ABC News’ Eloise Harper and Sunlen Miller report: Barack Obama made a new argument in trying to quell the fire that his remarks over "bitter" Pennsylvania voters have drawn: that hope and anger go hand and hand.
Obama, who has run most of his candidacy under the message of hope, interwove that message with the message that has dusted up the controversy: that people are frustrated and have anger and bitterness because they feel the government is not listening to them.
"Sometimes hope and anger go hand and hand," he said today at the Philadelphia City Committee’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner. "People really are angry, they really are fed up, some of them are bitter because Washington’s forgotten them. And because it’s not me that’s out of touch, it’s folks who think that folks are happy when they are out of a job and they have lost their pension and they don’t have health care and their schools are under-funded."
In the comments at a San Francisco fundraiser that spurred the controversy, Obama also said that people "cling" to religion when they are bitter.
Today in Philadelphia he indicated that he is one of those people who turn to religion in hard times.
"And I go to church, just like you go to church," he said. "And sometimes we pray, ‘Lord, I hope that things will get better.’ There are a whole lot of people that are doing that now."
Obama spoke to a rowdy crowd for 25 minutes – there was a roar of ambient discussion going on while the Senator spoke but most people paid attention and some stood on chairs to see the Senator speak. By comparison, Senator Clinton, who spoke to the same group before Senator Obama, delivered her shortest campaign speech yet, speaking for less than 5 minutes.
Clinton delivered a super-speed version of her stump speech, hitting the topics of Iraq, college affordability, and health care in quick succinct successive form. Clinton spoke loudly to the crowd, as the audience members spoke over her. Campaign staffers explained that Clinton was warned by Mayor Nutter and Gov. Rendell to keep it short because the crowd was standing and drinking — and it was not the time for the long speech.
The candidates did not meet backstage or on stage at the event. On Wednesday they will meet when they go head-to-head at the ABC News/Facebook debate in Philadelphia.