(CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, took the opportunity Monday to answer many critiques leveled at him by his own supporters.
“As president, you set the agenda for this country,” Dallas Timmons, a local Democratic Party ward chair said to Obama in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Are you going to set an agenda of change or one of compromise with what the Republican minority is going to allow you to do in the Congress?“ Timmons asked Obama after specifically mentioning Obama’s support for a surveillance bill disliked by some of Obama left-of-center supporters.
“You’re feisty and I like that, but you’re wrong,” Obama responded to Timmons.
The Illinois senator gave Timmons and other supporters gathered at the New Mexico town hall event a detailed defense of his positions on Afghanistan and Iraq, on the compromise surveillance bill he recently supported, and on his approach to compromising with political adversaries more generally.
“Iraq was a fundamental error. I have never wavered from that. I have never wavered from the idea that we have to get our troops out of Iraq,” Obama told the crowd.
After explaining his vote on a compromise version of the surveillance bill, Obama told supporters, “I’m not going to be elected as monarch; I’m going to be elected as president. And, I’m going to have a Congress that’s I’ve got to deal with.”
“Even if we do well,” Obama continued, “there’s still gonna be almost half the country that votes for somebody else.”
“There’s nothing wrong with compromise as long as you understand what your core principles,” the presumptive Democratic nominee said. “And I will never waver from those principles even if I compromise on some issues.”