Black America Web Featured Video

Click here to listen to President Barack Obama's full interview with the TJMS.

After two recent interviews with the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama on the TJMS, the "Big Chief" himself called "home" to discuss the importance of getting involved in this election, early voting, what went wrong in the first debate, and what he'll do different this time around.  

Read the full transcription of the interview below.


TOM JOYNER:  Top of the hour.  On the phone, the 44th President of these United States, four more for number 44, the Big Chief, Barack Obama.  How are you doing, Sir?

BARACK OBAMA:  I’m doing good, guys.  How are you all doing?

TOM JOYNER:  We’re doing real good.  We’re doing real good.  I know you got, you don’t have a lot of time.  I only have two questions for you.  One, what happened at the debate?  Everybody wants to know.  Or was that some kind of genius strategy to rope and dope him in and then fact check him at the end?  Or, and the other question is for all of my, my black friends who say that the President’s not doing nothing, not doing anything for the black community, talk to them.

BARACK OBAMA:  Well, two things.  I mean, you know, the debate, I think it’s fair to say I was just too polite, because, you know, it’s hard to sometimes just keep on saying and what you’re saying isn’t true.  It gets repetitive.  But, you know, the good news is, is that’s just the first one.  Governor Romney put forward a whole bunch of stuff that either involved him running away from positions that he had taken, or doubling down on things like Medicare vouchers that are going to hurt him long term.  

TOM JOYNER:  Mm-hmm.

BARACK OBAMA:  And, you know, I think it’s fair to say that we will see a little more activity at the next one.  But keep in mind that, you know, the issues that are at stake for folks haven’t changed.  You know?  We’ve got millions of people who’ve got healthcare right now because of our healthcare bill.  And they won’t have it if Mitt Romney is elected President.  You know, you’ve got young people who are getting Pell grants and help on their student loans.  And they will not have it if we don’t make sure we win this election.  And so across the board, whether you’re talking about healthcare, whether you’re talking about tax policy, where his plan would end up raising taxes for upper income folks, or raise taxes for middle class folks even though as they’re cutting them for millionaires and billionaires.  When it comes down to what he said yesterday about he would’ve still had troops in Iraq at this point.


BARACK OBAMA:  You know, across the board these are issues that matter to people day in/day out.  And so we’re just going to, we’ve got four weeks left in the election.  And we’re going to take it to him.

TOM JOYNER:  Well, you know, one thing …

BARACK OBAMA:  Make sure that everybody …

TOM JOYNER:  I’m sorry.

BARACK OBAMA:  Make sure everybody understands exactly what’s at stake.

TOM JOYNER:  Well, you know, one thing I think happened is a lot of that have been getting real comfortable are now uncomfortable and scared to death as a result of the debate.

BARACK OBAMA:  Yeah, but you know, here’s the thing, Tom.  This is always going to be a close race.  The fact of the matter is, is that if people were comfortable they didn’t recognize we’ve just gone through four really tough years.

TOM JOYNER:  Mm-hmm.

BARACK OBAMA:  And, you know, Governor Romney kept on making mistakes month after month so it made it look artificially like this was, might end up being a cakewalk.  But we understood internally that it never would be.  That it was going to tight, it tightened over the last three or four days, but it could have tightened after the convention if they hadn’t had such a bad convention.  And so …

SYBIL WILKES:  Mr. President, in the Tuesday New York Times there was an article that it seems like one of the states that you took in the 2008 election was North Carolina, and you had a great deal of black support.  The New York Times is saying that that kind of support is not there.  To Tom’s point, are you feeling that black people are going to come out and support you as they did before?

BARACK OBAMA:  Listen, we are doing registration and early voting in a lot of states.  And our numbers are actually higher than they were in 2008.  And so, you know, which reminds me, I want to make sure that people understand that early voting is going on right now in Ohio and Iowa.  Early voting is going to start taking place on the 10th in Florida.  In North Carolina early voting in person starts on the 18th of this month.  And in a whole bunch of states you’ve got voter registration deadlines coming up in Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.  So one thing that people need to do, if they need to know to register or how to vote is to go to and that could tell you how to register or how to vote.  But, you know, the main thing that everybody needs to focus on is the fact that this was going to be a close election, I only beat John McCain 53/47.  And we had all the tailwinds with us, no headwinds.  So this is always going to be close.  The good thing is that we’ve got a lead and Tom, you guys know a little bit about basketball.  You know, you have a seven game series, we’re up two zero and we lose one …

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah, but you had the open shot and you didn’t take it.

BARACK OBAMA:  Yeah, I understand, but you know, what happens though is that when people lose one game, you know, this is a long haul.

TOM JOYNER:  That’s right.

BARACK OBAMA:  And I think that it’s very important for folks to just make sure that they understand that as long as people stay focused we will win this thing.

TOM JOYNER:  We’ll keep pushing too.

BARACK OBAMA:  We will win this thing as long as folks stay focused.  And that’s what we had to do.  And as far as your earlier question, in terms of the African-American community.


BARACK OBAMA:  I mean its millions of people are getting healthcare, and keeping 7 million people out of poverty in the debts of that recession because what we did with the earned income tax credit, the child tax credit, and job training programs, the work that we’ve done to fight back out of that hole, you know, so that the unemployment rate has dropped from 10 points, multiple percentage points for everybody, not just the total population, but the African-American community.  The housing, 5 million people that have been able to keep their homes and avoid foreclosure.  And all the progress that we’re doing.  I’m up in here in Ohio right now and you’ve got auto plants that are humming that would’ve been liquidated.  


BARACK OBAMA:  You know, all these things have a direct impact on our communities.  And all these things are at stake in this election.  So people just have to make sure that they stay focused and I guarantee you we’ve got, you know, Biden I think will be terrific in the debate this week.

TOM JOYNER:  Uh-huh.

BARACK OBAMA:  I’ve got another debate on Tuesday of next week.  


BARACK OBAMA:  And by next week I think a lot of the hand wringing will be complete because we’re going to go ahead and win this thing.

TOM JOYNER:  I’m coming to the third one.

BARACK OBAMA:  And the other thing is, Tom.


BARACK OBAMA:  You were around in 2008.

TOM JOYNER:  Oh, yeah.

BARACK OBAMA:  How many times did everybody say that somehow we weren’t going to win.


TOM JOYNER:  Mm-hmm.  Mm-hmm.

BARACK OBAMA:  Do you remember that?

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah, oh do I.

BARACK OBAMA:  Has everybody forgotten?


TOM JOYNER:  No, no.  Not here.

TOM JOYNER:  Not here.  We’re still fired up.  We’re still fired up.

BARACK OBAMA:  As I say, as some of these emails that go around with my picture on them say, I can’t quote the entire thing, but “I got this.” 

TOM JOYNER:  Yeah.  Yeah.  I know what you’re talking about.


SYBIL WILKES:  And we got you, Mr. President.

TOM JOYNER:  We got you, we got your back.

BARACK OBAMA:  Okay.  But yeah, but again, early vote, if you’re in Ohio, or Iowa, right now you can already vote.  Florida, that’s coming up on the 10th, on Wednesday.  

SYBIL WILKES:  That’s today.

BARACK OBAMA:  North Carolina, Thursday, the 18th, that’s a week from tomorrow.


BARACK OBAMA:  And so people can start voting right away, but you also have to make sure that you’re hitting those voter registration deadlines.  Most of them are going to be coming up this week, so make sure you are registered to vote.  And there is no excuse for folks not turning out.  We’ve got too much work that we’ve already done and too much work that we’ve got to do, to sit back and be complacent.

TOM JOYNER:  Alright.


TOM JOYNER:  Alright, thanks for calling home.

BARACK OBAMA:  I appreciate you guys.


SYBIL WILKES:  Keep up the good work.

BARACK OBAMA:  Alright, bye-bye.