Stephanopoulos: Obama Hits Back Against Attacks Against His Community Organizer Work

Sep 7, 2008 10:06am

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos reports: In an exclusive "This Week" interview airing this morning Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., spoke out against recent Republican attacks on his past as a community organizer.

"It’s curious to me that they would mock that, when I, at least, think that that’s exactly what young people should be doing," Obama said on "This Week."

"When I got out of a college as a young person, 24, 25 years old, I moved to Chicago and worked with churches, who were dealing with steel plants that had closed in their neighborhoods, to set up job training programs for the unemployed and after-school programs for youth, and to try to deal with asbestos in homes with poor people — community service work — which John McCain has been talking about putting country first and extolling the virtues of national service," Obama said.

"I would think that’s what we want all our young people to do. I would think that that’s an area where Democrats and Republicans would agree," Obama said.

Obama hit back against his Republican rival John McCain’s attempt to portray himself as a change candidate.

"For folks who suddenly have tried to grab the change banner, you know, they’ve got a very traditional view of what service means," he said.

"You know, it means, running for office and being a politician, I guess. Or serving in the military. I mean, those are the two options that I think they’ve talked about. I think there are a whole lot of people — young people, in particular — who are teaching in under-served schools or working in a hospital in need, you know, volunteering for their community, that think that’s part of the change that we need. That’s part of the energy that we’ve been able to mobilize in this campaign," Obama said.

Asked if he detected racial undertones to these attacks, Obama said he did not.

"I didn’t hear that," Obama said.

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