ESPN "Monday Night Football" - Transcript


ESPN "Monday Night Football" - Transcript


Copyright ©2008 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500, 1000 Vermont Ave, Washington, DC 20005 USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service at, please email Carina Nyberg at or call 1-202-216-2706.

MR. BERMAN: We should say that both interviews took place before it was learned that Senator Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, passed away. Our condolences go out to the senator and his family.

Earlier, I asked Senator Obama, "After such a long campaign, looking back on it, what did you learn about yourself?"

(Begin videotaped segment.)

SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, what I learned about that I think was positive was that I don't get too high when things are going well and I don't get too low when things are going tough. And I think that has helped me and the organization stay steady. You know, we just try to run our game plan and don't get distracted too much. And I think that it's served us well.

And hopefully, if I should have the honor of serving as president, that'll serve us well at a time when things are pretty tough. We've got a big economic problem out here. We've got two wars that are taking place. And hopefully the same kind of organization, the same kind of steadiness, I can bring to bear in the White House.

MS. BERMAN: Senator, let's bring in our arena for a moment. If you could change one thing in sports, what would that be?

SEN. OBAMA: I think it is about that we had playoffs in college football. You know, I'm fed up with these computer rankings and this and that and the other. Get eight teams, the top eight teams right at the end, you've got a playoff; decide on a national champion.

MR. BERMAN: You could probably make that happen. What is the best piece of advice you received from the sports world? It could be any time in your life.

SEN. OBAMA: You know, I think the best advice I got was when I was playing basketball in high school. And I was really somebody who had learned the game on the playgrounds. I was playing for a coach who, you know, was cut from the Bobby Knight cloth, and I kind of rebelled against him a little bit. And at some point he said to me, "Look, this is not about you. It's about the team."

And it took me a while, I think, to really understand that. But that's how I've approached the work that I've done in politics ever since is to say to myself, "This is not about me. It's about people who are losing their homes or losing their jobs or trying to figure out how to retire with dignity or respect," that if you stay focused outside yourself, you get your ego out of the way, then you end up, I think, being able to do a better job.

MR. BERMAN: Look, I know you're a big football fan. Your Chicago Bears are in first place. Maybe that's the omen you need for tomorrow. So good luck on Election Day.

SEN. OBAMA: Well, I --

MR. BERMAN: And Senator, thank you for spending time with us on Monday night football.

SEN. OBAMA: Listen, I'm very grateful. And thanks, all. I hope everybody goes out, whether you're voting for Senator McCain or myself. This is a big election. Make sure your voice is heard.