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Obama Says Racially-Motivated Threats Sparked Secret Service Protection

Democrat Barack Obama said Sunday he was reluctant to ask for Secret Service protection this early in the 2008 presidential race.

"I'm not an entourage guy. You know, up until recently, I was still taking my wife Michelle's grocery list and going to the grocery store once in awhile," the Illinois senator said.

Obama, who is black, acknowledged that some of the threats against him were racially motivated.

"You know, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it or considering the details of this, but just to broaden the issue, are there people who would be troubled with an African-American president? Yes," he said. "Are there folks who might not vote for me because I'm African-American? No doubt."

But Obama said that if he doesn't win, it will not be because of the color of his skin.

"It's going to be because I didn't project a vision of leadership that gave people confidence. It's going to be because of something I didn't do as opposed to because I'm African-American," he said.

On affirmative action, Obama, a Harvard Law School graduate, said he thinks that someday when his two young daughters apply to college, they "should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged" and there is nothing wrong with that.

"I think that we should take into account white kids who have been disadvantaged and been brought up in poverty and shown themselves to have what it takes to succeed," he added. "There are a lot of African-American kids who are still struggling."

Obama said that "if we have done what needs to be done to ensure that kids who are qualified to go to college can afford it, that affirmative action becomes a diminishing tool for us to achieve racial equality in this society."

His comments came in an interview broadcast Sunday on "This Week" on ABC.