ABC News’s Bret Hovell reports: It’s been almost two weeks since Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill., characterized small town Pennsylvania voters as "bitter", but citizens of Inez, Ky. haven’t forgotten.
During a town hall meeting with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an eastern Kentucky Republican state senator named Brandon Smith asked McCain about Obama’s comments, in which the Illinois Democrat said economic conditions cause some small town voters to cling to guns and religion.
Smith said he took the comments "personally".
"He labeled us as being bitter. And then pointed out for his case, that we hide behind guns and religion here. And someone who represents this area as a senator myself, I took personal offense, but I wonder if you had any comments for us on how you feel about this," Smith asked the presumptive Republican nominee.
"Do you think that those comments reflect the views of your constituents?" McCain asked.
"I think it reflects the views of someone who doesn’t understand this neck of the woods, is what I think it reflects," Smith said.
The audience of approximately three hundred (the town of Inez is populated by only about six hundred) Old Martin County Courthouse rose to their feet in a standing ovation that lasted nearly thirty seconds.
McCain, for his part, repeated the sentiment he had expressed soon after Obama’s comments. He said that rural Americans had fought and won World War II, and suffered through the Great Depression.
"Those are the values that they had then and the values they have today," McCain said. "So yes, those are elitist remarks, to say the least."