David Brody

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Barack Obama Talks to The Brody File


I just finished my sit-down interview with Sen. Barack Obama here in Greenville, S.C. We talked about everything from last night's debate, his troubles with Sen. Hillary Clinton and continuing Internet rumors that he's a Muslim.

Read the transcript from the interview below.

Looking for a fight? 
 Watch the video by clicking here.

David Brody: Are you looking for a fight here?

Barack Obama: Absolutely not. I wasn't looking for a fight. What I'm looking for is a correcting of the misstatements that have been coming out of the Clinton camp, not just from the Senator but also from her husband over the last month. If you spend a month taking in incoming, at a certain point you have to make sure that we correct the record. And that's what we did.

This stuff is a distraction, but it's a purposeful strategy that they've employed over the last month, and we've had to sort of put a check to it.

Brody: You say it's a strategy. You think a lot of this is done on purpose to kind of get you off your game a little?

Obama: There's no doubt. I mean, look, up in New Hampshire President Clinton was making stuff up about my opposition to the war in Iraq. We had the Clinton camp repeating that we were in favor of the Yucca mountain nuclear waste facility in Nevada, even though I consistently said I wasn't.

The latest episode where I praised Ronald Reagan's political skills and they suggest that somehow I had complimented Ronald Reagan's economic policies and said they were superior to Democrats. I mean these were all things that were just made up. And I understand that's the political tactics that we've become accustomed to.

On Hillary Clinton Leaving South Carolina for a Few Days
 Watch the video by clicking here.

Obama: I think the South Carolina voters will have to make an assessment in terms of how seriously she's taking the state. She said last night that Bill Clinton wasn't the one running for President, but this is the next primary and he's the one who's staying behind.

Brody: Will Hillary be a drag for down-ticket races as a presidential candidate?

Obama: I think there is no doubt that she has higher negatives than any of the remaining democratic candidates. That's just a fact and there are some who will not vote for her. If you look at the results in Nevada, for example, she eked out the popular vote victory over me, but I ended up winning more delegates because she got almost all of her votes from Clark County, Las Vegas and some of the traditional democratic areas. We got votes there, but we also got votes in northern Nevada and rural conservative regions of the state that traditionally don't vote Democratic, but were excited about my campaign.

I have no doubt that once the nomination contest is over, I will get the people who voted for her. Now the question is can she get the people who voted for me? And I think that describes sort of one of the choices that people have, just a practical choice, as they move forward."

Brody: Why is Hillary doing better among Latinos?

Obama: There's no doubt that right now she is doing better within the Latino community and that's just a function of her husband's presidency. She's inheriting goodwill that came from Bill Clinton. Her name recognition is much much higher.

I do great among Latinos who know me. I got 75 percent of the Latino vote when I was running in Illinois in the United States Senate and no doubt would do very well right now if it weren't for the fact that I was running against Bill Clinton's legacy with Hispanics to some degree.

Is Hillary being honest?
Watch the video by clicking here.

Brody: Today you did obviously go after her pretty hard on a lot of different things; the credit card bill, NAFTA, some other things and this one line, "We can't afford a President whose positions change with the politics." Is that going right to the integrity issue, the honesty issue?

Obama: It is important for people to consider how various candidates conduct their campaigns because it will give you some idea of how they are going to conduct their Presidency. If you are constantly shifting positions depending on what is politically advantageous, then you probably won't be willing to take some tough stands that are needed for the country.

Obama Believes the Muslim E-mail is a Dirty Trick
 Watch the video by clicking here.

Obama: This is obviously a systematic political strategy by somebody because these e-mails don't just keep coming out the way they have without somebody being behind it.

Basically the e-mail falsely states that I'm Muslim, that I pledged my oath of office on a Koran instead of a Bible, that I don't Pledge Allegiance to the flag. Scurrilous stuff. I want to make sure that your viewers understand that I am a Christian who has belonged to the same church for almost 20 years now. It's where Michelle and I got married. It's where our kids were dedicated. I took my oath of office on my family Bible.

I lead the Pledge of Allegiance when I open up the Senate. I've been saying the Pledge of Allegiance since I was three years old. I think it 's very important for people not to buy into the kinds of dirty tricks that we've become so accustomed to in our politics and people need to understand I'm not and never have been of the Muslim faith.

I think that those who are of the Muslim faith are deserving of respect and dignity, but to try and feed into this fear-mongering and try to question my faith commitments and my belief in Jesus Christ, I think is offensive. And I want to make sure that people are absolutely clear about what's going on with this, and if they get another one of these e-mails that they're deleting it and letting their friends know that it's nonsense.

Brody: You said it was a dirty trick. Do you believe that it is somehow campaign related?

Obama: We have no way of tracing where these e-mails come from, but what I know is they come in waves, and they somehow appear magically wherever the next primary or caucus is, although they're also being distributed all across the country. But the volume increases as we get closer to particular elections.

That indicates to me that this is something that is being used to try to raise doubts or suspicions about my candidacy. It's something, as you said, has been lingering from the start. It's one of the consequences of having an unusual name or having a father from Africa, even though my mother is from Kansas.

RELATED STORY:
CBN News: Obama Goes on Defense in SC

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 5:00 AM



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