Scarborough falsely claimed that Obama said of religious Americans, "You only believe that because you're bitter, because you're poor"

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama said of Americans with religious beliefs: "Your faith, the faith of your fathers, the faith of your grandfathers, the faith of your grandmothers -- it's just a crutch. It's just a crutch. You only believe that because you're bitter, because you're poor, because you didn't go to college, because you're working class." In fact, Obama said that "in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania," people are "beaten down" and "feel ... betrayed by government," and "it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion."

During the April 15 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough misrepresented remarks Sen. Barack Obama made during an April 6 fundraiser. Scarborough stated that Americans "do care about a guy that says, 'Your faith, the faith of your fathers, the faith of your grandfathers, the faith of your grandmothers -- it's just a crutch. It's just a crutch. You only believe that because you're bitter, because you're poor, because you didn't go to college, because you're working class.' " In fact, Obama did not claim that Americans are religious because they are "poor" or "didn't go to college" or are "working class," as Scarborough suggested. Rather, he said that "in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania," people are "beaten down" and "feel ... betrayed by government," and "it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion."

From the April 15 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SCARBOROUGH: Now that he's [Obama] talked about the bitterness, he basically has to walk around the rest of the campaign with a smile on his face.

He -- it is -- these are the sort of things, and again, people will -- you know, [Comedy Central host] Jon Stewart or somebody will take a clip of somebody's analysis and say, "Oh, it's so stupid; they're so dumb; they think that's how people vote." Well, Jon Stewart, what the hell does Jon Stewart know? He's voted for the wrong president probably every time he's -- every -- at the loser president every time. He doesn't know what Americans want.

Americans do care if Michael Dukakis looks like a doofus in a helmet when he's riding a tank. They do care if John Kerry looks elitist. They do care if Al Gore Jr. looks elitist. They do care if Barack Obama tries to look like a regular guy in a bowling alley and then he looks like an elitist who's never been in a bowling alley before.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI (co-host): OK, where does --

SCARBOROUGH: They do care about a guy that says, "Your faith, the faith of your fathers, the faith of your grandfathers, the faith of your grandmothers -- it's just a crutch. It's just a crutch. You only believe that because you're bitter, because you're poor, because you didn't go to college, because you're working class."

Those are the signals that are sent every four years that defeat Democrats, and they're sent in big ways and small ways. And, yes, it seems stupid, but when Ronald Reagan can go to South Boston, hold up a beer mug, and you can tell that Reagan's had beer before, it matters. And people go, "He's one of us."

I could give you a thousand examples --

BRZEZINSKI: OK.

SCARBOROUGH: -- of how small events like this add up. Because you know what? Most people think politicians are liars; they think that they calculate everything. It's just these moments where they get a glimpse into who they really are that people take with them into a voting booth.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Religion
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Joe Scarborough
Show/Publication
Morning Joe
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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