philadelphia Debate

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