scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Friday, May 27, 2022

I will stamp out Mumbai-like terror attacks: Obama

On Jan. 20, President-elect of the US will finally be sworn in as the President of US and will be using his full name, like every other President, to take the oath of office: Barack Hussein Obama. Obama says his presidency is an opportunity for the US to renovate its relations with the Muslim world, starting the day of his inauguration and continuing with a speech he plans to deliver in an Islamic capital.

Written by Karmatakapa | New Delhi |
December 10, 2008 9:57:10 pm

On Jan. 20, President-elect of the US will finally be sworn in as the President of US and will be using his full name, like every other President, to take the oath of office: Barack Hussein Obama.

Barack Obama says his presidency is an opportunity for the US to renovate its relations with the Muslim world, starting the day of his inauguration and continuing with a speech he plans to deliver in an Islamic capital.

“I think we’ve got a unique opportunity to reboot America’s image around the world and also in the Muslim world in particular,” Obama said on Tuesday, promising an ‘unrelenting’ desire to ‘create a relationship of mutual respect and partnership in countries and with people of goodwill who want their citizens and ours to prosper together’.

The world, he said, ‘is ready for that message’.

Best of Express Premium

NAS 2021: Punjab schools outshine Delhi, reignite debate over better educ...Premium
Year before Covid: Jobs in corporate sector, LLPs grew, proprietorships fellPremium
Making sense of the GST bonanzaPremium
Explained | Falling markets: How much longer, and how to invest until the...Premium

In a wide-ranging interview with Chicago Tribune reporters, Obama discussed his strategy for his first year in office, defending his choice for attorney general and reflecting on his role as the first African American to be elected president.

Obama also made it clear that he might be moving to Washington but his heart would remain in Chicago saying that his ‘Kennebunkport’ would be the South Side, where he pledges to return at least every couple months for some family time.

Obama’s first interview with a newspaper since his election on Nov 4 came just a few hours after Governor Rod Blagojevich, a fellow Democrat, was arrested on a federal conspiracy complaint. The complaint alleges that Blagojevich tried to auction off the appointment to Obama’s seat in the US Senate, but the President-elect declined to comment on the discussions between his representatives and those of the governor.

Citing an ‘ongoing investigation’ into the matter, Obama said he considered it ‘inappropriate’ to talk further about the situation.

Distancing himself, Obama said that he had never spoken personally to Blagojevich about his possible replacement, either before or since his victory. Shortly after the interview ended on Tuesday afternoon, Obama’s transition office released a statement saying top adviser David Axelrod misspoke last month when he said Obama had talked with Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy.

As the Blagojevich drama unfolded, Obama lounged in his office talking about how the country must take advantage of a unique chance to recalibrate relations around the globe, through a new diplomacy that emphasizes inclusiveness and tolerance as well as an unflinching stand against terrorism.

“The message I want to send is that we will be unyielding in stamping out the terrorist extremism we saw in Mumbai,” Obama said, adding that he plans to give a major address in an Islamic capital as part of his global outreach.

Though the present world events and economic winds might have made his agenda all the more challenging, Obama has kept a close counsel on how he plans to move forward.

He was non-commital to specific plans on matters as varied as free trade, unionization and illegal immigration. Instead, he said, his nominees and advisers were studying the issues and would report back with recommendations.

Likewise, he offered no hints about future Cabinet appointments, but voiced strong support for Eric Holder, his nominee for attorney general, by batting away concerns about his role in the controversial pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

“Everybody who looks at his record says the guy was an outstanding attorney, an outstanding prosecutor, an outstanding judge, an outstanding number two at the Justice Department,” Obama said. “And Eric has acknowledged the Rich pardon was a mistake on his part, not having caught that earlier.

“I agree with him,” Obama said. “I think it was a mistake. But when you look at the totality of his experience, there’s no doubt he’s going to be an outstanding attorney general.”

Some liberal supporters have expressed disappointment over some of Obama’s choices, like the one to retain Robert Gates as secretary of defense, but Obama said supporters have no cause for concern.

He is steadfast on his “agenda of change,” he said.

“On all the promises that I made during the campaign there has been no sense I’m backing off,” he said. “What I’m putting in place is a Cabinet of extraordinarily qualified, competent people who would not have accepted my offer for them to join my administration unless they believed in my vision.”

While Obama is plans his administration, most of the transition team is at work in Washington, so Secret Service agents outnumber staff members in Chicago. Contemplating issues both great and small, one simple matter comes down to three little words, and on them he has made up his mind: he won’t shrink from using his full name when he takes the oath of office.

During the campaign, Obama’s detractors would often invoke his middle name, Hussein, in an attempt to falsely paint him as a Muslim. Obama, a Christian, doesn’t care.

“I think the tradition is that they use all three names, and I will follow the tradition,” he said. “I’m not trying to make a statement one way or another. I’ll do what everybody else does.”

And then there are the grand issues, like the burden placed on him by history. As the first African-American president, he acknowledges, he thinks about it.

“The biggest challenges we face right now in improving race relations have to do with the universal concerns of Americans across colour lines,” he said. “If we are creating jobs throughout this economy, then African-Americans and Latinos, who are disproportionately unemployed, are going to be swept up in that rising tide.”

“I think that more than anything is going to improve race relations,” he said, “a sense of common purpose.”

Though he hasn’t taken on a singular spiritual adviser, months after the controversial parting with his former pastor, Obama said he has found inspiration in a “prayer circle” of supportive clergy leaders.

“I’m reliant on the pastors who are friends of mine, and who I talk to for support, and my own prayer life at home,” he said.

Obama said he and his wife, Michelle, haven’t gone church-shopping in Washington yet, mainly because they are trying to pull off a massive move ‘without losing anything’–especially, he joked, either of their two children.

Even in the White House, though, he doesn’t plan to sever ties to home. He made reference to former President George H.W. Bush’s White House getaway–Kennebunkport, Maine.

“Let me explain to you, my Kennebunkport is on the South Side of Chicago,” he said. “Our friends are here. Our family is here. We are going to try to come back here as often as possible . . . at least once every six weeks or couple months.”

For all the latest News Archive News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement