EXETER — After meeting with area residents in the early morning, presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., spoke during a one-on-one phone interview on political change and responding to critics.
During a morning house party in Exeter, Obama spoke on the change he will bring to our country's political system, if elected president. Democrats were elected into Congress last November by many hoping to bring about change. Months later, some are questioning why those changes have yet to be seen.
"We're not going to bring about change unless we build a strong working majority for change," Obama said. "I think that means we are going to have to run a campaign that is principled and hard-hitting when it comes to mistakes Republicans have made, but also offers the prospect of bipartisan independence that says we are not going to get bogged down with the same ideological prospects we have been following."
Obama has been criticized of late by those who say his age — he turned 46 earlier this month — and theories on creating change, such as plans to work alongside adversaries, show a lack of experience. But Obama said what is needed now is not just "paper" experience, but good judgment.
The country needs to overcome theories that have been followed for too long, Obama said.
"The notion that we don't talk to our adversaries, for example, I think is part of an old way of thinking that has helped diminish our standing in the world," he said.
"Nobody had more experience than Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and they led us into one of the biggest foreign policy disasters we have seen in our generation."
Of the war in Iraq, Obama said he feels with the right actions, our troops could be out by next year. He said earlier Monday morning he would rather lead with values and ideals, not just military.
"There are no good options in Iraq. There are bad options and worse options," he said. "We've got to redouble diplomacy, talk to Iran, Syria, Egypt and our traditional allies and encourage the conversation within Iraq."
This will take hard, deliberative diplomacy, the senator said, which will not be easy, but is the only way to stabilize Iraq.
"We can't be there in perpetuity," Obama said. "I think most Americans now realize that there is not going to be a military solution to this problem."