Election 2008

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Small-Town Values Comments Take Center Stage as Philly Debate Nears

April 14, 2008 10:55 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Opposing campaigns have attacked comments by Barack Obama regarding the impact of economic disparities on social choices in rural communities.

30-Second Summary

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Coming just days before the scheduled April 16 debate at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center and less than two weeks before the Pennsylvania primary, many have suggested that Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s comments could hurt him with rural voters.

Addressing a fundraising crowd in San Francisco, Obama suggested that small-town voters can often turn to social ideals and practices such as religion and guns, as well as placing blame on to deal with the frustration of economic pressure.

“So it’s not surprising then that 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.”

Clinton, who currently trails Obama, has strongly criticized the comments, while her campaign has suggested they raise a question of Obama’s electability against Republican John McCain in November.

The New York Senator has repeatedly blasted the statement, calling it “elitist and out of touch” and stating that “The people of faith I know don’t ‘cling to’ religion because they’re bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich.”

The McCain campaign has also criticized the comments, calling them “breathtaking” and filled with “elitism” and “condescension.”

Obama has said, at several campaign stops since the story emerged, that he regrets his choice of words but stands by the content of his remarks. “The underlying truth of what I said remains, which is simply that people who have seen their way of life upended because of economic distress are frustrated and rightfully so,” Obama told the Winston Salem Journal.

Headline Links: Comments draw criticism

Background:

Reactions: Obama, rival campaigns respond

Opinions & Analysis: Was Obama right?

Key Players: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton

Reference: Philadelphia debate

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