Obama’s Bitter Pill

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Here’s my analysis for time.com. And, Obama this morning in a speech before the Alliance for American Manufacturing questioned how in touch McCain and Clinton are. An excerpt:

You know, there’s been a lot of talk in this campaign lately about who’s “in touch” with the workers of Pennsylvania. Senator Clinton and Senator McCain are singing from the same hymn book, saying that I’m “out of touch” – an “elitist” – because I said a lot of folks are bitter about their economic circumstances.

Now it may be that I chose my words badly. It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. But when I hear my opponents, both of whom have spent decades in Washington, saying I’m out of touch, it’s time to cut through their rhetoric and look at the reality.

After all, you’ve heard this kind of rhetoric before. Around election time, the candidates can’t do enough for you. They’ll “promise you anything, give you a long list of proposals and even come around, with TV crews in tow, to throw back a shot and a beer.

But if those same candidates are taking millions of dollars in contributions from the PACs and lobbyists, ask yourself, who are they going to be toasting once the election is over?

I’m the only candidate who doesn’t take money from corporate PACs and lobbyists, and I’m here to tell you that you can count on me to stand up for you after this election, just as I’ve been standing up for workers all my life. That’s why I’m running for President of the United States.

Senator Clinton and Senator McCain question my respect for the workers of Pennsylvania. Well, let me tell you how I believe you demonstrate your respect. You do it by telling the truth and keeping your word, so folks can know that where you stand today is where you’ll stand tomorrow.

One of Obama’s greatest strengths is his facility with words. But it’s also a weakness as he can sound out of touch. But, as commentators Paul Dirks and Cincinnatus pointed out over the weekend, should voters punish a candidate for sounding too smart?

And just as I was about to post, the Clinton campaign e-mail around their response to Obama’s remarks. Hillary’s spokesman Phil Singer: “With all due respect, this is the same politician who spent six days posing for clichéd camera shots that included bowling gutterballs, walking around a sports bar, feeding a baby cow, and buying a ham at the Philly market (albeit one that cost $99.99 a pound). Sen. Obama’s speeches won’t hide his condescending views of Americans living in small towns.”