CHICAGO – When it comes to talking about the job of president, Sen. Barack Obama would rather talk about how others have done it.
In an interview with FOX News, the Illinois Democrat sidestepped questions about a possible campaign for the office in 2008 even as he acknowledged that many voters have already questioned him on a possible run.
Click here to view exclusive video of FOX News' interview with Sen. Barack Obama.
Obama, who just returned from a tour of Africa, including Kenya where his father was born, spoke only vaguely about his plans for the future. Asked if he would be running for the presidency in 2008, he instead chose to talk about the current election year, in which he is helping Democrats on the campaign trail.
"I'm just focused on November 2006 and trying to make sure we get a majority in the Senate," said the freshman senator elected in 2004. "The day after I was elected for Senate, somebody asked me the same question. I said I wasn't running at the time, and so far there's been nothing to change my mind."
Obama said the public attention paid to him over the question of the presidency is heartening and has even grown internationally. Two schools in Kenya have been re-named for the senator.
"It indicates some of what I'm talking about resonates with people. ... I'll hopefully keep on doing what I'm doing and hopefully there will be at least some people who appreciate it," he said.
Obama also deflected a question about his first visit as a senator to Iowa, a key battleground for the presidency. He attended the annual steak fry held by Sen. Tom Harkin, an event known for its showcasing prospective candidates.
But Obama has not been quiet on what he thinks about the position of president, recently granting an interview to Men's Vogue magazine in which he said a great president is one who creates a sense of optimism or helps to "change how we think about ourselves and our obligations to each other."
Obama said leading the country through a war can make for a great president, like Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
"Being able to project to people that we have a lot more to do and far greater possibility than what we already achieved — that helps define a great president," Obama said.
But in his interview with FOX News, Obama did not hold back criticism of President Bush or his administration, characterizing it as one motivated by "ideology over fact and evidence."
"I think that George W. Bush is a good and decent man. I think he is a likable person. I think that he wants to do right by this country. I think he has been a far more ideological president than we've seen in many years. ... I think that's lead to significant mistakes.
"I think it's part of the reason we have seen the misjudgments in Iraq. It's part of the reason we have tried to cut taxes, fight two wars, without paying for it. I think reputably what you've seen in this president is ideology over fact and evidence. I think that always gets us in problems if you're on the right or on the left."
Although the 45-year-old father of two is not saying whether he is running for president, he's not making a concerted effort to put to rest the idea the he might do so. He recently finished a new book, to be released in October, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream." He added that he has no plans to get out of American politics.
"I've gotten to the point in my life where I still feel like a young man but I also feel like now I'm [the] generation that carries things forward and is responsible for the next generation, and I think that the work that I'm doing here in the Senate hopefully reflects that belief."
He added: "I think that the American people are ready for a serious, common sense, civil, problem-solving politics. And that's what I'm going to push for over the next however many years I'm involved in politics."
FOX News' Steve Brown contributed to this report.