Obama: 'I will be' the nominee, if...: The Swamp
 
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The senator from Illinois also says his party rival is "no pushover.''

Posted May 8, 2008 5:30 PM

The Swamp

by Mark Silva and updated with transcript

Barack Obama was asked today if he is "the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party.''

"Not yet. I will be,'' Obama said, "if Sen. Clinton decides not to go on or if we complete the six contests and we are ahead as we are now. But nothing is certain. I don't want to take it for granted.

"Sen Clinton has been written off before, and came back,'' he said in an interview airing tonight on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. "And she's a formidable candidate,'' the senator told the anchorman. "So obviously we feel good about the results on Tuesday. It strengthens our position. I'm confident that we can finish this, these last few contests, and be in a continuing strong position. It's not yet settled.''

Asked about May 20, the primary election day when it appears certain that Obama will control a majority of the party's pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention, the senator from Illinois said: "That will be an important day. If, at that point, we have the majority of pledged delegates, which is possible, then-- I think we can make a pretty strong claim that, you know, we've got the most runs and it's the ninth inning. And we've won. But do so in a way that brings the party together.''

Have there been any internal discussions about reaching out to Hillary Clinton for a ticket? "You know we have not had those conversations, because I respect what she has said publicly that she is continuing this campaign...

"What I've said is, I want to respect her, and her desire to continue in these coming contests. And as soon as I know I'm the nominee, then I'm going to start making overtures to her, as well as everybody else, to figure out how we can bring this party together.''

Will Clinton meeting his criteria for a running mate?

"Well, there's no doubt that she's qualified to be vice president, there's no doubt she's qualified to be president,' he said. "I've said that before. But I think I can be a better president, otherwise I wouldn't be running. But she's a very capable, very smart person. And anybody who's been in a political contest with her, can tell you that she's no pushover.''

See a transcript of the full interview here, courtesy of NBC:


BRIAN WILLIAMS: Are you the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party?

BARACK OBAMA: Not yet. I will be. If Senator Clinton decides not to go on or if we complete the six contests and we are ahead as we are now. But uh, nothing is certain. I don't want to take it for granted.

WILLIAMS: HAVE YOU HAD ANY DISCUSSIONS ABOUT DECLARING THAT VICTORY ON THE 20TH, AFTER KENTUCKY AND OREGON ARE DECIDED?

OBAMA: That will be an important day. If, at that point, we have the majority of pledged delegates, which is possible, then I think we can make a pretty strong claim that you know, we've got the most runs and it's the ninth inning. And we've won.

WILLIAMS: Last time we were together, I handed you a copy of Newsweek. It was the first time you had held it in your hands with you on the cover. Have you yet held this in your hands?

OBAMA: No. And I don't want to because the last time, it was in New Hampshire and I ended up losing. So I'm not sure whether it's the magazine or you, Brian, that's the jinx. But-- but I'm not takin' any chances.

WILLIAMS: Last time, you looked at it and you thought instantly of your mom.

OBAMA: She'd like that picture. She always encouraged me to smile more.

WILLIAMS: What does the-- what's the asterisk stand for you to know?


OBAMA: Well, I think the asterisk is a signifier that-- this is not done. But I think my mom would be proud of me. She might also say-- don't get-- don't get too full of yourself. Go out there and do some more work.

WILLIAMS: Due respect, Senator, I'm-- I'm not guessing you've had a lot of-- of bowling experience. (LAUGHTER) And-- but you end up with people talking about your bowling score. Gutter balls. Wearing a tie. Wearing a tie with farmers and-- how have you dealt with that? What's-- is there an operating theory that guides your life these days?

OBAMA: You know, my theory is not over think it. Because I think the American people are smarter than that. The bowling's a wonderful example. Right? You go to a bowling alley 'cause you want to go meet with a bunch of folks. And folks are lined up and they're havin' a great time and we're talking. And-- and kids are I'm singing autographs. And then some woman says, "Hey, why don't you bowl a couple frames?" And I said, "Sure, although I haven't bowled in 25 years." And I'm out there and I'm having a great time. You know? And suddenly, this becomes some big, sort of-- signifier of whether or not I'm in tune with blue-collar culture. I was raised by small town folks from Kansas. With Midwestern values. Honesty and hard work and responsibility. And so this notion, somehow, that I'm some sprout-eating, Volvo driving person, when you know, of all the candidates remaining in this race - I probably-- came from-- the toughest circumstances. Not overly tough, I don't want to overstate. But some tough circumstances-- without a father in the house. And you know, raised by people who, you know, come straight out of Central Casting of small Midwestern towns. I think it just doesn't match up with who I am.

WILLIAMS: So you're gonna keep wearing a tie 'cause you believe in it?

OBAMA: Sometimes I wear a tie, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I wear a flag pin, sometimes I don't. You know, sometimes I like a burger and a beer. Sometimes a glass of wine and a steak is good. But this doesn't have much to do with how I'm gonna lead the country. What does have to do with leading the country is my commitment to make sure that everybody has the same chances that somebody gave me.


WILLIAMS: HAVE THERE BEEN INTERNAL CONVERSATIONS OR ANY OUTREACH, ANY CONTACT AT ALL, WITH THE CLINTON CAMP ABOUT A TICKET THAT WOULD INVOLVE SENATOR CLINTON.

OBAMA: You know we have not had those conversations, because I respect what she has said publicly that she is continuing this campaign.

WILLIAMS: IS IT UNDER CONSIDERATION?

OBAMA: Brian, what I've said is, I want to respect her, and her desire to continue in these coming contests. And as soon as I know I'm the nominee, then I'm going to start making overtures to her, as well as everybody else, to figure out how we are going to bring this party together.

WILLIAMS: WOULD SHE MEET THE CRITERIA OF A BARACK OBAMA RUNNING MATE IN THE EVENTUALITY THAT YOU WOULD BE THE NOMINEE?

OBAMA: Well, there's no doubt that she's qualified to be vice president, there's no doubt she's qualified to be president. Obviously I think I can be a better president, otherwise I wouldn't' be running. But she's a very capable, very smart person. And anybody who's been in a political contest with her, can tell you that she's no pushover.

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Comments

Nothing but respect for that man. Class from beginning to the end. Not on some days, not at just the beginning. And not only at the end. ALWAYS. Got my support.


he senator the anchorman...
these last few contest..
Will Clinton meeting his criteria for a running mate...

For such a short story, the proof reading is a joke. you can and must do better than this.


Yep, this was "choppy" reading from a national newspaper!


All those Obama "ifs" tell the story of an analyst but NOT of a leader!

Class would be to wait & remain silent until the primaries were over, all had a chance to vote, and the Dem. Party settled on their candidate and not to hold self-serving press conferences speculating about the winner.



I love Barrack Obama! I am a Catholic, Democrat and White Sox and Nats fan who lives in Maryland. He has been my choice since Edwards quit. I am buying Obama a Vermont Teddy Bear to show him my support! How cool is that? I could just hug him!


I personally believe the acrimony between the Clinton camp and the Obama camp is so deep and wide that voters in Clinton's camp WON'T go and vote for Obama come election day (and vice versa) just because they feel so disgusted with their options. They didn't get the person they wanted at the right moment for a Democrat to win the presidency so why bother voting? They spent all this time vilifying the other candidate it almost feels hypocritical to vote for the Democrat they didn't want for Democrat's sake. Is it cynical to believe in such dissapointment in politics? After Dubya I think cynicism is about as positive as it can get--and no I'm not a bitter rural "bumpkin".


Great news, Obama as candidate. Based on voting demographics of just Democrats for Hillary, the safest projection is Obama District of Columbia and Hawaii and McCain the 49 other states.


THIS IS GREAT TO SEE. NOTHING BUT CLASS AND RESPECT FROM OBAMA.


Maybe it's the aroma of the Illinois Combine--maybe it's the just the arrogance of someone who's run as a LIBERAL but sold us out on:
Agri-business and the fake
BIO FUEL scam
Nuclear Power and regs
The WAR-he KEEPS voting for it!
'Clean coal'
WHERE'S THE SOLAR POWER TAX CREDITS?


No, no, no to Hillary as VP!!

I keep getting this vision of a female Dick Cheney that I can't shake.

FRIGHTENING.


Does anyone know what interest rate Hillary is charging the Clinton campaign for that money she loaned to it?

That would be an interesting read.

This is why I will never give to political campaigns. Part of this settlement is going to include Obama agreeing to pay off Hillary's debts, which will include the 11.5 million she loaned to herself plus the interest.

What a rackett.


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