Barack Obama photo

Interview with David Brody of CBN News

August 16, 2008

BRODY: I want to ask, I was back stage I didn't see the handshake, but I'm curious what that was like to be on stage with John McCain and what was going through your mind when all of that was going on.

OBAMA: Well, you know John and I serve in the Senate together, so we see each other all the time. It was great to see him. As he said, he'll see me in a couple weeks. We're going to be debating each other throughout the fall.

BRODY: Tell me a little bit about how you felt up there on stage in terms of what may have been that, the hardest question or at least the question that you may not have been looking forward to address so much.

OBAMA: You know, I thought, Pastor Rick is a good friend, he and I have known each other for some time, I've been to this church before, and so I knew that he'd be fair and press me on issues that are of particular concern to the Evangelical community, but I also knew they weren't issues that I hadn't heard before and hadn't wrestled with myself. So, you know, one of the wonderful things about Rick is he is somebody who, I think, has genuine good will towards everybody and even when he disagrees with you, I think he's going to give you a fair hearing.

BRODY: Let me ask you a little about some of these ads that John McCain has been running not just on television, but on the web. Let's face it, let's call a spade a spade, there has been some Messianic references, there's been some antichrist stuff going on, the celebrity, they're trying to pigeonhole you a certain way. Do you believe this is being done on purpose?

OBAMA: Well of course it's being done on purpose. They're not spending a whole bunch of money to make me out as a good guy. They're engaging in the kind of politics that I think we've become accustomed to which is you try to tear your opponents down and you engage in sort of slash and burn tactics. And very personal sort of personal character attacks. And one of the challenges for us in this campaign is how do you make sure those attacks are answered quickly and forcefully, but also truthfully and that we don't fall into that same kind of tactic. And look, I think ultimately the American people are going to understand by the time they go into the polling place in November that this is not an election about me. This an election about them - ordinary people, their lives, their hopes their dreams, the fact that their incomes have gone down over the last eight years, the fact that their jobs are less secure, that they have less retirement security, that their kids can't afford college, that jobs are being shipped overseas that the tax code isn't fair and that special interests have come to dominate Washington. And as long as we're communicating an active plan to fix those problems then I think we're going to do well.

BRODY: Real quick, the born alive infant protection act. I gotta tell you that's the one thing I get a lot of emails about and it's just not just from Evangelicals, it about Catholics, Protestants, main -- they're trying to understand it because there was some literature put out by the National Right to Life Committee. And they're basically saying they felt like you misrepresented your position on that bill.

OBAMA: Let me clarify this right now.

BRODY: Because it's getting a lot of play.

OBAMA: Well and because they have not been telling the truth. And I hate to say that people are lying, but here's a situation where folks are lying. I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported - which was to say --that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born - even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade. By the way, we also had a bill, a law already in place in Illinois that insured life saving treatment was given to infants.

So for people to suggest that I and the Illinois medical society, so Illinois doctors were somehow in favor of withholding life saving support from an infant born alive is ridiculous. It defies commonsense and it defies imagination and for people to keep on pushing this is offensive and it's an example of the kind of politics that we have to get beyond. It's one thing for people to disagree with me about the issue of choice, it's another thing for people to out and out misrepresent my positions repeatedly, even after they know that they're wrong. And that's what's been happening.

BRODY: I wanted to give you a chance to clear it up.

OBAMA: I appreciate it.

BRODY: Thank you so much.

Barack Obama, Interview with David Brody of CBN News Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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