WASHINGTON–In Michigan on Monday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) the likely Democratic nominee, said he expects to hit the magic number of delegates–2,118–by Wednesday. But he may let himself get emotional on Tuesday night, the last night of this long primary season.
“You know I think there are a lot of super delegates who are waiting for the last couple of contests, but I think that theyre going to be making decisions fairly quickly after that. We feel good about the number of super delegates that weve accumulated. My sense is is between Tuesday and Wednesday we have a good chance of getting the number that we need to achieve the nomination but obviously there are two more contests remaining tomorrow and we want to stay focused on winning Montana and South Dakota,” Obama said.
Barack Obama Press Avail
June 2, 2008
Q: Senator, are you going to wrap up the nomination tomorrow?
BO: you know I think there are a lot of super delegates who are waiting for the last couple of contests, but I think that theyre going to be making decisions fairly quickly after that. We feel good about the number of super delegates that weve accumulated. My sense is is between Tuesday and Wednesday we have a good chance of getting the number that we need to achieve the nomination but obviously there are two more contests remaining tomorrow and we want to stay focused on winning Montana and South Dakota.
Q: Are you emotional about being on the precipice of the nomination?
BO: Not yet but talk to me tomorrow night
Q: Senator, What have you been doing today to shore up super delegate support?
BO: Were doing a combination of things. Obviously were reaching out to super delegates who may be undecided, but I think the most important thing we can do right now is to make sure not only we win Montana and South Dakota but also that we show were competitive in critical swing states like Michigan. Thats why were here today because we want to not only win the nomination, but we want the entire party to feel unified about the need to focus on states like Michigan that have been neglected during George Bushs tenure.
Q: Senator there has been talk about General Motors [inaudible] laying off workers?
BO: Ive heard the rumors. We havent heard the news. I dont want to comment on a plan before I have actually seen it. I have said for a long time that the President of the United States should be directly engaged with the automakers to retool and to figure out how were going to be competitive in the future. And what weve seen is not so benign neglect from this administration over the last eight years. It has not met with the automakers. It has not advocated on their behalf in critical trade deals like the trade deal with South Korea. And I am going to have an entirely different approach. Within even before I get sworn in, if Im successful and end up being president elect, Im going to meet with the big three automakers and their suppliers here in Michigan and were going to talk about how to invest in the new technologies that are needed to put the US auto industry back on its feet. It has a huge impact for the entire Midwestern economy and as a consequence the US economy. Weve got the best workers in the world, but we havent had the kind of leadership in Washington to invest in new technologies, to work with automakers to figure out how we need to retool. Thats something thats going to be a top priority in my administration.
Q: Have you made any offers to Senator Clinton, talked to her [inaudible] since it looks like youre going to wrap up this nomination?
BO: The only conversation Ive had with Senator Clinton was yesterday to congratulate her on her victory in Puerto Rico. I apologized once again for the offensive remarks that were made by Father Pfleger back in Chicago. I emphasized to her what an extraordinary race that shes run and said that there arent too many people who understand exactly how hard shes been working, Im one of them, because you know she and I have been on this same journey together and told her that once the dust settled, I was looking forward to meeting with her at a time and place of her choosing and so weve still got two more contests to go and I’m sure there will be further conversations after Tuesday.
Q: Did she lay out a time and place of her choosing for that conversation?
BO: It was a very general conversation at this point, and as I’ve said, we’ve got two more contests. I think she’s focused on those, as am I.
Q: Senator, what do you say to super delegates in your last-minute bid to get them to support you?
BO: I emphasize that tomorrow is the last contest, and the sooner that we can bring the party together, the sooner we can start focusing on John McCain in November.
Q: Senator? I have a question about Iraq. You’ve already said that you may go to Iraq, and Republicans, and Senator McCain’s campaign have been hammering you about not having been there since 2006. Their broader criticism seems to be that you’re not acknowledging progress.
BO: And that’s — let me address two points on that. First of all, I’ve been to Iraq, I’ve studied Iraq, I’ve been in constant conversations with people who are on the ground in Iraq. My top foreign policy adviser just came back from serving in Iraq. You know, I have been keeping abreast enough of the situation in Iraq to know, for example, that we aren’t down to pre-surge levels as John McCain asserted. I’m clear about the difference between Shia and Sunni, and was before we invaded, as it sounds like some supporters and members of the administration were not before we went in. And I have repeatedly acknowledged that because of the extraordinary work done by our men and women in uniform that we’ve seen a substantial reduction in violence. That is — that is, you know, incontrovertible. What I have also said is that the rational for going in was to get the Iraqi government to stand up and to see more progress in political reconciliation and the training of the Iraqi soldiers and police so that they could start replacing our troops. That progress has not been made. And until that progress is made then we are in a state of occupation that’s costing us ten billion dollars a month, and is leading us to ignore the critical issues that people right here in Michigan face. So we’ll be happy to continue to have this debate, not only about the original decision to go in, but also who’s best equipped to bring us out in an honorable and responsible way.