The Candidates On Their Personal Flaws

In November, Americans decide whether Barack Obama or John McCain become the 44th President of the United States. In a new series, "Presidential Questions" CBS News anchor Katie Couric asks questions that move the candidates well beyond the usual sound-bites. Some questions will be about policy. Others will be more personal. All will give you a better sense of who these men are - and what has shaped them. What follows is Couric's question - and the candidates' full answers.

Katie Couric: What one personal flaw do you think might hinder your ability to be president?

Barack Obama: I don't think there's … a flaw that would hinder my ability to function as president. I think that all of us have things we need to improve. You know, I said during the primary that my management of paper can sometimes be a problem.

Couric: You can come up with something better than that, though, can't you?

Obama: I just use it as an example of something that I'm constantly tryin' to work on. What is often a strength can be a weakness. So, you know, for me there are times where I want to think through all our options. At some point you've gotta make sure that we'r making a decision. So far, at least I've proven to be pretty good about knowing when that time is.

I think, as president, with all the information that's coming at you constantly, you're never gonna have 100 percent information. And you've just gotta make the call quickly and surely. And I think … that's a capacity that I've shown myself to have.

John McCain: You know, I'm not an objective observer. I would think that probably, I think that would have to be, to make sure, that I don't make any decisions that are not fully informed by every source of information that's credible I can possibly get. When I see and read history, I see sometimes that presidents make judgments that they only consulted a small circle of people. And sometimes, those were only those who agreed with that president.

I've got to make sure that I reach out to Democrats, to Republicans, to people who have opposing views. Because when we're making decisions about the future of the country, you cannot discount practically any viewpoint. So what happens to presidents in history is they get in bubbles and they don't get all the information they need to make the best judgments. I've got to guard against that.
  • Katie Couric

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