Barack Obama: In Pennsylvania,
people ‘bitter, cling to guns,
religion, anti-immigrant sentiment’

          Sunday, April 6, 2008

Transcript of Barack Obama speech during a fundraiser at a private home in the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco, recorded by "citizen journalist" Mayhill Fowler, 61, of Oakland, Calif., and posted on Huffington Post:

"So, it depends on where you are, but I think it's fair to say that, uh, the places where we are gonna have to do the most work are the places where people feel so- most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre ... I think they're, they're, they're, they're misunderstanding ... why the demographics, in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class, don't wanna work — don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's ... there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today that kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.

"That's all there is. Here's what it is: Uh, in in, in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and ... when they hear ... a-, a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by — it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black guy named Barack Obama (laughter), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter). Uh ...

"But, but, but — so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What's the concrete thing?' And what they wanna hear is — you know, so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing — close ... tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the, top, uh, the the tax cuts, for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to uh, middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American. So we'll go down a series of talking points. Uh,

"But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress, uh, when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in, in, Pennsylvania, a lot, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced 'em. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate, and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to their guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or ... uh, anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

"Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background, um, there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. Uh, and you can go into places where you think that I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing. So ... (unintelligible, loud applause)

Post by Mayhill Fowler, plus audio, at Huffington Post

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President Obama

Keynote address, 2004
Democratic convention
In Pennsylvania,
"cling to guns, religion"
White grandmother
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