The latest issue of Rolling Stone hits the newsstands today, bearing the smiling face of Barack Obama. The interview within is exhaustive, though it mainly treads familiar ground—as the writer, historian Douglas Brinkley notes, "excessive caution is a survival trait" in today's gaffe-driven campaign culture. Some highlights came out yesterday, and the full interview is now available. Here's a taste of what the president said:
- In one answer that's already got people talking, Obama was asked about Paul Ryan's "obsession" with Ayn Rand. Obama said he had read Rand's work. "Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we got older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves … that's a pretty narrow vision."
- Asked if a Romney win would doom Roe v. Wade, Obama replied, "I don't think there's any doubt."
- On whether financial reform went far enough: "I've looked at some of Rolling Stone's articles that say, 'This didn't go far enough, we didn't institute Glass-Steagall' and so forth, and I pushed my economic team very hard on some of those questions." But Glass-Steagall wouldn't have prevented the meltdown. "The problem in today's financial sector can't be solved simply by reimposing models that were created in the 1930s."
- On Romney's debate policy flips: "What I think happened is that we won the battle of ideas during the course of the last year," forcing Romney to "fuzz up those positions."
- What did he think when he saw Romney's 47% video? "It's an indication of a story that Republicans have been telling themselves for a while, at least a sizable portion."
- Obama often talks about giving people a "fair shake." Brinkley asked if that might become his "new deal"-esque legacy. "I'd be comfortable with that, and hearing it from a historian, it sounds pretty good to me."
For the full interview, click here