"For those of you who are just weary of the primary, and feeling kind of ground down or that it's like a Bataan death march, I just want everybody to know that the future is bright," Sen. Barack Obama told a group of fundraisers in New York on Thursday, according to a pool report.
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At a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser Thursday afternoon at the Credit Suisse building in Manhattan, Sen. Barack Obama echoed the themes he'd discussed in a speech about the economy earlier in the day.
"We have an economy that is out of balance," Obama told the audience of about 300 supporters. "It's one in which most of the people in this room have benefited enormously over the last decade - and I include myself in that group...but it is an economy that has left millions and millions of Americans behind."
Restoring the economy, he said, "means putting in place a regulatory framework that's up to the task of dealing with a global financial system and a new set of financial instruments...but more than anything, what's important is restoring a sense that this is not a 'you're on your own' society, that we're a 'we're in this together' society."
The Illinois senator began his remarks with a barely-veiled shot at his primary opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton.
"I decided to run not because of some long-held ambitions or because I thought it was somehow owed to me - and certainly I wasn't presumptuous enough to think it was my turn," Obama said.
He dismissed concerns that the bruising Democratic primary would hurt the party's chance of taking back the White House in November.
The Democratic primary "has gotten people engaged in politics who were never engaged before or who had forgotten what it's like to be passionate about politics," he said.
"I am absolutely confident that by the time this thing is over, the Democratic party will be completely unified."
"For those of you who are just weary of the primary, and feeling kind of ground down or that it's like a Bataan death march, I just want everybody to know that the future is bright."
He took about a half-dozen questions from the audience, addressing energy policy, the war in Iraq and how he will appeal to independent voters in the general election.
In discussing energy policy, Obama said the White House should seek to change people's habits as well.
"I think the president needs to use the bully pulpit to change our culture...we are a wasteful culture. It's always been that way because of our history. We do everything big."
Asked negotiating with certain foreign leaders such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Obama said:
"I think people understand the notion of talking to our enemies," Obama said. "If FDR can meet with Stalin and Nixon can meet with Mao and Kennedy can meet with Khrushchev and Reagan can meet with Gorbechav, then the notion that we can't meet with some half-baked dictator is ridiculous."
"I'm not worried about losing a propaganda war with Ahmadinejad," he said, "That guy opens his mouth and I think people see there are problems there."
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