Obama: ‘I’ll work with some Republicans’

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.”

“Senator Warner is another example of somebody with great wisdom, although I don’t always agree with him on every issue,” Obama said. “I would also seek out people like Tom Coburn, who is probably the most conservative member of the U.S. Senate. He has become a friend of mine.”

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.

Later in Miami, Obama reiterated his call for Cuban-American families to be able to have more contact with their relatives in Cuba.

To rousing applause at the same Little Havana auditorium where Republican Ronald Reagan once campaigned, Obama said: “Just 90 miles from here there is a country where justice and freedom are out of reach. That’s why my policy toward Cuba will be guided by one word: Liberty.”

He said there are no better ambassadors for change on the communist island than the Cuban Americans who send money to relatives.

“It can help make their families less dependent on Fidel Castro. That’s the way to bring about real change in Cuba,” Obama said. “It’s time we had a president who realized that.”

Obama addressed a crowd of more than 1,000 four days after he published an opinion piece to The Miami Herald that said restrictions that limit how often Cuban Americans can travel to Cuba to visit family and how much money they can send relatives should be loosened.

The Cuban-exile vote is considered key to winning Florida, and top presidential candidates have generally followed the recommendations of the community’s most hard-line and vocal leaders, who support a full embargo against Castro’s government.

But many in the large Cuban American community want to be able to visit and help family and support the idea of looser restrictions.

Obama said he wouldn’t lift the current trade embargo, and said his offer to normalize relations in a post-Castro Cuba would be made after the country opened up to democratic change.

“Until there’s justice in Cuba, there’s no justice anywhere,” Obama said. “We will talk to our enemies as well as our friends and both to our enemies and to our friends, we will tell them the truth and tell them what we stand for.”

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 for a 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.”


Associated Press Writer Laura Wides-Munoz contributed to this report from Miami.


  1. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Yeah Bryan, that is indeed so petty and misguided for Obama to be courting the fool Cuban dissidents who think that Batista was the best thing that ever happend to Cuba.
    Batista was OK if you happened to be one of the rich elite in Cuba during the Batista regime, but if you were poor during that time it was abject poverty.

    As you said Bryan, what the hell? Mr. Obama is in a
    Caribbean mood when we got a major human tradgedy going on in Iraq!
    I’ll never vote for Obama or Pillary, the
    Democratic Party is sucking Donkey [CENSORED’S]big
    time. The Jack Ass Party is full of Crap like Christmas Turkeys!!!

  2. SEAL

    SEAL says: Obama is only telling the Florida Cubans what he has to tell them to get their votes. I lived in Miami all during the Cuban invasion and the aftermath. If you want to win the primary in Florida you must have the Cuban vote. Politially, they rule the state and vote as a solid bloc.

    As to the conditions under Batista, they were better off than they are now. At least there was opportunity then. Under Castro there is none. Of course the embargo causes that. We should have lifted that long ago, made peace with Castro, and got some decent cigars.

    You must understand that the Cubans who fled Castro were the criminal ruling class in the beginning and then Castro emptied his jails and prisons by sending the rest of that element to Florida. They took over the city. They are shrewed, criminal, and industious. Miami-Dade is all Cuban, now. Calle Ocho (8th street) is “Little Havana.” They hate Castro (and us) and support the embargo trying to break him. Over 30 years and it did not work. It never will.

    Florida has a lot of elctoral votes. There is a large retired and redneck religious bloc that votes republican. But you must have the Cuban vote or control of the Diebold machines and the sheriff to keep the blacks, who are the swing vote, from the polls as Bush did.

  3. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Obama Ass Kisser.

    Obama is already Pre-Ass-Kissing Republikans.
    Warner is a [CENSORED][CENSORED], Lugar is a more temperate Republikan but never the less has been a major
    enabler of the Chimp, which already makes him unacceptable.

    Geez-Lou-EEZ, Let’s all reject the DLC Corparte-Krats notion that Obama, and Pillary Dillary Crock are the only possible front runners to fawn over.

    Edwards so far has seemed reasonable, but in the primary I am voting for Kucinich.

  4. bryan mcclellan

    Cuba?? where the hell has this panderer been the last six years?We are neck deep in the blood of soldiers and innocents and he says make nice and play ball with neocons,yeah that will get you votes dumbass.

  5. allan hirsh

    mr. hirsh
    Let’s face it, Obama’s a genius!
    I think what it is is that whoever he was became part of all the good publicity he gathered, successful, nice wife, nice family. He became a brand name, no longer an individual. Snap, crackle, popularly tasted then guessed wrong. He figured he wouldn’t break, but has sure come into schmuckdom.