2004 Obama Interview Foreshadows 2008 Nomination

Four years ago, a Senate candidate from Illinois made headlines for giving a rousing keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.

On that night, Barack Obama spoke of "hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope" and said that "my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely."

Even more unlikely, perhaps, would have been the thought that Obama would return to the next convention as the presumptive presidential nominee, and would ultimately be elected president.

In 2004, "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel spent the day behind the scenes with the then-Illinois state senator as he prepared for his moment in the spotlight, a moment that foreshadowed what was to come.

Barack Obama

"I think there is no doubt that people are disturbed by the direction of [the Bush] administration," Obama said. "I think that Democrats I talk to feel that there is as much at stake in this election as there has ever been."

A 'Quagmire' in Iraq

As it is today, the war in Iraq was at the forefront of Obama's concerns at the time. Today, he has pledged to withdraw troops within 16 months should he win the presidency over Republican candidate Sen. John McCain.

"There were people who supported the war and people who opposed the war inside that convention hall," Obama told Koppel four years ago. "But what people are unified about is that, when we make a decision to go to war, that it should not be ideologically driven, that it should be driven by [a] set of facts and common sense with regards to how we mobilize our country and our national interest."

Barack Obama

"And I think that there is a strong feeling that even among those that supported George Bush's decision initially to go in," he continued, "that there was some fudging of the numbers and shading of the truth, and that as a consequence of our inability to create a strong alliance around our actions, that we are now stuck in a quagmire that is going to cost us not only billion of dollars, but thousands of lives and will require a much longer term commitment than the American voters had intended when they rallied behind the president."

Obama went on to speak about Americans being disturbed with the direction the Bush administration was carving out for the country.

"There are a whole bunch of folks that don't like George Bush and I don't think that we can sugarcoat that," he said, "but what I would say is this, as I travel around the state of Illinois, what I am struck by is the degree to which the voters do not want to see this slash and burn politics that has become the norm in Washington, whether it is practiced by the Republicans or the Democrats."


Obama also voiced his concern four years ago about the state of the country's foreign policy, which he said had been characterized by the Bush administration's unilateral decision-making and apparent disdain for world opinion heading into the conflict with Iraq.

"That has concrete consequences over time and it may be simply a matter of emphasis, but a lot of things are a matter of emphasis," he said before transitioning to the home front. "On domestic policy it makes a difference whether you are giving tax cuts to the working poor, through the income tax credit, or you are giving tax cuts to the wealthy, through [a] cut in dividends."

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