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March 14th, 2008
05:42 PM ET

Obama answers critics on 360° tonight

We had been working on this story all day  – the controversy over Barack Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

360° tonight

Anderson talks with Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, responding to his pastor’s firestorm of controversy. 360° Tonight, 10p ET.

Rev. Wright recently had this to say, "Hillary was not a black boy raised in a single parent home, Barack was.  Barack knows what it means to be a black man living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people. Hillary, Hillary ain’t never been called a n*****!  Hillary has never had her people defined as a non-person.”

Harsh words from a man Obama has called his spiritual mentor (he officiated the Obamas’ wedding and baptized their two children).  Yesterday, Sen. Obama was not commenting, so our plan for tonight was to run a story looking at the history of this kind of rhetoric in black churches and what Rev. Wright’s comments could mean for the his most famous congregation member.

But late in the day, the Obama campaign had a change of heart, offering up the Senator himself to address the issue.  So we’ll have that tonight, Anderson and Senator Obama responding to his pastor’s firestorm of controversy.

Program note: Anderson Cooper 360° airs live at 10p ET on CNN


Filed under: Barack Obama
soundoff (505 Responses)
  1. MahoganyShotgun

    No matter how you slice it, those are Pastor Wright's words not those of Barack Obama.

    It is interesting how people are yapping as if the United States has done absolutely no wrong in the world and this global anti-American sentiment comes from out of freak'n nowhere. The American pulse KNOWS it has a world community perception & deed problem.

    Here's some controversial teachings from a pulpit:

    ___No sex before marriage
    ___Marriage is until death do you part
    ___No second marriages, while your first "spouse" still lives

    Christians violate these WELL KNOWN teachings on a daily basis, but they don't stop going to church just because they disagree with those aspects of Christian teachings.

    No one else has sat on their own church pew and heard something controversial coming from the pulpit? I find this odd.

    Most religious leaders do indeed take the liberty of defying political correctness, even if the members in the congregation do not ...whether it's Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, John Haggie, or Jeremiah Wright.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  2. Bob from Rome NY

    I have many friends and family that have done and said things I totally disagree with. That doesn't mean I don't care for them. We agree to disagree and life goes on. I would be offended if someone tried to hold me accountable for what someone else does or says. It is a matter of guilt by association and that is a bad thing. Some people always love to believe the worst of someone else because it makes them feel better about themselves. I'll rate the man for what "he" believes in and how he lives "his" life. I still believe Obama is the right person for the democratic nomination!

    March 15, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  3. mary lewis

    i find it very hard to believe that this minister Just started with this kind of rhetoric since Obama threw his hat in the ring for president. as the old saying goes a leopard doesn't change his spots. i can't believe Obama never heard any of this in the 20 + years he has known the man. that makes everything Obama says now suspect in my mind

    March 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  4. Eb Baffour

    The fact that you listen to a preacher does not mean you agree with him or her all the time. I am a black man who has followed the Evangelical preachers John Hagee and Rod Pasley since 1993, but when thy talk about partisan politics I disagree with them, and one time when Pastor Hagee talked abou Katrina as a wrath of God on New Orleans, though I listened but did not believe that . However, I listen to their preaching at least once a week on TV.

    Obama's mom is white, father black, has a sister whose father is asian and who is married to a Chinese-Canadian. This guy understands how it is to live a muti-culture environment.

    People should understand that there is such anger in African America community especially those who went through the terrible times during the 60s, but most of us, like Barrack, who are new generation who have benefited from the struggle use the history as a way to bring racial reconciliation and be better citizens.

    March 15, 2008 at 10:19 am |
  5. Alpha Collins

    I am gratified to have lived to see my country embrace not one but two minority candidates for President, both a woman and an African American born into a Muslim home. However, CNN and many other news organizations are failing to report the very serious implications of Obama's close, personal connections to a culture of anti-americanism and racism. This media bias for encouraging and protecting our first African American presidential candidate, for whatever motives, does not serve the best interest of our people or the future of our country. Obama (sadly) brings with him an ugly culture of black racisim that I think disqualifies him to be President of the United States. I have always supported Hillary Clinton, because she is far more qualified than Obama to be President, but I expected to support Obama if he wins the Democratic nomination. After seeing the culture of hate he has come from, I will never vote for him.

    March 15, 2008 at 10:15 am |
  6. Chunj

    Religion is the root of most of the worlds problems. Get over it. Obama is an amazing man. I would feel better if he were an atheist.

    March 15, 2008 at 10:13 am |
  7. Kathy Blake

    Barack Obama has been going to the same church and listening to the same pastor for 20 years and he never heard his pastor's anti-white, anti-American rhetoric before...poppycock!! Does Obama really think the American people are that stupid?! I think not!

    March 15, 2008 at 9:59 am |
  8. claire watson

    Do Americans want to be united or do we want race to define and divide us? If American is to be a credible champion of democracy and human rights in the world, it must walk the walk of the talk it espouses. Creating a united front will speak volumes to the world.
    If we Americans are Christians or believers of a higher being, then color should not be an issue in chosing one candidate over another.
    We do not want to look like Elliot Spitzer!

    Already billions of dollars have been spent on the Iraqian war and thousands of lives have been lost to bring about democracy and the restoration of human rights, but as long as the three groups of people there remain divided, there will be no peace in sight.

    Senator Obama should not have to defend himself against racial charged supporters, no more than the Republicans defend themselves against radically charged conservative talk show host, like Rush Limbaugh.. Obama's plan for change should not be minimized because of his race or what others do or say about him. I believe Hilary Clinton's failure to denounce that type of smear , just as John Mc Cain did several weeks ago, is a good look into her character Like the Bush administration, the Clinton's are about "Winning" ; that is all that matters. With that being said "Woe to the people.";you too may be expendable after the election.n

    March 15, 2008 at 9:59 am |
  9. Carol

    I cannot believe that Barack would buy into this man's belief's. Read his books, that is not a side of him that I find about him at all. I think his pastor is from the generation that still feels the pain of growing up with the ingornace in this country, I believe Barack and cannot believe he would think that he could become president and carry on with this ingorance.

    I will vote for Barack if he is the candidate, but I promise you this if Hillary is the candidate, I will vote for McCain. I would rather have four more years of war, then four more years of her and Bill.

    Furthermore, I hope this is a lesson to the black community. Here is a man with great opportunities for not only the black community, but for everyone in this county and this pastor with his hatred and slanderous words could have destroyed this man's chance at being the first black president. Et to Brute?

    March 15, 2008 at 5:55 am |
  10. Rl Kerr

    hey Jerry have you ever heard " all things being equal"? Well in this case it means if you are going to compare Obama problem with someone it should look like this;
    1. The person you are comparing (Hillary) should have a long personal relationship with the Pastor.
    2. Did Billy Graham run down our country down?
    3. Does he hate black people?
    4. I never heard her say he was "family"
    5. She should get on national TV and defend his statements.
    After denoucing him and saying that she does not share his thoughts

    Oh by the way for all of you people worried about the economy
    If I remember rigth Bill Clinton did leave the cokie jar full when he
    left office.

    March 15, 2008 at 5:21 am |
  11. FJV

    I have read every blog on this page at this point and have drawn one conclusion, there are a lot of bigots and hypocrites watching this show. Parents are responsible for their children, to what kind of parents are these children that speak the language and tones of their bigotry.I owe to noone an apology for their views and apparently they owe no apology to us. This is truly amazing, the sons and daughters of Bigots, Racist and Haters are in judgement of who the HATED. Everywhere in Amerikkka is the residue of their relentless pursuit to conquer control and command the ideas, of whom you speak so freely, yet won't permit such freedom to go on without dictation.'WE, THE WILLING, LED BY THE ANNOYING, ARE DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE, FOR THE UNGRATEFUL, WE,HAVE DONE SO MUCH, FOR SO LONG, WITH SO LITTLE, WE, ARE NOW QUALIFIED TO DO; ANYTHING WITH, NOTHING......WHO else on this entire earth can speak those words and know the depths of its reality. Is it sure coincidence that Black leadershave been murder relentlessly all over the world? Movies, History, Books, Preachers, Scientist, of all faiths, are hailed becuase of their depiction of African-Americans that they have prompted, taught and engineered to behave after being forced to very bottom of the world's hell of society and are condemned for stating the facts within the boundaries of which they exist, and be called Haters, Demonic, Anti- what. Is this the same America I read about in History class? Am I dreaming the American nightmare? Or is the American Dream a nightmare for those who just happen to be not white? I would like for every pastor preacher etc. to denounce, reject, and whatever else, the diabolical lie that has been woven into the very minds of the world by America that Black is evil and and white is angelic, that everything about any God is LILLY white. WIll someone please have anyone someone denounce what the Great white Fathers of this country institutionalized in their reference,depiction and treatment of the so called NEGRO'S in America. Do their children have anything to say?

    March 15, 2008 at 5:07 am |
  12. Lisa C - Northridge

    The reporters on CNN, especially Anderson Cooper, are repeatly announcing that the news surrounding Barack's relationship with his church, his spritual advisor, to whom he fondly refers to as an "old uncle", his beliefs, and his church's relationship to L. Farakhan are not what the "voters want to hear; rather, the voters want to her about the issues."

    Quite to the contrary, one of the most essential issues in this campaign is the integrity, character, veracity, morals and beliefs of the candidates. This is especially in true with regard to the Democratic race as the candidates' positions on centrial issues are almost the same.

    This issue surrounding Barack goes to the very heart of the man's integrity, character, veracity, morals and beliefs. The fact that he has been so closely integrated with such a narrow-minded, prejudiced spiritual advisor leads one to truly question whether Barack is morally and ethically qualified for our nation's highest elected position.

    Perhaps the media, including Anderson Cooper, should spend more time investigating this issue to determine if Barack's "clear" denial of knowledge relating to his spiritual advisor's beliefs are true; or, as more likely, just the politically correct answer right now.

    This is a critical issues to people of all races and religions. When you couple a man like Barak's preacher with L. Farakan, and have those two fanatics having influence over a presidential candidate, serious consideration must be given whether this is who we, the people of this country, really want as our president. I think not.

    March 15, 2008 at 4:57 am |
  13. Steven

    PEOPLE ASKING ABOUT MCCAIN'S ENDORSEMENTS: There is a very distinct difference between the relationship McCain has with his endorsers and the relationship Obama has with Rev. Wright. McCain is getting political support during THIS campaign season from Hagee and others so that he will get the religious conservatives' votes. Obama has been SUPPORTING Rev. Wright for the last 20 years by attending this church. Obama calls Wright a "mentor" and "spiritual advisor" and appointed Wright to his African American Religious Council. McCain has not done such with Hagee and others. Sorry, but Obama loses this round.

    Also, those of you TALKING ABOUT THE ISSUES, CNN has a duty to cover this because it informs voters about Obama's judgment. I want to know what kind of events, especially those participated in voluntarily for two decades, have influenced the moral and character development of my presidential candidates.There are videos online of Rev. Wright hunching his podium while saying President Clinton screwed African Americans the way he did a certain intern. It's extremely harsh and revolting...that people, including Barack and Michelle, would subject their children to such. And I don't buy the claim that this is a sudden acting out of Rev. Wright. I can't believe that he hasn't had similar moments in the last 20 years. This is bad judgment on Barack's part.

    And Wright's fundamental message may be historically correct pertaining to African American history. But there is a right way to discuss this sensitive history. Wright's way is divisive and perpetuates the problem. After watching Obama's campaign I can't believe he has been a part of this organization for two decades. I feel incredibly let down. Together with his wife's remarks, his refusal to wear the American pin or place his hand over his heart during the pledge or anthem, this makes Obama's patriotism look dim compared to McCain, a war veteran and POW. The general election will look like an elder war hero running against a young anarchist.

    March 15, 2008 at 4:53 am |
  14. George E West

    Everyone!
    Stop, take a breath,and think for a minute. I have read alot of postings by very confused people.
    1.Just because Obama belonged to this church for 20 yrs does not mean that his family was there for every service . How many of you have attended the same church every service for 20yrs?
    2.Those of you that attend church know that pastors speak about different subjects each sermon , therefore how can you all say that the Obama's have been listening to racist sermons for 20yrs.
    3.The obama's are being judged by these video clips that Anderson Cooper and CNN have been broadcasting over and over and over again.Therefore the other networks are trying to keep up with what is supposed to be the best news channel on TV CNN?? Now this whole story of religion is supposed to be the smoking gun that takes down the only non-white man that has a chance to become president.
    PEOPLE! LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES!!!!! THE CLINTONS and McCAINS have issues of their own that deal with more than religion,.
    What about THE WAR, THE ECONOMY, HEALTH CARE, LOSSED AMERICAN JOBS, ILLEAGAL IMIGRATION.
    Don't Fear The Man Beacuse He Is Bl-Racial.

    March 15, 2008 at 4:49 am |
  15. SNEWB

    FOR EVERONE THAT IS ON THE " LETS JUST STICK WITH ISSUES" AND BRUSH THIS OFF AS NO BIG DEAL, I WONDER IF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY WOULD BE AS ACCEPTING IF THIS KIND OF SPEACH WAS GIVEN FROM HILLARY'S PREACHER WITH RACIST COMMENTS TOWARD BLACK PEOPLE. THE ANSWER IS AN ASTOUNDING NO!!!! RACISM GOES BOTH WAYS, AND HATE SPEACH TOWARDS WHITE PEOPLE IS STILL RACISM. NOT TO MENTION, THE WAY HE TALKED DOWN THE GREATEST AND MOST DIVERSE COUNTRY THIS WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN!!!!

    March 15, 2008 at 4:48 am |
  16. Emma Young

    I have attended Trinity UCC for 24 years. I did not personally witness the sermon where Pastor Wright said "God XXX America" – I saw it for the first time on the news, I was shocked as was the choir sitting behind him (did you notice?) – no one applauded (did you notice?). But Pastor Wright is a great man, a great preacher, a great American who loves his country so much he dares make outrageous remarks in hopes of inspiring its people to help bring about change. He cannot be defined by a 30 second soundbite out of 36 years of preaching and teaching love for God, and your neighbor.

    It's amazing that this 30 second soundbite, over which Sen. Obama has no control takes the spotlight in the week that it has been proved that (1) It was the Clinton campaign and not Obama's that phoned the Canadian Embassy and told Clinton friend, Michael Wilson, to take Clinton's debate remarks "with a grain of salt.." (yet Clinton continues to spout the debunked lie on the campaign trial.) (2) Hillary Clinton did not, as she claims, have anything to do with SCHIP - in fact, the Clinton Administration was against it, (3) As she touts her experience, and says she "went to war-torn dangerous Bosnia and opened the borders", when her traveling companian to Bosnia, Sinbad, said the borders were already opened the day before he and First Lady Clinton, along with Sheryl Crowe, arrive there for a USO tour; (4) the person who helped bring peace to Northern Island, disputed Hillary's claims that she brought peace to Northern Island as "silly" , as she did nothing more than make a speech to women of Northern Ireland, encouraging them to get involved in the movement. So, the only experience left in her White House experience is (1) the failed health plan that she couldn't get passed, and alienated both Democrats and Republicans, and Clinton policies such as NAFTA, which she now claims she was against. All of this was covered up as the MSM and the Clinton Camp focused on issues of race. With the impending Peter Paul v. Clinton trial coming up (google this) and with all these lies that the Republicans will bring up, along with the Norman Hsu and other fund-raising scandals, Clinton is unelectable.

    March 15, 2008 at 4:47 am |
  17. Josef from Texas

    Anderson I watched your show tonight and for the first time heard what the rev had said. I'm kinda disturbed by it. I have an ordination from the baptist church and never in my life have I heard such remarks come from the pulpit. I don't understand how someone can attend a church for 20 years and never hear these kinds of remarks. I know that my preacher has said the same sermons, although in different word, numerous times over the past 15 years that I've been going.... so you can not tell me that he has not said racial marks like this before. It makes me sad that he has held his position in that church for so long and I would hope that we, as a nation, have come further than this!

    March 15, 2008 at 4:43 am |
  18. Rl Kerr

    Cassandra

    I was taught that the "they did it defense" was not a good defense. I doubt you will ever hear a Pastor speak with such hate for Black people or America. But if you do you can believe that someone trying to be president will not have been close friends with them for 20 years. And he would never defend him.

    March 15, 2008 at 4:37 am |
  19. Ms. TKYS

    America....WAKE UP!!! The media is driving this election, or at least making a vigorous effort to do so. Senator Obama is the same man who is uniting people of all colors. He says he doesn't align himself with his FORMER pastor's thoughts or statements. The pastor's comments were not lies; however, they have no place in the pulpit. We all came from the eight people that got off Noah's ark. Racism is lack of knowledge and the Bible says "my people perish for lack of knowledge". Senator Obama is the only candidate that has and is uniting all persons. Don't be ruled by FEAR America!! CHANGE GON' COME!!! Obama 08'!!

    March 15, 2008 at 4:35 am |
  20. scott

    PLEASE, EVERYONE BACK UP A DOZEN OR SO POST'S TO JO ANN FROM OHIO RESPONCE. THIS WOMEN COULDN'T HAVE SAID IT ANY BETTER!!!! IN FACT, THIS IS HOW ANDERSON SHOULD COIN SOME QUESTIONS TO MR. OBAMA!

    March 15, 2008 at 4:34 am |
  21. Rl Kerr

    nice try Chuck, not everyone in the congregation is trying to be President. There are men paying women for sex everyday. They don't
    get fired or have to quit their job when they get caught. The bar get raised when you run for office.

    The real problem is not his Pastors position on America or white people for that matter. Or any of the other things he said. It is Obama's inability to see this hate in the Pastor. This isn't just someone who supports Obama. This is someone Obama looks up to. Do I need to say more

    March 15, 2008 at 4:30 am |
  22. Cloie

    I have been an observer, my entire life. I am not racist, and I feel there are great black Churches, and lots of wonderful black American people. I belong to a Church, and I know the beliefs of my own Church. How could Obama not know the beliefs of a Church, in which, he has been a member for 20 years? That just defies logic, and makes no common sense, at all. And, I can't help but wander why, he really opposed the Iraq war. I hope and pray it was for the same reasons other Americans did. My husband and I watch CNN every night, and the more I hear and see, the more my suspicions grow. I really feel Obama is not the person, whom he appears to be, and I have felt this way from the very start of his campaign. There are just too many unanswered questions, and Obama appears to dodge the ones, he doesn't want to answer, truthfully. You can tell a lot about a person by their body language, and if you are an intuitive person, you can pick up on the way they speak, and act, very quickly. I love America, and I am so proud of my country. Why couldn't Obama just say, "God Bless America," instead of being so invasive, and making some joke about singing the song? Change is not always good. There is "Good Change," and there is "Bad Change." We need to know decisively what type of "Change," Obama is talking about. A "Change" for the "Better," or a "Change," for the "Worse." It's "Common Knowledge," America needs a change. Let's just make sure it is, "The Kind of Change We Really Want!"

    March 15, 2008 at 4:28 am |
  23. Deon

    I am a rBlack registered Republican who is STILL voting for Obama. I am truly disapointed in how ugly this campaign has become. Particularly on the democratic side. I am also appaled by the notion that Obama has somehow been brainwashed by Wright. It furthers the stereotype that all Black people must think alike. I attend a Black church, where most of the messages every Sunday are about love, understanding and forgiveness. Every now and then, an issue that strikes a negative cord in the mind of my pastor comes up, and my pastor begins the same kind of viceral rants.

    Yet, just because I disagree with the man on some of his non biblical views, does not mean I throw away years of friendship. I recognize that he is only human, and when he turns away from the spritual message he is supposed to teach and allows his humanity to take over it exposes him as being just that.

    Yet I have attended his church for over 22 years, and will not throw away my membership ovr a few human moments unless I find out he is fondling children or sleeping with choir members. No man no matter what his position thinks for me. My pastor and I have had heated discussions on sermons that I felt were over the top. Yet in the end we agree or agree to disagree and we just move on, because in spite of a few bad sermons, his is like a family member to me.

    What I get out of Wright is that he is angry and scarred from the racism of America's past as i feel many Black men over 60 are. I know many men like Wright who carry scars both mental and physical from and very dark era in american history.

    Yet I just do not sense the same kind of bitterness from Obama. Until someone exposes video of Obama saying G D USA (which has not surfaced and probably won't) He still has my vote because there is somethin genuine about the man.

    I believe this will hurt his campaign, but I will not jump ship because that's what campaigns are all about. I mean think about it, they have not been able to find one peice of real dirt on this man, so they have to make him pay for another mans words. But if he does lose behind this tactic (Which I think has Hilary written all over it) McCain will have my vote. Because these dirty tactics causes me not to trust Hilary Clinton. Oh well 100 more years in Iraq may not be so bad.

    March 15, 2008 at 3:49 am |
  24. Pat

    I am saddened but not shocked quite frankly at the media attention given to Senator Obama's church affiliation. It was not so long ago in the race for the nominatiion that some thought he was not "Black" enough. Now others are calling for him and his family to denounce his church. I find that so interesting because no one cared what church he attended when he supported Vice President Al Gore or former President Clinton. It only became an impediment when he chose to seek the Democratic nomination for President. Hopefully, some critical dialogue will surface relative to the need at this critical point in historical issues ( the war, the economy, healthcare, loss of jobs, education, environmental) to sensationalize the political process versus allowing the candidates to focus on the national and international issues most pertinent to the country . The world is watching "Democracy In-Action" and certainly America thinks it has something to be proud of!

    March 15, 2008 at 3:46 am |
  25. James Smith

    First off I don’t blame Obama for what his pastor said. I am a democrat and I go to a church made up of mostly Republicans and there are things said some times that I don’t agree with but I am there for the worship and fellowship I am quite close with my pastor but I don’t agree with every thing he says all the time. I know my Parents feel the same way at there church.
    I think it is ridicules to think that Barack Obama, who was raised in a loving home by his white mother and white grandparents, is racist toward white people because of something his pastor said. I also think that it is sad that in America a country made of many different immigrants and cultures people can be so closed minded and angered by people who’s thoughts and culture differ from there own.
    I don’t agree with every thing that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright had to say and I can see how the over all message could have been lost to those who are easily offended but I do think that he had a valid point that most Americans are afraid to talk about. No one wants to ask the question why do these people hate us so much. I in no way think that the 9-11 attacks were justified and I was just as horrified and saddened buy the attacks when they took place but I do not think that it is wise for us too call whole countries of people evil. We can’t expect to just wipe out all these people who believe in their cause so much that they are willing to die for it. Some of these people might have a legitimate grievance that no one on this side is willing to listen to because no one is willing to admit that some mistakes may have been made by the United States of America. Our Government must be able communicate with these people and try to reach some compromises these are simple things that we teach our children to do. America can not turn a deaf ear on people we deem to be less important then the interest of big business or money.
    This country was partly founded by people coming here to escape religious persecution. Many people fought and died through out history so they can believe what their hearts told them to believe in, and part of what they died for was idea of the separation of Church and State. This was done so people could believe what they wont without being persecuted and told what they can or can not believe by their Government. I am saddened to see that religion plays such a big part today in our government and that people choose to vote on their religion rather then the real issues that effect not just in America but the world. I think that a lot of Americans have forgotten what it means to be an American.

    March 15, 2008 at 3:46 am |
  26. Mary Davis

    Dear Anderson,
    Thank you and the other who aired the news today about Abama. I was really impressed as to how Abama responded. Trust me, many people will realize that he will be able to bring America together in a positive way. Again, I thank you and all of the news stations who had him on at the same time. That was very powerful and now the world will see that Abama will indeed make a great President.

    March 15, 2008 at 3:43 am |
  27. jan from seattle

    I was initially impressed by Obama. Being independent. However, due to the several connecting circumstances including this pastor's word I therefore conclude that Obama is lying, and truly believes what the Pastor is saying including anti-american statements. See the following facts:

    1. Obama did not place his hand on his chest during the plege of allegiance.
    2. He will not wear an american flag (pin)
    3. Michelle Obama's "This is the only time in her adult life she is proud of America.
    4. Pastor's crazy and anti-american comment.

    No matter what you say Mr. Obama...the truth lies not in your eloquent speeches...but rather on the actions you take as well as the company you keep. I am now voting republican (though I disagree with the war in Iraq. but the Democrats don't have a good candidates.

    March 15, 2008 at 3:30 am |
  28. Selva Senthilvelan

    I would like to point out two important aspects:

    1. The actual intent of the person is more important than the statement he makes. Pointing to previous failures or mistakes of the country to improve it in future, should not to be criticized. Studying or discussing actual history or personal experiences is not offensive, if it helps to lift the new generation from those same mistakes.

    Please understand that blindly patronizing the country and all its policies without review is foolish and dangerous. This has in part led to the poor image of USA among other countries in the world in recent years.

    I do not personally agree with all the statements the pastor made in public, but I see his good intent in encouraging and informing his people. He is not inciting people to stand up against the country, rather asking them to improve the country by being vocal and participating in the decision making process.

    2. When I see this controversy, I feel that it is a strong point for Obama's character. His message and view has always been to unite people across all boundaries including party, race, religion, economic background, education etc. He has attended this church for 20 years and may have come across a lot of controversial messages based on race and other divisions from different sources. Yet he has the common sense and judgment to derive his own view to unite instead of divide. He has not blindly or fanatically followed the beliefs of his pastor or other people.

    A person can be exposed to a lot of views and ideas in their lifetime, but it solely depends on them as to what they absorb and amplify as their own views. I am confident that Obama's character, common sense and judgment are sound as he believes in unity and transparency and wishes to rise above race issues and other divisions.

    I commend Barack Obama on well run election campaign that is positive, uniting and up lifting for this country.

    March 15, 2008 at 3:29 am |
  29. ken levy

    Lier,Lier,Lier.The pure man running for President going across America telling people that he is CHANGE.Right.He has known Rev Wright for over 20 years.He has had the man over for dinner,he was married in that church.Now his new story is "Well I have have only heard the Rev speak a few times" Some Americans are really smart.I am one of them.Im going to vote for Hillary Clinton.At least she believes in the pledge and placing your hand over your heart in respect for America,I love my country,I cann't vote on May 20th,for a man I have no respect for.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:41 am |
  30. idrouskey

    Interesting, most Black Americans would say that "Rev's" comments were fairly accurate. However as a bible believing Christian his comments did not belong in the pulpit. The Pulpit is for the exposition of the Bible. It's funny what whites say is racist and anti american, while as a black male I have less privledge in this country than an illegal alien. As a youth I committed a crime of which 12 years later 11 of those years as a free man I am still paying for my crime. As a black male have been called a n--! As a college graduate with ten years experience in my industry have been displaced by low wage illegal workers and told I dont have enough expereince, or laid off, or discriminated against, endured racist statements about hanging black men while on the job, or they will work you like a ni--.

    I am a devoted father, husband, and christian. America has a ways to go with race. If you think about this the most viable black presidential canidate in all of American History has and is being portrayed as a Racist. The very man that more than likely has experienced some of these divisions is seeking to unite because of these experiences. I love America, but America has been harsh to my people as a whole!

    If you are white take a moment to think about the last time someone was unfair to you or abused or took advantage of you. Multiply that 100 times and you might start to understand that there is still a variety of American Experiences, especially the white and black. Dont give me this mess about not seeing color, that is a easy way out of this. If you are white you can be color blind, if you are black you will be forced to see color.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:41 am |
  31. rhonda

    go barack!!! dont let them hold you back. all the people who say barack had control over his pastor's words, weren't going to vote for him anyway you just needed more of an excuse.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:41 am |
  32. Felise Cohen

    I am a registered republican who had every intent to vote Democratic in this election. After what has been revealed regarding Mr. Obama's spiritual advisor and preacher of his church for the past 20 years, I would now vote Republican if Mr. Obama is the Democratic candidate. What everyone seems to forget is that Mr. Obama has elected, from his own free will, with many other choices availale to him. to support this particular church with this particular clergy for the past 20 years. Obama has not only has actively participated in the church, but has given significant donations to it over the years, thus supporting its mission statement and philosophy. Even as of this date, he refers to his spiritual advisor as an "old uncle," intimating a very close, personal relationship. What is being left out of the news at this point is the extemt of the church and/or the preacher's relationship with Farakkan (sp) which has also been established. Apparently, the magazine sponsored by the church, and run by the preachers' daughters, recently honored Farakan. When you combine the beliefs of this preacher, the church's relationship with Farakan, and Michelle Obama's comment that this is the very first time she has been proud to be American, one has to be terrified that a man who is intimately involved with these people and their philosophies has the opportunity to become the president of this country. An important issue in choosing a President is that person's character. Mr. Obama's character is seriously at issue in relation to his TRUE beliefs, not the ones he's trying to convince the American public that he has. Mr. Obama still, as of this evening, affectionately refers to his preacher as an "old uncle," thus implying one who is very close and personal. Mr. Obama's attempted discounting of the serious nature of this issue does not lead one to believe that Mr. Obama is beling honest. How is it possible, and thus believeable, that Mr. Obama, a respected member of this church for 20 years, does not kow the beliefs of the very man he calls his spiritual advisor? How is it possible that Mr. Obama has not heard any similar sermons over the past 20 years? This type of preaching and philosophy does not occur overnight; it has been in existence all along. Mr.Obama"s desire to be "clear" that he disagrees with this one particular sermon is insufficient in reassuring the people of this country that he does not feel the same way. One typically goes to a church or temple where they feel comfortable and have beliefs in common with the clergy. This is more serious as it has a direct effect on Mr. Obama's veracity and credibility, not to mention his character. Isn't it convenient that his preacher is now on vacation and retiring, now that this has become an issue. Might I respectfully suggest that the press do their job and investigate further into prior sermons of this particular man and Mr. Obama's knowledge of same.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:40 am |
  33. Barbara Bakley

    Please remember that Obama wasn't even in the Senate when the War was put to a vote. That is why Hillary said all he had was a speech. He wasn't privy to the so called facts that were given to the Senate, nor did he have a voice. He also didn't experience the same terror, loss of life and shock that Hillary had to deal with while in the Senate in New York.

    It upsets me to hear some of the Obama supporters stating that what we heard from Obama's pastor was nothing, and that he has a right to voice his opinion. I agree with his right to speak, but not for someone that wants to be our future President to not denounce his predjudice words, and disrespect for our Country. He chose to stay with this Church, and continue to listen and expose his family to this hate. This was his so called "uncle", and listened to him and believed in him, every week in Church. You know some of that is inbedded in his heart and mind, and can easily reflect how this country may be run. At this time, I feel this message from Wright and Obama is reverse discrimination. There are plenty of rich Black Americans that don't get put down for their accomplishments. Why be so against rich white Americans? Why say what he did at all, and not have a Public Figure such as Obama distance himself from these hateful, insiteful remarks? His church has also recognized one of the most hateful, predjudice "Preachers" in the world...Farakhan.

    Please don't be fooled by a candidate that speaks so elequantly, but actually contains no substance. He hasn't been able to show or explain how he will be able to achieve one thing he proposes to accomplish. Remember also, "you are the company you keep". Sorry, Obama..you are not the person you portrayed yourself to be. G-d help us, if the people that support him haven't realized they have been "duped", and really don't know who they are voting for. They have the crowd/riot mentality, and can't think independently.

    This man can never be President...we will have long term regret if he does get in!! If Hillary doesn't get in, I'll either obstain, or possibly vote for Mc Cain. At least I know he is a true Patriot, and will defend this Country to the end! Not turn the other cheek when someone disgraces our Country with "G-d damn America". Remember we are all blessed to live in this great Country..and G-d Bless America!!

    March 15, 2008 at 2:37 am |
  34. Celeste

    I don't see how Sen.Obama could sit under Jeremiah Wright
    without truly his true views and beliefs. Sen. Obama Idolize
    him as his mentor.
    I am a christian an i know that people usually know what type
    of minister that they are reverencing and listing to. What i have
    seen with a lot of christians is that if they disagree with the pastors
    beliefs then they change churches. To simply just not know what
    a pastor believes in or what he is saying behind the pullpit is just simply ignorant . Sen. Obama couldn't view Jeremiah Wright
    as a mentor and not know that he had so much hatered against
    america.Sen.Obama was close to many people who has raciest issues and has voiced them.Such as Louis Farakhan. It makes me
    view Sen. Obama much differently now. I would like to know what Sen.Obamas true plans for wanting to become president. I know that black americans has been taught to not let anyone outside their
    race know what their motives are. They are very secretive. Could Sen. Obama be using the word s "our time has arrivied" to rally the black voters, since he has implied that the blacks are the ones that suffer the most in america?

    March 15, 2008 at 2:35 am |
  35. ron_ron

    You guys are treading on thin ice. You’re attacking what many African Americans say about White people in the only place we can say it with out losing our jobs, with out losing our contracts Are you telling me that you think we walk around this life loving you? In Katrina we watched Black people float down the street, drown in houses while the President hoped it would go away, and called our people refugees. You love us? I don't think so! I don’t care who’s President be careful attacking the Black Church!

    March 15, 2008 at 2:34 am |
  36. Sofia

    The spin that both Obama and Moss are putting on this–effectively, that Wright and his church are representative of black churches–is almost as offensive as the speeches themselves.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:33 am |
  37. Jawahar Chirimar

    So many people went to a church where the religious men abused young boys and girls..

    Does it mean the people in that church they became sex offenders?

    March 15, 2008 at 2:31 am |
  38. Malar

    There is a saying in Indian culture that you can be exposed to both good and bad and, if you are strong in character , select what is good and noble. Look at George Washington Carver and the amount of prejudice he faced. If he had absorbed all that invective, America would not have found such an inspiring role model. Similarly for Obama, I believe he took what was good from his pastor and rejected what was hateful. Look, Obama's mother was white. He grew up in the care of his white grandparents. How can this man possibly be influenced by his pastor's controversial comments? If anyone can heal America it is Obama because of the special perspective that life has bestowed on him.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:30 am |
  39. Diane D

    I am a white female in small conservative midwest. The story last night on AC/360 regarding Obama was sad in this sense. Anderson Cooper did not hear what was really being said.

    Anderson Cooper I respect because of his integrity to report objectively the full story. That is what I love about him. I would suggest that Anderson really hear what Obama is saying. There is so much more to this story. The African American community has suffered injustices. Their Theology/Politics reflect this.

    "White American" does not understand this for the most part. We have never had to go through the kinds of injustices the African American community has. Our ignorance/unwillingness to really hear what Obama is saying is very sad. We as a country are so defensive and intolerant toward the African American community. Anderson, there is so much more that can be reported on in hopes that the people in the country can better understand the big picture of what it is like to be African American in a "White" culture.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:30 am |
  40. Lucinda Grisham

    Where were all the pundits when Pat Robertson was spewing his xenophobic, homophobic trash??? Did anybody ask George Bush how he felt about singing "God Bless America".? I am ashamed.
    I have always thought highly of Anderson Cooper, but tonight I am ashamed. He has shown his very white, very upper-class roots, not to mention his part in the issue-baiting trash that has come to define our news services in this country. How will America ever get it right when the fourth estate has it soooo wrong.
    Doesn't Mr. Cooper know that the black experience of history and daily life in this country is very different from the white and white-washed news and history we hear in our schools and our news???

    March 15, 2008 at 2:30 am |
  41. Michael Nagle

    Senator Obama's response that he only became familiar with these racist remarks at the start of the campaign does not ring true. This afternoon he posted a blog on the Huffington Post in which he stated that he was never present in church when the remarks were made. How about his wife, his children? He had better hope that some other news source doesn't already have a photograph or video that puts him there during these sermons. And if he knew at the start of the campaign, then why did it take him so long to renounce these statements? And on what date does he consider the start of his campaign? 2006? All campaigns do opposition research on the other candidates as well as themselves so he knew this was coming. Also, specifically in regard to the ABC story, he must have known for at least a week prior to its being aired since ABC had unsuccessfully sought to get a statement from Wright for its report. This would explain the timing of the attack on Geraldine Ferraro. Wake up, media. You're being played.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:29 am |
  42. Donta

    The sad and tragic thing about this Rev Wright thing Is that a black minister Is being used by the media to bring down another black male I never really thought that Barack Obama would get the nomination for the Dem. party and It appears that we are starting to see Sen. Obama fad away. Hillary will get the nomination and we will see where the country goes moving forward Obama can not control what his pastor says this Is said by black minister all around the US not just this minister. Bye Barack It looked good for a while,but It was just to good to be true. The Republicans have no room to talk about race Issues so they need to shut up quickly.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:28 am |
  43. Mark Anthony Sebukima

    I am a viewer in Uganda, East Africa. Many a time, the comments made by supporters of any candidate may not necessarily reveal the views of the candidate.

    Note that this happens across both parties and among the parties. A comment made in the heat of debate or passion wont incontrovertibly be the views of the candidate.

    Mentor and apprentice don't see eye to eye all the time. Wives and husbands don't see eye-to-eye all the time, but this doesn't mean that they break off the relationship.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:28 am |
  44. Ogadinma

    I am catholic to the core. Many a time, the priest says stuffs that I do not and would never believe in. I do not get up and live and never return to the church again. I simply say to myself, "the church is bigger than the man". My faith and my belief is rooted deeper than the priest says. Do we have any reason to treat Obama differently? -The hipocrisy of out democracy. The same thing that the pastor is preaching against. Robbing me of the sense of hope of a future that Obama has so far ignited in me.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:27 am |
  45. Sofia

    It's funny that for a man who was going to bring the nation together and end divisiveness, Senator Obama couldn't accomplish that with someone he's known for 20 years.
    Even worse, this is what Obama subjects his children. If he truly did not believe in this message, he would not expose his children to it.

    As for Obama's claim that he has not heard these sermons before: Give me a break! If he hadn't gone to church, he would still have heard about a sermon...because that is what people in communities do–they talk about those things after the fact, recounting sermons to others. And, these are not isolated statements.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:26 am |
  46. London

    To sandra cleary,

    You statement is very ignorant. What ties to the middle east are you referring to?? Let's talk about president Bush's ties to the middle east. If that hasn't frightened you the past 7 years then I can't see your point. Tell me why the president blames the American people for high gases prices? Our government hasn't given us an alternative to our "oil addiction".

    March 15, 2008 at 2:25 am |
  47. FJV

    What one damn minute, I would like to hear what the pastors of the any of these modern day politicians are saying, in the pulpit and in the homes of their members, I would be willing to bet as much as I could muster that their tone is:1)NOT favorable to anyone outside of their realm of reality, Whites only, 2)NOT favorable to even POOR whites,first class minorities,3) Is as arrogant and belittling as their performances in the dynamic history of this country. White pastors taught that it was okay to be a bigot, in particular the one who just died a few years ago from the 60's,Billy Graham. Mainstream America has a way of saying everything they want to say without detection white out.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:22 am |
  48. Joseph Weissman

    One of the first commenters nailed it. "What is democracy?"

    It strikes me that many of the things the minister said weren't particularly radical, and in many ways quite understandable - especially as a response to what many of the right-wing pulpit-pounders have been saying. For example:

    "It just came to me why so many folks are hatin' on Barack Obama... he doesn't fit the model. He ain't white, rich or privileged."

    Again, Obama obviously isn't responsible for what the preacher said. His rivals are going to feed off the negative perceptions these comments engender. But all this distracts us from the fact that most of the "dangerous" material isn't really all that left-field. It just goes to show how distorted the political space of discourse is in this country.

    Why do we always have to pretend like we agree and like everything's OK? I feel sometimes like we're being slowly hypnotized, put to sleep. Where is the real conversation about the pain and anger as general social problems relating specifically to racism? Why is this about whether Obama heard some "radical preacher" - and not about the ways religion can open our minds and hearts to social problems?

    Instead, once again, we close our eyes and go for thirty second sound bytes.

    March 15, 2008 at 2:21 am |
  49. coquillion

    It would be nice if there weren't a context for Wright's comments and that the US had a spotless past. In any case, it's unreasonable to imply that Obama should be judged in terms of other's comments. He's been forthright about his values and beliefs. There seems to be media obsession about Obama and his religious beliefs – no one seems to care about other candidate's religious affiliations. As a white man in my 30s, this is a non-issue to me. Obviously there's a wide gulf between reality and politics. Guilt by association? Is that the American way?

    March 15, 2008 at 2:21 am |
  50. Marvin

    ROOT CAUSE!!! What happened in this Pastor's life for him to harbor the views he does? NO ONE wants to address that. Hypocrisy in full effect here. Nice to see the replies in this blog from the close-minded , "me" only people who have replied. The people who don't care about the next man and only themselves. The "holier than thou" but will not even consider the next man's point of view. This man was a MARINE for this country so as far as I'm concerned his point of view and criticisms are more valid than a large majority of the people who are quick to criticize yet never served a day in the service of the country they "love so much". I may not agree with alot of what he says but he's EARNED his right to say it.

    Obama is ONE man. You would have him leave his church. Wow , that's a great example for him to set. No he shouldn't stay in the church and try to get people to see his vision of where we all should live as one. No he should have left. It's crazy for him to stay in the church and try to lead by example. To bring the congregation into a new era of America where all can TRULY be free. No that's crazy talk right?

    I've always said that I believe that 90% of the population is comprised of idiots, lemmings. Just when I was starting to believe I was wrong ....

    March 15, 2008 at 2:21 am |
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