Speaking at a fundraiser in San Francisco, Barack Obama made a comment concerning the frustrations of Americans from small towns struggling to find a place in the world economy.

“It’s not surprising then they get bitter,” he said. “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.”

After the comment was posted on the Internet, it took on a life of its own. People began berating Obama for his elitist attitude, and pretty soon critics from both parties were piling on.

Even Logansport Mayor Mike Fincher weighed In. He was among 11 Indiana mayors signing on to a letter expressing disappointment with Obama’s comments.

“After seven years of a president who refused to talk to us, the last thing we need is a presidential candidate who talks down to us,” the letter said.

Frankly, Obama deserves the criticism. He seems not to remember what it is really like to live and work in the Midwest, particularly now that the focus of our economy is changing from hard core manufacturing to service and high tech.

His remarks were a slap in the face to Midwest factory workers and farmers who have been the backbone of this country for a long time.

As Obama now admits, calling these folks bitter was a mistake, and to be honest, it was just plain dumb to take a shot at guns and God. Are there two other topics more likely to stir up a dust storm?

Obama is right, though, when he points out that Hillary Clinton’s efforts to paint herself as a gun-toting Annie Oakley drinking shots and beers with the boys just don’t ring true.

We might think it would be fun to have a beer with George W. Bush, but the fact is that presidential candidates aren’t Average Joes. They tend to have degrees from schools like Harvard and Yale, and they file tax returns that contain much larger numbers than most of us.

What we really need to hear from Obama and the other candidates are solutions. What do they think we need to do to re-tool the Midwest economy?

It’s time for the candidates to stop calling people names and try to analyze why people feel the way they do.

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