Matt Bai has a terrific article on Barack Obama in today's NY Times called "Working for the Working-Class Vote." In the article, Bai takes on one of Obama's seminal, but most mis-interepreted remarks, the one about bitter Pennsylvanians clinging to their guns and religions. Bai quotes Obama as saying,
“How it was interpreted in the press was Obama talking to a bunch of wine-sipping San Francisco liberals with an anthropological view toward white working-class voters. And I was actually making the reverse point, clumsily, which is that these voters have a right to be frustrated because they’ve been ignored. And because Democrats haven’t met them halfway on cultural issues, we’ve not been able to communicate to them effectively an economic agenda that would help broaden our coalition ...
Obama went on.
“To act like hunting, like somebody who wants firearms just doesn’t get it — that kind of condescension has to be purged from our vocabulary. And that’s why that whole ‘bittergate’ episode was so bitter for me. It was like: Oh, this is exactly what I wanted to avoid. This is what for the last five or six years I’ve been trying to push away from.”
It's a long article, but definitely worth reading.