Waldman’s got the entire transcript of the Cathleen Falsani’s 2004 interview with Barack Obama on his faith. I can’t think of another future American president who spoke to a reporter at such length about his religious views. Perhaps the closest would be Robert Scheer’s September 1976 interview of Jimmy Carter in Playboy. Here’s the notorious excerpt from that one:
Because I’m just human and I’m tempted and Christ set some almost impossible standards for us. The Bible says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Christ said, I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery. I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times…. This is something that God recognizes, that I will do and have done, and God forgives me for it. But that doesn’t mean that I condemn someone who not only looks on a woman with lust but who leaves his wife and shacks up with somebody out of wedlock. Christ says, don’t consider yourself better than someone else because one guy screws a whole bunch of women while the other guy is loyal to his wife. The guy who’s loyal to his wife ought not to be condescending or proud because of the relative degree of sinfulness.
As Carter later recalled, this did not do his campaign any good.