Sweet: Bill in Chicago for Hill this week. Obama to wrap up Feb. 5 campaign in Chicago. Pledges to return Rezko cash. Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama. Obama to do Kansas maternal “roots” on Tuesday.

SHARE Sweet: Bill in Chicago for Hill this week. Obama to wrap up Feb. 5 campaign in Chicago. Pledges to return Rezko cash. Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama. Obama to do Kansas maternal “roots” on Tuesday.
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German author Christoph von Marschall, based in Washington, just published “Barack Obama: The Black Kennedy” drawing comparisons between Obama and JFK, who on June 26, 1963 said “As a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.” (photo by Lynn Sweet)

COLUMBIA, S.C.Bill Clinton, criss-crossing the country as a mega-surrogate for his wife as the Super Tuesday Feb. 5 votes loom in Illinois and 22 other states, hits Chicago on Tuesday night and Wednesday to stump and raise money for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). Clinton was supposed to appear herself at a Tuesday fund-raiser, but Bill may fill in for her.

Meanwhile, ABC News, Susan Milligan of the Boston Globe LINK and other outlets are reporting that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) will endorse Obama Monday at a rally in Washington D.C. on the campus of American University (near my house, I can walk to it!). This comes a day after landing JFK daughter Caroline’s backing.

Obama was told by the host, One more time, Senator, you need to divulge all there is to know about that (Rezko) relationship. Take that opportunity here.

Obama replied, Well, George, this is a story that has been out there for a year, and has been thoroughly gnawed on by the press, both in Chicago and nationally.

(actually, it is not one story but an ongoing series of stories by the Sun-Times and Tribune, exploring the depths of the ties between the two men.)

Tony Rezko was a friend of mine, a supporter, who I’ve known for 20 years. He was a contributor not just myself but Democrats, as well as some Republicans, throughout Illinois. Everybody perceived him as a businessman and developer.

(earlier in the week in network interviews, Obama made it seem like he hardly knew Rezko.)

He got into trouble that was completely unrelated to me. And nobody has suggested that I have been involved in any of those problems. I did make a mistake by purchasing a small strip of property from him, at a time where, at that point, he was under thecloud of a potential investigation.

(Obama obscures the larger point that the strip was adjacent to his house and bought at the same time in a deal that seemed connected and gave Obama a financial advantage.)

And I’ve acknowledged that that was a mistake. But again, nobody has suggested any wrongdoing. And you know, I think, at this point, it’s important for people to recognize that I have actually provided all the information that’s out there about it.

(Actually, last week I asked an Obama spokesman information about Rezkos fund-raising activities for Obama and could not get a straight answer.)

Stephanopoulos asked, One final question on that: Several newsorganizations, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, have said that you actually collected far more money for your campaign from Rezko associates than you have actually returned — maybe a multiple ofthree or four.

Are you committed to returning every dollar connected to Tony Rezko? Will you do that?

Obama replied, Absolutely. I mean, keep in mind, George, that, you know, what we’ve done is we’ve traced any funds that we know of that we think were connected to him. And if there any other funds that were connected to him that we’re not aware of, then we will certainly return them. It’s in our interest to do so.

TRANSCRIPT

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA ON ABC NEWS THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2008

Obama on Bill Clinton: …I actually think that Bill Clinton did an important service for the Democratic Party. He went on to say, But there is no doubt that I think that in the ’90s, we got caught up in a slash-and-burn politics that the American people are weary of. He then added, Now, that is not the Clintons’ fault. It is all of our faults, in the sense that we’ve gotten into these bad habits and we can’t seem to have disagreements without being disagreeable. So part of what I think we have to do is to set a new tone in politics. Not a naive one.

Obama on whether he would return money he has raised that could be connected to Tony Rezko or his associates: Absolutely, He went on to say, if there any other funds that were connected to him that we’re not aware of, then we will certainly return them. It’s in our interest to do so.

Obama on Ronald Reagan: at no point did I suggest that my agenda was Ronald Reagan’s agenda. The point was that in political terms, we may be in one of those moments where we can get a seismic shift in how the country views itself and our future. And we have to take advantage of that. He went on to say, I think Reagan trickle-down economics were a disaster.

Our EXCLUSIVE headliner this Sunday: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). In his first interview following his win in the crucial South Carolina Democratic primary, Sen. Obama joined George Stephanopoulos to discuss his chances in the Super Tuesday races, and his recent battles with both Sen. Hillary Clinton and President Clinton.

On our roundtable, Jacob Weisberg of Slate Magazine, ABC News consultant Donna Brazile, and ABC News Cokie Roberts and George Will joined Mr. Stephanopoulos to debate the weeks politics.

A rush transcript of the interview, which aired this morning, Sunday, January 27, 2008, on ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos, is below.

All excerpts must be attributed to ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Visit the This Week website to read more about the show at: http://abcnews.go.com/politics

Katherine OHearn is the executive producer of This Week and George Stephanopoulos is the anchor. The program airs Sundays on the ABC Television Network (check local listings).

-ABC-

ABC’S “THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS”

JANUARY 27, 2008

SPEAKERS: GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, D-ILL.

[*]

STEPHANOPOULOS: This week, South Carolina smackdown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board of Wal-

Mart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, D-N.Y.: You were practicing law and

representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Senator Obama, it is very difficult having a straight-

up debate with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I can’t tell who I’m running against.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: After a bare-knuckle fight with both Clintons…

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I never

uttered a word of public complaint when Mr. Obama said Hillary was not

truthful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: … Barack Obama wins big.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Tonight, the cynics who believe that what began in the

snows of Iowa was just an illusion were told a different story by the

good people of South Carolina.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Our exclusive headliner this morning, Barack

Obama.

Then, a winner-take-all free for all in Florida. That and the

rest of the week’s politics on our roundtable, with George Will, Cokie

Roberts, Donna Brazile and Jake Weisberg of Slate magazine.

And as always, the Sunday funnies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG FERGUSON, HOST, “THE LATE LATE SHOW”: Down in Florida, the

preparations for the upcoming primary are going on. They’ve got one

week left to make sure the voting machines don’t work. So, they’re

very busy.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, everyone. Despite being double-

teamed by Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama left South Carolina

last night with a landslide win. He took 55 percent of the vote, more

than double Clinton’s 27 percent. John Edwards was way back in his

home state at 18 percent.

African Americans made the difference. They were more than half

the electorate, and they broke more than 4 to 1 for Obama. Among

white voters, John Edwards actually edged out Hillary Clinton, but

Obama held his own, especially among younger voters, and got about a

quarter of the total.

Now the Democrats move on to Super Tuesday Feb. 5. Twenty-two

states in play, and our headliner is in one of those states this

morning. Barack Obama joins us from Macon, Georgia.

Congratulations, Senator Obama, on your victory. Does it feel

like vindication?

OBAMA: Well, you know, it was a wonderful win. And the people

of South Carolina, I think, were remarkable, not just in providing me

a terrific margin of victory. But one of the wonderful stories was

the turnout.

I mean, we actually had more Democrats vote in the Democratic

primary, or more individuals vote in the Democratic primary than in

the Republican primary. It was 200,000 more people voting this time

than last time. And I think that shows you the enormous enthusiasm

you’re seeing, not only for change but also for the Democratic Party

right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And more voters, I think, voted for you last

night than voted in the entire Democratic Party in 2004. Before the

votes were finally counted yesterday, President Clinton was asked why

it was taking both Clintons to handle you in South Carolina. Here’s

how he responded to our David Wright.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. CLINTON: Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice in ’84 and

’88. And he ran a good campaign, and Senator Obama’s run a good

campaign here. He’s run a good campaign everywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: The implication there is pretty clear: You’re

the Jesse Jackson of 2008.

OBAMA: Well, you know, Jesse Jackson ran historic races in 1984

and 1988, and there’s no doubt that that set a precedent for African

Americans running for the highest office in the land. But, you know,

that was 20 years ago, George.

And I think that what we saw in this election was a shift in

South Carolina that I think speaks extraordinarily well, not just for

folks in the South, but all across the country. I think people want

change. I think they want to get beyond some of the racial politics

that, you know, has been so dominant in the past.

We’re very encouraged as we go to the February 5th states.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think President Clinton was engaging in

racial politics there?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that that’s his frame of

reference was the Jesse Jackson races. That’s when, you know, he was

active and involved and watching what was going to take place in South

Carolina. I think that a lot of South Carolinians looked at it

through a different lens.

And certainly our campaign was confident that if we talked about

the things that people are really trying to deal with on a day-to-day

basis. If we were talking about how to make sure everybody has health

care that they can afford, how people are going to be able to go to

college, making sure that people are able to stay in their homes in

the face of this subprime lending crisis and the larger credit crunch

that we’re seeing.

As long as we were focused on those issues, we thought those

would transcend the sort of racial divisions that we’ve seen in the

past.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But several in the Clinton camp say that it was

your campaign that was playing the race card throughout this primary.

They point to Dick Harpootlian, one of your major supporters in South

Carolina, who said that the Clinton campaign was reminiscent of Lee

Atwater.

They point to the comments of one of your top advisers, Steve

Hildebrand, who said that the Clintons have always put people in a

box.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They look at everything through racial lines,

gender lines, geographic lines. They tend to segment people.

They say that it was your campaign playing the race card.

OBAMA: George, I’m not going to continue sort of the tit-for-

tat. I think that the results yesterday spoke for themselves, that

people wanted to move beyond some of these old arguments, and they

want to look forward to figure out how we pull the country together

and move forward, and that’s what we’re going to do during the

remainder of this campaign.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You made that point last night in your victory

speech as well. You pretty directly said you wanted to move beyond

the Clinton brand of politics, without saying the Clintons by name. I

want to show voters some of what you said last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We’re up against decades of bitter partisanship that

caused politicians to demonize their opponents instead of coming

together to make college affordable or energy cleaner. It’s the kind

of partisanship where you’re not even allowed to say that a Republican

had an idea, even if it’s one you never agreed with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: You also said that you’re up against the idea

that it’s acceptable to say anything or do anything. Is that what you

think the Clintons were doing in South Carolina? And you also used

the word demonize there. Were they trying to demonize you?

OBAMA: No, I don’t think they were trying to demonize me, but I

do think that there is a certain brand of politics that we’ve become

accustomed to, and that the Republican Party had perfected and was

often directed against the Clintons, but that all of us had become

complicit in, where we basically think anything is fair game.

And you know, during the course of this campaign, I’ve said very

clearly, I want to run a positive campaign. But I think it’s

important for all of us to try to talk about policies that are

actually going to make a difference in the lives of ordinary people.

And as I traveled around South Carolina, whether I was talking to

veterans who weren’t getting their benefits or I was talking to

mothers who couldn’t get health care for their kids, they are eager

and anxious to make sure their problems are solved.

And that is the kind of approach that we want to take, and I

think that’s where the Democratic Party should go if we want to win in

November.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So much of the dialogue was about these comments

you made about Ronald Reagan back in Reno, Nevada. Let me just show

our viewers some of what you said back in Reno, so they can have some

context.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way

that, you know, Richard Nixon did not, and in a way that Bill Clinton

did not. He tapped into what people were already feeling, which is we

want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of

dynamism and, you know, entrepreneurship that had been missing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: You go on to say that the Republican Party was

the party of ideas for 10 to 15 years, in the sense that they were

challenging the conventional wisdom.

Now, you didn’t like the way the Clintons characterized what you

said there, but just to try to flesh this out, what ideas were you

talking about there? What ideas did the Republicans have that were

challenging the conventional wisdom?

OBAMA: Well, I think that — keep in mind, Ronald Reagan came in

during the 1980s, at a time when I think Democrats still dominated

Congress, when the view was that we were going to solve our problems

oftentimes by expanding government programs. And he challenged many

of those ideas.

Now, keep in mind that back in the 1980s, I was working as a

community organizer on the streets of Chicago and seeing the

consequences of some of the bad ideas that Ronald Reagan had promoted.

But the broader point that I was making, George, and I don’t

think this is something that is subject to dispute, is that Ronald

Reagan transformed American politics and set the agenda for a long

time. You know, when Bill Clinton said the era of small government is

over, he was echoing some of the shifts that had taken place. And

part of what had happened was that Ronald Reagan was able to get

Democrats to vote for the Republican ticket, oftentimes against their

own economic interests. And people — Democrats were often puzzled by

that.

The point is that this is one of those moments when I think

Democrats have the opportunity to do the same thing that Ronald Reagan

did in 1980. I think there are a lot of disaffected Republicans.

They’ve seen the disastrous policies of George Bush, both domestically

and internationally, and the question is: Are we going to be able to

reach out to those independents and those disillusioned Republicans,

and form a working majority so that we can move our agenda forward?

So you know, at no point did I suggest that my agenda was Ronald

Reagan’s agenda. The point was that in political terms, we may be in

one of those moments where we can get a seismic shift in how the

country views itself and our future. And we have to take advantage of

that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you do not call them good ideas, but when

you say that the Republican Party is challenging the conventional

wisdom, isn’t it fair for someone to conclude that you’re

complimenting the Republican Party there?

OBAMA: No, because some of the conventional wisdom was right. I

mean, it was right to believe that we should be able to provide health

insurance to all Americans.

Now, what I do believe is that we can’t be bogged down in dogma,

in thinking about how we’re going to deliver health care. So I think

it’s very important for us to be willing to take ideas from all

quarters, and to listen to Republicans and conservatives and others in

terms of how we might go about accomplishing what is a critical goal,

which is universal health care. The same is true with the notion of

upward mobility.

You know, I think Reagan trickle-down economics were a disaster,

but what I do think is important is for us to think about how can we

empower ordinary individuals, so that they can get the education and

the skills that they need in a market economy to succeed.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Take a look at this historically. How could

Bill Clinton have changed the trajectory of the country in the 1990s

in a way that he did not do? What would you have done differently?

OBAMA: Well, I actually think that Bill Clinton did an important

service for the Democratic Party, and you know, if you read some of

the things that I’ve written in my book, for example, I’ve been very

complimentary of Bill Clinton, because I think that he recognized that

we needed to take the old, traditional values of the Democratic Party

— of equality, of opportunity, of community — and update them for a

new era. And so, I think that Bill Clinton did important work back in

the 1990s.

The question is now, we’re in 2008, and how do we move it forward

to the next phase? And I wouldn’t be running for president if I

didn’t think that I was best equipped to move us in a new direction.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were also tough on him in places of your

book. I want to show our viewers some of it. You talked about the

1992 campaign, where you said that Clinton’s gestures towards

disaffected Reagan Democrats could seem clumsy and transparent —

whatever happened to Sister Souljah? — or frighteningly cold-hearted,

allowing the execution of a mentally retarded death row inmate to go

forward on the eve of an important primary. And then in 1996, you

told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, “the Clintons’ campaign is

fascinating to a student of politics. It’s disturbing to someone who

cares about certain issues.”

And you seemed to be repeating some of this, these charges about

that brand of politics in your speech last night.

Do you think there is a pattern here?

OBAMA: Well, George, first of all, the excerpts that you read,

as I think you’ll acknowledge, were sandwiched in an entire page of

complimenting Bill Clinton for the work that he did. But…

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you just repeated now.

OBAMA: Yes. But there is no doubt that I think that in the

’90s, we got caught up in a slash-and-burn politics that the American

people are weary of. And we still see it in Washington today. It is

very hard for us to have a common sense, non-ideological conversation

about how we’re going to deal with our energy problems. It’s very

difficult for us to figure out how are we going to make this economy

work for all people and not just some people.

Now, that is not the Clintons’ fault. It is all of our faults,

in the sense that we’ve gotten into these bad habits and we can’t seem

to have disagreements without being disagreeable.

So part of what I think we have to do is to set a new tone in

politics. Not a naive one. The insurance companies, the drug

companies, they’re not going to give up their profits easily when it

comes to health care. The oil companies like writing the energy

bills, and they have a clear agenda. But it does mean that we have to

reduce the interests — or the influence of special interests and

lobbyists. I think that we’ve got to take ethics reform seriously. I

think that we all have some responsibilities in terms of focusing on

how we’re going to solve problems for the American people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about the economy. The immediate

economic crisis going forward right now, the housing crisis

specifically. Senator Clinton has called on a 90-day freeze on home

foreclosures, and freezing the rates for five years on adjustable rate

mortgages. Is that a good idea?

OBAMA: Well, what I’ve said is that we should put forward a $10

billion fund to focus on helping families that are in their homes that

have been induced into mortgages that they can’t pay, but who are

willing to pay the current rates that they have. And I think that is

an approach that most observers recognize will prevent the kind of

moral hazards where speculators or lenders who made bad loans somehow

are bailed out.

But I think that the problem goes beyond just the immediate

crisis of home foreclosures.

OBAMA: What we have is a situation in which, over the last

decade, there has been — the rewards of the economy have all gone to

the top 1 percent.

We’ve seen people who are wealthy, flush with cash, huge amounts

of capital, that have been feeding the real estate bubble, the dotcom

bubble. But what we haven’t seen are ordinary people’s incomes and

wages going up significantly.

In fact, they’ve flatlined at the same time that their costs have

skyrocketed.

So what I’ve talked about is, let’s get tax relief, a middle-

class tax cut for ordinary working families. Let’s make sure that

senior citizens who make $50,000 or less aren’t paying income tax on

their Social Security.

Let’s close corporate tax loopholes and tax savings to pay for

it.

Let’s shift some of the rewards of the economy to middle and

working-class families. And if we do that, I think we’re going to

have the kind of economic growth, from the bottom up, that’s always

been the hallmark of the United States and the American dream

STEPHANOPOULOS: But just to be clear on these specific ideas,

you think that, by freezing home foreclosures for 90 days and freezing

adjustable-rate mortgages for five years, that could create moral

hazards; that’s why you’re not for it?

OBAMA: Well, I think it is important for us not to bail out

lenders who made, in some cases, poorly considered or speculative

loans. I think what is important is to make sure that people are

staying in their homes, particularly first-time home buyers, families

who are actually living in the house, as opposed to just flipping a

condominium.

And I think that we have to sort through how we can help those

individuals aggressively, at the same time that we’re not bailing out

banks who made loans that they shouldn’t have made.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your home town paper, the Chicago Tribune,

endorsed John McCain today. It had some kind words for you as well,

but they went on to talk about your relationship with the real estate

developer, now indicted, Tony Rezko.

And they wrote this in their editorial. “Obama’s assertion in

network TV interviews last week that nobody had any indications Rezko

was engaging in wrongdoing strained credulity. Tribune stories linked

Rezko to questionable fund-raising for Governor Rod Blagojevich in

2004, more than a year before the adjacent home and property purchases

by the Obamas and the Rezkos.”

One more time, Senator, you need to divulge all there is to know

about that relationship.

Take that opportunity here.

OBAMA: Well, George, this is a story that has been out there for

a year, and has been thoroughly gnawed on by the press, both in

Chicago and nationally.

Tony Rezko was a friend of mine, a supporter, who I’ve known for

20 years. He was a contributor not just myself but Democrats, as well

as some Republicans, throughout Illinois. Everybody perceived him as

a businessman and developer.

He got into trouble that was completely unrelated to me. And

nobody has suggested that I have been involved in any of those

problems. I did make a mistake by purchasing a small strip of

property from him, at a time where, at that point, he was under the

cloud of a potential investigation.

And I’ve acknowledged that that was a mistake. But again, nobody

has suggested any wrongdoing. And you know, I think, at this point,

it’s important for people to recognize that I have actually provided

all the information that’s out there about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question on that: Several news

organizations, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, have said that you

actually collected far more money for your campaign from Rezko

associates than you have actually returned — maybe a multiple of

three or four.

Are you committed to returning every dollar connected to Tony

Rezko? Will you do that?

OBAMA: Absolutely. I mean, keep in mind, George, that, you

know, what we’ve done is we’ve traced any funds that we know of that

we think were connected to him.

And if there any other funds that were connected to him that

we’re not aware of, then we will certainly return them. It’s in our

interest to do so.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Caroline Kennedy endorses you in the New York

Times. This morning she says, “I have never had a president who

inspired me the way people tell me my father inspired them. And for

the first time, I believe that I have found that man.”

Mark Halperin reports, on Time Magazine’s Web site this morning

— and our reporting seems to confirm it — that Ted Kennedy is also

on the verge of endorsing you. Is that true?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I’ll let Ted Kennedy speak for himself.

And nobody does it better. But obviously, any of the Democratic

candidates would love to have Ted Kennedy’s support. And we have

certainly actively sought it.

And you know, I will let him make his announcement and his

decision when he decides it’s appropriate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We will be watching for that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Also, Florida is coming up on Tuesday, the

Florida primary. Of course, the Democratic National Committee has

said that the delegates will not count because Florida moved up its

primary.

But the other day, Senator Clinton said that she wants the

Florida and Michigan delegations seated at the convention. And she

asked her delegates to vote for it. Will you do the same?

OBAMA: Well, you know, what I’m going to do is, I’m going to

abide by the agreement that all the candidates, including Senator

Clinton, made when we were out campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire,

which was that we would not campaign, and we would abide by the

Democratic National Committee rules when it came to the seating of

Florida and Michigan delegates.

You know, obviously, both are extraordinarily important states

that are very important to the Democrats winning in November. But

what I’m going to do is, I’m going to stick to the pledge that I made.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, that means you will not ask the delegates to

vote for it. But bottom line, do you agree with the Clinton camp,

given the fact that we’re seeing hundreds of thousands of Floridians

going to the polls already, voting by absentee — there are likely to

be more on Tuesday — that those votes are going to matter in some

important way?

OBAMA: Well, there are no delegates at stake, and all of us

agreed not to campaign there. So, you know, as I said before, when I

tell people I’m going to do something or not do something, I try to

stick to it. And that’s what I’m going to do with respect to Florida.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The longer this campaign goes on and the nastier

it gets, the more pressure that’s going to be on both you and Senator

Clinton to come together and show a united front in November. Are you

open to having Senator Clinton as your running mate, and vice versa

serving with her?

OBAMA: Oh, you know, I think it’s premature, George, to talk

about running mates. I mean, we’ve got a lot of election left here.

So all of us, I think, are competing vigorously. Senator Edwards is

running a terrific campaign as well.

And what I want to do is try as much as possible to spend the

remaining weeks and potentially months of the campaign talking about

the issues that all Democrats should be concerned about, and I think

all Americans should be concerned about. You know, I already

mentioned making sure that we have tax relief for middle-income and

working Americans.

I think that the issue of college affordability is absolutely

critical, so I’ve proposed a $4,000 tuition tax credit for every

student every year in exchange for national service. We’ve got to

talk about energy and climate change, which I think is going to be

extraordinarily important not just for our economy and our

environment, but also for our national security.

And finally, I don’t want the war in Iraq to be forgotten. I

think that I continue to meet every single day young men and young

women who have been injured in war, families who are being strained by

the fourth or fifth rotation. We’re still spending $9 billion every

single month that we could be investing in broadband lines in rural

areas and rebuilding bridges and roads here in the United States of

America.

That has to be our focus. And in fact, there has been a

convergence on a lot of ideas among the Democrats. My suspicion is

that by the time we get a Democratic nominee, the party will be

unified and it will be energized.

We have doubled turnout, essentially, in every single contest

from what we did four years ago. And we are seeing huge numbers of

independents and Republicans flock into the Democratic primary. So

there are a lot more folks who want change than folks who are

satisfied with the status quo.

I think that bodes well for the November elections.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you believe the party will come together.

Senator Obama, thanks very much for your time this morning.

OBAMA: It was great to talk to you, George. Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So long.

The roundtable is next, with George Will, Cokie Roberts, Donna

Brazile and Jacob Weisberg. And later, the Sunday funnies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “THE LATE SHOW”: Fred Thompson has

dropped out of the presidential race. Yeah. Don’t worry about Fred.

He can always go back to his prestigious fake law firm. So that’s

where he’ll go.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(IN MEMORIAM)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(SUNDAY FUNNIES)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s our show for today. We hope you’ll stay

with ABC News for tomorrow’s live coverage of President Bush’s final

State of the Union address. That begins at 9 Eastern.

And we’ll be back Tuesday night, too, with the results from the

next big primary in Florida.

Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. We’ll see you

next week.

END

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