U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama has come under criticism from his rivals for saying small-town American voters turn to guns and religion out of bitterness with job losses.
Obama made the comment at a private fundraiser in San Francisco last Sunday. The Democratic Party senator's remarks only surfaced in the U.S. media Friday.
Obama's rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Hillary Clinton, accused him of "looking down" on voters. She told supporters in Pennsylvania that she does not regard voters in the state as bitter, but rather sees them as "resilient, optimistic and hardworking."
Advisors to Republican Party candidate John McCain accused Obama of being elitist and out of touch with voters.
Obama defended his comments at a campaign rally in Indiana Friday, saying voters are frustrated and angry, because they have seen their economies collapse.
Obama accused McCain of being out of touch with voters, saying the Republican Senator failed to understand the U.S. home mortgage crisis.
Obama also criticized Clinton for voting for a bankruptcy bill supported by credit card companies, saying the measure makes it harder for people to get out of debt.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.