I am not sure how much the elitism charge really holds when you are running for the most elite position in the country, and possibly the entire world.
It takes someone, and I do not mean any disrespect by this, who really thinks that he’s better than 99 percent of the people in the country in order to run for the presidency. There is nothing wrong with that–a healthy ego is the ontological pre-condition for seeking political office.
Now is Obama wrong? Yes, because he made a tactical mistake: he let it slip.
But that is the paradox of the situation: we want someone to run for the elitest of the elite positions, but we also want someone who’s just one of the guys.
Now, how someone feels about a group of people don’t have to do with how they treat them. Just look at Johnson: the man was a racist, but he helped pass the most significant civil rights legislations since Reconstruction.