From NBC's Cherelle Kantey
In this afternoon's conference call sponsored by the Pennsylvania Sportsmen and Sportswomen for Obama, small-town politicians said the latest attacks from the Clinton campaign are shameless, aimed at creating divisions in their communities.
"Trying to turn small-town Pennsylvanians against each other for political gain is shameless," said Mayor John Fetterman of Braddock, Pa. Fetterman blasted the New York senator for trying to win votes by patronizing gun owners, a move he said shows a willingness to win at all costs.
"I think it's really discouraging and tacky to see Hillary Clinton pandering as if she's a gun owner," said Fetterman. "I think it demonstrates and represents willingness to say anything and everything to get elected."
Rep. Dan Surra (D-PA) said he shares the frustration of the constituents he represents.
"I represent the people that Barack Obama was talking about, that people who have lost their jobs," Surra said. "I think he understands, there is a frustration out there."
The Obama campaign conceded that the remarks weren't properly worded, but their message was correct.
"I think Obama was clear that he could have chosen words better, but the case he was making was right," said Leslie Miller, Pennsylvania communications director for the Obama campaign. "Washington has left working people behind and the attacks that have come from Sens. Clinton and McCain are not going to change Barack Obama's record."
At the conclusion of the call, the sportsmen made it clear that they intend to support Obama, who they say has genuine interest in the concerns of small-town communities.
"Barack Obama has reached out to sportsmen; he's reached out to blue-collar people," Surra said. "And I think the reason it's being blown up like it is, because they don't want to talk about who can really bring the change that we need."