Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Obama Names Republicans He'll Work With"

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama often says he will be a candidate that will bring both parties together and Saturday he named a few of the Republicans he would reach out to if elected.
"There are some very capable Republicans who I have a great deal of respect for," Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press. "The opportunities are there to create a more effective relationship between parties."

Among the Republicans he would seek help from are Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana, John Warner of Virginia and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Obama said.

"On foreign policy I've worked very closely with Dick Lugar," Obama said. "I consider him one of my best friends in the Senate. He's someone I would actively seek counsel and advice from when it came to foreign policy."

Part of Washington's problem is that President Bush has created a partisan atmosphere, he said.

"The Bush-Cheney administration has perfected the perpetual campaign, what I call the 50-plus-one election strategy, where you just presume half the country is red and half the country is blue," Obama said.

Obama was in Florida at the same time the Democratic National Committee voted to strip Florida of all its presidential delegates if the state party sticks to a plan to select its delegates during Florida's Jan. 29 primary. He said, however, that Florida will still be large player in the general election and that he will seek to remain competitive here.

"The national party has a difficult task, which is to try to create some order out of chaos," Obama said. "My job is really not to speculate on how to make it all work. I'm a candidate, I'm like a player on the field. I shouldn't be setting up the rules."

He did say he is receptive to the idea of a national catastrophe insurance fund, an idea that Florida's congressional delegation is pursuing as a way to help make property insurance available and affordable.

"My staff is reviewing some of the proposals that are already out there. What we want to be able to do is create a situation in which homeowners who are struck by a natural disaster will have some protection and can buy affordable insurance and stay in their own homes," he said.

While many consumer goods are being made in countries like China, Obama said that the United States needs to make sure that it is in a position to manufacture its most essential products.

"It's one thing if China is producing our Barbie dolls, it's another thing if China is producing our silicon chips," Obama said. "We have to have some sense strategically of what are those things that are vital to our national interests and national security. Those need to be manufactured here."

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