By repeating them. In so many words, which amount to a rearrangement of his original message about angry, bitter middle class voters.

Sen. Barack Obama on Saturday tried to clarify what he
meant when he said some small-town Pennsylvanians are “bitter” people
who “cling to guns and religion.”

“I didn’t say it as well as I should have,” Obama admitted in
Muncie, Indiana, on Saturday, the day after he first defended his
comments, “because the truth is that these traditions that are passed
on from generation to generation — those are important.”

What, the traditions of clinging to guns and religion?

Obama defended his point of view amid intensified
criticism from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and presumptive
Republican presidential nominee John McCain that’s he’s elitist and out
of touch.

“Obviously, if I worded things in a way that made people offended, I
deeply regret that,” Obama said Saturday in an interview with the
Winston-Salem Journal, according to a transcript provided by his
campaign.

Usually he speaks directly to the people. Now, his remarks about the
controversy are coming from a transcript provided by his campaign. And
he said that he regrets that people were offended by his wording, not
that he was wrong in using them. Not that maybe he was wrong in
categorizing a whole swath of middle class voters as angry, frustrated,
bitter, gun toting, religious zealots.

“The underlying truth of what I said remains, which is
simply that people who have seen their way of life upended because of
economic distress are frustrated and rightfully so,” he told the North
Carolina newspaper. “And I hear it all the time when I visit these
communities.”

And just to repeat the fact that he really does see a lot of Americans that way, he said this:

Obama also labeled the dust-up that’s developed as “a
little typical sort of political flare-up” because, as he contends, he
said something that “everybody knows is true.”

So he stands by it.

“There are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in
Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my home town in
Illinois who are bitter. They are angry.”

“When you’re bitter, you turn to what you can count on,” Obama said,
adding that they then turn to voting “about guns” and “taking comfort”
in their faith and family.

Now that’s spin. On his original remarks.

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they
cling to 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,” he also said.

When other politicians, celebrities or talk-show hosts lump a whole
class of people in a pigeonholed, negative, condescending light, that
person is excoriated and forcefully remediated in some kind of
sensitivity training. Sen. Barack Obama is not being held to the same
standard.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....