Obama responds to Clinton call for apology

Illinois Senator Barack Obama arrived moments ago outside the Iowa Statehouse, and answered a few questions.

Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa:  "Senator, the Clinton campaign is asking you to apologize for remarks made by Mr. Geffen. Do you intend to do so?"

Obama laughed.  "I just heard about this as I got off the plane.  It’s not clear to me why I would be apologizing for someone else’s remarks.  I mean, I don’t know the entire story."

Henry Jackson of AP:  "Do you agree with what he said?"

Obama:  "I confess that I haven’t read the full article.  My sense is Mr. Geffen may have differences with the Clintons.  That really doesn’t have anything to do with our campaign."

Henderson:  "He suggested she was arrogant and polarizing…"

Obama:  "You know, I have said repeatedly I have the utmost respect for Senator Clinton, you know, have considered her an ally in the senate and will continue to consider her that way throughout this campaign."

Charlotte Eby of Lee Newspapers:  "There was a surrogate here in Iowa that said you talk about the politics of hope and changing the tone in Washington and they say you should renounce these statements if you really believe that."

Obama:  "Look, you know, I can’t be responsible for the statements of every single individual who contributes to our campaign.  I mean, we’ve got thousands of people who are contributing, some who may have real differences with the other candidates.  It doesn’t reflect my views.  They didn’t come from me or my staff and my suspicion is that the voters of Iowa are probably more concerned about you know what both myself and Senator Clinton think about Iraq and health care and jobs and they are the issues that matter to us."

Jackson: "Are you proud to have David Geffen as a supporter?"

Obama:  "He hosted an event for me yesterday.  Absolutely."

Henderson: " Why did you skip the event in Nevada?"

Obama:  "You know, we were interested in campaigning here in Iowa, had already started scheduling some things.  You know, I have a slight disadvantage as some of my other senate colleagues do in terms of not having that many days (to campaign) and had been in Nevada three days ago, so you know we thought it was more important to be here in Iowa."

Obama was asked a couple of questions about his visit with Democrats in the Iowa House and Senate, then he walked into the capitol.  He shooks hands with an on-looker — Frank Severino, a Des Moines man who lobbies at the statehouse. 

As I was walking into the press room, a former legislator who is now a lobbyist jokes:  "Doesn’t Obama know that senate rules require that he wear a tie?" 

Obama was wearing a shirt, open at the neck, with his dark suit.  I do not know if he had a tie in the car, or in his pocket.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.