October 15, 2008
Obama calls his 'cling to guns or religion' comments 'boneheaded'
Sen. Barack Obama called his description of small town Americans - "they cling to guns or religion" - his "biggest boneheaded move."
Obama's original comments were made in April at a fundraiser in San Francisco and have followed him ever since The Huffington Post published them. He was describing his difficulty with winning over working-class voters in Pennsylvania.
"And it's not surprising then that 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," Obama said.
Obama described the comments as boneheaded during an interview with The New York Times set to be published Sunday.
"I mean, part of what I was trying to say to that group in San Francisco was, ?You guys need to stop thinking that issues like religion or guns are somehow wrong,' " Obama told the Times. "Because, in fact, if you've grown up and your dad went out and took you hunting, and that is part of your self-identity and provides you a sense of continuity and stability that is unavailable in your economic life, then that's going to be pretty important, and rightfully so. And if you're watching your community lose population and collapse but your church is still strong and the life of the community is centered around that, well then, you know, we'd better be paying attention to that."