OBAMA ON SMALL TOWNS

What the candidate said April 6 in San Francisco, as reported by the Huffington Post, as he tried to explain his troubles winning over working class voters who are frustrated with economic conditions:

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them.

"And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate, and they have not.

"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Addressing the issue on April 11 at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., Obama said:

There's a "small political flareup because I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois, who are bitter. They are angry. They feel like they have been left behind. They feel like nobody is paying attention to what they're going through.''

"So I said, well you know, when you're bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community. ..."

Also at Ball State, acknowledging his remarks in California were poorly phrased, he added:

"The truth is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation, those are important. That's what sustains us. But what is absolutely true is that people don't feel like they are being listened to. ...."