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NBC "Nightly News" - Transcript

Interview

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MR. WILLIAMS: Do you have any criticism of the behavior of your opponent in this crisis? One Democrat accused Senator McCain -- and we asked him about this today -- of, quote, "parachuting in and trying to ride to the rescue" of this. Senator Dodd just came out of that White House meeting and called it "a photo opp for John McCain."

Have you anything to say?

SEN. OBAMA: Sometimes, if you inject presidential politics into some delicate negotiations, it's not necessarily constructive. And it's amazing how much people can get done when folks aren't worried about taking the credit or passing the blame.

I think we had seen some progress, and my hope is that we can build on this progress, around four principles that I care deeply about, in whatever deal gets struck -- that we have to make sure that there's strong oversight. I think that Secretary Paulson has acknowledged that.

We have to make sure that the taxpayers are treated like investors, that they're getting money back out of this deal that they're putting at risk. I think there's some acknowledgement there.

We all believe that CEOs should not be walking away with golden parachutes coming out of this deal. I think there's some rough agreement there. And I think, certainly on the Democratic side, we want to make sure that homeowners are getting some benefit from this plan in preventing foreclosures, making sure that communities are sound.

MR. WILLIAMS: Senator, final question. You say you're going to show up at this debate tomorrow night in Oxford, Mississippi. We're locked into a format, according to the commission, of foreign policy. Are you going to raise the economy as a topic anyway?

SEN. OBAMA: With this looming on the horizon -- this has an effect all across the globe. And one of the arguments that I've consistently made in this campaign is we can't be strong abroad if we're not strong at home. If we are spending $10 billion a month in Iraq when they have a $79 billion surplus at a time when we are not just looking at record deficits, but we now have this extraordinary crisis in our financial markets, that just does not make for a safe and secure America.

It's one of the fundamental differences that I have with John McCain and it's something that I think we need to explore in a debate format. You know, we're only talking about 90 minutes here. I think that a president has to be able to do more than one thing at a time. And I think for us to explain our vision for where we want to take the country to the American people, particularly at this time of difficulty, is especially important. So I hope John McCain shows up.

MR. WILLIAMS: Senator, thank you for your patience. Happy trails. Safe travels. Thanks for being with us.

SEN. OBAMA: Thank you so much.


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