Sweet blog special: Dem Dartmouth Debate. Report 5. Obama, after 33 months in Senate, explains why he is ready to be president. Russert asks “why does it make sense now?”

SHARE Sweet blog special: Dem Dartmouth Debate. Report 5. Obama, after 33 months in Senate, explains why he is ready to be president. Russert asks “why does it make sense now?”
SHARE Sweet blog special: Dem Dartmouth Debate. Report 5. Obama, after 33 months in Senate, explains why he is ready to be president. Russert asks “why does it make sense now?”

CHICAGO–Once again, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) asserted–this time during Wednesday’s Democratic debate–that he was risking his political career back in 2002 when spoke out against the Iraq War as he was getting into a primary race for a Senate seat from Illinois. Coming out against the war then was a boost for his election–because the anti-war Democratic activists in Illinois –with a number of influential people in their ranks–rallied around Obama. During the debate moderator Tim Russert, noting that Obama has no landmark legislation asked why he was running after about 33 months in the Senate. “Why does it make sense now?”

Obama said basically it is because the country needs him. Obama’s answer is yet another example of how Obama is casting himself as the consensus candidate. Obama also made an interesting language adjustment. The issue is not his experience, he said, it is his “experiences” that make him ready to lead.

click below for the exchange…

. RUSSERT: Senator Obama, I asked Senator Clinton about

experience in judgment. You have served in the U.S. Senate about 33

months. You have no landmark legislation as such that you have

offered. When you were elected back in 2004, you said, quote, “The

notion that somehow I am going to start running for higher office, it

just doesn’t make sense.”

If it didn’t make sense in 2004, why does it make sense now?

SEN. OBAMA: Because I think that the country is at a crossroads

right now and it needs three things. Number one, it needs somebody

who can bring the country together, and that’s the kind of experience

that I bring to this office. When I was in the state legislature, I

was able to get people who were polar opposites — police officers and

law enforcement working with civil rights advocates to reform a death

penalty system that was broken; bringing people together, Republicans

and Democrats, to provide health insurance to people who didn’t have

it. That’s number one.

Number two, we need somebody who can take on the special

interests and win. And I have consistently done that. On money in

politics, in the state legislature I passed landmark ethics

legislation against not just Republicans but also some of the leaders

in my own party. I did the same thing working with Russ Feingold with

the ethics reform package that we passed last year.

And the third thing is telling the truth to the American people

even when it’s tough, which I did in 2002, standing up against this

war at a time where it was very unpopular. And I was risking my

political career, because I was in the middle of a U.S. Senate race.

Now, those are, I think, the kinds of experiences that people are

looking for right now in this country, and that’s the kind of

experience I bring to bear to this race.

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