WASHINGTON--After picking up the endorsement of former presidential rival John Edwards on Wednesday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) revealed that he has been talking to former Vice President Gore on a regular basis.
"I have spoken to Al Gore periodically over the last few months. I have talked to him mostly about policy and gotten guidance and got good ideas from him. And so I am not really pushing for an endorsement. I would love to have it, Obama said. He talked to reporters on his plane, flying to Chicago from Grand Rapids, Mich. where Edwards endorsed him. Gore's backing would be a major prize.
Obama continued, "But you know when you won the Nobel peace prize making an endorsement politically is maybe a step down, but he has been very supportive in terms of thinking through ideas. I am sure he is sharing ideas with Senator Clinton as well."
Obama also said he will declare victory when he has the majority of pledged delegates. That will probably come next Tuesday.
from the campaign.......
Press Avail Transcript
Flight from Grand Rapids to Chicago
May 14, 2008
*It was extremely difficult to hear some of the questions and portions of the answers. I can help track down any missing words or pieces if needed for a story. The questions are paraphrased.*
Q: Have you spoken to Al Gore recently in the past couple of days? At this point with the support of John Edwards and at this point what would endorsement mean?
A: I have spoken to Al Gore periodically over the last few months. I have talked to him mostly about policy and gotten guidance and got good ideas from him. And so I am not really pushing for an endorsement. I would love to have it.
But you know when you won the Nobel peace prize making an endorsement politically is maybe a step down, but he has been very supportive in terms of thinking through ideas. I am sure he is sharing ideas with Senator Clinton as well.
Q: Question about the endorsement process
BO: Well I’ve been talking regularly with John since he dropped out of the race. I went to his home. We shared a lot of ideas about how we can move forward on poverty agenda. He is very passionate, sounded very committed to it. Has already started working on a not for profit, and so, that conversation in the home, and the possibilities of him supporting my candidacy over the last several days decided he would do it.
Q: What put him over the top?
BO: I don’t know
Q: Question about how John Edwards support will help Obama in specific demographic groups?
BO: I have no doubt that John Edwards will be extremely helpful to us in every demographic. But his passion and credibility when it comes to issues of poverty and the plight of working people in this country I think is a message that is powerful and one that is the kind of vision I have for America. I was very pleased not only with his endorsement but more importantly the themes that he’s been pushing throughout this campaign. The idea of us working together on those issues is something that I’m excited about.
Q: Question about April fundraising numbers?
BO: I frankly don’t know. I’ll be honest with you.
BO: Well I think that John is obviously a senior voice in the party. He’s somebody with a lot of credibility and a lot of strong supporters and loyal supporters. Hopefully his endorsement will help some of those supporters who haven’t already joined my campaign take a look at my campaign. And you know, I think the tone that he struck today was exactly right, which is we’ve got a big race coming up in November, and whoever the democratic nominee is is going to have to reach out across a spectrum, not just to Democrats, but also to Independents and Republicans who are tired of the direction George Bush has taken this country.
Q: Question about whether John Edwards will campaign in the near future?
BO: We didn’t talk specifics, but I’m sure there will be a discussion of what he can do. I’m sure that he’s going to be spending time with his kids and Elizabeth, so I want to be respectful of his family time, also many of my favorite (inaudible)
Q: Question about Elizabeth Edwards and whether she will also endorse?
BO: I would not speak for Elizabeth.
BO: You know I would just take a look at where the national polls are right now. We’re beating McCain handily, we’re doing really well among Independents, there can be concerns among some voters because they don’t know me well...clear contrast between a candidate who is going to end the war, work to achieve universal health care, change the tax burden, prevent the tax break, pass … manufacturing infrastructure and clean energy in this country, and abandon (inaudible)…
Q: Question about John Edwards role in an Administration?
BO: I think John Edwards is obviously someone who would be on anybody’s short list, but it is premature until I’ve won this nomination.
Q: Question about support from people abroad and what that means?
BO: If they don’t have a vote, then it’s not going to help me win a general election, on the other hand it might help me as president, as I govern and try to bring alliances that have been frayed over the last eight years back together. One of the things I’m looking forward to is reaching out all around the world and doing repair work.
Q: Question about competing in West Virginia in the general election?
BO: We are going to try to compete everywhere. Part of the issue in West Virginia is we just didn’t have a lot of time to get, I’m not well known there. You know, some of these emails and rumors that have been talked about penetrated in West Virginia than they have in some other states. Debunking that stuff is relatively simple (inaudible)… so, we will make an assessment. My goal is to try to put as many states in play as possible. (inaudible) …
Q: comment on wearing the flag lapel pin more recently?
BO: You know I started wearing it again at that veteran’s event because once again I had been handed the flag by a veteran who said it was important. This is an issue that is a phony issue because I have never been opposed to a flag pin. I have worn flag pins in the past. When I was asked about it, I had worn flag pins after 9/11, and I have chosen not to wear one because I didn’t want to be perceived as wearing my patriotism on my chest but not promoting or advocating on behalf of veterans in a patriotic way. Some people took that as a slight against people who wore flag pins, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. It was a commentary on politicians and folks in Washington who sometimes are pretty good about saluting our soldiers when they come home but then don’t follow up with budgets that make sure their getting treatment for post traumatic stress disorder. So it’s a commentary about our politics, not about individuals who wear the flag with pride.
Q: What do you think about the new government in Russia?
BO: Well right now our sense is that Putin is still running the show. Unless we see some independence from Medvedev. I think we’re going to continue to see the same kinds of autocratic policies and consolidation of power that we’ve been seeing over the last several years. What we need is consistency when it comes to Russia. We can’t think that by looking into somebody’s eyes we’re seeing their soul. We’ve got to provide very clear benchmarks for the Russian government in terms of ways we can cooperate. Encourage the kinds of democracy and economic growth and prosperity we want to see in Russia, and where we’re troubled. We have a lot of trouble with their human rights record, their lack of cooperation on some very key issues that are important to our national security.
Q: Have you spoken with Senator Edwards about what happens to his delegates?
BO: I will let him talk about that, but I would love to have his delegates.
Q: Will you declare victory when you win the majority of pledged delegates?
BO: We will declare we have a majority of pledged delegates.
Q: Do you have any comment on Mississippi?
BO: I do. I mean it was a great win. It’s an example, what we’ve now seen in both Louisiana and Mississippi, and in my home state of Illinois, is that the same kinds of tactics the Republican party has been employing over the last several election cycles is not going to work this time. I mean they did everything they could. They ran Wright. They ran Obama. In Louisiana they ran Pelosi. They have the same rein in previous election cycles they would have run Hillary. I met folks who they thought had scare-off motives, it didn’t work. People are serious about change in this election. They are concerned about health care, jobs, gas prices, college affordability, a loved one being sent to Iraq for a third or fourth rotation. The Republican Party better be prepared to debate issues, because that’s what people are focused on right now.
Q: What did you say on the message you left for Senator Clinton last night?
BO: I told her congratulations, as I always do when she wins a contest, and she did a great job.