On the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, Hillary Clinton supporters in Philadelphia pine for the good times of the Bill Clinton era, and some Barack Obama supporters freely admit they’re bitter. But what they have in common is a disdain for the “tabloid journalism” that has given more airtime to the issue of lapel pins than it has to the economy or the war in Iraq.


Story Transcript

MATTHEW PALEVSKY, JOURNALIST, TRNN: It’s the day before the election here in Pennsylvania, a must-win state for Senator Hillary Clinton. She was almost twenty points ahead of Obama, and now it looks like a race of just three or four points. Her supporters behind me are out in full force, making sure she doesn’t lose ground.

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PALEVSKY: What brings you out here for Hillary?

STREETER 1: ‘Cause I love her, and I have faith in her, and I trust in her, and I know she has good goodwill for our country. She loves our country, and she’s not going to let us down. She’s a fighter.

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STREETER 2: They cleaned up after the first Bush; I believe they can clean up after this Bush.

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STREETER 3: Hillary Clinton went across this country, talked to people [from] all walks of life, all professions, all income levels, all races, and learned, learned about them. And that’s important.

PALEVSKY: Obama makes the same claim, though.

STREETER 3: Yeah, but he hasn’t. That’s the difference.

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STREETER 4: I was very happy during the President Clinton years, and I felt good with him. And after what we’ve had here for the past eight years, I just know her. I know her.

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PALEVSKY: What brings you out here?

STREETER 5: She’s going to end No Child Left Behind, which is very important to me, because I have three small children in school.

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PALEVSKY: Why Hillary instead of Obama? What separates them?

STREETER 2: Hillary because I believe that she has a lot more to offer the United States. She has 35 years of experience.

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STREETER 3: And actually she is the only one who is willing to talk and has talked about, in the debates, health care insurance for middle-class working people.

PALEVSKY: So he’s leaving you out.

STREETER 3: He’s leaving me out.

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STREETER 1: Her husband in the ’90s—it was beautiful. There was peace. There was prosperity. And if she claims that she’s going to make her husband the ambassador for peace, that’s like two-for-one. You can’t beat it.

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PALEVSKY: Hillary supporters agree that she won the recent debate here in Philadelphia, but many are unhappy about where ABC steered the conversation.

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STREETER 5: Fifty-one minutes of wasting Americans’ time with nonsense. And I think that the people of ABC, I would have expected more out of them. I don’t care if Barack Obama wears a lapel pin. I mean, that’s just an outrageous thing that we’re discussing. Really I think that was a waste of time. The thing that came out of that debate for me, though, is when he was angry—and rightfully so—but once he got angry, he got flustered, and he couldn’t compose himself for the rest of the debate. That’s what came out of it for me.

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STREETER 6: It was silly to spend all that time on, you know, those silly issues—the bitter issue and the other issues and stuff. I think they should have spent more time really talking about–.

PALEVSKY: Do you take what Obama said about Pennsylvanians being bitter personally?

STREETER 6: No.

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STREETER 5: The bitter thing, the Bosnia thing, the lapel pin—these weren’t things that the candidates are keeping the momentum going on; it’s the media that drives it.

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PALEVSKY: While Senator Clinton continues to run ads criticizing Obama for his so-called elitist statements, Obama supporters have come to the center of Philadelphia to stand behind what even their candidate is backing away from.

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PALEVSKY: You’re holding a “Change for the Bitter” sign. Did Obama’s “bitter” quote resonate with you at all?

STREETER 7: Oh, of course. It resonated with me because I know a lot of people who are really upset that we’re spending so many billions of dollars in a war that we shouldn’t be in, and it’s causing our economy to go down. So, you know, with our economy in the toilet, a lot of people are bitter. They might not want to admit it, but they are.

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STREETER 8: The way I feel is it’s true that people are bitter. I’m bitter. I’m bitter for the fact that the country [inaudible] Bush administration [inaudible] and don’t matter what anybody [inaudible] everybody in this country, black, white, Latino, Chinese, everybody in this country feeling such bitterness [inaudible] what we’re going through.

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PALEVSKY: Can everybody here who’s bitter raise their hand?

[general shouting]

PALEVSKY: Is anyone here not bitter?

CROWD MEMBER: I’m not bitter.

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PALEVSKY: Mind if I ask you if you’re at all bitter about the state of America?

STREETER 9: No, I’m not.

PALEVSKY: Were you worried, were you upset about the fact that Obama used the term “bitter”?

STREETER 9: No. No.

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STREETER 8: You’ve got to be paying almost $4 a gallon, and then we don’t have jobs. I’m [inaudible] and we don’t have a job. We don’t even can pay our bills, because the country has let us down. Of course we’re bitter.

PALEVSKY: He also said that people here, because they’re bitter and have been left behind by the economy, as you just said, cling to guns and religion. Is that fair?

STREETER 8: Well, it’s fair to say, because in my end of the bargain, in my community, we feel bitter and we cling to whatever we can. The way that he said about the arms and religion, yes, I go more to church. And you know why? Because I pray more.

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PALEVSKY: But not everyone here likes being told how they feel, and Obama’s ill-conceived comments, accurate or not, could be the key factor in explaining this Tuesday’s results.

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STREETER 10: He should have not said that. You don’t know what is on my mind. You can’t think for me that I am bitter. I don’t like what is going on, but I’m not bitter. You know, I’m not bitter.

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STREETER 3: It reflected a lack of understanding of the problems that people face. It wasn’t so much to me that he was elitist or this, that, and the other thing; it was clearly a lack of understanding, a lack of relating to people. And we need a president who understands the kind of problems that each of us face. And each of us has problems in this country today. No matter what your income level is, we are all struggling.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.