2004 Flashback: Obama Felt He Lacked Experience To Be President

While liberal media members try to make the case that six years as mayor and less than two years as governor isn't enough experience to be vice president, shouldn't they be just as concerned about whether less than two years as senator qualifies one to be president?

After all, just days after winning his U.S. Senate seat in 2004, Barack Obama said he didn't have enough experience to sit in the White House.

As he basically threw his hat in the presidential ring during an October 22, 2006, appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," it means that less than 22 months in the Senate is all he needed to be more qualified than he felt he was roughly two years prior.

Here's what Obama said on November 8, 2004, when asked why he'd already ruled out running for president in 2008 (video embedded right):

You know, I am a believer in knowing what you're doing when you apply for a job. And I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now, there are some people who might be comfortable doing that, but I'm not one of those people.

Hmmm. So, in November 2004, Obama didn't feel that he knew what he was doing well enough to be president. Yet, on October 22, 2006, he had the following exchange with Tim Russert:

MR. RUSSERT: You've been a United States senator less than two years, you don't have any executive experience. Are you ready to be president?

SEN. OBAMA: Well, I'm not sure anybody is ready to be president before they're president. You know, ultimately, I trust the judgment of the American people that, in, in any election, they sort it through. And that's, you know, we have a long and rigorous process, and, you know, should I decide to run, if I ever did decide to run, I'm confident that I'd be run through the paces pretty good, including on MEET THE PRESS.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, nine months ago, you were on this program and I asked you about running for president. And let's watch and come back and talk about it.

(Videotape, January 22, 2006):

MR. RUSSERT: When we talked back in November of '04, after your election, I said, "There's been enormous speculation about your political future. Will you serve your full six-year term as a United States senator from Illinois?" Obama: "Absolutely."

SEN. OBAMA: I will serve out my full six-year term. You know, Tim, if you get asked enough, sooner or later you get weary and you start looking for new ways of saying things, but my thinking has not changed.

MR. RUSSERT: But, but--so you will not run for president or vice president in 2008?

SEN. OBAMA: I will not.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: You will not.

SEN. OBAMA: Well, the--that was how I was thinking at that time. And, and, you know, I don't want to be coy about this, given the responses that I've been getting over the last several months, I have thought about the possibility. But I have not thought it--about it with the seriousness and depth that I think is required. My main focus right now is in the '06 and making sure that we retake the Congress. After oh--after November 7, I'll sit down and, and consider it, and if at some point, I change my mind, I will make a public announcement and everybody will be able to go at me.

MR. RUSSERT: But it's fair to say you're thinking about running for president in 2008?

SEN. OBAMA: It's fair, yes.

MR. RUSSERT: And so when you said to me in January, "I will not," that statement is no longer operative.

SEN. OBAMA: The--I would say that I am still at the point where I have not made a decision to, to pursue higher office, but it is true that I have thought about it over the last several months.

MR. RUSSERT: So, it sounds as if the door has opened a bit.

SEN. OBAMA: A bit.

So, what experience did Obama get between January 2005 when he was sworn into the Senate and October 2006 that suddenly made him qualified to be president?

Maybe more important, given what he said on November 8, 2004, shouldn't this be a question media are regularly asking of the man that is one election away from the White House?

Or are such questions only saved for Republican vice presidential candidates?

As an aside, when ABC's Charles Gibson interviewed Obama on November 1, 2007, there was absolutely no mention of what the junior senator from Illinois said of his lack of experience in 2004.

I wonder why.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.