POLITICS
09/12/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

McCain Attacks Obama For "Bitter" Comments In Pennsylvania

Senator John McCain attacked Barack Obama on Tuesday for having a condescending opinion of working class Americans, evoking his rival's infamous "bitter" comments in the state where the first surfaced.

Speaking to a crowd in York, Pennsylvania, McCain, at the close of his question-and-answer session, offered a non-too-subtle dig at his political opponent.

"I'm going to campaign hard in this state. I'm going to stop in town by town across this state. I'm going to talk to the people," said the Arizona Republican. And I'm going to tell them that I don't believe they cherish their second amendment rights and their religion because they are bitter or angry about the economy. I'm going to tell them that I think they are the heartland of America and the Judeo-Christian values that they hold dear are the strength of America."

The presumptive Republican nominee has evoked Obama's "bitter" comments before. In the days after the Illinois Democrat told a fundraising crowd in San Francisco that voters "cling" to guns and religion as political issues because their economic struggles are not being addressed, McCain was quick to the punch.

But deploying the attack to a crowd in Pennsylvania carries with it particular significance. In the state's Democratic primary, Senator Hillary Clinton jumped on Obama's bitter comment as evidence that he was politically and emotionally out of touch. Indeed, it was in Pennsylvania that the Senator's alleged working-class whites problem first became an obsession of the punditry and press.

The subsequent defeat Obama suffered in the primary led some observers to predict that he would have similar difficulties in the general election. So far, polling shows that he is well positioned to pick off the state. But McCain, in his Tuesday town hall, predicted a nail-biter.

"I think we are going to be up late on election night, I'm the underdog in this race. I'm the underdog and I love being the underdog," he said. "But we are going to be up late in this night and I think you are going to hear the commentators say we are waiting for Pennsylvania, as Pennsylvania has been a battleground state in all elections in recent memory."