Bill Clinton on Obama’s ‘Bitter’ Comment

Apr 13, 2008 3:36pm

ABC News’ Sarah Amos reports: When former President Bill Clinton took the stage in Bloomsburg, Pa., early this afternoon he wasted no time before mentioning Sen. Barack Obama’s now infamous remarks about rural America.

"Folks, I was shaking hands and taking a few pictures backstage. This fellow looked at me and he said, ‘I just want you to know, the people you’re about to see are not bitter. They’re proud,’" Clinton told an applauding audience.

"They just want this country to go in a different direction. They want to restore the middle class, reclaim the future for our kids, reform the government and take it away from the special interests, restore America’s standing in the world, bring our troops home for Iraq, and take care of our veterans and our men and women in uniform. That’s what Hillary offers," Clinton said.

It was the former president’s first mention of the remark today, having earlier stayed away from the topic during an event at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa.

Clinton again shared the story with the crowd at his last event of the day, in the small town of Jim Thorpe, Pa.

"Folks, once in a great while something happens in a campaign which reveals what the choice is. And I have to tell you, right before I came out at my last event, a man came up to me and he said, ‘Mr. President, I want you to know something about the working people of Pennsylvania. We’re not bitter about anything. We’re proud. But we do want a better deal for the people of our country and for our children," said Clinton, who went on to tell the young people in the crowd they did not need the be discouraged or in despair.

Clinton’s message was clear and concise, but it was not the only Obama comment Clinton had on his mind today. Immediatley after sharing the backstage exchange with the Bloomsburg audience, Clinton moved on to another remark Obama has made — one that has continually irked the former president since the Nevada primary.

"There’s been a lot of hoopla about who said what and who shot John in the last couple of days. But one of the things that I thought was kind of overlooked in all this is that one more time, the campaigns opposite Hillary said, ‘Well, there really wasn’t any difference in the Clinton years and the Bush years. Rural Pennsylvania really didn’t do very well.’ Do you agree with that?" Clinton asked.

In response he received a loud "NO" from the audience.

Clinton chuckled a bit at the reaction, adding "I just thought I’d get a few witnesses here. You know I’m a, I’m a Baptist. On Sunday we look for witnesses."

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