ABC News correspondent Terry Moran interviewed Barack Obama. Here is the transcript of the exchange.
Transcript . Barack Obama ABC Interview . July 21, 2008
ABC’s Terry Moran: “And then we sat down with [Barack Obama] to talk about what has become an open disagreement between military commanders here and Obama, over his plan to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq on a 16-month timetable. Did General Petraeus talk about military concerns about your timetable?”
Barack Obama: “You know, I would characterize the concerns differently. I don’t think that they’re deep concerns about the notion of a pullout per se. There are deep concerns about, from their perspective, a timetable that doesn’t take into account what they anticipate might be some sort of changing conditions. And this is what I mean when I say we play different roles. My job is to think about the national security interests as a whole, and to have to weigh and balance risks, in Afghanistan, in Iraq. Their job is just to get the job done here. And I completely understand that.”
Moran: “But the difference is real. Commanders here want withdrawals to be based on conditions on the ground. Obama emphasizes his timetable, but he insists he would remain flexible. I’m going to try to pin you down on this.” (continued below)
Obama: “Here let me say this, though, Terry, because, you know, what I will refuse to do, and I think that, you know “
Moran: “How do you know what I’m going to ask?”
Obama: “Well, then if I don’t get it right, then you can ask it again.”
Moran: “All right.”
Obama: “Is to get boxed in into what I consider two false choices, which is either I have a rigid timeline of such and such a date, come hell or high water, we’ve gotten our combat troops out, and I am blind to anything that happens in the intervening six months or 16 months. Or, alternatively, I am completely deferring to whatever the commanders on the ground says, which is what George Bush says he’s doing, in which case I’m not doing my job as commander-in-chief.”
I realize that might seems like just a technicality- sort of like how you aren’t actually the ‘official’ nominee of the dem party, just the presumptive nominee- but it’s still something you might want to remember when you’re giving interviews to US journalists. You’ve got a bit of a reputation as elitist and arrogant and this kind of stuff doesn’t help dispel that.
Um, and one more thing…you know those 300 foreign relations advisers you have? I know they’re really busy writing memos on appropriate color clothing journalists can wear, but you might to have a couple work up some better answers to question you might be asked during interviews. I just thought your answers could have been better.