ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: Barack Obama launched into a fiery offensive this evening in a speech before the United Steelworkers Union in Steelton, Pa., in responding to criticisms about his "bitter" remarks -- going after Sen. Hillary Clinton in a way rarely seen over the course of this campaign.
"Shame on her," Obama said, echoing one of Clinton's own atacks on him. "Shame on her, she knows better."
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Obama said he was disappointed with her for her response and then launched into a new criticism of Clinton over her recent admission of being a hunter, and compared her sarcastically to Annie Oakley.
"She’s running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment, she's talking like she's Annie Oakley! Hillary Clinton's out there like she's on the duck blind every Sunday, she's packin' a six shooter! C'mon! She knows better. That's some politics being played by Hillary Clinton. I want to see that picture of her out there in the duck blinds."
Obama said he is amazed and surprised by this "dust-up" but admitted that his words were chosen badly. He said he deeply regretted ... that his words were misinterpreted.
He also defended himself, bringing up his own devotion to faith and his stance on the Second Amendment -– and he responded to the idea that he is an elitist.
"Now, I am the first to admit that some of the words I chose, I chose badly," he said, "So I’m not a perfect man and the words I chose, I chose badly. They were subject to misinterpretation, they were subject to be twisted and I regret that. I regret that deeply. But when people suggest that somehow I was demeaning religion when I know that I'm a man of deep faith, somebody who in my own life has held on to faith, held on to my confidence in God during times of trial and tribulation, then it sounds like there's some politics being played. When people suggest that I was somehow being elitist and demeaning hunters when I have repeatedly talked about the tradition that people pass on from generation to generation, hunters and sportsmen, and how I have consistently spoken about my respect for the Second Amendment, when people try to suggest that I was demeaning those traditions, then it sounds like there's some politics that's being played."
He reiterated what he said was the intended message of his original comments at the fundraiser in San Francisco.
"And what really burns me up is when people suggest that me saying that folks are mad, they are angry, they are bitter after 25, 30 years of seeing jobs shipped out, pensions not fulfilled, healthcare lost, the notion that people are surprised and are suggesting that I'm out of touch because I spoke honestly about people's frustrations, that tells me there's some politics going on," he said.
While Obama saved most of the feisty criticism for Clinton, he also took a couple swings at John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.
"John McCain said I was out of touch, he said I was being 'condescending and elitist, people aren’t bitter,'" Obama said. "And I’m thinking to myself, here's a guy it took him three tries before he actually came up with a plan to deal with the millions of people who are about to lose their homes because of foreclosure, who wants to perpetuate the Bush tax cuts."
Obama also reminded the union crowd of Clinton’s position on NAFTA, which many working people blame for allowing companies to outsource manufacturing jobs to Mexico, and Clinton campaign strategist Mark Penn, who was working as a lobbyist for Colombia to help that country get a free trade deal with the United States that Clinton said she opposed.
"Who do you think is out of touch? This is the same person who spent a decade with her husband campaigning for NAFTA and now says she’s against NAFTA," Obama said. "Does that sound like she’s in touch with Pennsylvania? In touch with you? Against trade with Colombia -- turns out her top adviser was working with Colombian government to get the bill passed. Does that sound like it's in touch with you?"
Obama concluded that these are the types of things people are frustrated about, "things haven't changed. And of course you're frustrated about that. Of course you're bitter about that."