Durbin Fires Back at Obama Attacks

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," June 12, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, CO-HOST: After months of unfounded rumors about him and his family, Barack Obama is fighting back tonight, launching a new Web site to combat persistent Internet rumors about him that refuse to go away.

Video: Watch Megyn Kelly's interview

Barack Obama supporter and Senate majority whip, Illinois senator, Dick Durbin joins us now.

Good evening, senator.


KELLY: Thanks for being here.

So, the Web site is called fightthesmears.com. And it is the first time we've seen Obama come out and sort of address these one by one. We're not going to go through the Internet rumors here because they don't deserve it, but if it's the first time that Barack Obama has come out and taken them on one by one and said — it's a bunch of bunk.

Senator, what's the problem with this because some think it will call more attention to the rumors?

DURBIN: You know, we learned a valuable lesson four years ago when the so called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth unleashed an attack on the patriotism, on war record of John Kerry — took a man who volunteered to serve in Vietnam, served in combat and was decorated for his service and smeared his reputation. We're not going to let that happen again.

I can just tell you we're going to get the truth out. And when people throw things at Barack Obama or any member of his family or the campaign, we're going to answer them.

KELLY: Well, senator, of course, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth would take issue with that characterization — but with respect to the rumors about Barack Obama, do you think that the people, the haters, are going to stay haters. I mean, do you think that this Web site has a chance of actually persuading them?

DURBIN: Now, I can just tell you this — there are always going to be haters out there. There are going to be people that hate Democrats, hate Republicans, hate this person, and hate the other person. You know, that's always a fact.

But I really trust the good judgment of the American people. When they have the facts, when they hear it firsthand, I think they'll follow the truth.

KELLY: So, who does this appeal to? Is it Democrats, is it independents, is it Republicans who might go Democrat?

DURBIN: A lot of people who live on the Internet. They want information that they can turn to. You know, what's the real story here? And this is from the source, from the Obama campaign. We tell people exactly what's right, and they can reach their own conclusions but they're at least going to hear our side of the story.

KELLY: Is part of the problem, senator, that Barack Obama is relatively unknown — that you take somebody like John McCain who's been around, who's been in politics forever — I don't have to tell you being in Senate him — and you've got Barack Obama whose political history is much more limited compared to somebody like a McCain?

DURBIN: Listen, you can't win this either way. John McCain has a long record. Part of it is absolutely exemplary when he served as a navy pilot shot down, a prisoner of war, a great American hero — no question about it. But then a long record in public service, votes he's cast, positions he's taken, news stories that have come up.

And here comes Barack Obama with not as long a record, who's talking about real change in Washington. Either approach is going to be fair game for the opposition. So, from our side, we want to make sure the truth is there.

KELLY: Yes. And it's game on now. Well, finally, at the general election after months and months of primary season.

DURBIN: Yes, it is.

KELLY: Senator Dick Durbin — thanks so much for coming on.

DURBIN: Good to be with you.

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