ABC " Good Morning America" - Transcript
MS. ROBERTS: And you had a chance over the weekend to talk with Barack Obama.
MR. CUOMO: One of them -- that they want to hear answered. And there's no question that voters are saying they are focused on the issues now. They're past the personalities of a Barack Obama or, now, with Sarah Palin.
So we got to sit down with Barack Obama to find out where his head is politically and what he thinks will get him to the finish line.
(Begin videotaped segment.)
SEN. OBAMA: I think we are in a very serious time right now. We've got Wall Street having all sorts of problems; the housing market has yet to recover. And if you want change -- if you think that having record foreclosures and increasing job loss and an education policy that's adrift, then we're going to have to change policies.
MR. CUOMO: You've watched this Palin phenomenon. What's your take on the situation?
SEN. OBAMA: My sense is is she's a skilled politician. I think that she wouldn't have gotten to where she was if she wasn't.
And what has yet to be determined -- and I don't think the interviews, as much as Charlie tried to sort of really pin this down -- is her position on issues. My sense is that she agrees with John McCain and she agrees largely with George Bush in terms of our economic policies, our tax policies, health care policies.
If you agree with what's happened on a policy basis over the last eight years, it's pretty hard for you to represent yourself as an agent of change. It's not a matter of just trying to put a new face on these underlying economic theories that really say we're going to give more to the most -- and hope that it trickles down.
MR. CUOMO: People in the party are getting a little nervous. Polls are tightening. A big shift with women.
SEN. OBAMA: And one of the things about running over 19 months is that you realize this thing just goes in cycles. There are times where you're a genius; there are times where you're an idiot.
So we always anticipated that we'd get a boost from our convention; they'd get a boost from theirs. And that this was going to remain close until pretty close to the end where people then finally get a chance to see McCain and myself debate and have a chance to take a look and say, you know, who's the person who can actually bring about the changes that are going to make a difference in our lives?
MR. CUOMO: Early on in the race, McCain was after you to try to get this series of town hall meetings going.
SEN. OBAMA: Right.
MR. CUOMO: They didn't happen. Now you're saying the issues are all that matter here. Why don't you pick up the phone to him and say, what are you doing next week? How about Tuesday? How about Wednesday? How about Thursday? Let's get out there as much as possible, you and me, and talk about what matters most.
SEN. OBAMA: Look, this whole thing about the town halls I think is a little bit of a gimmick.
We've got three debates coming up, plus --
MR. CUOMO: But why not 23? Why not 33?
SEN. OBAMA: Well, I -- listen, I've gone through 22. (Laughs.) I've gone -- so --
MR. CUOMO: But now this is it.
SEN. OBAMA: Nobody's -- nobody's debated more than I have.
But let's face it. The reason that we're not talking about the issues doesn't have to do with the fact that we didn't have town halls. The reason that we're not talking about the issues is because John McCain has shown a lack of interest in talking about the issues. That's how their campaign's been run.
If the American people start focusing on, you know, who is actually going to help me, the single mom, get health care for myself or my kids, who's actually going to increase my take-home pay so that I can manage the higher gas prices, you know, that's not only a debate that is good political strategy for me; that's what the American people need.
MR. CUOMO: But for all his desire to talk issues, Obama's latest ad seems to get very personal.
(Video clip begins.)
NARRATOR: He admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer. Can't send an e-mail.
(Video clip ends.)
MR. CUOMO: Now we see these new ads that come out calling McCain an old man, saying he can't use a computer --
SEN. OBAMA: Oh, wait, wait. Hold on. Hold on, I didn't -- I didn't say that. What I said was -- I mean, let's be fair, Chris.
What I said was that John McCain is out of touch. When his health care adviser was recently quoted saying that we don't really have an uninsured problem because people can just go to the emergency room, that has nothing to do with age. That indicates somebody who is not spending time thinking about what people are going through day to day. And folks are struggling.
MR. CUOMO: But the ad is a negative ad. You paint him as an old man. You say he can't use a computer; he's never sent an e-mail. What does that all mean?
SEN. OBAMA: What it means is is that we've got a 21st century economy, and John McCain does not have a vision for how to move that forward. He hasn't talked about it in this campaign.
You would be hard-pressed to explain to me what John McCain's economic vision is, about how he's going to get this economy back on track. That, I believe, is somebody who is out of touch with what is -- should be the central question of this election.
MR. CUOMO: So no apologies for that ad?
SEN. OBAMA: Oh, no. If we're going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily.
John McCain has not focused on the issues that matter to the American people.
(End videotaped segment.)
MR. CUOMO: We'll have more Obama in the next half hour. Both campaigns have weighed in on Lehman.
Obama's saying he doesn't blame John McCain, but blames his economic philosophy. John McCain says he's happy they didn't use tax dollars to bail out Lehman. He's worried about the deposits of regular Americans.
And that case is made here. Four of the six mills that we've passed in this part of the country have closed because of energy prices.