Obama says he’s not ‘obsessing’ over setbacks
Barack Obama says his campaign for U.S. president clearly has suffered damage from a series of controversies over the past few weeks, but he is trying to move forward without “obsessing” over the setbacks.
Obama says public comments by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, calling the Sept. 11 attacks retribution for U.S. policy and blaming the U.S. government for the spread of AIDS would no doubt be a factor in some voters minds.
But he said he would leave it to pollsters to analyze the extent of the impact.
“We’ve had a rough couple of weeks. I won’t deny that,” Obama told reporters. “I don’t think that what happened with Rev. Wright was helpful,” said the Illinois senator who forcefully denounced the minister’s rhetoric earlier this week.
The Wright flap is something that voters will “factor into the mix. How it plays itself out I can’t tell,” he said.
Obama has been honing his message on the economy and emphasizing a folksier, more personal campaigning style as he courts voters ahead of Tuesday’s contests in Indiana and North Carolina.
“What I don’t spend a lot of time doing is obsessing about what ifs and should’ve beens. We’ll see what happens on Tuesday and then we’re going to keep on going to the next contests.”
He has been trying especially hard lately to court working class voters who have backed Clinton more heavily in recent contests in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
In addition to the Wright controversy, Obama was hit by criticism from Clinton and McCain last month who seized on his comments about “bitter” small-town” voters to label him an elitist.
“I do think that one of the ironies of the last two or three weeks was this idea that somehow Michelle and I were elitist, pointy-headed intellectual types,” Obama said. “We didn’t recognize the caricature I think that has being painted of us over the last couple of weeks and we want to make sure that that’s pushed aside.”
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Photo credit: Reuters/Frank Polich (Obama greets Indiana supporters on Thursday)