WASHINGTON (CNN) - Harsh rhetoric flung in his direction is no different than that hurled at other presidents who tried to make major changes during their administrations, President Barack Obama said Friday.
In an interview with CNN's John King airing on "State of the Union with John King" this Sunday, Obama acknowledged that racism plays a role in some of the criticism against him, but added that race is "not the overriding issue."
"Are there people out there who don't like me because of race? I'm sure there are. That's not the overriding issue here," he said. "I think there are people who are anti-government. I think there's been a long-standing debate in this country that is usually that much more fierce during times of transition, or when presidents are trying to bring about big changes.
"I mean, things that were said about FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) were pretty similar to things that were said about me. 'He's a communist, he's a socialist.' Things that were said about Ronald Reagan when he was trying to reverse some of the New Deal programs, you know, were pretty vicious as well."
Watch President Obama's full interview with John King this Sunday on State of the Union, starting at 9 am ET.