Barack Obama also spoke at the Associated Press annual meeting today, and started out by making light of the weekend's kerfluffle:

I know I kept a lot of you guys busy this weekend with the comments I made last week. Some of you might even be a little bitter about that.

He went on to make it less a speech about the press at all, but rather an attempted save for last week's comment. The heart of it:

I will never walk away from the larger point that I was trying to make. For the last several decades, people in small towns and cities and rural areas all across this country have seen globalization change the rules of the game on them. When I began my career as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, I saw what happens when the local steel mill shuts its doors and moves overseas. You don’t just lose the jobs in the mill, you start losing jobs and businesses throughout the community. The streets are emptier. The schools suffer. [...]

And after years and years and years of this, a lot of people in this country have become cynical about what government can do to improve their lives. They are angry and frustrated with their leaders for not listening to them; for not fighting for them; for not always telling them the truth. And yes, they are bitter about that. [...]

People may be bitter about their leaders and the state of our politics, but beneath that, they are hopeful about what’s possible in America. That’s why they leave their homes on their day off, or their jobs after a long day of work, and travel – sometimes for miles, sometimes in the bitter cold – to attend a rally or a town hall meeting held by Senator Clinton, or Senator McCain, or myself. Because they believe that we can change things. Because they believe in that dream.

The full text of his remarks aren't up online yet, unfortunately. How this message will go over is tough to tell, but making it to an audience of news creators is probably a useful way of getting it out there.

--Kate Sheppard

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