Freddoso: Well, you know another one of his biographers, David Mendell, refers to Obama’s charming lack of specificity. So this is something people in Chicago have noticed for quite a while—that he is able to talk about issues as though he’s taking everybody’s side. And people want to listen to him. They kind of want to believe and, as Obama himself says in “The Audacity of Hope,” he becomes something of a blank screen onto which everyone projects their own views and they all want to see him and think he agrees with them. Or, even if he doesn’t agree with them, he would be open to hearing their point of view.
In fact, when you look at Obama’s legislative record he’s really not terribly ideologically open minded. He tends to take a position that is at the far left and stick to it even when members of his own party, even when other liberals aren’t willing to follow him there. I mean one famous example that everyone knows about from this campaign is when he talked about meeting without pre-condition with world leaders of terrorists states. That was something that even his supporters like Tom Daschle couldn’t get behind, and of course Hillary Clinton didn’t agree with that, but also Joe Biden—people with a little more experience in foreign policy weren’t willing to follow him there.
Another terrific example of that, which I think is maybe the most dramatic of his career, was when he was the only Illinois senator in 2001 to speak against a bill that would have protected premature babies from being left to die after they’ve survived abortions. That was one of the very few times that Senator Obama took a really hard position that could hurt him politically and he did it for the sake of a very, very, very extreme abortion agenda that even such abortion advocates as Barbara Boxer were unable to support when the same bill came in front of her in the Unites State Senate. She gave a speech saying “I hope this [the Born Alive Infant Protection Act] passes unanimously”—and she voted for it and it did pass unanimously. So, Senator Obama definitely has an ideological, a rigid ideological view of just about every issue that you can think of.