Obama and His Hard Truths

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrat Barack Obama (ber-AHK' oh-BAH'-muh) has a habit of telling interest groups what they don't want to hear.

He does so even at the risk of alienating audiences critical to the prospects of a presidential candidate.

Not to be undone by his rivals, the Illinois senator has made remarks befitting the forums and debates he's attended.

He's praised the work of unions, upheld Israel to Jewish groups and decried President Bush's spending on education.

But he's also uttered words not often heard, especially when Democratic constituencies gather.

For example, he told the National Education Association that performance-based merit pay ought to be considered in public schools.

Obama says he doesn't do it for shock value. He says he wants to bring change, but that can't be done without telling the truth.

(On the Net: Barack Obama: http://www.barackobama.com)

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