NBC's Andrea Mitchell gave a hat-tip to The Huffington Post for its scoop on Obama from San Francisco. All three networks focused on his characterization of the economic mood in Pennsylvania's small towns as "bitter" even though the usage of "cling" seems the less felicitous phrase.
CBS' Dean Reynolds reported that Obama "admitted" that his phrasing was "ill chosen" yet NBC's Mitchell noted that Obama did not retract the underlying sentiment: "He is only sorry for a poor choice of words." She quoted Obama almost four years ago talking on PBS' Charlie Rose: "What they do know is that they can go out with their friends and hunt and feel a sense of camaraderie." On ABC, Jake Tapper went along the Susquehanna River to check whether hard economic times were indeed a fact: Columbia Pa "is the kind of small town that factories left long ago, never to be replaced."
Not only did Rodham Clinton profess herself "disappointed" with Obama, she accused him of "snobbery and elitism," as ABC's David Wright paraphrased. "The reality is that Obama is in a political pickle," CBS' Reynolds asserted, as "in the hands of his rivals" his words have "morphed into a snobbish slap at average folks." Hence, he explained Rodham Clinton's assumption of her "Woman of the People pose, quaffing brews, downing shots and rhapsodizing about the joys of hunting." Obama's response was that his rival was "talking like she is Annie Oakley."
NBC's Mitchell presented Rodham Clinton's argument: "Obama is now vulnerable to the kind of attacks Republicans have perfected for decades, painting Democratic nominees since Michael Dukakis as 'out of touch' with red-state America…The Clinton campaign is not backing down, seizing the opportunity, they think, to persuade superdelegates that Obama could lose the culture wars to Republicans in the fall." Republican John McCain appears to agree with Rodham Clinton. Mitchell quoted him calling Obama's remarks "a defining moment."
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