Transcript courtesy Federal News Service…
ABC “GOOD MORNING AMERICA” INTERVIEW WITH SENATOR BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE
SUBJECT: 2008 ELECTION AND TRIP TO HAWAII INTERVIEWER: ROBIN ROBERTS
7:02 A.M. EDT, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2008
MS. ROBERTS: We begin with Senator Barack Obama leaving the campaign trail to be with his ailing grandmother.
As we said, he arrived in Hawaii overnight, but before he left, Senator Obama sat down with me after his rally in Indianapolis.
(To Senator Obama.)
For you to leave the campaign trail, we know how serious the situation must be with your grandmother. But is there anything in particular that has happened recently — that has caused you great concern?
SEN. OBAMA: Yeah. I mean, without going through the details too much — she’s gravely ill. We weren’t sure, and I’m still not sure whether she makes it to Election Day. And so — now, we’re all praying and we hope she does.
But I — one of the things I wanted to make sure of is that I had a chance to sit down with her and talk to her. She’s still alert and she’s still got all her faculties, and I want to make sure that — that I don’t miss that opportunity right now.
MS. ROBERTS: For you to say she may not make it to Election Day, what would that mean if she’s not still here with you?
SEN. OBAMA: She’s really been one of the cornerstones of my life. And she’s a remarkable woman, and —
The nice thing is that ever since people found out that I was leaving the campaign trail for a day, she’s been inundated with, you know, phone calls and e-mails and flowers from total strangers. And so maybe she is getting a sense of long-deserved recognition at — towards the end of her life.
SEN. OBAMA: (From videotape.) How’s it going, Indiana? (Cheers.)
MS. ROBERTS: If he is worried about taking time off from the campaign trail, he showed no signs of it, even as the McCain-Palin ticket continue their attack on his quote to the now-infamous Joe the Plumber.
SEN. OBAMA: (From videotape.) I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): (From videotape.) Now, redistribution of wealth is the last thing America needs right now.
MS. ROBERTS: Any regrets that you —
SEN. OBAMA: No —
MS. ROBERTS: No, not that you met Joe the Plumber, but the fact that you said spread the wealth.
SEN. OBAMA: Not at all. Look, if John McCain’s best argument is that he wants to continue the same Bush tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans that in 2000 he himself opposed, and in the meantime fails to give tax cuts to 100 million people in America that I would give tax cuts to, John McCain’s going to have some problems.
Because the American people understand that the way we grow this economy is from the bottom up. And for us to want to continue to give tax breaks to big corporations and the wealthiest instead of the middle class that is desperately in need of some help right now would not only be bad for the families, it would be bad for the economy as a whole. It will prevent the economy from recovering.
MS. ROBERTS: John McCain is now saying that you’re — you changed a little bit where your tax plan is concerned.
SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) Thirteen days ago in this election he changed his tax plan because the American people had learned the truth —
MS. ROBERTS: And that you’ve added a work requirement because of the criticism you faced of a big — a welfare program.
SEN. OBAMA: I mean, this is an example of John McCain running against somebody else’s plan, not mine. We’ve been entirely consistent throughout.
What he was arguing was, well, some of these people don’t pay income tax. That’s absolutely true. They pay payroll tax. They pay sales tax. They pay property taxes.
And so we’re going to offset some of those other tax burdens. That’s the long-term recipe for economic growth, and we saw it under Bill Clinton. We’re going back to the tax rates for the wealthy that existed when Bill Clinton was president.
The rich were doing fine back in the ’90s, and the economy as a whole grew. Twenty-two million new jobs were created.
So, you know, John McCain is talking about a failed economic theory. He’s — he’s completely adopted George Bush’s economic policies. We’ve had an eight-year experiment in this. It hasn’t worked. It’s failed.
MS. ROBERTS: And you know Senator McCain has objected to much that you have been saying and, in fact, today he said you will say anything to get elected.
SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) He’ll say anything to get elected. (Cheers.)
SEN. OBAMA: Well, let’s see. I mean, you know — look, I don’t want to get in a tit-for-tat with Senator McCain. I think it’s fair to say that if you look at the quality of our campaign and theirs, who’s been more consistent, who has been more civil, who’s talked about the issues as opposed to trying to attack people’s character, I think we get a pretty good grade.
MS. ROBERTS: Let’s flash back for a moment to 2004 at the DNC. And you’re about to make this important speech, and your wife says, don’t screw it up, Buddy.
SEN. OBAMA: (Laughs.)
MS. ROBERTS: You’re leading in the polls, many of the polls, and have a substantial lead. Is that the same mantra —
SEN. OBAMA: You know, our attitude is that the national polls don’t mean anything. State-by-state, that’s what we’re paying attention to, because this is essentially going to be 51 separate elections.
One thing I’m very confident about is I think we’ve got the best volunteer organization, maybe in the history of presidential politics.
SEN. OBAMA: (From videotape.) We’ve got to work tirelessly. We can’t let up at all.
SEN. OBAMA: That’s what I think ultimately will give me confidence. If — if it’s tied going into Election Day, I’ll put my money on those volunteers who have just put their heart and soul into this campaign.
MS. ROBERTS: But on this day, his heart is in Hawaii with a grandmother that did so much to bring him so far.
(To Senator Obama.)
When this airs, you’ll be with her. What’s the first thing you want to do when you see her?
SEN. OBAMA: Oh, you know. I want to give her a kiss and a hug, and then we’re going to find out what chores I can do around the house, because I’m sure there’s been some stuff that’s been left undone.
MS. ROBERTS: Obama will be with his grandmother today in Hawaii and then return to the campaign trail next week.