On the Constitution: "When we get in a tussle, we appeal to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution's ratifiers to give direction. Some, like Justice Scalia, conclude that the original understanding must be followed and if we obey this rule, democracy is respected. Others, like Justice Breyers, insist that sometimes the original understanding can take you only so far--that on the truly big arguments, we have to take context, history, and the practical outcomes of a decision into account. I have to side with Justice Breyer's view of the Constitution--that it is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world." (The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 89-92, October 1, 2006)
On abortion: "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing I'd do." [FOCA is legislation sponsored by Obama and 18 other senators that would "abolish all state laws limiting or regulating abortion," including the federal ban on partial birth abortion]." (Barack Obama's speech before Planned Parenthood Action Fund, July 17, 2007)
On sex education for students: Voted YES to amend the Illinois School Code and Comprehensive Health Education Act (Bill No. SB0099), changing the law covering 6th-12th grade students to include all students in grades K-12; granted, the bill includes the term "age-appropriate," but although it provides a specific section defining terms such as "factual information" and "medically accurate," it fails to specify or define "age appropriate," leaving it wide open to interpretation. (January 11, 2005)
Later Obama addessed the controversy over this legislation: "I remember him [Alan Keyes] using this in a, his campaign against me saying, [mimicking Keyes] 'Barack Obama supports teaching sex education to kindergartners.' [Laughter] And, which I didn’t know what to tell him. But it’s the right thing to do, you know, to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in the schools." (July 17, 2007)
On energy: "Let me sort of describe my overall policy. What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there. I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. ...So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted. ...The only thing I've said with respect to coal--I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a (sic) ideological matter--as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way--we should pursue it. So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them." (San Francisco Chronicle video interview, January 17, 2008)
On conservative Americans in Pennsylvania: "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." (In a speech given at the Getty fund-raiser held at Alex Mehran's mansion in San Fransisco, April 6, 2008)
On taxes: We've all heard of Joe the Plumber, but to be fair, not many of us have seen the
For more on taxes, read this.
On healthcare: "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal healthcare program. ...A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see." (Speech to the Illinois AFL-CIO, June 30, 2003) He later denied he ever held this position, in spite of this video proving it, and findings by FactCheck.org (see second bullet point).
On the war in Iraq: "I am unwavering in the belief that this has been a strategic mistake and that this war has to end." (Reuters, July 5, 2008) We all want the war to end, but we don't all agree that intervening on behalf of the Iraqi people was a mistake. See Dear Mr. Obama (1:55 length).
On national service and security: "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." (In a campaign speech given in Colorado Springs, CO on July 2, 2008)
Some believe this is out of context. See what you think.
On faith: "I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. And I'd say, probably, intellectually I've drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith. ...So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people." *
Like other candidates, Obama also carries several specific "lucky charms" (White House Photo of the Day, Time.com); his include a Madonna and child along with the Hindu monkey god, Lord Hanuman (June 2, 2008).
* "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' " (John 14:6, New International Version)
(Interview by Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times in 2004 with Obama on his faith and spirituality, released this month four years later and also highlighted on the Huffington Post.)
Obama's interview in "On faith" added 11/12/08.