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. rusty

    The mainstream media has gone tabloid. Digging up everything they can to bring down somebody who really cares about the people of this country. Contoversy equals ratings, is that it? Geraldine Ferraro is not running for President, Hillary is. Reverend Wright is not running for President, Barack Obama is. The whole world is watching this circus, and the biggest laugh is directed at the media. Edward R. Murrow is probably turning in his grave right now.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:04 am |
  2. M. A Brewer

    I find it utterly appalling that when analyzing political issues, you always have a panel of "experts" who are closely associated with politics but in this case of Barack Obama's pastor, I've not seen a panel of Bible scholars or pastors or theologians discussing the validity of the pastors statements. Nor have I seen any expert historians -Black, white or otherwise- commenting on this "dilemma. Mr. Perkins' weak attempt at weaving some great distinction between Rod Parsley and Sen. Obama's pastor comes across in a very pathetic way and further punctuates the truth that unsensored voices which speak a message that disagrees with politically correct thought or offends the "keepers of the keys of power", are unequivocally crucified and discredited by the media, the power structure, and those in utter denial or ignorance of the historical and cultural experiences of other people. Though his delivery may have been extremely pointed, give me one statement he made about Sen. Clinton which wasn't "obviously and absolutely true. Jesus was also crucified for a very direct and politically unpopular message. Although Peter and Paul disagreed on certain points, they were both ultimately martyred because of their association with Jesus. Sound familiar? M.A. Brewer

    March 15, 2008 at 12:03 am |
  3. Brenda

    As a Christian who happens to be African-American, I am most interested in the spiritual values and beliefs of the three main contenders for the presidency of the United States - Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, and Senator McCain - not the spiritual leaders that may want to endorse them.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  4. Deborah

    When are you going to intreview John McCain about the remarks Hagee said. Rev. Hagee is so radical that his bulk mailing was suspended by the United States Government beacuse of his radical statments. So when you talked a total of two seconds about McCain, do your homework about these radical ministers who are backing McCain. Obama is not responsible for his pastor. I attend church and sometimes I don't agree with everyting my pastors says but that doesn't mean I will have to distant myself from the church. If there is a statment made I don't agree with I pray for my pastor and keep attending chuch. The media is so rapped up in destroying Obama character that you don't have time to report the counry is headed to the poor house.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  5. Christine Mosley

    I watched Barack's answers tonight during your interview and I thought he handled the questions very well. As many of your bloggers have indicated tonight, this is just another distraction on the very long road to the White House. More than a few bloggers have also suggested that this story has been resurrected by the Clinton campaign, citing a kind of boomerang effect; Geraldine Ferraro last week, Rev. Wright this week. I really don't want to believe that, but it does give me pause . . .

    March 15, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  6. Grissom

    Sen Obama can't be held responsible every sermon ever preached by Pastor Wright. I don't always agree with everything my pastor says but overall the messages are loving and insprire me to be a better person.

    None of us would belong to a church if the requirement for membership was that you had to believe every statement uttered by the pastor.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  7. michael

    This is not just some religious supporter of Borack Obama. A pastor is charged with leading you your spiritual life. Pastor Right shapes the world view of his parishoners , including Borack Obama. If my pastor spoke such hatred I would immediately leave that church. I would not want my children led by such a man,or my wife to develope the idea that she has no reason to be proud of America.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  8. dbakernc

    This so called interview was so one sided. If McCain had gone to a racist white church for 20 years and was married by a racist white minister who also was his spiritual advisor, he would be forced to step down. Now lets say it like it is. Barack goes to a church for 20 years where the pastor is a racist black man. Barack was married by a racist black man, and a racist black man is his spiritual advisor. Give me a break!!! All the commentators say is that he has a different perspective because he is black. Also he is a great man! No one will denounce Jeremiah for what he is – a racist.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:01 am |
  9. mumu

    I cannot believe that you spent almost the entire hour talking about Obama's preacher. I cannot remember the last time that the media covered actual issues and I think that is a shame.
    Also alot of what the preacher said i disagree with, but he is not wrong on everything that he said. 9-11 is sad, and innocent people lost their lives, but the USA has been terrorizing nations for eyars. Only when we do it is called the war on terror, or the war on communism. While we are fighting these wars innocent people are losing their lives everyday, why doesn't the media talk about that?

    March 15, 2008 at 12:00 am |
  10. Claudia

    I`m a nicaraguan who is an citizen of the United States and I feel completely offended by reveren whright`s comment on america bombing nicaragua as well as all his comments to that respect, what we had in nicaragua was a civil war reguardless of who founded it, 68% of the nicaraguan population today is anti sandinista, and as an united states citizen and a nicaraguan citizen I don`t want a presidential candidate who has or had a pastor for 20 yrs (the sandinistas were voted out in 1990, that was 18 yrs ago) that supports in anyway the sandinistas and I will bringht it to the attention of all nicaraguans that are citizens of the united states that Obama is not to be trusted.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:00 am |
  11. beth black

    Thanks Anderson for asking the tough questions. Keep all details "on the table" until Barrack finally tells the truth. He said that he did not know the messages until he started running for President. When was that? If he indeed was mentored by Mr. Wrong (I borrowed that), he would also have the anger. How was he drawn to the church? Maybe Michelle went there first. This fits her comments while Barrack keeps saying he did not grow up as Mr. Wrong did. I must say that one of the minister's comments was that Barrack is neither white, rich nor priviledged. Go figure, as he is all of those. I teach school and already see young students with this hate. I pray they find churches that do not preach this "angry" message as we cannot convey any religious message in our public school system.

    March 15, 2008 at 12:00 am |
  12. Jacquie W

    Only in America do we spend so much precious time during an election raving about personal and private matters rather than focusing on the candidates' policies and programs. You only have to read Barack Obama's books, follow his body of work, and understand his strategy of working with various groups across the board to see that it is nonsense for the media (especially Anderson Cooper, I must say) to carry on as if this is THE big story. My goodness, at least this puts to rest all the rumors that he is a Muslim, Now we are arguing about his Christianity! .I can tell you that my European friends are totally puzzled by the inclusion of all this religious angst in the election campaign. Look, many Blacks in this country go to churches that preach a form of black nationalism. (I personally am a black Catholic; by the way, though this isn't at the same noise level,,I don't agree with my priest either when he implies that women who stay at home with their kids are more blessed that those of us who work but I don;t walk out of Mass). Some things this guy says are true – I am a professional black woman who can't get a cab to Harlem at night. Obviously other things he says are terrible – I was among the few blasting my white intellectual colleagues for saying that America was somehow responsible for 9/11 (and I was interviewed on the media about it) But this is being blown up out of all proportion. I don't disavow my colleagues because of these left-wing beliefs; instead I repudiate their beliefs. That is what Barack has done; that is what McCain has done regarding his relationship with anti-Catholic Reverend Hagee. I can';t see how anyone who supports Barack Obama because of his focus on real change in DC .can honestly stop supporting him because of some crazy statements by his pastor. I really think it is time for the media, which tends to revel in these things as a way to promote their agendas, should lighten up and move on to the rea lissues.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:59 pm |
  13. Can you Prove Other Wise?

    For any one who is upset at what Obama Pastor said about America. Can you prove that what he said was a LIE? No you cant because its the truth America has done all those things, and though I believe 9/11 was a sad event (I never would want something like that to happen again) MAYBE its Karma coming back to bite us like we bitten soo many other people/cultures. I see everyone fails to say that wasnt it Brush senior Adm. that gave Bin Ladin weapons, and help train him?? UMMM yes it was. So why when black people state the truth of history, and facts we are non american? Umm didnt a white man make a PUT IT ON BLAST video about 9/ll and how the Brush Adm. even knew about it before hand and had warning signs? But is Brush non American? NO. Is the white film maker who made the film non American? No. White America just dont want to own up to your diry history. I dont care any way, because I believe in Karma. UMMM its funny how we were the most powerful country in the world, but now our money is wroth nothing. LOLL ..Sooo for those of you who dont believe in Karma, or dont want to own up and say yeah America has done wrong by other countries, people, and cultures, thats why you are the main ones paying how much for GAS?? Just like we invaded their country, dont you think its Karma how they can now invade pockets?

    March 14, 2008 at 11:59 pm |
  14. CJ

    Historically the AA church has combined politics and religion. I am saddened that we are being sent to judgment of someone for snippets in their lives. Clearly this man comes from a time of segregation, fire-hoses and cross burnings as his reference. These events happened-these events have caused wounds and pain to many in our nation. The wounds have caused anger and frustration. While disagreeing with this man's selected snippets- I also can understand the context from which they have come. Truly race has been and continues to be- an issue that our nation must confront. The folks from an older generation have had some life experiences that my generation has not confronted. Barack Obama is the embodiment of those changes . Sen. Obama has renounced his comments (Rev. Wright)-made clear to all who have ears to hear that he does not agree with his statements. Sen. Obama deserves to be JUDGED for his statements-his actions-his beliefs. If works, rather than words are the better course of measure-then it is clear that Sen. Obama is not a hateful person and has not written, nor spoken, nor encouraged racial division. Sen. Obama has instead spoken of unity, empathy, and recognition of the problems that face all Americans. Sen. Obama presents this nation with the confrontation of the issue of race. Racism is alive and well-it is an insidious disease and needs to be addressed head-on. In this Sen. Obama can help this nation to confront the racial divisions and wounds that exist on both sides so that we might move past this issue and on to the healing of this nation. The time has arrived in the form of a man of unique back-ground, bi-racial, no less- and with his arrival our nation must confront our pasts and step through the gate of old ways and old wounds. Senator Obama can help this nation to move forward.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:58 pm |
  15. Marilyn

    Well, I am amazed at the fact that this statement made by Obama's pastor was in 2001. I thought this was recent like yesterday or last week. I have experienced Obama's presence and he absolutely does not come across as a fake person, or a racist. He is quite genuine and open for all whom will receive him. Furthermore, he is half white, half "black." He was raised by his white side of the family and they loved and took wonderful care of him. They made sure he got a good education and now he's out to attempt to do good for the country which I don't doubt.

    I don't really care where Obama attends church, but I must say that I am sure with the man he is, that surely he doesn't agree with this here preacher's talk. Obama has his own mind, he can think, and I honestly believe that he throws the nonsense out, but takes the other good gospel in. He could indeed attend another church, and I hope he'd go ahead and make that decision. However, I've read up enough and have gotten a good bit out of his character and how he is and I'm sure he doesn't believe or go for everything that came out of that preacher's mouth. I don't think Obama should have to answer for the preacher's mouth, the preacher should.

    Obama is definitely for uniting everyone regardless of their race, status, culture, age, everyone together; I wouldn't want to tell him where he should attend, but it'd be better if they found another church that fits him, where a preacher's statements and style of spreading gospel and truth, fits him and his beliefs comfortably.

    I know I've attended church where I don't just sit there and take in everything my pastors tell the crowd. It is my responsibility to find out what my God is all about. God allowed the information to be put out for my eyes to read and digest God's character and intent, God's purpose. I learned about my God first, then I go to church 2nd to share with my fellow believers worship of my God. When I listen to a message, I make sure that the preacher's message is in alignment with my understanding.

    I know Obama is a good man, and he has good beliefs for everyone's benefit. He is not responsible for his preacher, but for himself. He has ultimately done no wrong simply by attending this church. He has displayed no ill character for specific groups of people. If that's the case, this nation would have seen flags ages ago and this is meant to distract or deter people away from him. As long as Obama isn't the one saying these words and behaving that, I'm fine. I have seen exactly the opposite from Obama and this story will not deter or distract me from seeing that truth in him. Blame the preacher, not Obama. Perhaps Obama can bring change in this preacher's mind, and be this preacher's leader, to lead him to positive thoughts.

    Everyone should unite, and supporters of Obama not falter; we should support him to possible victory and give this preacher something positive to talk about. We ought to show him how wrong he is.

    Obama '08

    March 14, 2008 at 11:58 pm |
  16. V. Jackson

    While I am disappointed that this dialogue is directed unfairly at Barak Obama, I'm glad its coming out..... White America needs to learn that the "white" view of America is not always the "right" view or the only view....And the "hate is hate" argument holds no water, sorry but it doesn't....Blacks have been the most "hated" race since the beginning of America....No race in America, knows hate first hand like blacks......................

    March 14, 2008 at 11:57 pm |
  17. Angie

    I have been listening and watching the events/comments of Obama's closest friends since the onset. Frankly, I wondered how it could take this long to come into main stream media.
    To date, all comments have been explained away with the utmost panache.
    Guess what, regardless of how you would like to take any of this, This man's associates are shady at best. You are who your friends are...period. How many attachments can be dismissed as "I didn't know, realize or hear a sermon like this" from people you associate with closely, ongoing, past and present. This is as amazing as it is diappointing.
    Rezko, Rev. Wright, Ayers...and his wifes comments..."she mis-spoke"?? A student of Princeton and Harvard Law school. I find it very doubtful she did not mean what she said. I do think she is smart.

    Do YOU have friends who are facing federal charges, preach hate once, twice or ten times (who cares at that point), is an unrepentant terrorist bomber and lets not forget the lady who is only now proud of the US.
    Let us pull our heads out of sand, as anyone with any sense should do.
    He is preying (and counting) on the ignorant.
    The empty dynamic of "change" has begun.
    Being black is very sad for me today.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  18. Jack

    I guess after 400 years the goodiness of white people will finally come forward and liberate us.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  19. Jennifer

    Has anyone ever considered that maybe Sen. Obama participated as a member of this congregation to help educate those (including the pastor) as a message of love and acceptance and differences?

    This whole issue has to be considered in context. We are seeing 2 speeches (45 second sound bytes) made in OVER 36 YEARS (207,000 minutes of sermons) of a ministry. That is all that we are seeing. Also, this church is predominantly african-american. Would you be surprised to hear some of the things said in a catholic church that is predominantly hispanic? Or a baptist church that is predominantly white? I think many would be VERY surprised.

    However, we are in America. We do have freedom of speech. And this "guilt by association" that is going on with Sen. Obama and his minister unfair and ridiculous.

    If we are going to dissect this situation with Sen. Obama's minister, then we need to DEMAND that same type of dissection into why Sen. Clinton refuses to disclose information/documentation that has been requested numerous times. We need to DEMAND why Sen. McCain would allow our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters to stay in a war for 100 YEARS and why he gladly accepted the support and endorsement of Rev. John Hagee (who some would consider pretty hate-filled).

    Sen. Obama has done so much to show Americans that coming together is the only way we are going to make it through all of the challenges that currently face us. He is the only candidate that talks in "we's" instead of "I's".

    We need to move back to the issues that are important to us as a nation – the economy, the war in Iraq, racial divides, global tension. We must ask ourselves how we can come together as a nation to participate in the needed dialouge to better our country and to become better stewards to the world at large.

    Obama '08

    March 14, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  20. Yoruba

    Dear Anderson,

    Although Reverened Dr. Jeremiah Wright's comments were radical, I don't feel that Senator Obama or any other presidential candidate should be held responsible for everything their affiliates or campaign members say and these statements do not necessarily reflect their values and opinions. I understand that when running for the presidency or any political office, you have to set examples and uphold certain values, but in no way should they be condemned on the basis of other people's viewpoints just because they have ties to them. With that being said, not everyone is guilty by association. Also, while watching your show and other news programs, I see so many experts get on the panels and say what they think it means to be American, or what America should be, but the truth of the matter is that to a greater extent, America was built on slavery, racism, sexism and hatred and there are people in this country everyday who suffer from these social or political evils. Almost everything in the United States is broken down to these core constituents. No, I did not grow up in the Civil Rights Era, but I can truly say that as an African American woman, I am a victim of racism and sexism everyday and it will be that way until the day I die. I don't have a choice, I just have to deal with it. Also, it is easy for individuals, particuarly white males, to say how others should feel or what they should think when it comes to racism or even sexism, but when you are on the other side of the track and your ancestors have endured a history of blatant discrimination that still carries over to this day, you tend to see things from a very different aspect. When Dr. Wright said that Hillary Clinton has never been called a "N", I was able to identify because, when I was four years old, an elderly white man called me a "N bi%$%"; no need for me to spell it out. All things said, I know what it means to be an American from the other side of the tracks.


    March 14, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  21. Mary MacDougall

    YouTube Trinity Church Jeramiah Wright ,,,,A good site to learn more about Obama's beloved mentor who compares Obama to Jesus..

    Barack sat in the bushes for two months because that sermon is designed to win black voters away from Senator Clinton.
    What a wily SNEAK.
    Racism is OK for Obama if he is winning.
    He dares to compare a patriot like Geraldine Farrero to Rev. ////wright.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  22. cathy

    This is an elderly black minister who walked a path I never walked. I'm a 53 yr. old white married mother. I loved my grandmother dearly and she had many great qualities, however she was a racist. I cherished her wisdom in many areas and I would have given my life for her, but I would never have agreed with her racial views and I would hate to be judged by her statements. Barrack should only be judged for his own beliefs. Not for his race.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:55 pm |
  23. Bill

    I guess it's over for Senator Obama. Good try! Maybe, another try in 2016.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:55 pm |
  24. kenya

    Barack Obama is not Mr. Wright. Barack Obama has learned much from Mr. Wright. Can you do an expose on the OTHER accomplishments, sermons and so forth of this pastor or will you continue to play a mix of his worst moments?

    My friend in Chicago goes to his church – she has never heard this tone and tenor just as Barack said.

    I think its important for Barack to really know this group of people in that church. This way he is in tune with all the sides to AMerican life. He can help others unify with this obtuse group and vice versa. It's time for CHANGE on all sides.

    Get real CNN.

    Obama 08

    March 14, 2008 at 11:55 pm |
  25. Gary Bickel

    It seems to me that it is the media that has turned this primary into a issue of race. granted the staff of both candidates have made remarks bordering on racist. The media has purpetuated these stories by beating them to death. All the while the economy is in the gutter. Thousands of people are losing their homes across the country. Thousands of our young men and women continue to loose their lives in Bushes war. It is a shame that the media seems set on making Barack responsible for someone elses words. Mr. Wright served this country in the Military. He has been of service to his community for 36 years. How can you reduce this service to a 45 second patchwork of a few of his sermons. I believe that the population of this country will see through all the B.S. that continues to be put out by the media in order to avoid talking about what is really going on in the world and do the right thing for our country during this election. None of thie retoric has changed my mind. I voted for Obama in the California Primary and will vote for him when he is the Democratic Nominee.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  26. FurianWarrior

    What ever happened tothe John Hagee comment. Did John McCain have to dis-associated himself from Hagee comments. Oh dors McCain eeven go to church. Perhaps he is an Atheist. would that make him unacceptable.

    NEWS FLASH the rest of the world is laughing histerically at our AMERICAN HYPOCRISY....

    March 14, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  27. Dorothy Watkins

    This issue is ludicrious. Stones have been continuously thrown at Sen. Barack Obama. Pastor Jerimiah did not call Hillary a horrible name, see the picture for what it is. Senator Obama does clearly not share in his views and I believe him. If you continue to push this than all candidates should be investigated. John Hagee and Rod Parsley preach very strongly and you may not share in what they deliver in terms of speech. They endorsed and support John McCain as they did with Pres. Bush. Just to update you, all churches are clearly not black or white. There are non-denominational churches, some primarily African American with caucasian pastors. and some include all races, we are moving. Also their were caucasians sitting in his congregation. Personally, I feel as though this is another deceitful setup by an individualo who wants Sen. Obama out. Clearly a pattern has been established. This is poor on our part to allow a distraction from the people one more time. We should be more mature than this. Comments such as those of issue are not expressed only in "black" churches. This is sad. I would think the media would have better sense than to feed into this.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  28. Geraldine Brown

    I guess I really am furious – this emphasis we place on a black preacher telling the truth. I remember in my days of working for the women's movement in D.C. in the 70's. After a meeting I and another white woman were trying to get a cab out near the Sheraton to get back to the Capitol. Cab after cab bypassed us and the black women who were with us (2 of us white; 4 black) said that is how it is. Black people cannot get cabs in DC. Finally we split up and had the black women stay behind and the white women flagged the cab. Immediately two cabs stopped and the cabbies nearly had heart attacks when the black women rushed up to get in with us. About the war in Vietnam – remember McNamara's confessions and shame? And how many prominent people today are against the war in Iraq and agree that we are killing innocent people and have done so in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Nicaragua. It is time our collective conscience realizes that we are not an innocent country. And those of us who oppose discrimination and violence do not hate our country; we love it. Personally, it has been a long time since I have had pride in my country but I have hope. I was in Romania when we invaded Iraq and heard first hand the pain of a country who remembered what it waslike to have been invaded and occupied over and over again so is still struggling to regain its identity? Stop the nonsense in dissecting remarks that are true. The head of Family Services should try to understand what has really been happening to black families whose tradition in this country was undermined and abused from the very beginning? And why bring up Muslims? His cavalier "except maybe the Muslims" shows he knows nothing of the religion of ordinary Muslims as opposed to those who are so frustrated with what the Western World has tried to do to their identity and culture, they are willing to bomb themselves and others. Does he know that the Muslims honor Jesus as a major prophet? Does criticizing this country have to result in a persn's reputation being diminshed and damned by the self righteous white man? Reverend Wright's comments won't hurt a single one of those white men, but it will hurt blacks because of our intent to look for the defense of the white man's follies and self righteousness. Our country still does not have gained the place of equality and liberty for all and maybe this incident that has exploded will force all to take a really long hard look in the mirror of where we really are as a nation. We still have not achieved the goals of the Declaration of Independence and we are a nation set on achieving results with lies and destruction. Look at what we are doing with our wink and a nod at China's at China's human rights policies and why are we not speaking out against the slaughter of a country, a religion, and civilization in Tibet. Could it be the greed of the industrialists who are opening up China markets and industries for the profit of shareholders who make money on the backs of poorly paid Chinese workers and the devastation of jobs for Americans here at home.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  29. Melchior D'Orient

    I have not yet found anything Jeremiah has said that is either unpatriotic, incorrect or evil. While I doubt that Barak shares the pastors views, were he to hold these views, I believe this would not adversely affect his presidency. To the contrary, only by accepting the evils or faults of a nation can one change the nation.

    With blame comes the power to change. Avoid blame and remain powerless.

    I am a white Anglo-Australian living in the USA. Our prime minister Kevin Rudd, recently officially apologised to the Aboriginal people for the "stolen generation" policies amongst other things.

    It would be akin to a president officially apologising to the Cherokee for the trail of tears, or to Black Americans for slavery. Something I think that would help heal the scars of hurst which will never heal unless they are faced head on.

    To many people equate patriotism with having no criticism or seeing no fault. Many people will hate the one who speaks out about a problem, rather than the problem itself. Certainly seems true of Jeremiah Wright here.

    But love is not blind. If you love your child, yet refuse to accept they are walking into danger or becoming more violent or hurting themselves, that would actually be negligent.

    America has problems. Past and present. Big deal!! No nation is perfect. Talking about those problems is the only way to move the country forward.

    "America is controlled by rich white folks". Is this really so evil? It IS TRUE!! All the presidential candidates of the last few years have been ultra-wealthy. Corporations dictate public policy. Take out the "white" and you have the classic truth of the golden rule: "he who has the gold rules".

    March 14, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  30. Mark

    It is interesting how we are asked to look at the 36 years of ministry of Rev. Wright instead of just 30 seconds of inflammatory rhetoric. Why was no one from this church or Barak Obama quick to stand up for Don Immus and his long career when he made some inappropriate comments? Was Immus held to a higher standard because he is white, or is the Rev. Wright held to a lower standard because he is a minister? (I don't dare say because he is black). I always thought wrong is wrong, no matter what color you are or if you are speaking to the public on a radio station or to the public from the pulpit!

    March 14, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  31. Beverle

    People, get a grip!!!
    America stood by while The Philadelphia Experiment had Black men injected with syphillis and then watched as they died just so they could see what would happen. Black people were brought to American chained in the bowels of ships where they defecated on one another and kept wallowing in it while Americans dined and prayed to Jesus above. Black men, women and children were hung from trees by Americans and pictures were taken and used as postcards so they could share the experience with their families and friends. Americans beat black people if they so much as attempted to speak English or learn to read and today they are ridiculed as ignorant and unintelligent. Black slaves were freed witihout the knowledge of the land to which they had been brought or its culture and then told they had no sense of country. And then American decided under Jesus that Black people were only half human and in HIS name they were denied every opportunity available.

    And from that came a Barack Obama who has attempted, in this campaign to rise above it all and say as an Americans, "Yes we can," remove racism, remove sexism , remove historic pains and move this country to a place that we all play lip-service to; a place where one is judged by the content of HIS character.

    Rather than pick up that mantle, we have decended into this vile discussion that lends credence to all that Mr. Obama alone has tried to move us from.

    Jeremiah Write might be giving a hate speech, but if he is, he sure has a lot of material with which to do so. Far greater than his words has been American's actions and don't give me the crap that that was yesterday and has nothing to do you us.

    Let it go people, there is a much better way.

    Unlike Mrs. Obama, I unequivocally state I am ashamed of America at this moment and truly saddened that Mr. Obama has put himself on the line for an ungrateful, self serving country .

    March 14, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  32. Beanie

    AC can we get back to the issues? Can you imagine , we are now associating the candidates with what their preachers say?, When is the media going to stop fanning flames? I want to know what the Hillary camp got up their sleeves next? I predict 3 days before Pennsylvania , we are going to see somethhing about the Black Panther party surfacing tying Obama's father to that movement. We are finally rooting in the racial mud. God Bless America!!! We will do anything to put out the little ray of hope and light that surfaced thru a rainbow child – Barack Obama

    March 14, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  33. Maria

    I think Rev. Wright has a right to say whatever he wants. After all, Free Speech is every American's right!!!! Let's not forget, he was a MARINE...AGAIN, HE WAS A MARINE.....WHAT the HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU GUYS?

    I think America as a collective has to FOCUS on the real problem, i.e., the TANKING ECONOMY, and realize that America has been sucked dry by companies like Haliburton, Black Water, and the politicians who are in cahoots with them, i.e., PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, V.P. DICK CHENEY, etc..... If Americans keep obsessing about race, and questionable remarks made by certain individuals, the country is DOOMED!!! AND, EVEN GOD CAN'T SAVE IT!!!! So, get past your HATE and wake up to the reality that the world has changed, and if you keep bickering about he said, she said, the WORLD is going to pass you by!!!!

    Also, Americans need to realize that past misdeeds are going to pop up over and over again. Americans need to address their SHAMEFUL PAST...YOU CAN'T BURY IT AND CAN'T BULLY PEOPLE INTO SHUTTING UP ABOUT IT!!!! OWN UP YOUR MISTAKES!!!!

    March 14, 2008 at 11:52 pm |
  34. Tina

    Black America has embraced the culture of White America more than White America has embraced Black America. We cannot selectively ignore parts of our history. I love my country black, white, brown and yellow.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:52 pm |
  35. Chy

    When the media plays controversial scenes over and over again, it inherently plants them in people's mind. There is something fundamentally impartial about the way the news covers these kinds of stories.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:52 pm |
  36. Ester

    Rev. Wright may reflect the views of those of us who were here during the 30's, 40's, 50,s and 60's. than Barack Obama. We remember the troops coming back after fighting and protecting this country only to be told they were not good enough to enjoy full citizenship in this country. Rev. Wright is a preacher he is not a politician. The church is the most segregated place in America on Sunday mornings. Why are people talking about Rev. Wright as if he started terrorism and segregation in this country. Rev. Wright has not said anything that is not true. I hope the media will get off this Rev. Wright thing and get back to the issues that concern all of us. Gas prices are soaring, our economy is going down the tube, we need jobs, prison overcrowding is a real problem, healthe care and education is broken, hopefully not beyond repair. We need to get the candidates back on the topics that concerns us. Anderson please stop acting as if we as black people in this place called America ought to be happy, happy, happy, and have nothing to say about the way we have been treated. Please don't disrespect us like that. We had to fight and die for the right to vote, and then only for white men. We had to have constitutional amendments just to receive certain rights you and others were born into. Have you ever stopped to think about how that makes us feel? Do you or anyone else in this country care? Anderson why doesn't the constitution represent me and my people? Why do white people in this country think you have the right to treat us like we're children even to telling us what we can and cannot say. Rev. Wright speaks from the pain of being black in this country. You know the history of this country, and you know we have been terrorized every sinse we have been in this country. The church has always been the social gathering place for us black folk, and our preachers have always been the one we go to when there is trouble. Nobody can tell us what being black means. White preachers cannot speak to us about what it means to be black in this country. It's this kind of condescending that has caused so much deep seated resentment . I don't appreciate you or any one else questioning Barack as if he is your child. He's answered your questions, so why don't you just back off and leave him alone so that he can get back to what he needs to do?

    March 14, 2008 at 11:51 pm |
  37. toy

    Barack Obama is a presidential canidate and the Rev is a Rev. If we all look back there have been people to say there opinions but only if you are a political figure do you have to reject your religious beliefs, or where you come from. I'm sorry but how can you change something, If you never been through anything how will you know what to change? What is he suppose to do, sweep it under the rug like we have done for over 100 years you can not change that white men inslaved what we called African Americans, we can not change the white man killed jewes, we can not change that the white man stole the land and rape and killed the red man somethings can not be changes but we can not change history as Barack Obama states we can move foward. We should not forget but we must learn how to live with all the people of america pains and misfortunes together.


    March 14, 2008 at 11:51 pm |
  38. Sandra

    I am proud that CNN has always had the courage to show things as they really are. All of this race issue was in the backgroung before. It needs to be in the forefront. People, need to know the truth.

    Dont back down Anderson.

    I know that Anderson Cooper cares about all people. He was one of the first ones there in New Orleans, and one of the first to speak the truth. The race issue in the elections is a true and serious one. Blacks are not ready. I am black, I know.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:51 pm |
  39. Elsa Chicago

    This is the media's ploy to hold information to the public until Obama is almost sure of getting the nomination. The media especially CNN must be held accountable for being unfair to the public and other candidates. The have given Obama preferential treatment and never put him in the same scrutiny as Hillary. It may be correct that most White Men would rather vote for a black man without experience but stands out on rhetoric than action. Now CNN, how do you make things right and start provide integrity to your news.

    Do you still believe Obama even with his close association with his racist pastor for 20 years as an uncle, a family, inspiration ,and etc....? Not to mention that this same pastor has association with Farakhaan. I'm not surpirse of the remark of Michelle not being proud to be an American until her husband was winning votes. It can get scary because change can be good or bad. Who is really Barack Obama? Why are you NOT digging deeper who really is this man who will potentially become our President.? Why are you not looking into his association with Rezko?

    March 14, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  40. Elizabeth

    For starters, it is very believable that Senator Obama did not have prior knowledge of all the things the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright Jr. had said. Trinity United Church of Christ has 3 services per Sunday, as do many of the churches known as Mega Churches. (Mega Churches are those with 7000 members and up.)

    Do the math – 52 weeks in a year means 52 Sundays a year times 3 services a Sunday equals 156 sermons. When you add on special Worship services like Communion Services, Revivals, Holy Week, Good Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, Church conferences, Funerals, and many other events, you could easily be talking about 500 plus sermons a year. Do you think during 17 – 20 years Sen. Obama was present at every service?

    Not to mention in the Black Church community churches fellowship with one another, meaning one church will go to another and the Pastor of that church will Preach there and then that church will in turn visit that church and its Pastor will Preach there. Plus Pastors like Dr. Wright travel and preach services at churches and theology schools around the country and world. I guess Sen. Obama should know everything he said then too.

    The Black Church is a very unique entity. Your lack of knowledge, study, and research into the history of the many denominations of the Black church is affecting the way you are presenting this story and making it look to others.

    Sadly one of the biggest things to happen to Blacks and other minorities in America is racism. Things like slavery, lynching, cross burnings, and Jim Crow laws are all factual realities that have occurred to Blacks in America. Many Pastors of Black churches speak about racism, and how many whites and others look down on blacks and other minorities. This tradition of speaking to current circumstances or situations with scripture goes back to the days of slavery.

    While I do not agree with this particular sermon by Dr. Wright, the things he and many other Black/African-American Preachers speak about come from history and the things experienced by those in their congregation. Again slavery, beatings of Blacks, job discrimination, cross burnings, and a whole list of other things happened and are unfortunately still happening.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  41. Paul

    First of all, do not forget that Barack is half white. His mother is white and his grandfather fought in Patton's army.

    This situation illustrates the major problem that I see in this country. Americans over 50 +/- seem to still have a lot of racial issues and pain. Younger Americans have grown up in a much different America than the older ones. Most of our America is not shaped by daily blatant racial bias and ideals.

    That is why Barack is the candidate of change for this country. He is attracting a younger audience who has not, up until now, been force fed the racial issues and problems which were prevalent with the older generation.

    The media's race baiting stories of Old Ms. Ferraro and Old Rev. Wright say to me, loud and clear, that the older generation needs to get out of the way, and take their racial divisiveness with them, so that our younger generation can continue to grow together.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  42. Emmanuel

    I do not understand Anderson what you are trying to do! Are you trying to crucify Senator Obama for the incendiary comments by his former Pastor? Would you like to be held accountable for everything your pastor or relatives or friends said? I think you are taking this too far. Step back and leave the Senator alone he is not responsible or accountable for someone else statement. Why not take others religious Presidential Candidates in the Republican Party who express outrageous religious comments for instance Senator McCain a Christian as he would like us to believe who said on the TV that he wished Castro would die! Is that a Christian 'wish' coming from a wanna be President of the United States!

    March 14, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  43. Donald Dureau

    This is typical TV sound byte journalism. No understanding of the entire context of any of this and no understanding of the past and what it was like to live in the segregated south. I did, as a white man and everything this pastor says in these videos clips, except the God Damn America, is true. Do white people feel so threatened by this as to make it a hate sermon as opposed to reality sermon of the black experience.

    I am sorry, but even as a white man of 66 who grew up in New Orleans, this is reality for black men.

    And having homophobic Perkins on this show gives it no credibility at all, especiallly for you Andersons

    March 14, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  44. Sam

    Considering the obvious background of Senator Obama and his association with his pastor (Wright) for –20 YEARS– in an environment which apparently taught blatent racist views and attitudes toward white people and the United States, the upstanding and statesmanlike reaction for Sen. Obama to take is to WITHDRAW HIS CANDIDACY for the democratic nomination, thereby bringing the party together in an effort to win the White House in November.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:49 pm |
  45. Jayson

    Kay, is it child abuse to send your young boys to Catholic church or school knowing the position the church has taken to protect these pedophiles? In some cases the archdiocese re-assigned and protected these priests! Tell me, should all Catholics denounce the church because of this position? Please put things in the proper context. America has many shameful acts in her past, but do we Americans love her any less for it? NO! I love this country in spite of the fact that my Great Grand parents were slaves. VOTERS please keep the main thing the main thing! End this stupid war! Boost the economy! Give public education a huge cash infusion! Alternative fuels! And lastly you can best believe that if Hillary or McCain could garner up enough votes to win an election, they would make campaign stops at Reverend Wright’s church. I’m curious to know if Bill Clinton ever made that church one of his campaign stops. I have seen Bill Clinton campaigning in 1990 and 1994 at First A.M.E. and Pastor Chip Murray also a former Marine has preached similar sermons. This doesn’t stop any politician seeking Black votes. Isn’t America Great in that we can have this dialogue and form our own opinions?

    March 14, 2008 at 11:49 pm |
  46. Pamela Williams

    With regard to Rev. Wright's sermon:
    1) Sen. Obama cannot be held responsible for what every Tom, Dick and Harry says
    2) Voters who would allow themselves to be so influenced by this sermon as to want to withdraw their support from Sen. Obama are not very bright
    3) I would not doubt it if the campaign people for Hilary Clinton leaked this to the media in an effort to take the focus off the real issues.

    Hilary Clinton must really be running scared to resort to this kind of scare tactic.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  47. Lynnette

    This is why I hate politics being mixed in with religion. I go to a church that I love. The people are kind, the programs are wonderful, and the Pastor is excellent. The church is a Southern Baptist Church. Typically, I don't care what "grouping" a church falls under as long as it is Christian and welcoming of all. I must admit, there have been several Sundays when I sit in the pew and cringe because the Pastor has made yet another Bill Clinton "joke" or something was said about "those Democrats". I don't consider myself part of either party. I vote for the best person....period. Without saying it, my pastor has made it pretty clear he is a Republican and Democrats are evil idiots. I do not agree with this. In fact, I asked when I joined the church if I had the church plate on the front was I required to have the "W" sticker on the back! I cannot control what my Pastor says about the outside world. He is entitled to his belief. I do not have to agree with him. I go to church to learn about what God believes. My Pastor has a gift to break down God's message and get it into peoples hearts. That is all that matters. It is close to impossible to find a church that has not expressed an opinion over some political issue. Don't punish someone for going to church and respecting someone for how they have helped them get in touch with their spirituality. I respect my Pastor for that. But, he won't get that "W" sticker on the back of my car!!!! So church leaders listen up...perhaps it is high time to take the Politics out of church. Lead your "sheep" to God. He will lead them down the right path and they will help others to find it.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  48. Leah

    I am appalled by all of the racial comments flying back and forth. First I would like to say that I am a Christian who believes that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and died for your sins and mine. I also belong to a wonderful, warm, people-loving no matter what color you are church. Even though I love my church family and my pastor, it doesn't mean I always agree with everything he says. There is always going to be a difference of opinion in how we interpret things in the bible, so I have to agree that Barack Obama probably doesn't always agree with Rev. Wright. It is true that most of the reason we stay with the church we choose isn't about the pastor, it's about the spiritual support we have with one another as a congregation. I do think Rev. Wright sounds a little racist, but I don't believe we as Americans should hold that over Barack Obama's head as if he was the one who said it. Enough of the racy political strategies the media and politicians are pulling. I think America has had enough! We need change, and I think Barack Obama is the man for the job. Let's bring everyone together united as one...that is what the Kingdom of God is all about. And shame on Rev. Wright for his comments...that doesn't sound very Christian like to me. Would Jesus have said those things? God bless America and God bless Barack Obama and his family and his campaign.

    Barack Obama for President '08!

    March 14, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  49. Rhonda

    I am a Hillary supporter, but I always have admired Obama's speaking and ideas, but feel he doesn't have the experience yet to be president.

    Our government is made up of a Senate and House of Representatives that are full of members with their own sets of agendas and for a president to think all these huge changes can take place right away is just not feasible. Hillary knows this and she can work with this.

    I feel that the media has been unfair from the very beginning of this campaign. It's been very obvious.

    I love watching news programs and do so all the time. What I have seen, is that the media seems to be almost afraid to point out any weaknesses in Obama's ideas and to find excuses for any "scandals" that arise. I noticed that tonight on CNN they showed the picture of him in prayer as they discussed Rev. Wright's controversial sermons. Is the media afraid of an uprising from African Americans if they come down hard on Obama? Shouldn't they fear an uprising from women if they slam Hillary then? Or maybe all senior citizens will take up walkers and canes and storm their local papers if they write something inflammatory about Senator McCain!

    March 14, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  50. Jason

    It's ridiculous the way some people reason.

    My question is: Should we leave our country and switch allegiance for a controversial statement our President said? The answer is No.
    I'm a catholic and when my Rev. Father sways into politics, sometimes it's contrary to my political views. I only wait for him to leave political topic and go back to the sermon. The Bible is what we all believe in. His political views most times is contrary to my own political views. Politics does not often came up in churches anyway.
    The way I'd analyse Rev. Wright is that he grow up in the 60's and probably still nurse some grudges. But the later generation is completely different in their opinions because the world they see now is unlike the 60's which we all know wasn't so kind to blacks.

    But it's funny Obama doesn't know were he stands now. He was born of a white woman and was raised by his white grandparents. Some blacks say he is not black enough. Now a white woman is saying he is lucky to be were he is now because he is black. Surely he is neither white nor black. So people using race to attack him should just forget about it.

    March 14, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
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