(Indiana : Ucs News) Battling for support in Indiana and other blue-collar bastions, Barack Obama fended off charges of hope and sensitivity today after painting a harsh portrait of America’s struggling small towns.
The controversy — fanned by rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain — began when the Huffington Post website published remarks the Illinois senator made. In those comments, Obama said he understood why residents of some hard-pressed communities “needed Hope”.
Fellow Democrat Clinton, campaigning in Indiana ahead of the state’s primary, suggested Obama was offering condescension rather than solutions. “Indiana doesn’t need a president who hopes for them,” the New York senator said at a campaign rally. “They need a president who stands up for them, who fights for them.”
A strategist for Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) joined in the criticism. “It’s a remarkable statement and extremely revealing,” said Steve Schmidt. “It shows a hopeful message toward hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking.”
Obama fired back at a stop in Terre Haute, Ind., saying he had merely explained why some appear to vote against their economic interests.
He said voters “want to see a change in Washington, and that’s why I’m running for president.”