Thursday, September 11, 2008

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Transcript: Obama Sits Down With Letterman, Discusses Pigs
Thursday, September 11, 2008
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Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama appeared on the “Late Show” with David Letterman in New York on Wednesday, a day after heated debate ignited over a “pig” remark some took as a slam against Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The following is a transcript of the “Late Show” interview.
Dave: “Let me ask you a question here. Have you ever actually put lipstick on a pig?”
Obama: “You know,” (audience laughs) “the answer would be no. But I think it might be fun to try.”
Dave: “I know the reaction to that was, ‘You were overreacting.’ You stand by that?”
Obama: “Absolutely.” (audience applauds) “Look, this is - if you - this is sort of silly season in politics - not that there’s a non-silly season in politics.” (Dave, audience laugh) “But it gets sillier. But, you know, it’s a common expression in at least Illinois, I don’t know about New York City. I don’t know where you put lipstick on here.” (audience, Dave laugh) “But in Illinois, the expression connotes the idea that if you have a bad idea, in this case I was talking about John McCain’s economic plans, that just calling them change, calling it something different, doesn’t make it better, hence, lipstick on a pig is still a pig.”
Dave: “Now what I like about this scenario is because they demanded, the Republicans demanded an apology.”
Obama: “Yes, they did.”
Dave: “So that means there had been a meeting at some point somewhere along the line.”
Obama: “All of them.”
Dave: “Yeah, they got together and they said, ‘You know what? He called our vice presidential candidate a pig.’” (audience laughs) “Well, that seems pretty unlikely, doesn’t it?”
Obama: “It does. But keep in mind that, technically, had I meant it that way, she would have been the lipstick, you see?” (audience, Dave laugh) “But now we’re…”
Dave: “I don’t know, you’re way ahead of me.” (audience laughs)
Obama: “Yeah, the failed policies of John McCain would be the pig.”
Dave: “Now, do you feel like for the last week and a half, last two weeks, that the campaign - ”
(audience laughs, Obama laughs)
Obama: “Now, I mean, you know, just following the logic of this illogical situation.”
Dave: “The fact that we’re talking about this now, do you feel like within the last week and half or so, there’s been - you’re derailed a little bit and now you’re campaigning against, not necessarily the Republican ticket, but John McCain, not him, but Sarah Palin?”
Obama: “Well, I - look, there’s no doubt that she’s been a phenomenon. I mean, you know, as somebody who used to be on the cover of Time and Newsweek, you know.” (audience, Dave laugh)
Dave (laughs): “Those were the days.” (audience applauds)
Obama: “Those were the days. I had a recent offer with Popular Mechanics.” (audience laughs)
Dave: “Take it, take it.” (audience laughs)
Obama: “Said they had a centerfold, yeah, with a wrench, you know.” (audience, Obama laugh) “But, no, look, she’s on a wild ride and there’s no doubt that she’s energized the base. But ultimately what we’ve seen over the last week is a concession on the part of the McCain campaign that this election is going to be about change. You’ll recall, you know, for the last two years, we’ve been talking about needing to change how Washington works, how the country is managed and people were saying, ‘No, it’s about experience, experience, experience,’ and over the last week and a half I think they recognized that, no, the American people want something fundamentally different and for a good reason. Because when you travel, it doesn’t matter whether you’re here in New York City or a tiny hamlet somewhere in the Midwest, what you find is people are just having a tough time right now. The economy is not working for middle class families, incomes have gone down, people don’t have healthcare, you’ve got foreclosures all across the country, and so people want something different, and whoever makes the better case that we have had enough of the last eight years, we need something fundamentally new, whoever makes that case to the American people will be the next President.” (audience applauds)
Dave: (laughs) “You’re campaigning now, aren’t you?”
Obama: “I am.”
Dave: “Campaigning.”
Obama: “I had to throw a little - ” (audience still applauds)
Dave: “I understand.”
Obama: “I had to throw a little campaigning in.”
Dave: “But now, Labor Day weekend, we hear that John McCain has selected Sarah Palin and nobody knows, except maybe people living in Alaska, who that is. And we think, in the beginning we think, oh my God, that’s the worst decision the man could have made. And then, subsequently, it turns out to be a pretty good decision for the man, for the party, certainly for the ticket - and calculated, no question about it, calculated. And I’m wondering, if he had picked Sarah Palin before you picked Joe Biden, is there a chance that maybe you would have selected somebody else? Would that have affected your choice?”
Obama: “You know, the way I thought about it was, ‘Who’s going to help me govern? Who’s the person I want in the room if we’ve got a big decision to make? Who’s going to be able to give me good counsel, good advice, who’s able to maybe have some ideas that I don’thave or give me a perspective that I haven’t seen, and I think that nobody can do that better than Joe Biden.” (audience applauds) “And I know what he cares about and what he stands for - I think he’s going to be a great choice.”
Dave: “When word came out that it was Sarah Palin, what was your personal reaction? What was the reaction of the folks around you?”
Obama: “You know, we didn’t know much about her, and I think that, obviously, she’s a skilled politician and you know, she has energized their party. But, what I think are pretty confident about - we’ll know, you know, if she does more interviews with people and talks to them - about what her ideas are. I think what we’re going to see is she shares John McCain’s view that the policies of George W. Bush have worked pretty well. All right, so McCain has said we’ve made great economic progress, the economy’s fundamentally sound - you haven’t seen any separation between them and what we’ve seen over the last eight years. And so the bottom line is if you think the last eight years haven’t worked, if you think that the government can do a better job creating jobs, building the economy, making sure kids that can go to college, providing healthcare to people who don’t have it, then it’s hard to figure why you would want four more years of exactly the same policy.” (audience applauds)
Dave: “Tomorrow is the seventh anniversary of the attack on the United States, and when we come back, I want you to tell us what you would have done, knowing what you know now, what you would have done had you been President then, what you would do if you’re President now and we get another attack, so we’ll be right back here with Sen. Barack Obama, everybody.”

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