Obama: Financial Crisis May Slow Agenda

ABC News Radio White House Correspondent Ann Compton interviews Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama on the eve of the 2008 election:

ANN COMPTON: Senator, thank you. Twenty-one months -- two years -- is there a moment in that time when you suddenly looked up and said this is going to happen?

SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Uh, maybe tomorrow at around 12 o'clock at night. You know, obviously there were moments like the Iowa caucus night where we said to ourselves -- we couldn't win this thing. But, I think that one of the strengths of our campaign is that we've always been very methodical about just looking at the thing right in front of us, and not get too far ahead of ourselves.

COMPTON: If you are elected, you've made a lot of campaign promises; you can't keep most of those. Maybe not even if you had a rubber stamp Democratic Congress. Can you?

OBAMA: Well, I think that we are not going to get everything done all at once, because of this financial crisis that's going to require a lot of attention, a lot of resources.

Not just money, but staff time thinking about how do we right the ship. And so, it means that some priorities may get deferred, but the core commitments that I've made in this campaign -- changing the tax code so that middle-class families are getting more of a break, initiating the kind of investment in clean energy that we have to have to deal not only with the economy and climate change and our national security, making sure that our health care system is controlling costs and providing better care for people, improving our education system -- those four domestic items will get done.

COMPTON: The first year?

OBAMA: Well, we will start working on them in our first year. We will have progress on all fronts by the end of my first term.

COMPTON: A lot of presidents have come to office saying, "I'm going to change the tone in Washington." Hasn't been done yet. What will you do?

OBAMA: Well, I think that circumstances are such that where people, I think, are going to be ready to solve problems instead of snipe at each other. But, I think if Democrats are successful, not just in my race, but in House and Senate races, I think it's going to be very important to understand we are not going to solve problems just by ourselves. We're going to have to have cooperation of the other party, and that means listening to them, and that means engaging them early, not simply trying to ram things down their throats.

COMPTON: Has the media given you an easy ride in this campaign?

OBAMA: I sure don't feel like, you know, it's fascinating to me, you know, there's been a running narrative of, 'oh, you know, the media's been easy on us.' I tell you what, when we were losing after Texas and Ohio and those six weeks in Pennsylvania, I think we were getting put through the ringer pretty well. Over the course of the two years, I think there's been a lot of skepticism about my campaign, coming from the media, and I think that we have had to earn, ah, the position that we are in right now.

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