In campaign news, Senator Barack Obama is coming under criticism for appearing to slight the civil rights and feminist movements while expressing admiration for former President Ronald Reagan. In an interview with the editorial board of the Reno Gazette, Obama lauded Reagan’s challenge to what Obama called the “excesses” of the 1960s and 1970s.
Senator Barack Obama: “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path, because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown, but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people—he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”
Obama did not specify what he believes those “excesses” were. But Reagan is widely credited with leading a rightwing backlash against the gains of the civil rights and feminist movements that preceded his 1980 election.