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Public Statements

CBS "Early Show" - Transcript

Interview

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CBS "Early Show"

MR. SMITH: With three weeks to go until the crucial Pennsylvania primary, polls show that Hillary Clinton's lead over Barack Obama is shrinking. Both candidates campaigned in the northeastern part of the state yesterday, and I jumped aboard the Obama campaign bus in Wilkes- Barre, Pennsylvania, where the candidate had harsh words for America's fastest-growing economic rival.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

SEN. OBAMA: I am a strong believer in free trade, but I think that we have not been very savvy negotiators when it comes to China. I think they've played us. They definitely are stealing our intellectual property, and that has direct consequences in terms of the bottom lines for businesses here in the United States.

MR. SMITH: And there is concern about China's violations of human rights.

(To Sen. Obama.) Should we be a full participant in the Olympic Games?

SEN. OBAMA: I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I think that what's happened in Tibet, China's support of the Sudanese government in Darfur, is a real problem. I'm hesitant to make the Olympics a site of political protest, because I think it's partly about bringing the world together.

MR. SMITH: Though he leads Hillary Clinton in national polls, Obama trails in Pennsylvania. He's hoping record voter registration and an extraordinary number of people who have switched parties to boost his chances.

(To Sen. Obama.) What is your sense, from what your own people tell you, about the switching that has taken place already in Pennsylvania in terms of Republicans coming over to support you?

SEN. OBAMA: You know, at this point it's still anecdotal. I can tell you that there's not a rally we have in which we don't hear from a sizable number of people who say they've switched registrations or that they're a Republican and that they're going to vote for me in the primary and in the general election.

MR. SMITH: It has been 14 months since Obama first announced his candidacy.

(To Sen. Obama.) You surely either thought you'd be out or you'd have the nomination by now.

SEN. OBAMA: That is true.

MR. SMITH: What do you know now that you didn't know when you announced 14 months ago?

SEN. OBAMA: I did not know how hungry people were for a different kind of politics.

MR. SMITH: Earlier this week, Obama went bowling for voters in Altoona, reaching out to the group once again so critical -- blue- collar workers. His performance on the lanes prompted an April Fool's challenge from Hillary Clinton.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY, Democratic presidential candidate): (From videotape.) Today I am challenging Senator Obama to a bowl-off, a bowling night, right here in Pennsylvania -- winner take all. I'll even spot him two frames. (Laughter.)

MR. SMITH: Are you willing to take her up on it?

SEN. OBAMA: You know, I am always game for a little competition. Now, I have to say that I think she has to be heavily favored, given my track record in bowling.


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