PHILADELPHIA–The debate started with MSNBC moderator Brian Williams asking Barack Obama about his pledge to be more aggresive and tougher in his campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Obama downplayed the hype–stirred up by Obama himself and his campaign.
“Well, first of all, I think some of this stuff gets overhyped. In fact, I think this has been the most hyped fight since
Rocky fought Apollo Creed, although the amazing thing is I’m Rocky in this situation,” said Obama.
Williams: Senator Obama, we’ll begin with you.
You gave an interview to The New York Times over the weekend
pledging in it to be more aggressive, to be tougher in your campaign
against your chief rival for the nomination, the leader among
Democrats so far, Senator Clinton, who is here next to you tonight.
To that end, Senator, you said that Senator Clinton was trying to
sound Republican, trying to vote Republican on national security
issues, and that was, quote, “bad for the country and ultimately bad
for the Democrats.” That is a strong charge, as you’re aware.
Specifically, what are the issues where you, Senator Obama, and
Senator Clinton have differed, where you think she has sounded or
voted like a Republican?
Well, first of all, I think some of this stuff gets
overhyped. In fact, I think this has been the most hyped fight since
Rocky fought Apollo Creed, although the amazing thing is I’m Rocky in
But look, we have big challenges. We’re at war. The country is
struggling with issues like rising health care. We’ve got major
global challenges like climate change. And that’s going to require
big meaningful change, and I’m running for president because I think
that the way to bring about that change is to offer some sharp
contrasts with the other party. I think it means that we bring people
together to get things done. I think it means that we push against
the special interests that are holding us back, and most importantly,
I think it requires us to be honest about the challenges that we face.
It does not mean, I think, changing positions whenever it’s