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Anecdotal Evidence, August 18: Obama calls Pennsylvanians bitter clingers

Lars Gesing, CU News Corps Assistant Director

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Logo final_highIn our Anecdotal Evidence column, movers and shakers share personal stories of how intriguing (and often odd) presidential campaigning in their respective swing state can be.

Are Pennsylvanians bitter and cling to guns & religion?

John Baer. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

John Baer. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

John Baer – Political Columnist, Philadelphia Daily News

“In 2008, right in the heat of the Obama-Clinton primary, Obama was here, and it wasn’t going well for him because of Hillary’s ties to the state. He had been quoted at a San Francisco fundraiser as saying that the problem with Pennsylvania is that people are bitter, and so they cling to their guns and their religion.

“He got into a lot of trouble for that. The narrative offered by the Clinton’s was, ‘There he goes again. He is an elitist. He is making fun of people who have strong faith.’

“But actually, I wrote a column saying, ‘he’s absolutely right’. That is exactly what Pennsylvanians do. My mother was an Irish-Catholic from the coal region. She was always p***ed off, and she always clung to her religion. My father was a journalist, but he was also a hunter. That’s what people do.

“Obama was correct.”

***

Why candidates truly matter in Pennsylvania in 2016

Chris Nicholas. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Chris Nicholas. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Chris Nicholas – Republican Consultant

“For the state in 2016, a lot depends on the candidate. Hillary Clinton has relatives in Scranton, Pennsylvania (her father’s birthplace). So does Joe Biden (he was born there).

“Several Republican presidential candidates were born and/or raised in southwestern Pennsylvania: Rand Paul was born in Pittsburgh. Rick Santorum and John Kasich are from here. (Editor’s note: Donald Trump has a degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

“There is a saying about Pennsylvania: ‘It’s where everyone’s grandparents are from.’ They were born here – and then they all left.”

***

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Explanatory Multimedia Reporting from CU Boulder Journalism Students
Anecdotal Evidence, August 18: Obama calls Pennsylvanians bitter clingers