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CBS "Early Show" Interview with Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)


Location: Unknown


MS. SMITH: Speaking of Barack Obama, I had a chance to sit down with him in Washington Thursday and ask him about his recent public feud with fellow presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

SEN. OBAMA: I told my staff that in those kinds of situations we should just show some restraint and refrain from some of the snappy comebacks.

MS. SMITH: Did your campaign make a mistake by responding?

SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that we should have responded, but in a more restrained way.

MS. SMITH: Obama didn't rule out more dust-ups as the campaign goes on. He also acknowledged the potential inconvenience should Al Gore, the golden boy of the Oscars, enter the race.

SEN. OBAMA: If he decided to get in, he would be extraordinarily formidable; would have as good of a resume as anybody in the field, better than anybody in the field.

MS. SMITH: So would you welcome him?

SEN. OBAMA: I would welcome him to go anywhere he wants to go.

MS. SMITH: This weekend, both Obama and Clinton will head to Selma, Alabama for a commemoration of the civil rights marches of 1965. Obama says the appearance is personal, not political.

SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I think this weekend is actually not about politics. To me it represents some of the best moments in American history, where ordinary people stood up to injustice.

MS. SMITH: You know, at the same time everything tends to end up being about politics.

SEN. OBAMA: Right.

MS. SMITH: Is this a chance to answer some of those critics who said you haven't been connected enough to the African-American community?

SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, the truth is that a lot of that has been stuff at the national level. It's not based on the work that I've done in Illinois. You don't hear that chatter back home where I'm well-known.

MS. SMITH: In fact, as he's getting better known nationally, Obama's making gains. One poll shows he's winning support from African-American voters at the expense of Hillary Clinton. But Clinton isn't his only challenge on the campaign trail.

(To Senator Obama.) How's quitting smoking going?

SEN. OBAMA: Nicorette is going just fine.

MS. SMITH: Has there been a moment where you've wanted to reach for a cigarette?

SEN. OBAMA: No, not yet; well, where you want to reach, of course.


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