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Clinton Says Obama is "Out of Touch" with Middle Class Americans, Calls Comments "Elitist"


From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

INDIANAPOLIS -- Hillary Clinton slammed Barack Obama for comments he made at fundraiser last Sunday where he said middle class Americans are "bitter" about the state of the economy. "I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small town America," Clinton said. "Senator Obama's remarks are elitist and out of touch. They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans, certainly not the Americans I know, not the Americans I grew up with, not the Americans I grew up with in Arkansas or the Americans I represent in New York."

Referring to residents of small towns in Pennsylvania, Obama told a small group of fundraisers in San Francisco earlier this week that "it's not surprising 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."

The setting for Clinton's response seemed perfect. She spoke at a plant that helps build transmission parts for military vehicles, a primarily working class crowd. Clinton found an opening in Obama's comments to paint him as an elitist liberal who is out of touch with middle class American values, thereby hoping to position herself as the candidate who will help middle class Americans.

"I am the granddaughter of a factory worker," Clinton said. "My grandfather went to work at the age of 11, before there were child labor laws, and worked in the lace mills in Scranton, Pennsylvania."

She added, "I grew up in the Midwest, born in Chicago, raised outside of that great city, and I was raised with Midwestern values and an unshakable faith in America and its promise."

Clinton took the stage to John Cougar Mellencamp's "Small Town," a song that was used primarily by former presidential candidate John Edwards. Edwards prided himself in being the candidate for working class Americans, often reminding the crowds that he was the son of a mill worker. With Edwards now out of the race, Clinton is hoping to take the reigns. "When my dad grew up, it was a working class family in Scranton," Clinton told the audience. "I grew up in a churchgoing family, a family that believed in living out and expressing our faith."

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