Obama Basks in Kennedy Glow

Jan 27, 2008 12:08pm

ABC News’ Mary Bruce reports: Fresh off his landslide victory in South Carolina, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left open this morning the possibility of an upcoming endorsement from Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. Just hours after Caroline Kennedy announced her endorsement of Obama, the 2008 candidate addressed rumors in an exclusive "This Week" interview that the Massachusetts senator was up next.

"I’ll let Ted Kennedy speak for himself. And nobody does it better. But obviously, any of the Democratic candidates would love to have Ted Kennedy’s support. And we have certainly actively sought it," Obama said. "I will let him make his announcement and his decision when he decides it’s appropriate."

Obama also spoke out on Bill Clinton’s involvement in his wife’s campaign after a week of mounting tension between the two camps. In response to Bill Clinton’s comments comparing Obama’s South Carolina win to those of Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988, Obama suggested Bill Clinton’s "frame of reference" and racial politics may be outdated.

"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… 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," he said. The 55 percent won by Obama in South Carolina was more than double the 27 percent of the vote that went to Clinton, with Edwards coming in third at 18 percent.

But Obama did clarify, however, that he did not think Clinton’s comments this week were intended to negatively harm his campaign.

"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," he said.

He also reiterated that the "slash-and-burn politics" that exists in Washington today "is not the Clintons’ fault. It is all of our faults, in the sense that we’ve gotten into these bad habits and we can’t seem to have disagreements without being disagreeable. So part of what I think we have to do is to set a new tone in politics. Not a naive one."

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