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Guns and God: A Bitter Brew

What did he say?
What did he say?
Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Last week, at a private fund raiser in San Francisco, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) made this remark:

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.

Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John McCain (R-AZ) couldn't have asked for better fodder. Obama is out of touch with most of America, they said. It was great grist for pundits, bloggers, and editorialists, too. "Senator Obama has had a mostly charmed Presidential run," The Wall Street Journal read, "But the truth is there's much that Americans still don't know about him or what he believes."

What have we learned from what Obama said? For one, there is no privacy on the campaign trail. A private fund raiser, closed to the press? Fuhgeddaboudit. His comments raised some questions. Is he right? Should he have said what he said? How long will it take for him to recover?

In the first hour, we want to hear from the voters Obama described. If you're gun-totin' and God-fearing, are you bitter? How did you react to what he said?

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David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.