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The Bitterness Lingers

The observation inelegantly raised by Sen. Barack Obama about economically distressed small-town Americans becoming "bitter" and finding solace in hunting and religion has been with us for several days. That has not stopped our Readers Who Comment and America's news media from continuing the discussion.

Shailagh Murray and Perry Bacon Jr. report that Obama's Democratic opponent, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, seem to have joined the same church choir in finding fault with Obama's observation.

Our readers naturally construct their comments to support the candidate they favor. Apparent Democrats (we're guessing based on context) seem increasingly concerned that their party is going to lose an election it should win as a result of this issue and the long-running Clinton-Obama fight for the nomination. Some dismiss "bitter" as a non-issue and ask for debate on real ones; others defend the characterization as accurate if unfortunate. And we still have months to go.

We'll start with e9999999, who summed up the fears of several apparent Democrats in writing, "that's just perfect. the republican and dem candidate teaming up against the front running dem. and i thought bush had doomed the republican party."

BitterWhiteMan said, "McCain is the guy whose son went to Iraq. Let's see, Obama? Where's your DD-214 [military discharge papers]? Chelsea, how's combat at the hedge fund? McCain, he's just a typical white person."

maryjo525 wrote, "BitterWhiteMan has a point about McCain's son going to Viet -oops - Iraq. I admire McCain for not isolating his family unlike most members of Congress, BUT having gone to Annapolis he thinks going to war solves problems. Obama is younger, more open to change and thinks, I hope, that war creates problems."

gandalfthegrey pointed us to a November 2004 video of an Obama interview on the Charlie Rose show ( and notes that "It addresses all the topics about which [Obama] spoke in San Francisco... You will be very surprised - but not offended - by what you see/hear."

laikodi said, "Shame on Hillary for swift-boating Obama! As Barack said, right out of the Republican playbook. People who can't run on their on record attack as a diversionary tactic. We've had 8 years of this under Bush; you'd think everyone would recognize the game by now..."

edlharris asked, "Hey, why don't McCain and Clinton show their affinity for the poor by taking a walk in Southeast DC."

dyend wrote, "Obama thinks he's being restrained?!?! What an ignorant thing to say! Has he even a clue left in his clue bag that he's the victim of the self-inflicted wounds that will not heal by November."

saraz1 observed that "The difference between Clinton and McCain is becoming increasingly difficult to discern. What have we done to deserve this woman? I am increasingly bitter about it, and I am relying on religion to get me through."

tellthetruth wrote, "It's amazing to me that almost all of the coverage of this--frankly--nonissue has dealt with the fact that Obama made the comment--not the substance of what he said... If the only thing the electorate pays attention to is a media-fueled faux scandal, this nation is in a hell of a lot more trouble come November than most of us realize..."

archer717 said, "Oh yes, Obama made a terrible mistake. He told the truth. Hillary was right, he's too inexpcerienced. You'll never catch her making a mistake like that.."

agadah wrote, "How long will the super delegates keep their "powder" dry? Why don't they have the courage to cast their vote now and stop Clinton to further damage the party? I am bitter!!!"

PJTramdack, tongue apparently in cheek, said, "I live out here in rural western PA, and yesterday I did an informal poll. I can tell you that these poor people who have nothing... are NOT bitter. They revel in their degraded existence...They're going to be raptured up to heaven any moment now. That's what the churches out here say to them. Who cares about a job when you have salvation?"

dyinglikeflies wrote, "Sorry that the Obamaniacs are in a tizzy of victimization..., but the comments of The One were deliberate, well chosen, and over-the-top arrogant. It is a window into his soul. He shouldn't be president-at least not of this country..."

johnnormansp said, "You know, there is one thing good about this fake controversy, which is that all these rednecks who used to post here saying that Barack was a Muslim, and then that he was a racist -- their memories are so short they seem to have forgotten all that. Now he is elitist. Of course Clinton and McCain aren't."

But brewstercounty wrote, "Only Senator Clinton is tough enough and centrist enough to win the general election in November. The Democrats have lost too many times with limo liberals to make that mistake again."

svand said, "...Each party works very hard to make sure that the least electable candidate gets the other party's nomination. Then, all we are left with is the worst pair standing to choose from."

KofiAgadzi wrote, "I am Bitter. Very Bitter about the economy !!"

And jm220 said, "They need to talk about the real issues"

Last word goes to HeraclitusOfVA, who wrote...In states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio where heavy industries such as steel making have lost out to competition from abroad and no suitable replacement employment has emerged, do those folks indeed feel they have been foregotten and harbor... strong emotions concerning their plight... has Obama torn the scab off of a long festering wound that needs to be addressed?..."

All comments on the bitter attacks are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  April 15, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Obama , Presidential Politics  
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