Obama, Did He Mean What He Said?

Seems like everyone on the web is talking about this. I wasn’t going to but it has been bothering me and with the topic still so much around, I guess I’ll put in my two cents. There are things that he said that can be agreed with and things he said that others will deny. It hits people both ways. So let’s dissect this and see if we can figure it out. Obama maintains it is what he meant even if poorly worded. I agree, it is poorly worded…

From CNN’s Lou Dobbs I got a copy of what Barack Obama said on tape:

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been done now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And it fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration and each successive administration has said that these communities are going to regenerate but they have not.

And it’s not surprising that then they get bitter, they cling to their guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

The first thing I will note is that this is taken out of context. We don’t know what came before this or what came after. However, the comment is fairly contained. So…

The first paragraph speaks about what is a fact. But what I don’t understand is the part where he says:”each successive administration has said that these communities are going to regenerate but they have not.”

This seems to imply something in the future. The key words being Clinton, Bush, successive administrations. BUT, this is clearly a sentence that is in past tense. At most this is a faux pas. But I don’t know what came after this short part of the speech, so I can’t say if he got around to addressing that or not. It just seems an odd way of speaking of things to me and just caught MY attention…

Obama then goes a step further in saying:

And it’s not surprising that then they get bitter, they cling to their guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

OK, let’s look at this closely and see what is and isn’t true, or how far I agree with it.

1)Are we bitter? Yes and No. Bitter isn’t the word I would use here but it is his word so I’m not going to change it. We are because nothing has been done to fix a problem that has been going on for 25 years. No one is paying attention. BUT, it isn’t because we don’t have CAUSE with the corruption and kickbacks these Congressmen and Women are taking, catering to big business instead of working for their constituents. We have a valid REASON for feeling as we do and Obama invalidates those feelings by that first sentence.

2)We cling to our guns; Yes, but not as a source of security but as a symbol of our freedom. As part of our Constitutional Rights. To say this in a derogatory way is to say our freedoms do not matter and our love of them is invalidated. I don’t think this is a good thing for a future prospective presidential candidate to say…

3)cling to Religion; Most people do, but not all. Some people feel spirituality inside themselves and not in a Church. By saying this does Barack Obama NOT respect religion? After the heat he took for sticking up for his Pastor? That makes no sense. So why would he say this in this way?

4)cling to antipathy;

OK, I looked up antipathy just to make sure I actually had the definition for the word correct. This is from Merriam-Webster Dictionary online:

antipathy

Main Entry:
an·tip·a·thy Listen to the pronunciation of antipathy
Pronunciation:
\an-ˈti-pə-thē\
Function:
noun
Inflected Form(s):
plural an·tip·a·thies
Etymology:
Latin antipathia, from Greek antipatheia, from antipathēs of opposite feelings, from anti- + pathos experience — more at pathos
Date:1600
1obsolete : opposition in feeling2: settled aversion or dislike : distaste <his well-known antipathy to taxes>3: an object of aversion synonyms see enmity

OK, that’s what I thought it meant. Now, according to this Obama is saying that we have an aversion or dislike of people unlike us and I assume he is speaking of an aversion to a thing, because he cannot mean an aversion to a people? Because he says this in relation to antipathy: Americans are related to every race and people out there. This doesn’t make any sense at all to me.

antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Now, I disagree with this. First of all LEGAL immigrants are very welcome in this country. It is the illegal immigrant here that is breaking the Sovereign Laws of the United States of America, just by being here that makes us unhappy. These people have come here illegally and are a serious drain on our resources. AND, had the issues of border security been addressed and enacted instead of making AMERICANS almost get strip-searched at the airports, OR secured out ports, WE WOULDN’T HAVE THIS PROBLEM. And this is a GOVERNMENT ISSUE, pointing fingers at corrupt politicians with greasy Lobbyists spreading money everywhere. BUT, Americans have never been against LEGAL Immigration. Never, and never would be either. We are talking about illegals here, those that break our laws just by coming here.

And what American is anti-trade? We just want FAIR trade NOT FREE TRADE. Trade that protects OUR workers as well as those of the other Country. We don’t want other people to work in sweat shops, or have to work long hours for next to nothing, or be faced with rape or murder. But we want OUR trades to be FAIR to WE The People too! It has been all big corporations and nothing for the working class. But that is not anti-trade. No, I totally disagree with this statement.

At the very least Barack Obama should explain what he means. Some parts of this are true, most others false. So he does need to come up with an explanation. The rest of the interview was an exclusive with the lady who taped this conversation. Here it is for your review.

CNN’s Lou Dobbs with KITTY PILGRIM, CNN ANCHOR sitting in for Lou::

Outrage tonight after Senator Obama blasts small-town America. The remarks could seriously damage Senator Obama’s presidential campaign. Obama made the remarks in front of wealthy donors at a fund-raiser in San Francisco last Sunday. The news was first reported by the “Huffington Post” Web site. The “Huffington Post” provided an audio tape of what Obama said.

Let’s listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been done now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And it fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration and each successive administration has said that these communities are going to regenerate but they have not.

And it’s not surprising that then they get bitter, they cling to their guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

PILGRIM: Now Senators Clinton and McCain immediately pounced on Obama’s comments. They criticized Obama for being insensitive and out of touch. The Obama campaign tried to limit the political damage as soon as this news broke.

Obama’s campaign said, “No one from our office was there. We don’t have a campaign recording. We are neither confirming nor refuting.” We will have extensive coverage tonight from the campaign trail and from the finest strategists.

We begin with an exclusive interview with “Huffington Post“‘s Mayhill Fowler who broke this story.

Mayhill, thanks for joining us on the phone.

MAYHILL FOWLER, BLOGGER: You’re very welcome.

PILGRIM: Mayhill, please set the scene for us. What kind of a crowd was assembled here, first of all to set the scene, the context of these remarks.

FOWLER: This is a fundraiser, the fourth in the day. This last Sunday in San Francisco and Marin and the South Bay in California. And it was at a house in Pacific Heights. There were maybe 350 to 400 people there. Quite a crush. Quite a crowd. These were people that had maxed out their donations to Senator Obama and among that group is myself.

PILGRIM: How would you characterize them, prosperous, middle class, wealthy, what category?

FOWLER: That’s a very good question. You shouldn’t have the impression these were very wealthy donors. These were mostly middle class and upper middle class who, I’m guessing, like myself, had slowly given money over time to Senator Obama until they reached the $2,300 cap.

There was the wife of an army surgeon. There were Safeway grocery store union workers. There were professors, there were house wives, it was quite a cross-section of prosperous California.

PILGRIM: And they had maxed out their $2,300 donations.

Mayhill, you told me in a previous conversation on the telephone, you always record what you report. So you had a tape recorder going at the time. Tell us how that played out, how you had this tape recorder going. What you noticed as he was making remarks.

FOWLER: I cover the campaign for Off the Bus, for the “Huffington Post.” I’m a citizen journalist. I’ve been covering the campaign since last June, intensely since September. I had just been in Pennsylvania following the Obama bus tour from west to east across the state. So I would say his frame of mind was the same as in Pennsylvania, calm, relaxed, very upbeat, full of confidence.

PILGRIM: The remarks we quoted at the top, when you heard those remarks, what was your reaction and the reaction of those attending the event?

FOWLER: Two different reactions. First of all I should say it’s not the first fundraiser I’ve been to. Most of the ones I go to I don’t write up. I don’t think they’re probative of anything. I wasn’t expecting this one to be probative.

Therefore I was quite surprised when he waxed at length and eloquently on a number of topics. And the first thing that caught my attention was ruminating about possible choices for a running mate should he be a nominee. I was also struck by what he said about Pennsylvanians particular since I had just been in Pennsylvania meeting the same people that he was talking about.

But I would say most people there, I can’t speak for all of them, but most of the people there don’t follow the campaign at enough of a detail or at length to have been struck by his having saying things that he hadn’t said before.

PILGRIM: Mayhill, you wrote in your blog that these comments you felt reinforced negative stereotypes. When you wrote this blog, how much time between the event and when you wrote it. How much did you consider what you were going to write in the blog and did you realize you might generate–

FOWLER: I gave it a great deal of thought. Sunday night I went home and right away I wrote the piece right way about choosing the running mate. That appeared on “Huffington Post” on Monday.

I was not initially going to write about Senator Obama’s remarks about Pennsylvanians. Because, frankly, I didn’t want to bring down the campaign. I gave it more thought and I decided that the remarks bothered me enough that I wanted to write them up.

PILGRIM: Mayhill Fowler, of “Huffington Post,” thank you so much for joining us and describing your recording of these remarks at the event in San Francisco. Thank you, Mayhill.

FOWLER: You’re very welcome.

So this was an exclusive interview with the Woman who got the tape of Obama’s remarks. I can see she struggled with the decision to reveal this or not. That it kept bothering her means she was meant to let others know. But she never meant Obama any harm and if harm was done, Obama did it himself to himself. And since she has the taped conversation, I’d believe her version over anyone else’s. She didn’t do this out of malice, but out of the responsibility she felt to those who read her blog and the Huffington Post. She did as her conscience told her to do.

CNN spent the whole night on this issue if you want to read the transcript the above link will take you right there. The entire night was devoted to just this one thing. It was interesting, but I don’t think Obama deserved so much coverage. Just my opinion. He got lots of free publicity.

Whether or not he owes an apology would depend on the explanation he gives on what he means by what he said. So far he isn’t about to do that. That to me is more troubling than not giving an apology by far. I want to know what he means. Can he explain his remarks or not? Can he be clearer or is he playing it safe in staying away from the subject?

Any comments?

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~ by justmytruth on April 14, 2008.

2 Responses to “Obama, Did He Mean What He Said?”

  1. Hi Jason,

    Thanks for posting. I think you are making excuses for him, but I did try to be fair. I think Mayhill was being fair too, and followed her conscience. But I have been checking out Obama’s interviews since this remark and will be posting on that also.

    I know Obama fans are serious about their guy, but I’m telling you he is just another greased palm.

  2. Interesting piece. I wrote one myself which I would say is a little, okay a lot more bias. However, I did find several people who also were there that gave an account of what happened. Now, I think that it is important to note that if Mayhill Fowler felt troubled with what she heard why didn’t she ask anyone if they felt the same way (and according to other accounts they didn’t and they say that she distorted the account itself) or get him to clarify what he meant. That is simple enough. I responsible journalist would do that. If you know that what you are going to report is going to open pandora’s box why not see if it is worth opening? (cuts himself off in mid-rant) Okay, here are some other factors. One, she didn’t give 2,300 dollars. Someone else did. She used their ticket to get into the event. Two, anything said within the confides of this now infamous event was supposed to be off the record. Which means that Obama was more relaxed when speaking, dare I say even tired. It was the fourth event of the day, so couple that with the fact he was talking amongst of individuals he considers supporters/friendly he wasn’t on his A game. That was his mistake. But it is understandable. Three, the underlying theme of what he was saying is true. He was saying that in the lack of economic hope, nor the prospects of there being any hope people vote on issues that are dear to them. If you want to get a clear more articulate explanation of what he meant he did an interview of this very same subject with Charlie Rose. The entire interview is insightful. I encourage you to check it out. Here is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkrL0G9wonE&eurl=http://roadkillrefugee.wordpress.com/2008/04/13/proof-that-obamas-words-are-being-deliberately-twisted/ Okay I wont hold the comment portion of your blog hostage any longer. Have a good day

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