Excerpts From Obama's Interview With AP

Saturday, November 18, 2006

By The Associated Press


Excerpts from Sen. Barack Obama's interview with The Associated Press:

On deciding whether to seek the presidency:

"The thing you don't want to do, and that I in particular am trying to avoid, given the hype that has been surrounding me of late, is to be driven into a decision by the media or notions that you have to strike when the iron is hot because there is no more serious job in the world."

On running for the president while still in the Senate:

"Staying in the Senate means that you're not setting the agenda. It means you're responding to a series of votes that oftentimes are designed to make you look bad, particularly if you're in the minority party."

On the results of this month's elections:

"The country is at an interesting crossroads. It's rejected the sharply ideological conservatism of the president and (Newt) Gingrich and (Tom) DeLay. But I don't think that it has embraced a particular Democratic vision of where we need to go. That is a wonderful historic opportunity, but that vision has to emerge from the presidential candidates."

On running for office when he has two young daughters:

"What you hope is that if you run, the press and the public are respectful of children and their need for space. If they are not, then I promise you my wife would hunt people down. She's a tigress when it comes to her cubs."

On dealing with fame:

"I couldn't have scripted how my life has played out over the last four years. In some ways, because it has happened so quickly or maybe because I don't have much sense, I haven't had the opportunity to get too freaked out about it."

On his cigarette habit:

"I'm struggling with those. I've quit before. It's one of those habits that creep up when you're stressed and you have to shake it off. It's not something I'm proud of."

On the reaction from blacks to his potential presidential bid:

An AP-AOL News poll in late October found that, among registered Democrats, Obama is essentially tied with New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on the question of the person they would most like to see elected president in 2008. Among registered black Democrats, Clinton led Obama 29 percent to 10 percent on the same question in an AP-AOL Black Voices poll.

"It's interesting that the people who are most hesitant about this oftentimes are African-Americans because they feel protective of me. They're either concerned about the attacks I'd be subjected to or they are skeptical oftentimes that America is prepared to elect a black president."

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