...on Wolf Blitzer's show.
(NOTE: Because the LTI Blog was accidently deleted on December 22, we are reposting recent entries. While the text from some of those entries was recovered, the original links to the posts are lost, along with all reader comments. We apologize for this error and hope you will comment on those posts we are able to restore.)
The dialogue below is a reconstruction by me.
BLITZER: What did you think of Barack Obama?
WARREN: He's an amazing man in many ways and I'm glad to work with him fighting AIDS.
BLITZER: Do you think he’s got it? In other words, he’s got that potential like so many other presidential prospects, to be the president of the United States?
WARREN: It depends what you mean by "got it," Wolf. Does he have charisma and the incredible ability to connect with people? Absolutely. He's definitely got that. But charisma alone does not qualify him for the presidency. You must also weigh how Senator Obama will use that gift of communication, for good or for evil? Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln were both incredible communicators and they used their gifts to promote justice for the weakest and most vulnerable members of the human family. Lincoln spoke on behalf of slaves and Reagan for the innocent unborn. Both awakened people to important first principles found in the Declaration of Independence, namely, that humans have certain rights by nature that no government can legitimately take away. The right to liberty and the right to life are two of those basic rights. And though I consider Senator Obama a friend and value our relationship, he's yet to recognize that all human beings have a right to life. That's why, I believe, he's mistakenly voted to allow partial-birth abortion and destructive embryo research. That's regrettable, because in the past we used to discriminate on the basis of skin color and gender, as Senator Obama knows firsthand. Now, however, with elective abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, we discriminate on the basis of size, level of development, location, and dependency. We've simply swapped one form of discrimination for another. I'm hopeful Senator Obama will come to see that.
BLITZER: But what if he doesn't agree with you on abortion or embryonic stem cell research? Those are very divisive issues. Won't that hurt your friendship?
WARREN: As a Christian, I should tolerate people and treat them with respect even when I think their ideas mistaken. I don't have to pretend that all positions on a controversial issue are equally valid to model love and friendship. But at the same time, I cannot remain silent when a friend--especially one in leadership--holds positions fundamentally at odds with a Christian worldview. And taking human life without justification is not consistent with that worldview. So, yes, I must speak out on that.
BLITZER: Even if it offends your friend?
WARREN: Wolf, the very idea of tolerating people presupposes you think they are wrong on some matters moral and intellectual. Otherwise, I'm not tolerating people--I'm agreeing with them! Here’s the key point: Just because I disagree with Senator Obama's support for elective abortion does not mean I can't respect him as a friend and work with him on cures for AIDS. In fact, the same principle that drives me to work with him on AIDS compels me to oppose him on abortion--namely, that all human life should be respected and cared for. What's so hard about that?
BlITZER: Do you think Senator Obama has good character?
WARREN: Yes, and that's why I ultimately hope he'll reconsider his position on the right to life. Look, he's got a whole lot right already. He understands that discrimination is wrong. He knows that skin color and gender are lousy reasons for denying justice to vulnerable human beings. He's got a heart of compassion for the weak. I just wish he’d apply that same heart of compassion to the unborn members of the human family.
BLITZER: Ultimately, this is a partisan issue, isn’t it? Surely you know that most Republicans favor restrictions on abortion while most Democrats want it to remain legal. At the end of the day, aren’t you asking him to behave like a Republican?
WARREN: No, I’m asking him to be a better Democrat. Sadly, my friend Senator Obama believes human beings that are in the wrong location or have the wrong level of development do not deserve the protection of law. This view is elitist and exclusive. It violates the principle that once made the Democratic Party great: its basic commitment to protect the weakest and most vulnerable members of the human family. I want him to return to that principle and uphold justice for all human beings. He doesn’t have to change parties to do that.
Note: Thanks to Greg Koukl for wording on the tolerance section above.