Fear of "big changes" and hostility to the growth of government—not racism—are what's driving angry criticisms about his health care agenda, President Obama said in a series of network television interviews that will air tomorrow morning. "Are there people out there who don't like me because of race? I'm sure there are," Obama told CNN. "That's not the overriding issue here."
In excerpts aired last night, Obama was asked repeatedly whether the tenor of the health care debate turned nasty because of undercurrents in racism. Not so, Obama said.
- "Now there are some who are, setting aside the issue of race, actually I think are more passionate about the idea of whether government can do anything right," Obama told ABC News. "And I think that that's probably the biggest driver of some of the vitriol."
- To CNN, he put it this way: "There's been a long-standing debate in this country that is usually that much more fierce during times of transition, or when presidents are trying to bring about big changes."