John McCain, bragging that he'll win the key battleground of Pennsylvania in November, declared that he will go to the small towns whose residents he said Barack Obama disparaged.
But the presumptive Republican nominee seemed to mangle the controversial quote from Obama, who told a private fund-raiser in San Francisco in April that he was having trouble reaching "bitter" small-town voters who "cling to guns or religion."
McCain said Obama, who later conceded he chose his words poorly, belittled small-town residents who cling to religion or "the Constitution."
"We’re going to go to the small towns in Pennsylvania and I’m gonna to tell them I don’t agree with Senator Obama that they cling to their religion and the Constitution because they’re bitter,” said McCain, who might have been referring to the Second Amendment right to bear arms. "I'm gonna tell them they have faith and they have trust and support the Constitution of the United States because they have optimism and hope... That's what America's all about."
He made the remarks at the start of a town hall meeting at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, the same venue where Obama gave his widely praised speech in March on race and politics.
It is McCain's second slip of the tongue in two days.
Tuesday, repeating his pledge to block pork-barrel spending, he told a small summit, "I will use the veto as needed. I will veto every single beer -- er bill -- with earmarks."
In Philadelphia today, McCain also declared that he will appeal to independents and Democrats, as well as Republicans, and reached out to supporters of Obama's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, eliciting a cheer.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.