Here's a rundown on many of the Obama interviews, along with portions relevant to the Iranian problem.
Melissa Block greets Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention with softballs on behalf of NPR (July 27, 2004). No mention of Iran; not much reason for it in 2004.
Larry King interviews Barack Obama on CNN (Mar 19, 2007). No questions about Iran at all.
Newsweek interviews Barack Obama (July 8, 2007). No mention of Iran at all.
Charles Gibson interviews Barack Obama for ABC (Nov 1, 2007). No mention of Iran at all.
Jeff Zeleny interviews Barack Obama for The New York Times (Nov 1, 2007). No question about backing Israel, but this pair of questions end up in the ballpark:
How about speculating on your reaction to Israel doing everything in its power to prevent that? No? Credit to Obama on this one. With the second question his savvy was comparable to Palin's.
Q. When Vice President Cheney said we cannot allow Iran to become a nuclear weapon state, do you agree with that?
A. What I believe is that we should do everything in our power to prevent that in the broader context of our long-term security interests.
Q. And if we fail to prevent it?
A. I’m not going to speculate on whether we’re going to fail.
Linda Douglass interviews Barack Obama for National Journal (Nov 6, 2007). No questions about Iran at all.
Tim Russert interviews Barack Obama on NBC's "Meet the Pres" (Nov 11, 2007). Russert asks about Iran, and Obama reiterates that he favors diplomacy and will not take military action off the table.
George Stephanopoulos interviews Barack Obama for ABC News (Jan 27, 2008). No mention of Iran at all.
Politico interviews Barack Obama (Feb 12, 2008). No questions about Iran at all.
The Chicago Sun Times editorial board interviews Barack Obama (Mar 15, 2008). No mention of Iran at all.
Gwen Ifill interviews Barack Obama for PBS (Mar 17, 2008). No questions about Iran at all.
Terry Moran interviews Barack Obama for ABC News (Mar 19, 2008). No mention of Iran at all.
Maria Bartiromo interviews Barack Obama for CNBC (Mar 27, 2008). No mention of Iran at all.
James O'Toole interviews Barack Obama for the Pittsburg Post-Gazette (Mar 31, 2008). No mention of Iran at all.
Chris Wallace interviews Barack Obama for Fox News (April 27, 2008). No questions about Iran.
Wolf Blitzer interviews Barack Obama for CNN (May 8, 2008). No questions about Iran.
Jake Tapper interviews Barack Obama for ABC News (June 16, 2008). No mention of Iran at all.
Alexis Glick interviews Barack Obama for Fox News (June 26, 2008). The mention of Iran is brief.
Katie Couric gets the goods during her interview with Obama (July 22, 2008).
Couric: If they reject negotiations, how likely do you think a preemptive military strike by Israel against Iran may be?C'mon, Katie! Do a follow up! Repeat the question until he answers it!
Obama: I will not hypothesize on that. I think Israel has a right to defend itself. But I will not speculate on … the difficult judgment that they would have to make in a whole host of possible scenarios.
David Horovitz interviews Barack Obama for the The Jerusalem Post (July 24, 2008), and asks a question very like the one asked of Palin.
You told AIPAC that the Israeli strike on Syria last year was "entirely justified to end that threat." Would you support an Israeli strike at Iranian facilities in the coming months if Israel felt it had no choice but to act?
My goal is to avoid being confronted with that hypothetical. I've said in the past and I will repeat that Israelis, and Israelis alone have to make decisions about their own security. But the grave consequences of either doing nothing or initiating a potential war with Iran are such that we want to do everything we can, to exhaust every avenue to avoid that option.
Sounds almost like Obama wouldn't second guess the Israelis if they felt they needed to take out Iran's nuclear sites, doesn't it?
Candy Crowley interviews Barack Obama for CNN (July 25, 2008). No questions about Iran at all.
Stars and Stripes interviews Barack Obama (Aug 11, 2008). Iran comes up, but nothing specific about striking Iranian nuclear facilities.
Q: The other big issue in the region is Iran. You spoke about that earlier today. Is there a military role in that that you see, or is it all a diplomatic role?
I think, I’ve said before that we never take military options off the table. And Iran poses a grave threat to the region. One of the constant refrains during my travels in the Middle East, not just from the Israelis but from a number of Arab observers as well, is that Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon would be a game-changer. It would probably trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. At the very least, it would change the balance of power so significantly that Iran would be much more aggressive in some of its activities like supporting Hezbollah and Hamas.
So we need to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon. I believe our strongest tools at the outset have to be strong diplomacy, big carrots and big sticks that can change their calculus. We’ve tended to have vague carrots and inadequate sticks in dealing with them. So they just keep on blowing through red lines that this administration has set. If we’re serious, then we’re going to have to mobilize the international community, and I think reaching out to Russia and China more than we’re doing is going to be real important.
Q: How effective do you think that will be? There have been efforts to reach out to them that have been unsuccessful.
Part of what we have to do is look at our broad, strategic relationship with the Russians and the Chinese and prioritize what are the issues that are most important in our relations with those two countries. I think that Iran ranks as high as anything. We have to listen carefully to determine what are their interests in order to secure their support.
Keith Olbermann interviews Barack Obama for MSNBC (Sept 8, 2008). No mention of Iran at all.
Bill O'Reilly interviews Barack Obama for Fox News (Sept 10, 2008).
SEN. OBAMA: Here's where you and I agree. It is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. It would be a game changer, and I've said that repeatedly. I've also said I would never take a military option off the table.Another prop for Obama--he's starting to learn from his mistakes. Now he keeps his mouth zipped when there's a downside to talking specifics. Too bad he didn't do that with respect to Pakistan or Israel's intentions toward Iran.
MR. O'REILLY: But would you prepare for one?
SEN. OBAMA: Well, listen --
MR. O'REILLY: Answer the question, Senator. Anybody can say options. Would you prepare for it?
SEN. OBAMA: Look, it is not appropriate for somebody, who is one of two people who could be the president of the United States, to start tipping their hand in terms of what their plans might be with respect to Iran. It's sufficient to say I would not take the military option off the table and that I will never hesitate to use our military force in order to protect the homeland and United States interests.
Palin has demonstrated the better application of judicious silence, on balance.
Sept 22, 2008: Fixed a handful of typos where I substituted "Iraq" for "Iran."