This article was sent to you from Bombastic4000@gmail.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
Obama tries to clarify small-town remarks
Thursday, Apr 17, 2008 1:47AM UTC
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama tried to clarify his remarks about small-town residents during a Pennsylvania debate on Wednesday and said presidential rival Hillary Clinton had "beat it to death" on the campaign trail.
Obama has been under heavy fire from Clinton and Republican John McCain, who called him elitist and out of touch for saying small-town residents in the state were clinging to religion and guns in bitterness over their economic struggles.
"The problem that we have in our politics, which is fairly typical, is that you take one person's statement, if it's not properly phrased, and you just beat it to death, and that's what Senator Clinton's been doing over the last four days," Obama said in a debate in Philadelphia six days ahead of the Pennsylvania primary.
"It would be pretty impossible for me to be condescending to people of faith when I'm a person of faith," he said.
Clinton, who has eased off her public criticism of Obama in the last two days but launched a television ad in Pennsylvania assailing the comments, said they were "a fundamental misunderstanding of religion and faith."
Clinton and Obama are dueling for the Democratic presidential nomination for the right to face McCain in November's presidential election.
Clinton has a dwindling lead over Obama in Pennsylvania polls, and needs a big win to try to close the gap on the Illinois senator in popular votes and pledged delegates to the nominating convention.
With 10 contests remaining, Obama has a nearly unassailable lead in pledged delegates, but neither candidate is likely to gain enough delegates to win without help from nearly 800 Democratic Party officials and insiders who are free to back any candidate.
When pressed whether she thought Obama could win in November and beat back attacks from Republicans, Clinton said: "Yes, yes, yes. Now I think that I can do a better job. Obviously that's why I'm here."
"I believe I am the better and stronger candidate than Sen. McCain and I can go toe to toe with him on national security," she said.
(Editing by Lori Santos)
(For more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at http://blogs.reuters.com/trail08/)