Barack Obama Interview: Complete Transcript

OBAMA: George, I'm not going to continue sort of the tit-for- tat. I think that the results yesterday spoke for themselves, that people wanted to move beyond some of these old arguments, and they want to look forward to figure out how we pull the country together and move forward, and that's what we're going to do during the remainder of this campaign.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You made that point last night in your victory speech as well. You pretty directly said you wanted to move beyond the Clinton brand of politics, without saying the Clintons by name. I want to show voters some of what you said last night.

VIDEO CLIP OBAMA: We're up against decades of bitter partisanship that caused politicians to demonize their opponents instead of coming together to make college affordable or energy cleaner. It's the kind of partisanship where you're not even allowed to say that a Republican had an idea, even if it's one you never agreed with.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You also said that you're up against the idea that it's acceptable to say anything or do anything. Is that what you think the Clintons were doing in South Carolina? And you also used the word demonize there. Were they trying to demonize you?

OBAMA: No, I don't think they were trying to demonize me, but I do think that there is a certain brand of politics that we've become accustomed to, and that the Republican Party had perfected and was often directed against the Clintons, but that all of us had become complicit in, where we basically think anything is fair game.

And you know, during the course of this campaign, I've said very clearly, I want to run a positive campaign. But I think it's important for all of us to try to talk about policies that are actually going to make a difference in the lives of ordinary people. And as I traveled around South Carolina, whether I was talking to veterans who weren't getting their benefits or I was talking to mothers who couldn't get health care for their kids, they are eager and anxious to make sure their problems are solved. And that is the kind of approach that we want to take, and I think that's where the Democratic Party should go if we want to win in November.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So much of the dialogue was about these comments you made about Ronald Reagan back in Reno, Nevada. Let me just show our viewers some of what you said back in Reno, so they can have some context.


OBAMA: Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not, and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He tapped into what people were already feeling, which is we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and, you know, entrepreneurship that had been missing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You go on to say that the Republican Party was the party of ideas for 10 to 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging the conventional wisdom.

Now, you didn't like the way the Clintons characterized what you said there, but just to try to flesh this out, what ideas were you talking about there? What ideas did the Republicans have that were challenging the conventional wisdom?

OBAMA: Well, I think that -- keep in mind, Ronald Reagan came in during the 1980s, at a time when I think Democrats still dominated Congress, when the view was that we were going to solve our problems oftentimes by expanding government programs. And he challenged many of those ideas.

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