At an event today in Indianapolis, Ind., that featured the recorded musical stylings of John Mellencamp playing “Small Town,” Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., hammered the “small town” remarks of Sen. Barack Oama, D-Ill., as “elitist and they’re out of touch.”
The comments, Clinton said per ABC News’ Eloise Harper, are “not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans, certainty not the Americans I know, not the Americas I grew up with, not the Americans I lived with in Arkansas or represent in New York.”
Clinton said “Americans who believe in the Second Amendment believe it’s a matter of Constitutional rights. Americans who believe in God believe it is a matter of personal faith. Americans who believe in protecting good American jobs believe it is a matter of the American Dream.”
Clinton said she “grew up in a church-going family, a family that believed in the importance of living out and expressing our faith. 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. Our faith is the faith of our parents and our grandparents. It is a fundamental expression of who we are and what we believe.
“I also disagree with Senator Obama’s assertion that people in this country ‘cling to guns’ and have certain attitudes about immigration or trade simply out of frustration. People of all walks of life hunt — and they enjoy doing so because it’s an important part of their life, not because they are bitter. And as I’ve traveled across Indiana and I’ve talked to a lot of people; what I hear are real concerns about unfair trade practices that cost people jobs. I think hardworking Americans are right to want to see changes in our trade laws. That’s what I have said. That’s what I have fought for. I would also point out that the vast majority of working Americans reject anti-immigration rhetoric. They want reform so that we remain a nation of immigrants, but also a nation of laws that we enforce and we enforce fairly.”
Clinton said “if we are striving to bring people together — and I believe we should be — I don’t think it helps to divide our country into one America that is enlightened and one that is not…People don’t need a president who looks down on them; they need a president who stands up for them…if you want to be the president of all Americans, you need to respect all Americans. And that starts with respecting our hardworking Americans.”
You can watch Clinton’s remarks HERE.
Obama, for his part, at a town hall meeting in Muncie, Ind. took some time to attempt damage control.
Watch his comments HERE.
“Lately there has been a little typical sort of political flare-up because I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois who are bitter,” Obama said, per ABC News’ Sunlen Miller. “They are angry. They feel like they have been left behind. They feel like nobody is paying attention to what they’re going through. So I said, well you know when you’re bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community.
“And they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country or they get frustrated about you know how things are changing. That’s a natural response.”
Obama acknowledged that “I didn’t say it as well as I should have because you know the truth is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation, those are important. That’s what sustains us. But what is absolutely true is that people don’t feel like they are being listened to.
“And so they pray and they count on each other and they count on their families. You know this in your own lives and what we need is a government that is actually paying attention. Government that is fighting for working people day in and day out making sure that we are trying to allow them to live out the American dream. And that’s what this campaign is about. We’ve got to get past the divisions. We’ve got to get past the distractions of our politics and fight for each other.
“That is why I am running for president of the United States. And I think we’ve got an opportunity to bring about that change right here and right now. But I’m gonna need your help Indiana. I’m gonna need your help.”
What do you think?