Obama downplays race factor

From the Associated Press

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Sunday that he was not struggling to attract working-class voters because of race and that he could win over uncommitted superdelegates by showing he was “best able to not just defeat John McCain, but also to lead the country.”

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Obama also brushed aside a challenge from his rival for the party’s nomination, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to debate before the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. “I’m not ducking. We’ve had 21" debates, he said.

Clinton’s Pennsylvania primary victory was buoyed by support from working-class and white voters, but Obama said Sunday that race would not be “the determining factor” in the election.

“I’m absolutely confident that the American people -- what they’re looking for is somebody who can solve their problems,” he said.


His appearance stopped the show’s “Obama Watch” at 772 days -- “the amount of time that had passed since the senator promised me he would come on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ ” host Chris Wallace said.

The Democratic Party stepped up its attack on presumptive GOP nominee McCain, portraying him in an ad as a commander in chief who would keep troops in Iraq for 100 years. The ad is part of a national cable TV campaign aimed at linking McCain to the policies of President Bush.

McCain has said he would not extend the war into the next century but would keep a military presence in Iraq, much as in Germany and Japan.