Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bill Clinton 'ginning up resentments' by rural voters against elites and Obama, ABC correspondent says

As the Democratic race for president focuses on two of the most rural states, West Virginia and Kentucky, where Hillary Clinton is heavily favored, her husband is "ginning up resentments" against Barack "Obama and his elitist political/media cabal allies," ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper writes on his "Political Punch" blog.

In a blog post headlined "Bill Clinton's Message to Rural America," Tapper writes that Bill Clinton is "using the kind of language Democrats typically use against Republicans -- as in, stuff you say when you don't want voters to vote for the other guy under any circumstance." Drawing on a report from ABC's Sarah Amos, he quotes Clinton in Ripley, W.Va., Friday night:

"Hillary is in this race because of people like you and places like this and no matter what they say. And no matter how much fun they make of your support of her and the fact that working people all over America have stuck with her, she thinks you're as smart as they are. ... They say I have been exiled to rural America, as if that was a problem. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be here than listening to that stuff I have to hear on television."

"His message to these voters: Obama and the media are laughing at you and think you're stupid!!! Obama has a clear problem with white working class voters. This kind of rhetoric exacerbates it," Tapper writes. "Clinton knows that -- he's trying to drive up turnout to maximize his wife's popular vote argument to superdelegates. He has every right to do so -- the race is not over, no nominee exists yet. But this is what keeps Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi up at night." (Read more)

Tapper wrote that Obama is avoiding "any real campaigning in West Virginia." After he posted, the Obama campaign announced it would hold a rally in Charleston, West Virginia's capital and largest city, on Monday, followed by one in Louisville, Kentucky's largest city, Monday night. Obama is expected to be in the Lexington, Ky., area on Tuesday, the day West Virginia votes. Kentucky votes a week later, as does Oregon.

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