Wonder whether bitterness, guns or anti-immigrant sentiment will come up when Barack Obama visits North Carolina today on the campus of East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.?
That’s the heart of small-town N.C., and his visit comes just days after he put his foot squarely in his mouth with a remark describing people in small-town Pennsylvania:
"It’s not surprising then that 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."
Greenville is some 245 miles from Charlotte, in northeastern N.C., a region among the most rural in the state. Its small towns and crossroads wrestle with the same economic challenges and changes Obama confronted in Pennsylvania.
Guns and God are both important to many people there. There’s also nervousness at the pressure Latino immigrants put on local resources and their impact on a limited job market.
But is small-town N.C. the land of guns and God? Are Obama’s remarks about turning to bitterness and xenophobia on target? Or are they out of touch and a slap in the face?
(To see what he says to small-town North Carolina today, read this live blog of his speech from Reflector.com, beginning at 4 p.m.)
What do you think? Does Obama know enough about small towns and the people who live in them to accurately understand their plight, their lives and their concerns? What should he have said?