Transcript: Obama and Clinton Debate

Our economy is teetering not just on the edge of recession but potentially worse. Our foreign policy is in a shambles. We are involved in two wars. People's incomes have not gone up, and their costs have. And we're seeing greater income inequality now than any time since the 1920s.

In those circumstances, for us to be obsessed with this -- these kinds of errors I think is a mistake. And that's not what our campaign has been about.

What our campaign has been about is offering some specific solutions to how we move these issues forward and identifying the need to change the culture in Washington, which we haven't talked at all about but that has blocked real reform decade after decade after decade.

That, I think, is the job of the next president of the United States. That's what I intend to do. That's why I'm running.

(APPLAUSE)

GIBSON: And, Senator Obama, I want to do one more question, which goes to the basic issue of electability. And it is a question raised by a voter in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a woman by the name of Nash McCabe. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NASH MCCABE, VOTER: Senator Obama, I have a question, and I want to know if you believe in the American flag. I am not questioning your patriotism, but all our servicemen, policemen and EMS wear the flag. I want to know why you don't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIBSON: Just to add to that, I noticed you put one on yesterday. But you've talked about this before, but it comes up again and again when we talk to voters. And, as you may know, it is all over the Internet.

And it's something of a theme that Senators Clinton and McCain's advisers agree could give you a major vulnerability if you're the candidate in November.

How do you convince Democrats that this would not be a vulnerability?

OBAMA: Well, look, I revere the American flag. And I would not be running for president if I did not revere this country.

This is -- I would not be standing here if it wasn't for this country. And I've said this -- again, there's no other country in which my story is even possible. Somebody who was born to a teenage mom, raised by a single mother and grandparents from small towns in Kansas, you know, who was able to get an education and rise to the point where I can run for the highest office in the land, I could not help but love this country for all that it's given me.

And so, what I've tried to do is to show my patriotism by how I treat veterans when I'm working in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee; by making sure that I'm speaking forcefully about how we need to bring this war in Iraq to a close, because I think it is not serving our national security well and it's not serving our military families and our troops well; talking about how we need to restore a sense of economic fairness to this country, because that's what this country has always been about, is providing upward mobility and ladders to opportunity for all Americans.

That's what I love about this country. And so I will continue to fight for those issues.

And I am absolutely confident that during the general election, that when I'm in a debate with John McCain, people are not going to be questioning my patriotism; they are going to be questioning, how can you make people's lives a little bit better?

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