PHILADELPHIA—NBC’s Brian Williams asked Barack Obama about Mitt Romney’s confusing his name with Osama bin Laden. He raised the possibility that Obama may be “swiftboated” when it comes to his religion (not said, Christian, not Muslim.)
Williams asked, “Are you fearful of what happened to John McCain, for example, in South Carolina a few years back, confusion on the basis of things like names and religion?
Obama had been asked a version of this at a Town Hall in New Hampshire last week.
He told Williams, “No, because I have confidence in the American people, and I don't pay much attention to what Mitt Romney has to say -- at least what he says this week; it may be different next week.
But there is no doubt that my background is not typical of a
presidential candidate. I think everybody understands that, but
that's part of what is so powerful about America is that it gives all
of us the opportunity -- a woman, a Latino, myself -- the opportunity
And listen, when I was running for the United States Senate,
everybody said, "Nobody's going to vote for a black guy named Barack
Obama. They can't even pronounce it." And we ended up winning by 20
points in the primary and 30 points in the general election.
The way to respond to swiftboating is to respond forcefully,
rapidly and truthfully. And I have absolute confidence in the
American people's capacity to absorb the truth as long as we are
forceful in that presentation.