President Barack Obama said Friday that angry criticisms about his health care agenda are driven by an intense debate over the proper role of government — and not by racism.
"Are there people out there who don't like me because of race? I'm sure there are," Obama told CNN. "That's not the overriding issue here."
The nation's first black president spoke about the issue of race during a battery of interviews on Friday. In a media blitz aimed at pounding home his health care message, he taped interviews with ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Univision to be shown during the networks' Sunday morning talk shows.
Some excerpts aired during Friday night broadcasts.
Time and again, Obama was asked about whether the tenor of thehealth care debate turned nasty because of undercurrents in racism.Former President Jimmy Carter raised the point prominently this week when he said the vitriol was racially motivated.