Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Greatest Weakness

This, bumped up from July 23 08. The first bit is a literal transcription of the interview. I did not change it ONE LITTLE BIT. The FP had to butt in. That's how FP is. Sort of gives us a little perspective, all this distance, 40000 feet worth, say.


Couric (at minute 11:50): You reportedly chaff when your foreign policy expertise is questioned. If foreign policy is not your weakest area of expertise, what is?

Obama: Well, er ah, you know, uh uh I … th-the last time I was asked a question what my biggest weakness was an uh I I said …


Couric: were disorganized...

Obama: …I was disorganized. Uh th-this ended up becoming a big political issue. You see … the uh 'we need somebody who's organized in the White House.' So, ah uh uh eh y'know, uh I …

Couric: But what area...

Obama: yeah

Couric: you feel least comfortable with?

Obama: Eh huh well, you know … uh I think that there are … there are so many ... issues ... in which I am not an expert ... but require ... you to be an expert uh that mm-mm the most important job that I will have as president is ... choosing ... excellent people tuh help to shape ... policy and provide me with a clear set of decisions. So I'll I'll give you eh a very clear example.

Uh ... I know ... quite a bit about healthcare, uh from a ... 4,000 ... 40,000-foot level. Uh but I'm not a doctor. I'm not uh ... a uh bio ... uh chemist. Uh ee oh if you ask me about the human genome, I can ... vaguely describe it to you, uh but I don't know all the possibilities and potentials. Uh there so so when I eh think about ... um, what I have to ... do as as a president ... uh my job is to be smart enough to choose ... really smart people in fact, not to be intimidated by having people who are smarter than me, uh around me to give me uh sound advice, uh and then be able to make those decisions but when it comes to foreign policy … uh, yo ... I ... feel confidence in my uh ability to apply good judgment to ... uh a broad set of problems that are out there. Uh it doesn't mean that I'm gonna be an expert ... on everything uh it means that ... I'm still gonna be consulting with people who have specialized in a particular area or particular region. But I think that I have a good feel for the nature of the problems that we have, the fact that ... the globe has gotten smaller, that we are all interconnected, uh but that we still have a whole host of ethnic divisions ... uh and rivalries … that there uh eh people are still steeped in history we sp started talking about uh the issues here in the Middle East obviously … um y'o ... ee er those yer long-standing grievances are not gonna go away immediately uh and that the United States one of the things that we can provide, uh is ... leadership based on sets of values and ideals that recognize the equality of people, recognize human rights, uh recognize the importance of ah opportunity for all. Uh I believe those are values that are applicable uh to a wide range of problems ent that's why I think it's so important for the U.S. to, return to ... uh the kind of leadership by example that … um... that has made us sp sp not only powerful, but also influential around the world.


FP: Excuse me, Katie, let me jump in ... I can call you Katie, right? So. Ah. I see. Huh. Uh, Senator Obama -- may I call you Barack? And I couldn't help but think, for that chaffing problem of yours? I hear great things about KY. So anyways, Barack, what again was the actual answer to the question? We'll shun the "biggest weakness" thing ... that turned out to be a political bombshell! Wowie! But, er uh eh um, what areas was it again that you feel 'least comfortable' with? I'm afraid I didn't quite follow your very clear example.

Obama: Well er ah mm, yo, my favorite ... color is .... blue, like my lips. And you I know so ... much about ... healthcare! But not the human genome weren't you listening? And uh er I I ... can git ... experts to tell me what they think and I'm not afraid of them I'll make them I require it! Just like I'm not afraid of Iraq or Iran or whichever, or Pahkahstahn. That's foreign policy that I have a good feel for this small globe called the Planet Earth that we live on here, or so the experts tell me, where people are steeped in history and ethnic studies. But uh er eh ee I lead by example, of humanity and ... equality for all, yes we can. Opportunity is ... a very good thing. It means many things to many people and that's why I think it's ... uh er important to ... lead by leadership that is not only powerful, but influential!

FP: That was so eloquent and helpful Sen Barack Obama. But just a final clarification. The area you're least ... comfortable with is er uh your ... 4 or 40,000 feet uh worth of huh um expertise in eh healthcare and consultations with ...foreign uh policy er experts.

Obama: Exactly. I couldn't have said it better myself.


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