Latest example: Some irresponsible commentator tonight on CNN, who would want us to mention his name, quoted Obama as saying that people retreat to guns in bad economic times. Others have said likewise about religion as a refuge from bad times. That is not what the presidential candidate was saying. He was talking about how those concerns influence voting.
Most of the published transcripts and recordings of Obama's remarks begin with him saying "You go into some of these small towns . . ." But immediately before that line, in response to a question from his California audience about how he can catch up in Pennsylvania, he said “Our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives.”
Obama was t
UPDATE, April 16: Writing on Slate, John Dickerson analyzes the problems Obama has created for himself but agrees with our previous and current observations: "He wasn't expressing a sweeping view of the human behavior of small-town people. He was making a tactical point about how politicians appeal to voters at election time, but that tactical point about electoral behavior still relies on an unflattering view of small-town voters. No matter what helping hand you extend him, Obama still claimed that voters have been hoodwinked on Election Day, and no one wants to be told that in the past they've been duped into voting for the wrong person." (Hat tip to Al Giordano of The Field)