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March 18th, 2008
12:55 PM ET

Obama on Race

Senator Obama’s speech  is over.

Now it’s your turn to speak out.

The presidential candidate covered some big, explosive issues during his 45-minute address.

He tried to distance himself from the fiery sermons made by his former pastor.  While he strongly condemned Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.’s comments as divisive, distorted and wrong, he would not denounce him, saying  “I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”
Watch Sen. Obama's speech

Sen. Obama also had some more sweeping remarks about the general issue of race in the United States.  “This is where we are right now,” he said.  “It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own."

But he is putting it out there.

Will his speech help or hurt his chances of becoming President?

And is our nation in a racial stalemate?

– Gabe Falcon, 360° Writer

soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Lee

    Mr. Obama has run a superior campaign and would be the change agent that this country sorely needs. I viewed the speech in its entirety, and came away very pleased with the outcome. He continued to paint a picture of hope for this nation that all nationalities needs right now. Bush and his administration has totally destroyed this country, and it will take someone like Mr. Obama to bring about change in government that we all can be proud of. This was the season for this speech on race, and for that matter any candidate could have spoken about it but did not. People wake up and stop hating the man for others misdeeds. He was couragious in his efforts to distance himself from his former pastor remarks, and I commend on a job well done. I think Mr. Obama should now focus on the issues at hand and that is this country.

    OBAMA 08

    March 18, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  2. Desire - Michigan

    If somebody needs twenty years to condemn his spiritual advisors for unspeakable racist remarks he is either naive or he liked what he heard. None of that is good for future president.

    March 18, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  3. Rob

    If you listened and didn't 'hear' – these were not just words but history, there is a true opportunity now to sincerely bring a new dialogue to the fabric of this nation

    do not hold on to the past prejudices that too many still believe cannot be altered and look to a better future

    a courageous moment at an important time

    March 18, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  4. Ann, Houston

    This campaign has been about race, since Obama said he would run for President. What Rev. Wright did is not new to the African American church. Although we as African Americans should say, time out, we can't seem to get White America to do the same. Since African Americans can not be ourselves everywhere we go, the church is our last outlet. We can't get White America to understand what it feels like to not be able to buy a Black baby doll. We can't get White America to understand how insulting the Bratz doll is to African Americans. We can't get White America to understand how uncomfortable it is to sit in class and learn about slavery, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights during February. How painful it is to have White America tell us, it's the past get over it. Tell that to my grandmother, my parents, and myself who is under forty and have had the pleasure of being called the N-word in highschool with the teacher allowing it to happen. Rev. Wright was doing what pastors do. We move on and take it with a grain of salt. It's no different than the doomsdayers when we hit the year 2000.

    I think for Obama to get up and try to address this is all that he can do. In the meantime, foreclosures are continuing to happen, the stimulus plan is a ploy to drum up votes in November, and what the heck is John McCain doing in Iraq? Can we get focused. LET IT GO!

    March 18, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  5. rita

    i listened to his speech and it just sounded like a lot of trying to protect his pastor and a bunch of political retoric. he did know his pastors views and continually sat in the congreation and listened. i can't believe we could even think about him as president. if he so disagrees with his pastor why did he stay.. that doesn't make since to me. i have never in my life heard the words come from the pulpit that i heard from that man. he wasn't preaching love of fellow man he was preaching hate. tell me how we could put a member of his congreation in the white house. it makes no difference if it was a white man or a black man. yes race is a big factor in the USA but someone like that pastor just made it bigger for Obama. we have a man that is running for president that saw no harm in sitting there and listening to such garbage not to mention his children was being fed with this. i am a dem and want the dems to win but i think i will just stay home if Obama is the candidate because if i go i will vote for Mccain.

    March 18, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  6. Robert from Illiniois

    Quick question:

    Does it bother "white" America to hear Obama constantly spoken of as the "African-American" candidate? After all his genealogy is just as "white" as it is "black".

    If not why?

    March 18, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  7. Jessica - Brookline, MA

    The way that people throw around the term "unpatriotic" and accuse people of being anti-American makes it sound like it isn't okay to question the things that we have done as a country. I personally think that being introspective and admitting that we may have done wrong is a positive quality, not something equivalent to treason. The Reverend Wright's words may have been too dramatic (particularly the post-9/11 comments), but his freedom to question our country's decisions is what America is all about.

    I commend Senator Obama on his speech, but more importantly, I commend him on his ideals and his willingness to tackle difficult issues.

    March 18, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  8. Terri from Wilson NC

    Thank you, John from St. Louis.

    March 18, 2008 at 4:37 pm |
  9. Dan Manes

    For me, this speech didn’t just answer the questions and erase the doubts over Obama’s relationship with his pastor, it brought new life to his campaign and to a primary race that had started to become repetitive and stale. This primary race has been going on for so long that the candidates have been reduced to fishing for things to pick on each other about, something that can’t possibly be good for the Democratic party or the appeal of politics in general. Obama delivered his speech today with such sincerity, passion, and clarity that he basically took something intended to take him down and turned it into a new source of positive momentum for his campaign. There will be plenty of people who won’t believe him no matter what he says or how well he says it, but I think he made one of the best cases yet that he is indeed Presidential material.

    -Dan Manes, San Diego, CA

    March 18, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  10. David Ramirez

    How foolish could the the media be... If you do the research you"ll see that Jeremiah Wright was not wrong in saying what he said.... Our goverment has a terrorist school in Georgia called School of the America's... What do we do to other goverments for our own political interest... What have we forgotten about the genocide of the TRUE Americans.... My indegenous brothers... My ancestors...And, the African slaves... How many millions died... The media is nothing but a tool of goverment... Where are the true reporters... Where have they gone... Do the research or do you think we are all fools...

    March 18, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  11. Jen

    Obama gave a wonderful speech and I want him to know that I support him no matter what his pastor says because his pastor is not running for President it is Obama. this country is very racially divided and it is so frustrating for me. I am glrad that he brought this to his speech because I know for a fact that this country is still segretated in churches, schools jobs and it is a shame because it is 2008. I think that Obama can bring this country together. This man is a White Man and A Black man representing both races very well. America he was raised by a white woman, White grandmother and grandfather but people want to write him off. Give him credit where it is due because he loves whites blacks asians, hispanics America!!! It is time for everyone to come together and make this country greater than it has ever been. I am proud that I voted for Obama and I hope he is the Presidential nominee because I will vote for him then no matter what the political spin throws at him. Wake up People, do not pass this man up I truley believe he will change this country for the better!

    March 18, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  12. Robyn

    Here we go again, race!!! I am so sick of race being an issue in this campaign, but it is. The "white" Americans haven't made this an issue, the" black" Americans have! I am not voting for Obama because of his credentials, not because he's black. He has poor judgement in the kinds of people he has around him,i.e. Reverend Wright. I am a Democrat, byt if Obama wins the nomination I will vote for John McCain, period.

    March 18, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  13. John St Louis

    In a comment toward Patty. I had a close friend who was in my house at a dinner party one night. He used the N word in casual conversation. I confronted him at the end of the party and told him that he was no longer welcome in my home.
    That is what I call taking a stand for what is right.

    March 18, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  14. John St Louis

    I think that we are missing a HUGE issue here. I remember that during his interview on AC360, he sat and told Anderson that he had NEVER heard ANY of the incendiary remarks made by Wright.
    Suddenly today, in Obama's speech, he admits hearing some of Wright's 'controversial' remarks.
    In my observation, Obama is a bold faced liar saying only what he thinks will help him get out of this current mess he is in.
    So forget Rev. Wright alltogether. We have Obama contradicting himself and one statement or the other was a lie.
    I won't vote for him.

    March 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  15. Catherine

    It grieves me to see how many people would rather live in hate than hope. Is it fear? Is this country more afraid of a single bi-racial man than 5 years of an unnecessary war that may come to be 100 years with McCain? I believe it is time to stop the idle chatter about differences and focus on our likenesses. All you have to do is realize that For all of those who think it is a matter of black ....consider this. White has not stopped the companies from moving to other countries. It did not get hospitalization for your family, it has not improved your economy. The shocker is this...you are now ripe for the blame game. Hillary gets the Hispanic vote. Legal or not, they won't be going anywhere soon. She needs them. The next thing you will hear is that your job is gone because illegals came across the border. Do the math,

    March 18, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  16. johny

    no matter what he said , he just lost my vote. he's like a wolf in sheeps clothing. he'll say anything, everything just to fool us . poof, your gone forever. i say

    March 18, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  17. jessie

    WAKE UP! WHAT HIS PASTOR SAID IS THE TRUTH . SO AMERICA NEED TO FACE HOW PREJUDICE THIS COUNTRY IS . SO WHAT! HE STAND BY HIM HE SUPPOSED TO. AMERICA NEED TO TO FOCUS ON THE SCHOOLS AND HELP THE POOR.

    March 18, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  18. Chuck in Alabama

    It was the media that started talking about 'the black vote." Not the candidates.

    It's America we all have the right to say what we think, but, when you're running for office and hoping people of races different from your own will vote for you, you shouldn't blame the ills of the country on them.

    March 18, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  19. Anthony

    Let's close another sad chapter of our American politics, The Obama's, and move on.
    It's sad, but, as far as I'm concerned, there was one Dr. Martin Luther King. There hasn't been any one like him, yet.
    Obama is no Dr. King.
    Deep down inside, he's just as full of hatred, as divisive, as manipulative as his spiritual advisor, Rev. Wright.
    You just do not consider someone your spiritual advisor if you are always at odds with his/her teaching.
    20 years of association and being taught, spiritually guided by this level of hatred is just too much for me!

    March 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  20. darby

    Barack Obama nevers looks into the camera when he gives speeches. Viewers never get to look into his eyes as he talks about things. He always looks from side to side, but never looks directly at the camera. Why, I wonder? Even in the debates he never looked at the cameras. I think he should try it. It would help him get through his message.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  21. bernice

    People, what he said was he was not there for those particular speeches that have been aired non-stop. People only hear what they want to hear and what supports their established belief systems. Change can only be made when people have open minds.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  22. Charlie

    My opinion is that a pastor should preach love thy Neighbor and try to unite people together. Obama's pastor was preaching to hate white people and America. For Obama to sit in a Church with a pastor such as Rev. Wright, shows that he believes what he was preaching. You are the company you keep. Words do matter coming from a pastor.

    The Church Obama attended had guidelines that to be a member you must support the black community, etc. These guidelines were on the web site for the Church, but has now been taken off. If that isn't a sign that something isn't right with the Church, what would be.

    If I had a pastor that preached such hatred and made anti-American statements, I would find another because I love my country and am proud of it. This follows the comment that Mrs. Obama made that "she's proud of her country for the first time in her life".

    I hope that whatever happens in the general election, that the Country can overcome the divide that Obama is creating.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  23. 28NPhilly

    It is amazing to me that these statements from the reverend are firing up so many white people. Actually, I take that back, I shouldn't be amazed at all. FOREVER and I mean FOREVER, whites have been allowed, been comfortable and been O.K saying the things they say amongst themselves at home, in their places of worship, hey even in public forums (ex. DON IMUS) about blacks. granted, Don Imus wasn't the "advisor" for a presidential candidate but, he was a person all the same.

    I for one am glad the statements are out there in the open. I am proud that it is known that blacks have issues and things we discuss amongst ourselves in reference to whites as well. This is only a problem for whites because it seems that he is instituting some exclusivity for black people and they feel offended and feel like we as blacks don't have a RIGHt to do it! Have whites not excluded blacks for years?

    When the bottomline comes down: there is no such thing as a racist black! When a black person is a racist it doesnt matter to anyone! When that racist black goes to an interview who are they interviewed by? Who signs their paycheck? Who owns most stores they patron? OK THEN! A white person however, can be racist and it matters to EVERYONE. Lets not act like racism is a thing of the past. White america is not and will not be ready for a black president. Not in my lifetime atleast!

    Let blacks have some sense of community, pride and togetherness within our culture because truth be told, if left up to A LOT of whites (whether they want to admit it or not) would still in 2008 rather us be helpless, mindless,riding the back of the bus, eating in seperate lunch counters, shining their shoes, picking their cotton and depending soley on them and whatever "they" decide to throw our way!

    March 18, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  24. Ebony in Virginia

    Last night when I learned that Obama was going to address the nation today about the recent racial controversy, I was relieved. We often get so consumed by the media and their personal opinions that we lose focus on the facts. Most people are too lazy to do the research themselves and instead rely on the views of others. I was dismayed that anyone could believe that Obama agreed with the comments of his pastor because the fact is that Obama is Caucasian and African American. The parent that made the sacrifices to make him the well-rounded individual that he is today is his mother and grandparents who happen to be Caucasian. I believe that some times we are so thirsty for dirt and are so eager to find fault that logic is often thrown out of the window.

    For those of you who still do not know Obama’s plan for the major issues such as medical coverage, the war and the economy, maybe it was due to your failure to watch the debates and/or take the time to view his website for his stand on all of the views.

    I am extremely proud of the way that Obama addressed this issue and I can only pray that we can move forward and address the issues that all Americans, whether white, black, male or female face today.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  25. treissa

    IT SADDENS ME TO READ SOME OF THESE BLOGS. WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE SO AFRAID OF? THIS MAN IS BEING HONEST AND NOT SAYING OR SHYING AWAY FORM THIS ISSUE. AS OUR FUTURE LEADER, i AM PROUD THAT HE IS THE ONLY ONE TO SAY I AM NOT PERFECT. THIS COUNTRY HAS BEEN RUN BY RICH WHITE MEN AND LOOK WHERE WE ARE. WE HAVE HAD SEVERAL FORMER PRESIDENTS CHEAT ON THEIR WIVES AND DO UNSPEAKABLE DAMAGE AS FARAS RACE RELATIONS GO. HOW CAN YOU STAND BY AND LET OUR KIDS INHERIT THIS MESS THAT THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO DO. I FEEL WE SHOULD STAND BY HIM AND SUPPORT HIS HONESTY. IN THE END, WHO ARE WE TO CAST THE FIRST STONE. LOOK AT YOURSELF FIRST.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  26. Tifftrip

    I believe obama's speech was a wonderful and needed. Why does the race conversation make people so uncomfortable? Maybe that is the real question everyone should be asking. How many catholics denounced there priest and religions because they were messing with little boys, how many children denounced their parents for being a part of the kkk and white supremacy groups. How come race is only being played against senator Obama? Is it because he is a black man running in a presidential candidacy? Why is it okay that Geraldine Ferraro can make racial indications that diminish Barack Obama because he's an African-American man and Hillary Clinton doesn't have to reject the woman just her words. Why is it that John McCain can have a pastor who has made racial remarks and his views of homosexuality able to keep him as a pastor. The only difference is people dont like to know that the black community is still angry because what has happened in the past and what still goes on today. Rev wright commits is bothersome to many for what? Not because of what he said but the tone and the anger in which he said it. What he said is being talked about in the black community and in churches. How can rush limbaugh be able to have a radio show with same type of tone and still have his show. His show is a very hateful show but yet its okay. So in other words we cant move from this issue till Obama answers the media questions and he satifys them and them alone. Lets focus on some of the other issues that are important . Or lets focus on the tax returns the clintons are fighting so hard not to show. Not some of them but all of them. In the end racial issues are never going to change until we acknowledge them head on.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  27. Annie

    I don't always agree with my minister. But I wonder about all the Catholic priests accused of being pedofiles. Would any Catholic be taken to personal task as Obama has because they were in his parish? I think not. Each ethnic group in this great country has certain customs. There are zealous white folks in certain religions as there are black folks. Obama's minister made a grave error. Must we continue with this story, or can we move on to the really important things!

    March 18, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  28. Robyn

    Sen. Barack Obama made a sincere and long over due speech about race in America and how it continues to be a painful part of the American experience, regardless if you are black or white. I am requesting that the American media takes this moment in history and takes the HIGH ROAD in their reporting, analysis and crafting of this news stories' headlines. This was one of THE most important speeches in the 21st century in regards to race and the American experience.

    But, what is unique about Obama is that it was not JUST a speech. Obama's campaign and the way he has carried himself throughout his campaign backs up HIS words and sincerity to pull this country together, challenge us to get past our differences, in order to have a better union–IN SPITE of the complexities of race and gender in America.

    I am an American who would like to move forward regarding our racial issues.

    We have 4,000 American soldiers who have died in a senseless war. We have thousands of innocent people who lost their lives in 9/11....

    I hope the American media going forward will take the higher road and challenge themselves, as well as their colleagues to cover this election on the issues important to Americans with integrity, dignity and journalistic professionalism.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  29. Nina, Washington D.C.

    As a white woman who supports Barack Obama whole-heartedly, I fall into a different stereotyped category than the racial one: I am 24-years old and, thus, part of the "younger" generation of voters. A huge reason our age bracket has fallen so intensely for Obama is because we see the light at the end of the tunnel in him; we see the United States of America actually standing United, with the ability to collaborate for the common good. He epitomizes that, not by being biracial, but through his grassroots actions for change. His platform to have college scholarships rewarded to youth as an insentive for community service is an example of his ability to think outside the accepted box. WE must change this nation, and the first step is by taking advantage of having a President unlike any in our past.

    The "race" issue had to be addressed - Barack Obama's speech today did so in the best way possible, as well as reminding us we need to take advantage of the innumerable differences in American citizens for the benefit of this nation.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  30. hms

    People are trying to justify Obama's association with his pastor by saying that he is just his apstor... Obama can not be held responsible for his views..just like he can't be held responsible for the views of his barber etc...

    Why is Wright on Obama's campaign committee if he is just his pastor???

    March 18, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  31. Tom

    If the various races all think like Obama's "spiritual mentor", yes we're at a racial stalemate and I'm sure there are some but I pray to God they aren't the majority and my experience says they aren't.

    Will it help him if he makes it to the national election? Honestly I think it's too late for any democrat. He will be destroyed by this speech when independents and Republicans get ahold of it and the black vote won't go for Hillary either now. For that matter, Florida and Michigan aren't going to be happy either. As for Obama I find it curious that, though the clip runs over and over, newspeople and commentators are so busy gushing over what a "landmark speech" this was that they miss a very revealing part of it – Specifically the fact that he tried to correlate his pastor's racist and anti U.S. statements with the idea that EVERYONE has heard "things they disagreed with" from their priests and pastors. That was the one sentence justification for staying in the church – "My pastor says it and so does yours" – No, Mr. Obama , my pastor has NEVER spoken such words and never would and neither would most of the pastors in the U.S.. And If mine did, I would leave and I certainly wouldn't want my children sitting there. That's what he's going to hear from independents (me) and Republicans in the general election. Their voice will be heard at the polls and if he is the Dem candidate, he will be soundly defeated in all those states he won primaries in plus Michigan, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania..............

    March 18, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  32. Micah

    Shouldn't Obama's association with Wright be seen as a testament to his prowess as a uniter? What other candidate could speak for this segment of the black community, while simultaneously appealing to as many other demographics as Obama has during this political season?
    Is the Reverend Jeremiah Wright not an American, the same as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, or any other American religious leader who espouses controversial social commentary or judgement?

    March 18, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  33. marla Williams, Hampton GA

    Race has always been a issue in Obama's campaign even before he started to run he has been dealing with it his entire life. see "WHITE" america is different from "BLACK" america... when somethin comes up like young kids or KKK hanging NOOSE's that's no big deal! It's not a HATE CRIME... OBAMA's EX PASTOR has a right to have "Freedom of SPEECH" he can say what he wants to and his congregation has the right to follow him! AFRICAN AMERICAN's Agree with this pastor because we live in America and we see, feel and totally understand what he is saying and means. there are some African americans who dont agree and would never say this even tho they have lived it just so they can get thru live with a little peace... OBAMA should not leave his church, church is about your soul- it is between you and "Jesus" the bible says be anger but sin not! you can be anger and express your feelings in America! both sides have shown this Obama & Hillary and just me its not over someone on HILLARY's side had somethin to say about race and we will be dealing with that issue next.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  34. Paris

    Obama needs to prove to America that he loves this land and he is proud to be an American.
    Until then has no business in public office.
    With not disowning his minister he proved to have more passion for his mentor than his country.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  35. Jane

    Barack did not step back from the crisis (for his campaign), he met it head on and honestly. The speech showed why he has the judgment to handle any crisis. He did not give the usual political mishmash that skirts all around the question and says nothing. He had the courage to face the problem and answer it honestly and sincerely. I was astounded and believe that speech will become one of history's greatest speeches ever.

    Congratulations to our next president.

    March 18, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  36. Patty

    I can't believe some of the things I'm reading. How many of you can honestly say that you've lived your entire lives without hearing a friend or family member make a statement about someone else's race that you just didn't agree with? Did you turn your backs on them? Sure you didn't! You probably said, "that's your opinion and you're allowed to have it". They didn't make you believe certain things just because they did. Obama is a grown man and he can think for himself! It's so unfair that you all are taking less than 5 minutes of recordings out of a 30 year career and putting this man in a box. Obama is not just a black man. His is half white! Why would he have hatred for White America, when his own mother is White?? You people need to wake up and start thinking for yourselves!

    March 18, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  37. Jason Carter

    I'm starting to wonder if these reviewers actually saw the whole speech, or whether they just saw the tidbits CNN posted after-the-fact.

    I watched the whole speech, and I thought that it was quite good on-the-whole. It displayed that Obama's personal views on race are quite different than Rev. Wright's. It also served to try and educate blacks about the white community mindset, whites about the black community mindset, and nonbelievers about the faith community mindset. One thing I took away from the speech is that Obama would be a very good "educator-in-chief", if the media ever broadcast his speeches in full during a primetime address.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  38. Rene DuBose

    I also believe I am my brothers keeper and I also see the flaws and the beauty of my country - I do not want to stay stuck in the past I loved his message he embraced the realities with compassion for the white worker and his understanding that all the anger does not flow from simplified racism but the realities of each persons world. And again the message is how do we transcend.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  39. victor

    As someone who is under forty and NOT white I also found the speech to be somewhat of a guilt trip. In reality, what was Obama to say? He painted himself into another corner. If he had continued to deny his witnessing his preacher's rhetoric then the video footage contradicting his statements will surely have surfaced. And he'd have even more egg on his face. So we get this speech. The speech will be considered inspirational by some and evidence of more lies by others. Both groups are correct in this assessment. I guess I'm ultimately torn on the speech... I can't help but think that it's just what it is. Politics as usual. Perhaps Obama would actually have a blade of grass to stand on with me if he had given this speech before this Wright issue blew up. That then would tell me he had superior judment and that he had the foresight to avert this valid media assault. Clearly he knew way ahead of time that this was going to be an issue but he didn't act... he decided it wasn't going to be an issue. Somewhat naive for a Harvard trained lawyer. I would have thought that that kind of education would buy you better judgment. His speeches, oddly, are in great contrast to his actions and yet I want to like this guy. The age-old issue pops up for me. Do I vote with my head or my heart? And yet I know that my heart has often gotten me into trouble. Perhaps it's time I start being more rational and look at that speech for what it's worth: a mish mash of part inspiration, part guilt-trip, and pure politics. He has great speech writers and a pleasant speaking voice and the willingness to say anything to get him to win. But who is Obama? I stil don't know. I understand now why he's a self-described blank screen for people to project their beliefs. But do all his recent screw-ups indicate what his administration may be like? Am I ready to take that kind of chance when the country is in a precarious balancing act? And if I vote for a different candidate am I really contributing to this history of racism as he's suggested? And if Obama gets elected and he fails as president, where will this nation be regarding the whole race issue? I wish Obama had not been a member of that church. I wish he would stop defending his preacher. And I wish I could rely on the Obama-"hope" card he keeps playing.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  40. aida r.

    I strongly believe that speech was written highly paid speech writer.
    The tremendous damage has been done!!!!!
    It's time to wake up America!!!!
    Those are just words and for me BHO will never get my vote.

    GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!

    March 18, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  41. Michelle

    This is a golden opportunity for you guys at 360. Perhaps during
    the 11pm hour of 360 you guys could replay the Obama speech
    in full with live comments on the blog airing along side the speech
    to see the viewers reaction. Not everyone will see the speech and
    sometimes bits and pieces do not do the job.
    One thing I can say 360 always has a smart and
    sharp discussion about race and politics. Hey Anderson always
    says make up your own mind. I guess you can call it real time
    blogging. Maybe even do some web cam interviews with
    viewers and the public. for the full hour since the speech
    was about 45 minutes long.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  42. Donna R.

    As this campaign went on and Obama had won several so called white states I thought that we had finally move on to a new place in our history. But after hearing his pastor's view's on this country and how he had strongly pushed these same view's onto his congregation, and Obama's support of this man I am wondering just how far have we come. Sen. Obama has always made great speech's, but when it comes to answering the questions by the media he seems evasive. Before this speech he told us that he never heard these words while he was in church, now he has admitted to being there and listening to these words. He supports this man who has said these words against our country. I have an issue with his not being fully honest with the American people, I feel that this one factor alone will hurt him.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  43. Lynne Kuber

    I think Obama's speech will increase the polarity of the races and cause those not yet committed to question his "judgment" on how he could sit in this church for 20 years and listen to such anti-American hate mongering. In his speech, I heard him admit that he was there when Rev. Wright said those comments – so Obama lied when he said he hadn't been there. I would question Obama's contacts – Louis Farrakan, Wright, a long associate with PLO ties, a Syrian, Rezko? – he seems to have a lot of "buddies who are anti-American and have expressed those views publicly or who have questionable alliances. I take issue with those who have said the more people get to know him the more they flock to him – I say the more we find out about him, the more pieces of the puzzle that get added paint a not very nice picture.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  44. Illinois

    I feel like the only reason Obama "decided" to face the race issue head on right now is because of the accusations made against his minster as well as the concerns about his connection to his minister and how this will play out politically. He's had plenty of opportunity to "address the race issue" ever since South Carolina, but instead chose to use the race card to his advantage until it blew up in his face. Now he has to talk about race as a factor in the election process. He's essentially forced to, otherwise he's ruined politically for both the presidency as well as any other political office he ever tries to hold.

    To me, there's a difference between choosing to do something because it's the right thing to do vs doing something because you're now in a position of being destroyed if you don't do it. If Obama was truly the uniter that he says he is, he would have addressed this back in South Carolina when the Clintons were accused of using the race card....and Obama clearly knew that the Clintons didn't do that but chose not to say anything because he knew it would mean losing the black vote. He's accomplished nothing other than increasing the racial divide that already existed.....it's just much worse now.

    This guy is very shrewd in political business and is just as much of an opportunist as Clinton when it comes to political survival.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  45. Susan, Raleigh, N.C.

    Obama's speech, and the life he lived to bring him to this speech, illustrate why I, an over-60 white American, am, after so many years, finally filled with hope: This will be a president I can be proud to put before my grandchildren and share with all the world.

    And yet, to follow this historic speech, CNN put before the world an anchor–Heidi Collins–whose questions as to why Barack hadn't left his church bring doubt as to her job qualifications. First, does Heidi have ears? Second, has she ever been a member of a faith community? Many of us don't shop for a church or pastor the way we shop for a hair stylist or the next new thing. Fortunately for our spiritual lives, the church is often the very center of furious debate about how people of faith view the nation and their roles in it.

    I vote Obama with pride, but listening to Heidi just lost my vote. CNN, please find a more able partner for Tony.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  46. xtina

    How about running down your track record in the Senate, Senator?

    Oh wait, you didn't vote "yea" or "nay" did you? You voted "present" so that you didn't have to show your hand to voters. So there's not much "change" on your resume – just alot of political games-playing .

    March 18, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  47. blake

    One can only hope that the most compelling speech in over a generation will force the cable news 'tabloids" to realize how shameful and petty their coverage has been. CNN is particularly adept at raising canards such as the Wright speech as if that alone was the most critical issue in the campaign, did I miss something or did Rubert Murdoc recently buy CNN.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:12 pm |
  48. Cindy

    Gabe,
    Our nation has been in a racial stalemate for years! Everyone tries to brush anything racial under the rug to try and keep the peace so to speak. It seems everyone is too PC to actually try to confront an issue and get it out, talked about, and over with. I can't see one person, campaign, or one presidential term changing that. It took years to get this way and it'll take years to get over the hump and through it.

    I heard everything Obama said but it still doesn't change my opinion on him or his former pastor. Wright was spreading hate pure and simple and I can't believe it only happened a few times and Obama didn't know about it. And that his teachings didn't have an effect on Obama. If that is the case then he was under the wrong spiritual guidance!

    Cynthia, Covington, Ga.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  49. Bill F. Fayetteville, TN

    The vast majority of Americans probably didn't hear the speech and will only hear snippets on tonight newscasts so they won't get the full impact of the speech. The speech may persuade a few voters but I imagine most voters have already made up their minds about Obama.

    Is our nation at a racial stalemate? Yes, When you see 90% of the black vote going for Obama and 70% of the white vote for Clinton, it can be nothing more than a stalemate.

    As an aside, if this situation with Rev Wright had come out 3 months ago, we wouldn't be having this conversation now. Obama would have already dropped out of the contest and Sen Clinton would have sewn up the nomination.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  50. xtina

    How about a speech telling voters what qualifies Obama to be President? What has he done as Ill. Senator that shows "change"? I don't see it.

    March 18, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
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