At The White House With President Obama

By Jacqueline Klingebiel

Sep 18, 2009 6:05pm

Just finished my interview with President Obama for Sunday's 'This Week' — Obama's first appearance from the White House.

As Mark Leibovich predicted in today's NYT, our conversation had the quality of a "speed date."  We covered lots of ground in the 15 minutes allotted by the White House.  Health care.  Taxes.  ACORN.  Afghanistan and more. The President also responded, for the first time, to comments from President Carter and other allies, who believe Obama’s opponents are motivated – at least in part – by racism.

Here's the exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: "Does it frustrate you when your own supporters see racism when you don’t think it exists."

OBAMA: "Look I think that race is such a volatile issue in this society, always has been that, uh, it becomes hard for people to separate out race being a sort of part of the backdrop of American society versus race being a predominant factor in any given debate. And what I’ve said, when we talked during the campaign, are there some people who don’t like me because of my race? I’m sure there are. Are there some people who voted for me only because of my race? There are probably some of those too. The overwhelming part of the American population, I think, is right now following this debate and they are trying to figure out, is this gonna help me. Is health care going to make me better off? Now there are some who are, setting aside the issue of race, actually I think are more passionate about the idea of whether government can do anything right. And I think that that’s probably the biggest driver of some of the vitriol."
Watch the exchange HERE.

Watch the whole interview — and an expanded, powerhouse roundtable with George Will, Donna Brazile, Peggy Noonan, Robert Reich and Ed Gillespie — Sunday on 'This Week.'

- George Stephanopoulos

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