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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. Mac

    I do try to enjoy your coverage, and sometimes do. But I have to agree with the others who feel disappointment with this. I have to say, your show seemed typical tonight, at best.

    "He has to prove that he wasn't influenced by this message?" (Tony Perkins said)... what a ridiculas, self absorbed thing to say. This is someone your network considers an authority on religion? If we assume he's been listening to Obama, and I suppose we can, if you're asking him to join you debating this... he's recommending that we should be suspicious of Obama's very ideals, because of this?

    Next time Tony is "featured", please ask him, specifically, how he feels about Huckabee's statement about changing our constitution to accomodate the bible... because if he dances at all about that, I think we have a far better example for suspicion.

    Do you suppose everyone Tony has ever spent time with, believe's the bible is even valid in this society?.... I bet not. And so we should question most everything he says, while talking about what he's most passionate about, because of these associations?

    Of course, as I'm finishing this post, your adding a "question" about McCain's "associations" also, although much less emphasised.

    And just so it's been said... I believe that religion should be absent in any political process, especially in the U.S. But it's also worth saying, since you brought it up... do you suppose baptists have nearly as much justification for hating homosexuals, as the black community has for hating white politicians?

    March 15, 2008 at 1:46 am |
  2. Laurie

    How is it that Barack Obama missed all of this pastor's controversial sermons, never heard any of these divisive statements until now? It is almost impossible to believe that Senator Obama did not attend his church on any of these occasions, never heard and was never informed by any fellow members of his congregation about these sermons and statements (even though they were specifically about him and about Senator Clinton). Senator Obama didn't answer the question Anderson Cooper asked regarding this claim of having heard nothing about this until just as the pastor was ready to retire.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:46 am |
  3. DMARKCO

    HYPOCRITICAL CHOICES HAVE HYPOCRITICAL CONSEQUENCES!

    March 15, 2008 at 1:45 am |
  4. Claudia Givens

    People, Anderson, media...get a grip! This to me is politics as usual and I, as one person, find it so ugly. There is nothing I have heard in Obama's messages and speeches up to this point that would lead me to believe that he has the belief system of this minister. We have only heard 2 snippets of this particular preacher's sermons and after 30 years of ministry, do we seriously believe that his whole life's preachings are pared down to just these 2 bits of video? I'm giving Obama way more credit for having a heart and a brain. I wish I could say the same for the Anderson Cooper's of the world right now. I totally agree with Chris.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:45 am |
  5. Shannon in Rancho

    I think we need to keep in mind that these are Rev Wright's words not Senator Obama's words.

    Anyone who has heard Senator Obama speak, over and over and over again, has never heard him say anything that can be construed as divisive. Obama's message has been consistently one of bringing everyone together, black, white, mexican, asian etc. He has stated, time and time again, that he does not want to be known as the "black presidential candidate".

    Senator Obama has been described as the one candidate that has brought this country together all people of all races. This is another ploy to try to bring Obama down by attributing statements to him that were made by someone else.

    While we are examining what Rev Wright said, we should also be examining what John McCain's supporter's, Rod Parsley and Pastor Hagee said. Why are we not scrutinizing their comments and support for John Mc Cain.

    Mc Cain is seen on CNN openly accepting support from both of these pastors.

    Obama is seen as clearly "rejecting and denouncing" the divisive statements and comments by Rev Wright, he also stated that Rev Wright is not and has not been a part of his campaign. It seems that there is a double standard in play here.

    Racial matters in America are still very real and very prevalent in our society. However, as a white woman I feel that Senator Obama has stated his case convincingly for bringing together all people of all races for the good of America.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:45 am |
  6. virginia

    Kay and all those whom think obama should step down would love to see all blacks in slaved again. who is you to tell what is right from wrong. question black no longer have free speech? What white america done to blacks than and still is going on today. white start it, the hate killing, raping and beating of my people but we should not feel nor think any think that have happen to us. When you live in a glass house don't throw stones.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:45 am |
  7. Kristy

    BLACK PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT OPINIONS ON HOW WE VIEW SOCIETY, BUT DOES THAT MEAN WERE NOT AMERICAN? YOU CANT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT WHITE PEOPLE OR YOUR NOT AMERICAN? IM BLACK AND I UNDERSTAND THAT PASTOR, I MIGHT NOT AGREE WITH HIM BUT I UNDERSTAND.IM SURE BARACK FEELS THE SAME.........

    March 15, 2008 at 1:41 am |
  8. brocc

    In the past months the media has questioned obama's religon, and tryed to convince the public he is not a christian. Now its all about him being too involved with a christian church and pastor. What will be next? Go Barack Obama. You got my vote and im just an average white man. I would never judge any one because of the people they know or been infulenced by. I have lots of friends that have said things that i dont believe in and despite the things they have said, they have infulenced me in many other positive ways. I guess if anything, the meida will stop questioning Obama's religon.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:40 am |
  9. Strong

    It's very sad that both Hillary and Barack have bad people representing them. Every other day they have to defend themselves to the world because some idiot has made a racist statement about the other opponent. They both are a minority in this race and because we're so guided by what we see instead of what we believe, we get wrapped up in this kind of drama. What about McCain's pastor who forsakes Gays? there's something everyday!!

    March 15, 2008 at 1:40 am |
  10. brenda

    i have been watching cnn off and on all day, and the main issue today is mr. obama's pastor, i can't believe that mr. obama is being chestized because of the opinon of another man. it seems to me that it is made to look like because an old african american remembering the struggles and hardship of the black people in his day, reflects the ability to run a country. it seems to me that the real problem is, white people don't want to be reminded of the crimes and haterd of thier forfather and some people today. so instead of worrying about remarks that a pastor that is not running for president makes. i think that the issue should be how can making mr. obama president of the united states of america change this mess that the bush administration has gotten us in. bill clinton, hillary clinton, geraldine ferraro and others has shown that racesim is still alive also. so please let's get back to the matters at hand. what a pastor says is not going to bring this country back to where it should be.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:40 am |
  11. Marty

    Why do we hear so much about what a poor black boy Obama was? Fact is: Most everyone like the Rev. conviently want to forget he is half white, he was raised by his white grandparents, he went to private schools, he has a college education, excuse me!!!! IF he didn't know that this kind of talk was going on in his church, WHY didn't he? How could he have NOT known?

    March 15, 2008 at 1:39 am |
  12. Ray

    I am disappointed that CNN has not recognized on the air that people can be influenced in an opposite direction from those sermons and/or opinionated speeches they hear. Certainly Obama has been influenced by his pastor, but the influence has not been to "buy into" a racist mindset but rather to recognize the existence of it and try to help this country join together as Americans and move beyond it. I thought he (Obama) said that very clearly tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 and hope that CNN will acknowledge that. If you don't understand the pain of others, you can do little to relieve it. Obama recognizes the pain of our country.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:39 am |
  13. athena

    Obama voluntarily attended Wright's church for 20 years; he was married in this church; he and his wife took their children to hear the hate filled racist sermons; Obama donated $22,000+ to this church; Wright has been an advisor to the Obama campaign; and Wright is Obama's spiritual leader.

    Michelle Obama's thesis clearly shows a person obsessed by racism. Michelle Obama recently stated for the first time in her life she is proud of her country.

    Every time someone questions Obama about his campaign platforms, his supporters call the questioner a racist and make nasty personal comments. (Read the Obama blogs.)

    For a candidate who wants to unite the country (and the world), his personal life and campaign are full of contradictions. The questions are: Who is the real racist? Why do McCain and Hillary keep apologizing to him? Why hasn't Obama apologized for Wright's comments like Hillary and McCain have for their associates? And last, why is the MSM allowing the Obama campaign to continue to race bait?

    March 15, 2008 at 1:38 am |
  14. Denise

    Bond stated "This is old news Anderson. This is obviously CNN’s way of “giving some” to both candidates after the Ferraro fiasco and after Clinton whining about being picked on by the media. Even after the candidates once again reiterated that they want to focus on the issues, you at CNN are the ones injecting the racial focus" In my opinion, the media is making this bigger than what it truly is. First, there are people who don't want to have an African American for president so they will do what ever to keep Obama from becoming president of the Untied States. It seems as though the media is trying to find as much dirt on Obama but fail to seek out what Hillary Clinton is hiding such as; taxes and Congress Library. Once she begin whining, all the attention was taking away from her taxes and etc..

    March 15, 2008 at 1:38 am |
  15. Gerhard Schwarz

    The fast rise and fall off Senator Barack Obama!

    March 15, 2008 at 1:38 am |
  16. Angela

    Fellow Bloggers,

    Relax and breathe, so you can sift through your emotions and eventually hear the truth of what is happening.

    Senator Obama is running for President, NOT his retired Pastor. Furthermore, these messages from this Pastor have leaked out at this time for a Political Agenda.

    As far as the comments of the Black Pastor, they are NOT new nor are the reactions of White or Black America. What I appreciate about this situation that is different than any in the past for me is that I finally have an opportunity to have my voice heard beyond my own family and community as a black person.

    So, I will say this: White America what will you have Black America do with our historical pain and baggage that we are grappling with?
    When we (blacks) express ourselves passionately you see it as anger? When we are honest about our experiences as Americans in this country you see us as Anti-Americans?

    How should we express ourselves? Even in the pulpit as Rev Wright?
    I THOUGH SENATOR OBAMA WAS TRYING TO PROVIDE AN ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION. FOR THIS FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY, I HAVE KNOWN NO OTHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO COME CLOSE TO SOLVING THIS RACIAL DIVIDE. TO ME, THIS IS THE AUDACITY OF HOPE.

    Angela

    March 15, 2008 at 1:38 am |
  17. Jac

    I am not voting for Barak and or Hillary but I do believe that this is fair to Senator Obama. Tell me does anyone think that Hillary has never made a racist remark, never said the "N" word being where she is from. Do not black's have a different view of America? Should they not have? I am a middle class white female and it sickens me that we still have the racial divide in this country today. Shame on the news media once again for over playing the story until we can quote verbatum. Finally I thank God that I didn't live in the place and time that this Reverend has had too. I feel blessed being a white woman born to white hard working parents. This gives me no more right to anything but it sure as hell paved the way.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:37 am |
  18. joseph s. stanzak

    Instead of attacking someone's religion why don't you cover why we would consider electing another president who doesn't know how to tell the truth. Not Obama, it's Clinton. She stated that she was instrumental in passing the child health care act. In fact, the Clinton administration actually opposed that act and Clinton had nothing to do with its passage. Now that is a story that is relevant. Clinton's own words are relevant. Not something someone else said that can neither be controled nor prohibited. If that is the best you can do to discredit Obama, then he must be a pretty honest fellow.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:36 am |
  19. Chris Rubio

    You know what amazes me with the posts? What politician could attain his level without money? Politics corrupts and corruption funds politicians. Both the Dems and the Rep's in Congress are like school children, except they are manipulating district lines to keep power. And as far as listening to a Pastor who you don't agree with. Who is the one at fault? The one who talks or the one that listens? I think it is the one who listens. Two are not together unless they agree–that is scriptual. The man who led me to my faith and preached the bible only brought me to a fuller understanding that it was MY choice. I had to read a verify my own relationship with God. When I read in the bible things that disagreed with my Pastor, I left the Church. It is better to listen to God alone then a Pastor preaching other than the bible. This is a free country that has had serious race relations problems for centuries. Barack is right in that these latent issues need to be addressed but at the same time, to dwell in the past keeps you from moving forward. Those who do not study their history are destined to repeat it. We need to learn and move on, but never forget!

    March 15, 2008 at 1:35 am |
  20. Lyra Talarico

    Anderson
    Watching Obama telling America his side of the story concerning his minister was very telling of his character. I feel that he is an honest man and I do not believe his views are the same as his minister. What the news media and the public fails to realize is the fact that Obama's mother was a white woman and raised him by herself. So how can Obama put down a race of people that he is a part of. How can he have a racist bone in his body. Ot have a hatred towards the white race? I don't see him as a man that hates who he is. Obama is a proud man, a man full of confidence with a knowledge of self. Obama is a man full of self-respect.

    It's only common sense that his ministers views putting down the white race is not what Obama could possibly believe in being both black and white. Obama being of both races and with his unique background is what this country needs. It will help pull both races, all races of people closer together and open up much needed discussions on race in America. You must remember the generational differences between Obama and his minister. They may share a history, but have two totally different experiences,

    If America can put down Obama for his relationship with his minister. I remember Billy Graham having many invitations to the White House. I also remember the some of the unpleasant things that came from his mouth. Yet the invitations to the White House was always there.

    Lyra

    March 15, 2008 at 1:34 am |
  21. Brenda Schubach

    After learning more about Obama's Paster and Obama's direct relationship with his paster there is no way in hell that I would vote for Obama. I am a 911 survivor and am proud of my country. If Obama is not then he should get out. Will Obama support the US in time of war? he can't be trusted.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:34 am |
  22. Maryann Mathiasen

    What frightens me is the enthusiasm of Mr. Obama's fellow parishioners to that loud speach in his Church. This Pastor is clearly admired by his congregation. Obama has been siting with these people for years!!! I don't believe for one minute that Mr. Obama has not sat through many a similar sermon. Dr. Right has been found out and so has Obama.
    People leave churches right away when their pastors are nuts. He didn't he was a follower!!

    March 15, 2008 at 1:34 am |
  23. Kathie

    I think I am just a little sick of everyone making excuses for Obama. I didnt know who I was going to vote for but after that I know it wont be him. A pastor is suppose to preach love not hate. At least that was the way I was raised. He was Obama mentor, well that dont say much for Obama either. His preaching should be love like Jesus preached. He is preaching hate as far as I am concerned & I went 12 yrs to a private school. {Lutheran} We were always taught to love everyone no matter of color!!!!!!!

    March 15, 2008 at 1:33 am |
  24. Brooks

    I wish I could say I am shocked that so many on this blog are critcal of Obama's ties to a pastor voicing racially devisive rhetoric and by Obama's purported ties to the Middle East. Where were these people when questions needed to be asked of the Bush campaign regarding the same issues? Did Bush not appear at Bob Jones University, an institution that openly espouses racially repugnant views? Are the ties of some in the current administration to Middle Eastern oil not shady? Are the Republicans not falling all over themselves to become known as the next Ronald Reagan, a man whose policies voiced his anti-black racism louder than any incendiary rhetoric ever could? Where were these people when questions needed to be asked concerning Mitt Romney's Mormonisim, a religion that up until recently did not even accept African-Americans as members of the church with full rights and responsibilities, a church founded on the principle that African-Americans are sub-human?

    The really sad part is that some of these comments only confirm the underlying assumption from which the pastor is proceeding in his sermons; that white privilege (in this case, to hold controversial views or engage in shady alliances) is alive and well in American, and Blacks are held to a radically different standard.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  25. Mark Woods

    Anderson the interview you did with Barack Obama was not of your ususal style. I thought of you as hard hitting but not a hitter of repetitive rubish. Barack Obama cannot dictate what his pastor says in the pulpit no more that McCain can dictate what Pastor Hagee says in his. Both men(Wright and Hagee) are controversial and strong in there perspectives. Neither Barack nor McCain may subscribe to all of their views. It is simply their views. I do not expect Pastor Wright to agree with all of the administrative policies of Obama when he become President. Has anyone asked Hillary Clinton's spiritual leader's their views on controversial issues? No! Let's ask the real questions of these candidates. The questions as they pertain to the economy, national security, education, employment. The media is creating news that appeal to the insecurity of America. The issue of race and gender is still a sensitive issue that has one again managed to circumvent the real issues. Anderson Cooper and CNN get a failing grade for this type of "hype" in media coverage. Do not rock this race card. We all can see that Obama is Black and Hillary is White. Give us your best objective coverage as a responsible reporter.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:32 am |
  26. Claudith D. Holmes

    What did Rev. Wright say that was not true? Why must you browbeat Sen. Obama for something someone else said? Who are you trying to inflame?

    March 15, 2008 at 1:30 am |
  27. rod

    True, this campaign has diverged, dangerously, from the issues facing our country. However, phrases such as "judgment to lead" are bandied about rather recklessly by the Obama camp. Judgment is shaped over years by family, community and spiritual leaders. We are being repeatedly subjected to incendiary and anti-American remarks by the spiritual supporters of Barrack Obama while hearing of contradictory statements issued by his advisors to foreign media. I ask: what exactly does Mr. Obama believe in? Can he be trusted? Just how sound is his judgment to lead? The words of his wife, the words of his mentor are not words that glorify America. We do not need a leader whose closest counsel is quick to vilify this great nation.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:30 am |
  28. Tony Dinaro

    I think the recent story about Barack's preacher Jeremiah Wright only highlights what a good candidate Obama is. For the last few months every pundit has been saying that the scrutiny is about to begin for Barack Obama, but obviously, it already has. The truth is, journalists are digging for Obama dirt like fat kids on cake - every journalist wants to be the one to break the Obama scandal. A couple soundbytes from Obama's preacher don't make for many skeletons in the closet. In my opinion, the only people who will care about these statements are people who already dislike Barack.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:29 am |
  29. james brown

    Hmm lets see, If Hillary Clinton was a friend of a friend, of David Duke. Just like Obama is a friend of a friend, of Louis Farrakhan. She would be called a racist. And people in Patagonia, Antarctica, and the planet Mars would know of it by now !

    March 15, 2008 at 1:28 am |
  30. Strong

    Wow, what an idiot the pastor is. Let's be honest, Barack does have it harder, however, he has not made being black his issue. Now he's in front of the world with the opportunity of a life time, and this man may have tainted his chances. However, as American people who do need a different government and new ideas, we should not allow this rhetoric to determine Barack's future. I mean we allowed, Bush to start an illegal war, we allowed Clinton to have sex with his intern on National TV and lie, but we can't allow Barack to have a moment that he didn't create. I feel sorry for him. He's been doing so well.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:28 am |
  31. ryan

    Politics is about self-interest. I vote for people whose election I think will benefit me, my family, and the world I live in. Is Barak Obama the best choice for me? How will Black Anger shape his presidency? What about all the white people who have voted for Obama, should they be damned as well? Should a 727 also be flown up their alleys while they sit down to donuts and coffee?

    I think it's entirely possible that black folks harbor some pretty ugly feelings towards white people, many of whom have never harmed them or anyone else. It's also possible that this hatred has become so much a part of many psyches that it's become entirely blinding, except to matters of RACE.

    My son is white. He's three years old. Should he be damned by this minister? Should he pay a price for slavery and Jim Crow? Has our country got to forget every great thing it's produced becuase it has also created horror and agony?

    Is it really true that most white Americans would choose to bomb civilians "without batting an eye" if they were given that choice in peacetime? Do rich whites (all whites?) really want black youngsters to fail in school or get addicted to drugs so they can become permanent prisoners or wards of the state? I've known not a few who look just like me who have directly tried to help. Nobody notices. Nobody cares.

    Are we really as evil as Obama's minister says we are? Never suffered disfigurement, disease, death, guilt, loss of liberty, and racism. Does a lone white man on an urban bus really not know what it's like to be hated for his skin color, to be surrounded by unprovoked hate? Really?

    Should I have a leader whose spiritual advisor thinks I have lost my right to thrive or exist because of history?

    Without a doubt, if this man is elected, we are going to learn a lot about each other. I wonder who's going to be the most surprised. Those with the most open minds, I think.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:28 am |
  32. Merrylee Lanehart

    I cannot believe that Barrack Obama went to this church for 20 years and never heard a sermon by his pastor that amounted to hate mongering against white America. He knew it was going on. He had to. So did his wife, whose recent comment about never being proud of America until now (i.e. until Barrack's campaign successes happened) was clearly influenced by the Reverend's hateful racist and sepratist preaching. In my opinion, Barrack Obama should not be elected President of the United States.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:27 am |
  33. Sad Black American

    It's a sad day in America today to know that as a 60-year-old man who has watched Dr. Martin Luther King to give his life for Blacks & Whites to finally be able to communicate in America, that we are back at the generational marks which I would expect next to see Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity dig up the remains of Dr. King and make a cross that they'll burn in Barack Obama's front yard. With the accusations going on today, we might as well be living back in the day when the KKK was killing Black men on the streets in Selma, AL. How far have we really grown as a country to be back at this point in time in 2008? What a sad day in America. CNN, please help this political race turn its attention back to the issue of what heals America, what drives it apart.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:26 am |
  34. Matt

    People must understand that most pasters stick to the sermon, I have heard paster's say crazy things or act out of the norm when they knew they were getting ready to retire.

    Paster Wright's sermon was an embarassment to many black people, but we do understand that he is not representing the entire church and I am really appalled that the media like CNN still place people in one group.

    My paster have said things that I did not agree with, but I understand that he does not speak for the entire church. I've been with my church for 19 years and I have seen pasters come and go, I did not agree with every sermon and I am still with the same church today. If the Obama family switched churches, they will be doing so for the rest of their lives because there will always be a sermon that they do not agree with. Judge the man on the work that he have done, not the statements that he did not say.

    Obama is by far the cleanest and best candidate that we have running today, we should not let racism cloud our minds and decision to choose the best candidate. This crap about whether he is black or white should have been left in the 50's & 60's, Barrack will make sure that we are together as one America in 2008.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:25 am |
  35. LeRoy

    I am far from racist and I was raised very, very poor by a single mother. I also was a minister in a conservative church and also a non-denominational church. I left because I believe the views of organized religion isolated certain groups of people from the love of God.
    Poverty, Color, Race, Gender, or Religion has nothing to do with this situation. It is integrity that is the problem. No one can be part of a church for 20 years without knowing what the sermons have been about. Refusing to respect the country you are looking to lead is definitly a problem (covering the heart when appropriate, unwilling to sing "God Bless America", Refusing to wear "Flag Lapel Pin", and a wife who is only now proud that her husband is running as a presidential candidate.) He has said that his pastor was his mentor and substantial in what he has learned in life. Now he is denouncing him and he has blamed Hilary for inconsistency?
    We need a leader who is proud of our country, willing to serve it, respect it appropriately without personal quirks, and has integrity.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:25 am |
  36. Tina

    Cooper I see this as profiling. CNN has not called McCain on the show to explain his position. You just took him at his word. The media is taking this too far. I have attend churches that Pastors have said things that I don't agree with. The media in my opinion are holding Obama to a different standard than the other canidates. I am a new voter and this has made me not believe in the media. Obama was born of a white mother and raised by his white grandparents. How could he be racist and share those same views. He said he did not believe in the views of some of his Pastors views why not take him at his word. Why does Barack Obama have to prove that he does not share these views when the same was not expected from John McCain? I really don't understand why the bar is different. Could it be a race issue with the media? Why not take Barack Obama at his word? Is there a different standard for Barack and not the other canidates?

    March 15, 2008 at 1:24 am |
  37. Johnson

    Why now when Obama is winning in the polls does this have to come out. Like it says this was old, it's nothing new. Plus the man is right about a lot of things. America did bring 9/11 on itself. America has suppressed blacks. America is not innocent. I'm not gonna be one of those people who the media likes to attack as being unamerican for knowing my history. America is a great place to be. But America is no Saint.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:23 am |
  38. Steve in Seattle

    I understand that African Americans have a different view of history and I can understand why they would, but that view should ALSO take in the almost 50-year history of progress in civil rights and economic opportunity for all minorities in this country, exemplified by Barack Obama himself, an Afrcan American man who is a US Senator and a serious contender for the Presidency, lives in a million-dollar home, and whose wife earns $375,000 a year. There are also the historical facts of black-on-black slavery and complicity in the slave trade and vicious ethnic hatred, oppression, and murder among Africans.

    If this reverend had a balanced historical perspective that would be one thing, but to stand there and spew racial hatred, blame the white man for everything, and say "god damn America" and "the chickens are coming home to roost" after 9/11 is disgusting. For Barack Obama, who claims to transcend race, to be an active member of this church for 20 years is inexcusable. And his pathetic story that he had no idea the reverend had ever said such nasty things calls his honesty into serious question.

    I agree that McCain should distance himself from the wacko ministers he's been courting, but that's a far cry from calling them "uncles who sometimes say things you don't agree with" and sitting there in the pulpit week after week for 20 years, then claiming to know nothing about what was said.

    Add it all up: The guy's wife has never been proud of her country until now, only because we might elect her husband President (God forbid). She thinks America is a "really mean country." Obama wouldn't wear an American flag pin. His supporters got caught with Che Guevara posters in his campaign office; his minister criticizes America for "trying to turn public opinion against Castro," the murderous pig that he is. Obama is "friendly" with a former terrorist bomber and Weather Underground member who recently said he wishes he could have planted more bombs. I wonder if Anderson Cooper has reported on all this, or if he considers these things to be "distractions" too.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:23 am |
  39. Gerhard Schwarz

    The fast rise and fall off Senator Barack Obama!
    What ever happened to separation of religion and politics?

    March 15, 2008 at 1:22 am |
  40. rod

    As a Pastor my self i feel you should never mix the pulpit with politics. I meet Rev Wright and i blame him for not knowing better.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:21 am |
  41. la doctora

    Would that the same consideration have been given Geraldine Ferraro regarding the root from which her comment came as Sen. Obama would have us give Rev. Wright. It appears to me that both comments rise from the root of historical resentment - Geraldine's from historical oppression against women and Rev. Wright's from historical oppression against Blacks. If we are to understand Rev. Wright, then we must also understand Ms. Ferraro. It is not equitable to ask for understanding for Rev. Wright and not for Ms. Ferraro. Many of us women recognize that Ms. Ferraro's remark came from historical resentment as did Rev. Wrights. What of this, Sen. Obama and Anderson? It goes both ways in my opinion. I understand Ms. Ferraro from a Women's Rights perspective just as Sen. Obama understands Rev. Wright's perspective from the Black rights perspective.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:21 am |
  42. Jody Monroe

    Pastor Wright's opinion is just that - his opinion! Everyone is entitled to their opinion. That's what makes America so great, is that everyone has an opinion, and we allow others to express their opinions, whether or not we agree, and to respect others' opinions!

    Pastor Wright’s statement that “America is run by rich, white, men” is unfortunately true, and can be verified by statistics. America was founded by “rich white men” and not much has changed since that day. We (caucasian folks) are not OFFENDED by this statement as much as we are UNCOMFORTABLE with its accuracy. It makes us take a hard look at ourselves and face the fact that many minorities are disadvantaged because of this country’s inherent systems, when we would rather ignore these problems and pretend they don’t exist.

    Pastor Wright’s statement is not one of HATE as much as it is a reflection of one person’s life experiences. And I am ashamed to say that MANY Americans, especially those in very low socio-economic demographics, have not had a good experience growing up in this country. Rather than getting upset that they express their opinion based on their life experiences, maybe we should try to understand WHY they feel that way.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:20 am |
  43. Lola

    It is raises big concern about Obama's creditability as a candidate. He changes his faith and his pastors like pair of socks!
    It is very very scary to watch.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:20 am |
  44. Lynn

    You just asked him if he would sing "God Bless America" and he did not answer. Why did you let that go? Granted not right now on the air but does he support our national/patriot songs? Does he sing along with them when they sing in a group? Does he share his pastor's views on this song?

    March 15, 2008 at 1:19 am |
  45. Christie

    It is obvious since Barak is African-American that radical African-Americans would stretch his ideas to that extent. America is still not past race and a black potential president is most definately going to stir up other black folks in hope of making a point and a rise against the ones that oppose him for racial issues. I feel like the pastor was speaking from his heart relative to his own issues and past experiences in an attempt to make a rise among the people who have experienced the same. I do not feel he should be criticized for what he and other African-American elders have experienced and I feel like Barak would agree but due to public pressure and pollitical corectness he must oppose him. Either way, Barak is not responsible for the words of another.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:18 am |
  46. lisa anne

    I just finished watching Anderson Cooper's interview of Obama about Pastor Wright. Did I miss something? Why is this important? Why does America need to know the intimate details of Barack's church experiences? To me, it is clear that this discussion is intended to stir up fear in white people that Barack may be "too black." To use a quip of Hillary's, "shame on you," CNN. Let me know when you have a real story to cover.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:18 am |
  47. SON OF ISRAEL .

    MR.wright stated nothing but facts on how blacks have been treated throught out history .Its just hard for whites to swallow and hear but its all true dont blame mr.wright blame ur forefathers for what they did ,and now were just suppose to forget all of this that happen Im sorry it doesnt work like that .many ppl still feel the pain from all that slavery and racism .check ur history before u judge black ppl and how we act and speak ,but then again u might fine things u dont like about ur family tree trust me u will ...

    March 15, 2008 at 1:17 am |
  48. keri

    Why has CNN been "working on this story all day?" This is not a story. Playing a loop of something someone else said, opinions which he says are not his, and then asking him over and over to explain those comments is absurd. They have nothing to do with him.

    And besides, I don't see what was so outrageous that the preacher said. Come on. I'm white and I wasn't offended. Are we supposed to whitewash this nation's history with racism so we can all pretend none of it ever happened? That's BS.

    March 15, 2008 at 1:16 am |
  49. Ms.Z

    My question to CNN and Anderson Cooper (The Devil's Avdocate) is, "What part of what Rev. Wright's statements were incorrect or wrong?" Hillary Clinton was not raised in a single parent household, she has never experienced a taxi passing her by because of the color of her skin and I am quite sure that she has never been called a n*****.

    Also, why should Obama leave his church? When the catholic priests were accused of molesting little boys, the church members not only stuck behind them but were even angered by the allegations. So, once again, why should Obama leave his church?

    March 15, 2008 at 1:16 am |
  50. Tiesha Tallman

    Why would his comments be controversial, and worse, why would Obama negate Reverend Wright's remarks? I am white, and I acknowledge that everything the Reverend said is absolutely true. Colorblindness is the real racism. And, yes, the American government is a mass killing machine. If you disagree with the Reverend, than you have been living in a closet your whole life. Unfortunately, I think Obama had to SAY that he disagrees so as to assuage all the stupid people he needs votes from.
    Come on, America, wake up!

    March 15, 2008 at 1:15 am |
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