WASHINGTON--White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told NBC's David Gregory on Wednesday morning the "media is obsessed with the Clintons."
The interview came at the top of the "Today Show."
It was taped Tuesday night at a Washington restaurant--the District Chophouse--before Obama dined with four low-dollar donors, part of the army of more than 250,000 Obama contributors. They were picked by the campaign for the prime face-time usually reserved for big donors or bundlers (people who use their networks to raise money for a candidate and get "credit" for the checks) and flown to Washington and put up courtesy of the campaign.
During the Gregory interview, Obama--whose presidential candidacy was made possible because of massive media coverage--sat flanked by the low-dollar donors.
Said Obama, "You know, I know that the media is obsessed with the Clintons because they've been such a significant part of the political landscape for a long time. But I'm not running simply against the Clintons. I'm running against a politics here in Washington that has been continually obsessed with who's up, who's down, whose polls are where, who's in power and who's not."
The "Today Show" interview...
Gregory: " But on the campaign trail, the Iraq debate is as much about the past as it is the future.
Obama criticized Senator Clinton's vote to authorize the war."
Obama: "There are no do-overs on an issue as important as war."
(That was a non-too subtle reference to language used by chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) who said she is not going to apologize for her vote to authorize the war because there are no "do-overs" in life.)
Gregory: "So Hillary Clinton and your other opponents who voted to authorize this war, were they guilty of bad judgment that cannot be done over?"
Obama: "I absolutely think that they made the wrong call. And I think that that is not so much a concern for the voters right now, what they've done in the past. I do think that it speaks to where they can go in the future."
Gregory: " Senator Obama speaks a lot about the future, which is a not-so-subtle message to voters that it is time to turn the page on the Clinton years."
Obama: "You know, I know that the media is obsessed with the Clintons because they've been such a significant part of the political landscape for a long time. But I'm not running simply against the Clintons. I'm running against a politics here in Washington that has been continually obsessed with who's up, who's down, whose polls are where, who's in power and who's not."
Gregory: "But whether it's taking on the Clintons or the president, is Obama swinging hard enough? Do you need to be more of a street fighter in this campaign?"
Obama: " I'm happy to take on the Republican Party and this president and this administration on a whole host of their failures, from Iraq to Katrina to some of the ethical lapses that we've seen here in Washington. But what I am absolutely certain about is that running against George Bush is not leading the country forward."