Barack Obama Interview: Complete Transcript

In fact, they've flatlined at the same time that their costs have skyrocketed.

So what I've talked about is, let's get tax relief, a middle- class tax cut for ordinary working families. Let's make sure that senior citizens who make $50,000 or less aren't paying income tax on their Social Security.

Let's close corporate tax loopholes and tax savings to pay for it.

Let's shift some of the rewards of the economy to middle and working-class families. And if we do that, I think we're going to have the kind of economic growth, from the bottom up, that's always been the hallmark of the United States and the American dream

STEPHANOPOULOS: But just to be clear on these specific ideas, you think that, by freezing home foreclosures for 90 days and freezing adjustable-rate mortgages for five years, that could create moral hazards; that's why you're not for it?

OBAMA: Well, I think it is important for us not to bail out lenders who made, in some cases, poorly considered or speculative loans. I think what is important is to make sure that people are staying in their homes, particularly first-time home buyers, families who are actually living in the house, as opposed to just flipping a condominium.

And I think that we have to sort through how we can help those individuals aggressively, at the same time that we're not bailing out banks who made loans that they shouldn't have made.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your home town paper, the Chicago Tribune, endorsed John McCain today. It had some kind words for you as well, but they went on to talk about your relationship with the real estate developer, now indicted, Tony Rezko.

And they wrote this in their editorial. "Obama's assertion in network TV interviews last week that nobody had any indications Rezko was engaging in wrongdoing strained credulity. Tribune stories linked Rezko to questionable fund-raising for Governor Rod Blagojevich in 2004, more than a year before the adjacent home and property purchases by the Obamas and the Rezkos."

One more time, Senator, you need to divulge all there is to know about that relationship.

Take that opportunity here.

OBAMA: Well, George, this is a story that has been out there for a year, and has been thoroughly gnawed on by the press, both in Chicago and nationally.

Tony Rezko was a friend of mine, a supporter, who I've known for 20 years. He was a contributor not just myself but Democrats, as well as some Republicans, throughout Illinois. Everybody perceived him as a businessman and developer.

He got into trouble that was completely unrelated to me. And nobody has suggested that I have been involved in any of those problems. I did make a mistake by purchasing a small strip of property from him, at a time where, at that point, he was under the cloud of a potential investigation.

And I've acknowledged that that was a mistake. But again, nobody has suggested any wrongdoing. And you know, I think, at this point, it's important for people to recognize that I have actually provided all the information that's out there about it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question on that: Several news organizations, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, have said that you actually collected far more money for your campaign from Rezko associates than you have actually returned -- maybe a multiple of three or four.

Are you committed to returning every dollar connected to Tony Rezko? Will you do that?

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...