July 12, 2007
Contact:
Leah Yoon, NPR
   

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL),
DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL TALKS TO NPR NEWS
ABOUT HIS POSITION ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION,
SOLUTION FOR IRAQ,
AND LIKENS HIMSELF TO PRESIDENT REAGAN

ON NPR NEWS & NOTES
TOMORROW, FRIDAY, JULY 13, 2007

TRANSCRIBED EXCERPTS BELOW;
AUDIO AVAILABLE FRIDAY AFTERNOON AT NPR.ORG


July 12, 2007; Washington, D.C. – In an interview with Farai Chideya airing tomorrow on NPR News & Notes, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), who is a Democratic presidential hopeful, reinforced his position on affirmative action, saying “There is a strong and ongoing intersection between race and class in this country – that racism is still an issue that has to battled. Affirmative action is an important tool, although a limited tool, for us to deal with these issues. I say limited simply because a large portion of our young people right now never even benefit from affirmative action because they’re not graduating from high school. And unless we do a better job with early childhood education, fixing crumbling schools, investing to make sure that we’ve got an excellent teacher in front of every classroom, and then making college affordable, we’re not even going to reach the point where our children can benefit from affirmative action.”

Transcribed excerpts of the interview are below. All excerpts must be credited to NPR News & Notes. The interview airs tomorrow, Friday, July 13. Local station’s air time of the program is available at NPR.org/stations. Audio of the interview will be available at NPR.org.

On his solution to the Iraq debate:
“There are bad options and worse options, and we’ve got to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in because the safety of the troops on the ground is at stake. But if we begin a phased, responsible redeployment, I see no reason why we should not have our combat troops out by certainly early summer of next year. And once we’ve done that, we then have an opportunity not only to put more pressure on the Iraqi government to come to a political accommodation between the various factions, but we can also go back to the international community and get their assistance in stabilizing the region.”

On weighing the risks of his life as a black, presidential candidate versus obligations to his family:
“Well, look, I don’t spend all my time obsessing about safety issues. We take precautions and this is a risk that all presidential candidates face. Obviously it’s a little more prevalent if you’re an African American candidate, but Michelle and I – my wife and I – talked about this before we got into this race – the sacrifices that were involved – being away from the kids, not having as much privacy as we once had – and our conclusion was that it was worth it, because we’re in one of these moments where I truly believe we’ve got an opportunity to reshape the political landscape right now in a way that we haven’t had maybe since Ronald Reagan did it for conservatives back in 1980.”

News & Notes, hosted by Farai Chideya from the NPR West studios in Culver City, Calif., is heard by nearly 700,000 listeners each week and explores fascinating issues and people from an African American perspective.

-NPR-