Barack Obama was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer. Read the complete transcript.
BLITZER: Iowa showed that a black man can really get a lot of white people's support.
OBAMA: I think that's part of what it showed but what it also showed, I think you'll remember because you were watching. A lot of people were skeptical about young people coming out, about people who traditionally haven't participated in caucuses getting involved. And here's where we, I think, proved that we can get people much more engaged in the political process than they had been before.
BLITZER: Let's go through a whole bunch of substantive economic issues, foreign policy issues. I'm going to give you quick questions, if you give me quick answers I think we'll get through a lot. We have limited time, as you know.
You want universal health care or something approaching universal health care. That is a top priority. Where is the money going to come from?
OBAMA: Well, we're going to have to cut back on some things that don't make sense right now. We're spending $15 billion a year, for example, under the Medicare program to subsidize insurance companies. We're going to have to cut some programs that don't work in order to provide health care and as I said before, we're going to roll back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, people making over $250,000 a year, especially millionaires and billionaires who have been making much more than that.
BLITZER: So in effect that will pay for the health care?
OBAMA: That will pay for the health care.
BLITZER: What about the war in Iraq? You're going to want to stop that war as well, right?
OBAMA: The war in Iraq, we can achieve some significant savings. It's not going to come immediately. I've said I want a responsible drawdown.
We're still going to have to refit our military. We're still going to have to deal with rising veterans' costs. Post traumatic stress disorder, for example, I think it has been under-diagnosed. We've got to make sure treatment …
BLITZER: But the $12 billion the United States is spending a month right now on Iraq, that's going to go on at least for what, a year, a year and a half?
OBAMA: My hope is that we draw down that money over time, it's drastically reduced. But the point is that we're not going to be able to take that $12 billion and suddenly automatically apply it all to domestic stuff. We've got to take care of our troops. And we're still going to have expenditures in Afghanistan because we need to hunt down bin Laden and al Qaeda and put them finally out of business.
BLITZER: Senator McCain says if he's president, he will veto every piece of legislation that has pork barrel spending or earmarks. Will you make that same commitment?
OBAMA: You know, here is what I tell you. We're going to have to fundamentally change how our appropriations process works. And I want to sit down with members of Congress, should I be elected, even before I am sworn in and explain to them that some of these projects may be worthy projects in their home state, home district, but right now we can only do those things that are absolutely necessarily.
And if we're going to have a project, I think it has to be not just a whim of a particular local community, it's got to be something that serves to help build the overall economy and move us in a better direction.
BLITZER: At a time of economic crisis, as it is right now, the worst since the Great Depression, people want to know who you'll be surrounded with on these important decisions. Who do you think will be your secretary of the Treasury?
OBAMA: Well, I am not going to make that kind of news …
BLITZER: Give me an example of the folks that you're thinking about.
OBAMA: I haven't won yet. But I'll tell you who already is part of my senior economic advisory group because you've seen them. Paul Volcker.
Former Federal Reserve Board chairman. Larry Summers, former treasury of the – secretary of the Treasury. Warren Buffett, who has been a great friend and great adviser and talked to me a lot during this recent economic crisis.
Those are the kinds of people that I expect will surround me, will help me make decisions, but it's getting ahead of ourselves for me to identify particular Cabinet folks.