Obama's one-on-one with ABC 11

March 19, 2008 6:01:50 PM PDT
After Senator Obama's speech in Fayetteville, he sat down for a one-on-one with Eyewitness News.

"The question voters should be asking is who's got the judgment to make the right calls?" Obama said during his speech Wednesday morning.

In his interview with ABC11's Fred Shropshire, Obama addressed the war in Iraq and what he calls his judgement to lead.

Shropshire: What did you want to accomplish with your talk today?
Senator Obama: The next commander in chief will also have a series of decisions about whether or not to deploy U.S. military forces. On Iraq, I think Senator Clinton, like Senator McCain and President Bush, made the wrong call and it has enormous consequences.

Obama opposed the war as an Illinois state senator.

In five years, hearly 4,000 U.S. troops have died. As president, he says he will refocus and scale down troop deployments.

"We now have to start making the right calls," Obama said. "Not only by bringing the war in Iraq to a responsible and honorable end, but also to start focusing on Afghanistan, al-Qaida and some of the other threats that exist around the world."

Shropshire: What do you do day one?
Senator Obama: Day one call together joint chiefs of staff, secretary of state, national security advisors and plan for a responsible exit at a pace that is safe for our troops and that gives the Iraqi's ample time to stand up and deal with some of the conflicts that have created so much strife inside the country.

Shropshire: How important is North Carolina as you move forward? I mean, usually we're not used to getting this much attention in our primaries.
Senator Obama: Right, North Carolina's going to be very important this time, so we're going to be working hard here. We're going to be putting in a lot of time here. A lot of attention and we think we can do well here, but only if we show up. We are going to be back in North Carolina and hopefully we'll get a chance to travel all across the state. What we want to do is deliver the same message we've been talking about all across this country, which is, it's time for us to bring this country together."

Shropshire: Race has also been a factor in some of these primaries we've seen -- Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi. How do you think that plays out in North Carolina?
Senator Obama: Race is always a factor in our society but it doesn't have to be an overriding factor. We're going to provide a middle class tax cut so that people who are making $75,000 a year or less, they will get an addition $500 - $1000 in their pockets to pay for higher costs. Those are the kinds of concrete things that people are looking for and I don't think they care whether the person is black or white or green.

Shropshire: You have hinted that you are uniquely qualified at this time in history to be that person -- that president because of thses issues. Why?
Senator Obama: What I've said is that I have a history of being able to bridge not just racial divides but party divides. I think I can bring Democrats and Republicans together.

After Obama's speech in Fayetteville, he spoke at Charlotte Central Piedmont Community College.


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