CBS "Early Show" Interview
MS. RODRIGUEZ: Joining us now from West Newton, Massachusetts is Senator Barack Obama.
Good morning to you, Senator.
SEN. OBAMA: Good morning. How are you?
MS. RODRIGUEZ: I'm fine, thank you. And I noticed that you chose to start your day in Massachusetts, which has long been considered Clinton country. But I'm wondering, if you had to choose just one state that you really need or want this morning, which one would it be?
SEN. OBAMA: Illinois. That's where I live. (Laughs.)
MS. RODRIGUEZ: (Laughs.)
SEN. OBAMA: So those are the folks who know me best, and hopefully we'll do just fine there. Otherwise, look, we've got contests all across the country. Senator Clinton, I think, has to be the prohibitive favorite going in, given her name recognition.
But we've been steadily chipping away, because as I've traveled around the country, people are really anxious about the future. They're anxious about the economy. And they recognize that unless we can bring people together and push back against some of the special interests in Washington, we're not going to be able to provide health care for everybody. We're not going to be able to help people pay for their college educations. We're not going to be able to help folks with day care and other costs that are going up all the time. So that's really been the focus of our campaign in these last several weeks.
MS. RODRIGUEZ: Senator, your celebrity endorsements, I'm sure, have helped you as well. You're racking them up like they're going out of style. Does it ever feel to you like this is becoming a popularity contest, or do you think that you are different enough from Senator Clinton for people to vote based only on the issues?
SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I don't think that voters pay much attention to celebrity endorsements. I think that what they're concerned about is who can listen to the concerns of voters and then translate that into actual programs and policies that help people achieve their dreams. And that's --
MS. RODRIGUEZ: In one sentence, tell me why that person is you.
SEN. OBAMA: Well, that's what I've been doing for 20 years as a community organizer, working for people who had lost their jobs on the streets of Chicago, to working as a civil rights attorney for those who had been denied opportunity, to working as a state legislator and helping people with health care, day care, a whole host of bread-and- butter issues that they're dealing with, and then the agenda that I've put forward as a United States senator and as a presidential candidate, providing middle-class tax cuts, taking tax breaks away from companies that are shipping jobs overseas, tuition credit, $4,000 a year for every student so that they can go to college without racking up enormous debt.
Those are the kinds of concrete, specific ideas that I think people have found appealing, and that's why I think we're doing so well.
MS. RODRIGUEZ: Senator Barack Obama, thank you very much for joining us.
SEN. OBAMA: It's great to talk to you. Thank you.
MS. RODRIGUEZ: Thanks.