Friday, March 21, 2008

Barack Obama Larry King Interview Transcript 3-20-08

Read the entire Larry King transcript of Obama's interview yesterday:

KING: All right, let's get first to the news of the day. Michigan apparently is not going to recount its already-held primary. Florida apparently is not going to do it. What's your solution to this?

OBAMA: Well, you know, we're going to abide by whatever rules the Democratic National Committee puts forward, as we've done from the start. You know, we were told it wasn't going to count and so we didn't campaign there. In fact, my name wasn't on the ballot in Michigan.

But I think it's important to make sure that the people of Michigan, the people of Florida, that their delegates are seated. And so, you know, we're committed to making sure that that happens in a fair and equitable way. And I'm confident that they will be participating fully in the Democratic convention. And I'm looking forward to hopefully campaigning there as the nominee.

On the Iraq War:
KING: All right. He's saying that al Qaeda will run rampant under your plan and plans to withdraw.

How do you respond?

OBAMA: Look, the -- you heard, I think, the other day, Senator McCain confuse al Qaeda with Shia radical militias inside of Iraq. The president makes the same error. He keeps on conflating al Qaeda with all that's going on inside of Iraq. In fact, Iraq is a majority Shia country that is violently opposed to al Qaeda. The Sunnis inside of Iraq are now opposed to al Qaeda.

There's no doubt that al Qaeda would try to get another foothold in there. But to the extent that we've brought Sunnis in and got them to buy into the central government, we can start making some progress.

In fact, that's part of the reason that violence is down. Not only have our troops performed magnificently and done everything we've asked them to do, but you've also got Sunni tribal leaders who have rejected al Qaeda and, in fact, are trying to cooperate. So the notion that al Qaeda would run roughshod over Iraq is just not correct. In contrast, you do have safe havens for al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That we know. We know for certain. The Taliban has strengthened itself. They're using the funds from the heroin trade in that region to help finance much of what they're doing. And we're seeing more suicide bombs, more violent attacks. It's starting to creep into the rest of Pakistan.

We know that's where the people who killed 3,000 Americans are located. And we have not been focused on that because of our obsession with Iraq.

So my argument about withdrawing out of Iraq is not because I don't think that we can sustain this current burden indefinitely -- although, the fact is that will break the bank eventually. We can't keep on spending $200 billion a year or $150 billion a year in Iraq.

It's not just because it is straining our military and military families in extraordinary ways. It's also because it's not the best strategy to deal with terrorism, which should have been our focus from the start and has unfortunately been diverted into an effort in Iraq that has been counterproductive to that effort.

Governor Bill Richardson Endorses Barack Obama

Big endorsement and a slap at Hillary. Richardson was part of President Clinton's administration. In theory the New Mexico Governor should help Obama with Hispanic voters:

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who sought to become the nation’s first Hispanic president this year, plans to endorse Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination on Friday at a campaign event in Oregon, according to an Obama adviser.

Mr. Richardson, a former congressman and energy secretary in the Clinton administration, dropped out of the Democratic race in January after finishing behind Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the first nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Since then, both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have aggressively courted Mr. Richardson for his endorsement. Mrs. Clinton had also deployed her husband, and Mr. Richardson’s former boss, to seek the governor’s political support; former President Bill Clinton watched the Super Bowl in February with Mr. Richardson, and both Clintons had spent time on the phone trying to persuade him to back her candidacy.