Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"In stop on Leno show, Obama lances Clinton, jokes about Cheney"

BURBANK, Calif.—Is Barack Obama worried about polls showing Hillary Rodham Clinton leading the Democratic presidential field?

"We've got a long way to go," the Illinois senator cautioned Wednesday on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

"Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare 'mission accomplished' a little too soon," Obama said, referring to President Bush's 2003 speech in which he stood beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner and declared the end of major combat in Iraq.
"When your name is Barack Obama, you're always the underdog," the senator quipped.

In an interview that ranged from serious to silly, the Democratic presidential candidate predicted his wife Michelle could best Bill Clinton in a debate, groused about Bush's Iran policy and fessed up to sloppy housekeeping.

"I admit that I am not always great about hanging up my clothes," Obama said.

"And you want to be president?" Leno scolded.

"I am not a perfect man," the senator said.

Obama's appearance on Leno's stage was one of three talk-show interviews he scheduled on a swing through Los Angeles. He also planned to tape segments for Public Broadcasting Service's "Tavis Smiley," to air Thursday, and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," which will run Oct. 29.

Obama will be back in the area later this week for a string of private fundraisers, including an event at the home of Universal Studios chief Ron Meyer.

Leno needled him about claims that he's a distant relative of Vice President Dick Cheney. Lynne Cheney, the vice president's wife, says she uncovered a long-ago tie between the two families while researching a book.

Obama insisted the newfound relationship would have limits.

"I don't want to be invited to the family hunting party," he said, alluding to a 2006 accident in which Cheney wounded a friend with shotgun pellets.
Howie P.S.: The NY Times political blog (The Caucus) covers much of the same ground here.



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