WASHINGTON–Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) tread carefully on the subject of boycotting the upcoming China Olympics particularly because of China’s complicity with Sudan’s leaders when it comes to the genocide in Darfur, charting a course of concern but noting the point of the games is to bring the nations of the world together.
Chicago is in the running for the 2016 Olympics and one of his top advisors, Valerie Jarrett, is vice-chairman of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee.The U.S.stand on a boycott could have an impact on Chicago getting the games, one would guess.
During an interview Wednesday on CBS’ “The Early Show,” host Harry Smith asked Obama if the U.S. should be “a full participant” in the Olympic Games?
Obama said, ” I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, I think thatwhat’s happened in Tibet, China’s support of the Sudanese government in Darfur, is a real problem. I’m hesitant to make the Olympics a site ofpolitical protest because I think it’s partly about bringing the world together.”
Smith also asked about the challenge of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) tosettle to race with a bowling game; she offered to spot him a few frames. “You know, I am always game for a little competition. Now, Ihave to say that I think she has to be heavily favored given my track record in bowling.”
DATE April 2, 2008
TIME 7:00-9:00 AM
PROGRAM The Early Show
HARRY SMITH, co-host:
First though, with three weeks to go until the crucial Pennsylvania primary,
polls show that Hillary Clinton’s lead over Barack Obama is shrinking. Both
candidates campaigned in the northeastern part of the state yesterday and I
jumped aboard the Obama campaign bus in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where the
candidate had harsh words for America’s fastest growing economic rival.
Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Presidential Candidate): I am a strong
believer in free trade, but I think that we have not been very savvy
negotiators when it comes to China. I think they’ve played us. They
definitely are stealing our intellectual property and that has direct
consequences in terms of the bottom lines for businesses here in the United
SMITH: And there is concern about China’s violations of human rights.
Should we be a full participant in the Olympic Games?
Sen. OBAMA: I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, I think that
what’s happened in Tibet, China’s support of the Sudanese government in
Darfur, is a real problem. I’m hesitant to make the Olympics a site of
political protest because I think it’s partly about bringing the world
SMITH: Though he leads Hillary Clinton in national polls, Obama trails in
Pennsylvania. He’s hoping record voter registration and an extraordinary
number of people who have switched parties to boost his chances.
What is your sense from what your own people tell you about the switching that
has taken place already in Pennsylvania in terms of Republicans coming over to
Sen. OBAMA: You know, at this point it’s still anecdotal. I can tell you
that there’s not a rally we have in which we don’t hear from a sizeable number
of people who say they’ve switched registrations or that they’re a Republican
and that they’re going to vote for me in the primary and in the general
SMITH: It has been 14 months since Obama first announced his candidacy.
You surely either thought you’d be out or you’d have the nomination by now.
Sen. OBAMA: That is true.
SMITH: What do you know now that you didn’t know when you announced 14 months
Sen. OBAMA: I did not know how hungry people were for a different kind of
What’s up, guys?
SMITH: Earlier this week, Obama went bowling for voters in Altoona, reaching
out to the group, once again, so critical: blue-collar workers. His
performance on the lanes prompted an April Fool’s challenge from Hillary
Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, Presidential Candidate): Today I am
challenging Senator Obama to a bowl-off. A bowling night, right here in
Pennsylvania. Winner take all. I’ll even spot him two frames.
SMITH: Are you willing to take her up on it?
Sen. OBAMA: You know, I am always game for a little competition. Now, I
have to say that I think she has to be heavily favored given my track record
SMITH: Once again trying to play down expectations there. Obama clearly
having some fun on the trail. He’s even been “flirting” as he campaigns,
offering one woman a kiss if she would change her Hillary button to one
supporting his campaign. Today Obama is expected to pick up the endorsement
of former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, the top Democrat on the 9/11
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ, co-host:
It’s come down to kissing and bowling.
SMITH: To kiss the babies, kiss the women, maybe. I don’t know. Whatever it
takes to get the votes.
RODRIGUEZ: At least they’re having a little fun.