U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday the angry criticism about his
health care agenda is not driven by racism, but is instead motivated by
an intense concern about the proper role of government.
The nation's first black president spoke about health care reform and race during a battery of interviews Friday with five television networks. The interviews will air on Sunday talk shows.
Some excerpts aired Friday shows Mr. Obama continuing to distance himself from growing sentiment that recent protests against his health care reforms and other issues are racially motivated.
The president said the things that are being said about him are similar to what was said about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt - that he is a "communist" and a "socialist."
Earlier in the week, former President Jimmy Carter said the angry outbursts at town hall meetings and in Congress about health care reforms are racially motivated.
Mr. Carter said some Americans are opposed to Mr. Obama because they do not feel an African-American should be president.
Last week, Republican House of Representatives member Joe Wilson shouted "You lie!" as President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on plans for health care reforms. He later apologized for the outburst.
On Tuesday, the majority-Democrat House passed a "resolution of disapproval" against Wilson. The vote was mostly along party lines.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.