Barack Obama Interview: Complete Transcript

STEPHANOPOULOS: Congratulations, Senator Obama, on your victory. Does it feel like vindication?

OBAMA: Well, you know, it was a wonderful win. And the people of South Carolina, I think, were remarkable, not just in providing me a terrific margin of victory. But one of the wonderful stories was the turnout.

I mean, we actually had more Democrats vote in the Democratic primary, or more individuals vote in the Democratic primary than in the Republican primary. It was 200,000 more people voting this time than last time. And I think that shows you the enormous enthusiasm you're seeing, not only for change but also for the Democratic Party right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And more voters, I think, voted for you last night than voted in the entire Democratic Party in 2004. Before the votes were finally counted yesterday, President Clinton was asked why it was taking both Clintons to handle you in South Carolina. Here's how he responded to our David Wright.

VIDEO CLIP B. CLINTON: Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice in '84 and '88. And he ran a good campaign, and Senator Obama's run a good campaign here. He's run a good campaign everywhere.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The implication there is pretty clear: You're the Jesse Jackson of 2008.

OBAMA: Well, you know, Jesse Jackson ran historic races in 1984 and 1988, and there's no doubt that that set a precedent for African Americans running for the highest office in the land. But, you know, that was 20 years ago, George.

And I think that what we saw in this election was a shift in South Carolina that I think speaks extraordinarily well, not just for folks in the South, but all across the country. I think people want change. I think they want to get beyond some of the racial politics that, you know, has been so dominant in the past.

We're very encouraged as we go to the February 5th states.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think President Clinton was engaging in racial politics there?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that that's his frame of reference was the Jesse Jackson races. That's when, you know, he was active and involved and watching what was going to take place in South Carolina. I think that a lot of South Carolinians looked at it through a different lens.

And certainly our campaign was confident that if we talked about the things that people are really trying to deal with on a day-to-day basis. If we were talking about how to make sure everybody has health care that they can afford, how people are going to be able to go to college, making sure that people are able to stay in their homes in the face of this subprime lending crisis and the larger credit crunch that we're seeing.

As long as we were focused on those issues, we thought those would transcend the sort of racial divisions that we've seen in the past.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But several in the Clinton camp say that it was your campaign that was playing the race card throughout this primary. They point to Dick Harpootlian, one of your major supporters in South Carolina, who said that the Clinton campaign was reminiscent of Lee Atwater.

They point to the comments of one of your top advisers, Steve Hildebrand, who said that the Clintons have always put people in a box.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They look at everything through racial lines, gender lines, geographic lines. They tend to segment people.

They say that it was your campaign playing the race card.

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