Who Would The Candidates Have To Dinner?

Presidential Questions

In November, Americans decide whether Barack Obama or John McCain becomes the 44th President of the United States. In the series "Presidential Questions," CBS News anchor Katie Couric asks questions that move the candidates well beyond the usual sound-bites. Some questions concern policy. Others are 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: Who are the three people who are alive you would most like to have dinner with ... other than me? (laughter)

Barack Obama: I would love to have dinner with Nelson Mandela before he passes away. Obviously he's getting on in years. The last time I saw him he was very sharp, but he was having hearing problems, and he's getting frail. You know, sitting down with him would be something I'd enjoy doing.

Somebody I always love having a conversation with is Warren Buffet, who I talk to fairly frequently. We've become good friends. He's a good economic advisor of mine. And whenever I'm with him, what I'm always struck by is how much he enjoys what he's doing, and how unaffected he's been by his success. He's just a plain-spoken, you know, funny, he's like your favorite uncle - except worth $56 billion and really smart. So he's somebody I enjoy spending time with.

The third person that I think I'd like to spend time with, well, this is my family, but I'd like to spend time with my grandmother, who I've only seen once in the last 19 months. She's been the rock of my family. She worked very hard all of her life, and made a lot of sacrifices on my behalf. And now she can't travel. She's got osteoporosis that's very bad. She's as sharp as they come. She explained to me the other day, she said you know the problem with getting old is that you're the same person, just your body is falling apart, and it's very frustrating. And that's how she feels. And you know, spending time with her is something that's going to be a priority after the election is over.

John McCain: David Petraeus. Gen. David Petraeus is one of them. I have appreciated his leadership and his ability to inspire the young Americans, men and women who serve under him. I find him a fascinating individual.

Obviously, I think that Meg Whitman, who I admire enormously, started out with five employees 12 years ago. Now a million-and-a-half people are living off eBay. She understands the American dream for young women in America, as well as all Americans.

And of course, being a big sports nut, I would consider it a great, great pleasure to have dinner with any major league football or baseball player. You know, right now springs to mind Michael Phelps. You know, our Olympic champion. He's inspired America and a lot of young Americans to do what he's done. But any of our Olympians, I would consider it a great honor. There's a young man who grew up in Arizona and moved to New Mexico. He just won a gold medal in wrestling in the Olympics for the first time in 16 years, and his name is Henry Suhato, a young man, child of illegal immigrants who became an Olympic champion. I'd love to have dinner with him. By the way, I'd also like to have dinner with our 400-meter relay team, who dropped the baton, to tell them that we still love them.