Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois.
(CNN) – Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama told a radio audience he believes some would-be supporters won’t vote for him out of concern for his safety, and urged them to overcome a “disempowering attitude.”
Obama’s comments came Tuesday in an appearance on the nationally-syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show. Obama cited a New York Times article where several African-American women in South Carolina expressed concern someone might try to harm him. One of the women said that the best way to protect Obama might be by not voting for him.
Obama told Joyner that, while grateful for the expression of concern, he wanted to encourage voters to focus more on the opportunity at hand and not succumb to what he called a “disempowering attitude.”
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we need to take advantage of it,” he said.
Obama became the first candidate to receive Secret Service protection after Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, expressed concern over his colleague’s safety. Sen. Hillary Clinton already receives protection due to her status as a former first lady.
– CNN Political Assignment Editor Alta Spells