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Clinton Warns That Democrats Are Already Viewed as Elitist

(CBS)

From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

SCRANTON, PA. -- During a press conference today, Hillary Clinton expanded on her concerns over remarks Barack Obama made where he suggested middle class Americans were "bitter" over their current economic status. Today Clinton warned voters that Democrats have lost past elections because their party has been viewed as elitist.

"The Democratic Party has been unfortunately viewed by many people over the last decades as being elitist and out of touch," Clinton said standing under a carport on a street lined with supporters in Scranton.

Clinton went on to say that voters "don't have to think back too far to remember that good men running for president were viewed as being elitist and out of touch with the values and lives of millions of Americans." Clinton was referring to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who in 2004 was painted as an elitist liberal by the Republicans.

Obama's remarks have created an opening for Clinton to cast herself as the candidate for the middle class. "We have been working very hard to make it clear that we have millions of Democrats who are church going and gun owning and we are tired of having Republicans, and frankly our own Democrats, give any ammunition to Republicans," she said. "What happens then is that Republicans take advantage of the situation."

Clinton dodged questions as to whether her opponent's remarks offer an opening in this close election. "This is not what this is about," a visibly agitated Clinton told reporters. "This is about how people look at the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party leadership. What I think is important to this is that Senator Obama has not owned up to what he said and taken accountability for it. First he said he was right, and then attacked me for raising his remarks and referencing them, then he admitted that he may have said what he said inartfully, and now he has deeply apologized if he has offended anyone. But what people are looking for is an explanation, you know, what does he really believe?"

In a strategic move to continue to cast Clinton as the "people's" candidate, Clinton will go door-to-door in working class neighborhoods throughout Pennsylvania today.

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