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Thursday, March 15, 2007
Obama vows not to raise rival candidates' personal issues

Obama said he won't raise his rivals' personal issues.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Several of his rivals for the presidency have come under fire for their personal lives, but Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, vowed Thursday he would not make them an issue on the campaign trail.

"Everybody has personal issues," Obama said in an interview on NBC's the Today Show. "And I think, ultimately, what people want to know is what are you going to do on behalf of the American people -- and that's how it should be."

On the Republican side, both former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain have been divorced. Moreover, two weeks ago Giuliani's 21-year-old son, Andrew, acknowledged the two had a strained relationship and said he has a "little problem" with Giuliani's current wife, Judith Nathan.

Last week, potential GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich admitted to having an affair with GOP staff member and now current wife, Callista Bisek, while leading the impeachment charge against former President Bill Clinton. The charges sprung from his sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton's wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, is also running for the White House in 2008.

But Obama said he thinks voters will brush aside the candidate's personal issues.

"I think ultimately people are going to make decisions on the basis of their track record - a candidate's track record in the public sphere," he said.

For his part, Obama acknowledged in his 1995 book, "Dreams of My Father," that he tried cocaine and marijuana in high school.

-- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

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