March 18th, 2008
01:09 PM ET

Gergen: Obama and the "racial deadlock"

Over the next several days, we will chatter a lot about the political fallout from Sen. Barack Obama's speech today.  My initial sense is that he may have lanced the boil but he will continue to feel some pain from his association with the Reverend Wright for a while to come.

Obama speech

But even as we dissect the politics, is it possible to stand back and make a different set of observations: From my perspective, watching alone from a hotel in Florida, I found it refreshing to have a political candidate who finally talks to us as mature adults and also appeals to what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature."

We have become so accustomed to political "leaders" who treat us like children, spoon feeding us with platitudes and playing upon our prejudices, that we forget what it is like to have a serious conversation about our challenges as a people.  One important role of a leader is to serve as an educator, clarifying how we have arrived where we are and what our choices are as we look toward the future.

Obama did that well today.

Listening to him, I was reminded at one point of Franklin Roosevelt's observation that the presidency is preeminently a place of moral leadership – a place where men like Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt have clarified the great moral choices of our history.

This speech will not enter Bill Safire's anthology of great oratory.  It was too larded with his standard campaign rhetoric toward the end.  It will not end the controversy. It will not answer questions about whether he and his team are truly ready.  And for those who remember how another man who made serious speeches, Adlai Stevenson, went down to defeat to a war hero, it brings no guarantees of electoral success.

But at moments, it was an eloquent and moving expression of who Barack Obama is and what he represents - and how, just maybe, we could address and one day overcome our "racial deadlock".

– David Gergen, CNN Sr. Political Analyst

Program note: Watch David Gergen's analysis on tonight's 360° at 10p ET

soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. Josie

    Obama's speech was wonderful. It is time we all looked at ourselves and try not to judge and blame other groups for our worries and doubts. I am only half way through "The Audacity of Hope" book, but it is easy to see that Obama wants to unify people, not judge them and to move people forward.

    I am a 62 year old white woman. I have seen the injustices brought on by race. The racial riots in my children's schools. The civil rights movement. Yet, as a high school teacher I notice that there is not the racial bias in most of my students. They work together, play together and in general are not as judgemental as my generation. There is hope for our country- it may not take hold until my generation has died off. Go Obama!

    March 18, 2008 at 7:04 pm |
  2. jason

    obama lost my vote. He is great with words..too bad that they are empty...his association of 20 years with an racist pastor says something about the difference between what he says in his speaches and what he really belives...Remember that his wife wasnt proud of beeing american since recenly as she mentioned in a spech. She probably heard "the damn America" speach of her pastor. Obama is just another politician with "change" posted on the front door to make him look good. I think more about 90s when we had a good life and peace...i am certain now that it will take another Clinton to take us out from the mud.

    March 18, 2008 at 7:04 pm |
  3. Mildred

    Why no one seem to mention that Obama is as much white as black?
    Could it be because he look black and not white? The Media never bring this fact out. I know white Americans do not understand black Americans, and they never try because they choose not to.

    March 18, 2008 at 7:03 pm |
  4. Kevin in Vancouver, BC

    Only in America can a black man be criticized for talking about race relations in a meaningful way. Only in America can a white candidate who has never been on the receiving end of racial tensions suddenly have the high ground on race without even talking about it with any substance. This is the watershed moment in your election. The question is whether the American people and the American media will allow Obama to be swiftboated.

    We've listened to Americans long for something better for years. We've listened to Americans long for real change. And north of your border, we've been hoping for you.

    But it seems like when the time really comes to leap for meaningful change, you will back away and look for any excuse not to look at the hard truths. Fear is, I suppose, is easier to relate to. Whatever happens, at least Jeb Bush is not on any ticket. Yet.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:59 pm |
  5. Karen

    Barack Obama may not bring unity in our great countrybut, he is going to leave a large footprint. He has done what other politicians have not even attempted to do in the last 9 years. He has brought young & old alike together and sparked their interest in politics in a way no one else has achieved. Black, white, yellow, brown- we are all equal. He has is definitely an educator, has values I have not seen in a politian in a long time, if ever, and if we are diligent in our support of him, he will be our next President.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:58 pm |
  6. Mel

    Understanding that the interpretation of events is based on our own experience, from my perspective,Sen. Obama is to be commended for "hating the sin, and loving the sinner".

    Despite his vitriol, Rev. Wright recited true statements about Sen. Clinton's experience and about America's violent history. We just don't like being reminded. His indignation however, was over the hypocrisy of our thinking that only violence done against us is wrong. He was not railing against the country, but against the sins of the country–again, hating the sin... And having served his country, he does have a right. And if we are honest, Dr. King,(another flawed preacher),did the same thing–just with more flowery speech and far less vitriol.(Read his speech against the Vietnam war, and the "I Have A Dream" speech, before he got to the famous part).

    But so what? All of this hysteria is a side show designed to keep us focusing on division. Sen. Obama has tried to not remind us of our flawed past, and with awesome oratory, attempted to have us see our more glorious future and potential. More than any other candidate, he can lead us to make that vision reality. But will we let him?

    March 18, 2008 at 6:53 pm |
  7. Pat

    Let me say this on this subject of Obama. My daughter is contemplating applying for medical school. Upon talking to the dean of admissions of a medical school she was told. So many applicants tell us what they going to do when they get into medical school and become doctors. We do not want to hear that. We want them to tell us what they have done to show their commitment to medicine prior to applying to medical school. I think this applies also to Barack Obama. He hasn't even told us precisely what he would do and he has now certainly shown us what he has done in regards to judgment with his mentor, Jeremiah Wright. Obama tried to have it both ways. Either he was only at that church and in that community to cultivate votes for his political aspirations, or he believed what was said in that church and wants us to believe he did not. Will the real Barack Obama please stand up!

    March 18, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  8. Jan from Wood Dale, IL

    As elegant as Obama's speech was, it was also very carefully crafted. He points out our country's past sins of racial injustice, yet failed to acknowledge the progress our country has made since the 60's. He slammed the media with "You've scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well." Yet today, he has been given a ton of "free media" to state not only his position on racism in America, but how only he, and his policy positions, can move this country forward. Such a smooth politician!

    March 18, 2008 at 6:50 pm |
  9. floyd

    Why won't anyone put the issues in simple language. African Americans with all due respect will still vote for Bama because he represent African Americans. I wonder what kind of outrage there would be if Hillary attending a white church and the preacher used the same words about African Americans.that Rev. Wright used about white people. You can't have it both ways. Discrimination iworks both ways, against whites and blacks. All this talk about better judgement, 20 years with a pastor that degrades white people. I am an American and I am outraged that anyone would be allowed to disparage white people or any other race in a church.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:48 pm |
  10. mal

    God help America!!!!!

    There is nothing Obama could do for many of the people on this blog. They have their own demons to deal with and sadly they are a part of the problem not a part of the solution. The media needs now to look into the back ground now of all the candidates and see how many of them have a racist teacher, Professor, military buddy, mother, grandmother, pastor, elected representative etc.

    With MCCaine 's age they are bound to find some good old boys in his closet and while you all are at it look in your own families as far back as you can go and remember you dont beleive the sins of your ancesters should be visited on you.

    Some ignorant people will never understand what lead to the frustration and bitterness of a man like Rev, Wright.

    Now you all see why this is so stupid.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:48 pm |
  11. m.smith

    Great comments!

    March 18, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  12. c. griffin

    I do not find Senator Obama's speech today either bold or courageous. Maybe it would have been if he had attacked race issues as a part of his origianal campaign, but instead he did this to stop the bleeding. I have read all of the comments left previously on this blog and am not convinced that Senator Obama is the man he contends that he is. Why did he even mention the remarks by Geraldine Ferraro? Was it to remind us that Hillary has had a supported say something that sounds racist? These 2 situations are quite different. I am white and have attended black churches with black friends. I have never heard such words of hate from these black pastors. I have a particular black minister I routinely watch on tv in my hometown. Again, he speaks of love and preaches on the bible. I am deeply offended by the remarks of Rev. Wright. I understand that Rev. Wright's words are not those of Senator Obama's ut find it inconceivable that a young couple would subject their precious children to such messages of hate and lies if they did not agree with the mesage. This is NOT about his race, but instead about what he truly believes. Anyone can stand in front of a camera and make promises–I want someone who will get our economy on track and stio the erosion of the middle class.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:42 pm |
  13. H.L.Pitts

    This issue gives people who weren't going to vote for Barack Obama anyway something to hang their hats on so they won't appear racist. The words didn't come out of Barack Obama's mouth, but he will be blamed nevertheless.Every Republican candidate seeks out and welcomes endorsements from extreme right wing ministers who are often racist., sexist and homophobic and where is the outrage? That has been going on for years.There is so much hypocrisy and its really disgusting.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  14. marla

    and yes.... PASTOR's are just like a Family Member you would treat your pastor like a family member people pass away and leave the church and the pastor money... just like a child that you gave birth too!! pastors have dinner with you and your family at your house, pastors pray for you and your family they come to the hospital like a family memeber, if you get in trouble who comes to help you "Your Pastor". you are with your pastor long enough sometimes 30 yrs and no him/her and love them just like family..... he/she is just like a aunt or uncle that may say some things that you dont agree with and you tell them that but out of respect you will not disrespect them nor stop having a relationship with them....

    March 18, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  15. John

    Two can play that game, Kojo. I promise YOU: If Obama wins the nomination, this life-long Democrat will vote for John McCain!

    Senator Obama only gave this speech because his presidential aspirations depended on it. Hardly a profile in courage.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  16. mt

    Why did he go to that church?

    Because he is a divider not a uniter... that uniter promise was just another speech!

    March 18, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  17. mt

    Oh good grief! Just another speech!!! That's all we get from him is a speech. As president when the economy is falling a part he will make a speech, when we have the threat of nuclear attack, he will make a speech, when it comes time to bring the soldiers home, he will make a speech. I am sick of the fairytale press he is getting over his eloquent speeches that lack substance. Maybe that lack of substance is why he voted present instead of standing up or down for or against the issue.

    I have read his books and honestly at first I liked him but the more he talks the more I run.

    I am ready for substance. Hillary is my woman!

    March 18, 2008 at 6:28 pm |

    every night I go home thinking on ways to teach my children well, to accept with kindness other fellow citizens, to love our country with honor and respect, a day ago once again ignorance and mean spirited words of a self proclaim ' PASTOR ' A

    March 18, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  19. Tiffany

    It takes great courage to stand before people and state that you disagree with your pastor. In this country their is stress on race and religion. To publicly disagree with someone you have respected and accepted as an honrary member of your family is very difficult. I thing Obama gave an excellent speech and should be viewed with respect for allowing us to truley see his integrity. I see, often, how much race is an issue and know how older members of our society still harbor many of those emotions, resentments and beliefs. It is something that takes more than time to heal and can not be the fault of one man because he is standing in front. Obama has my vote!

    March 18, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  20. Tom G

    Sen. Obama has ran a good campaign so far, now he is starting to fail us. Doesn't he realize that he still does need the almighty "white Man" dollar for his campaign.I said a long time ago that he had to disavow himself from Jesse Jackson And Al Sharpton to win the nomination, now I see they are showing up in his campaign.Now Rev. Wright is showing up , this will start to erode the white man's dollar and the white man's support .
    The more black people that show up in his support chain only means that when jobs appear in his cabinet,they will be filled by black people and that white people will be left out. It only stands to reason that the white vote will become disinchanted and the vote swing will go to the GOP and John Mc Cain will become our next President

    March 18, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
  21. D. Johnson

    What do you people want from this man? People will sometimes bite off your nose to spite your face. Let's get real. Some are not interested in whether or not he is the right man for the job, but that he is a Black vying for the highest office in this country. And the truth be told, some of you just can't stomach that idea. Now, it's out there deal with it. Do a reality check and I'm sure you will see that the handwriting is on the wall.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  22. M. Worley

    I dont see why this election has turned into a black and white or a man or woman race. It has nothing to do with color or gender, but with who can run this country the right way for the people. Also just because a pastor makes remarks, whether it be racist or about racism doesnt mean that is what the whole congregation believes. Everyones religion is their own, all the preacher is, is someone who stands up front and tells everyone his or her own interpretation of the bible. It is up to the individual to go to God and with their thoughts and talk to Him. I dont think Obama should have to suffer for what someone else said, he is his own person and therefore has his own views.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  23. Laura, Lacey Washington

    I thought Obama did a great job in both discussing the reality of race issues in this country, the different perspectives we have, and how everyone wants the same sorts of things for this country and the future.

    I think it's very brave to take on such a direct discussion of race and differences, especially in a climate that focuses on the suggestion of that which is "problematic", but again limits that discussion to the black preacher and not the many years of the likes of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and now John Hagee. The packaging of their message seems to be more recognizable to the country but their messages, when looked at just as closely as Reverend Wright's, is deeply troubling.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  24. stacyusa

    Barack Obama character and good judgement has been called into question. His pastor has damn america, his wife has said publicly this is the first time she's proud of her country just because people are voting for him. Racism is racism it doesnt' matter if it's black or white. I have been a life long democrat but if the superdelegates vote him as our nominee I will be voting for mccain and i do not believe i am not alone on this view. Shame on him for not speaking the truth from the begining. As more time passes we find out more information on who barack obama is. My belief is you are what you surround yourself with.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  25. nan

    I have the utmost respect for you and very much enjoy hearing your commentary. But I think that you are mistaken when you talk about Senator Obama's morality. I have wanted so much to be supporter, and everything about my background, ethnicity, and class would dictate that I would be. But I don't find him moral. I find him slippery. If he were truly moral, he would not have leveraged the exposure of his core spiritual leader for what he is. This pastor's language is untenable, hateful, hurtful. Rather than inspiring, it fans the flames of rage–not their "angels" but their "demons." Please ask the questions journalists should ask: why is it that Senator Obama first denied knowing of these inflammatory remarks when Mr. Cooper interviewed him, but yet today said that he indeed did know? Why is it that Senator Obama distanced himself from this man, then claimed that he didn't know about him? Political expediency, hypocritical hucksterism, downright mendacity. I would like to like him. But my own moral b...... detector will not allow me to. Doublespeak about our Chicago conman/criminal. Doublespeak about NAFTA. Doublespeak about the Reverand. Doublespeak about transcending race. And doubleness is the word: in keeping with the double standard that has been the hallmark of this campaign, if Senator Clinton's spiritual advisor had been caught making these comments with the races reversed, her race–in the political sense–would be over.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  26. Kelley

    After watching Obama's speech, I was amazed. What a courageous and genuine human being he is. What risk he took in standing by Rev. Jeremiah Wright and denoucing the history of racism. I have been to Trinity in Chicago. I have heard Rev. Wright speak. And like Jesus, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his time, Rev. Wright speaks like a revolutionary. The media does not tell you that days before Rev. Wright gave his now infamous speech, the church's musical director was gunned down right on the steps of his front door. And yes, there are times when I disagree with what Rev. Wright says. But I don't get up and leave. Because the spirit of what he is trying to do transcends his words. He is all about uplifting people and helping them find a way out of no way. And for that, he deserves and has my respect.

    For all of you who are now saying that Obama has lost your vote, you are exactly the folks who Obama was directing his speech to. You seem to have been stuck in the idea that maybe Obama was not a true black man, therefore you could vote for him and think you are not a racist. Now, he's come out and said, yep, I'm black and I love black people, and all the sudden you turn on him. Why would you turn on a man who very clearly wants to move this country forward from the very thing you are accusing him of? Look in the mirror and ask yourself what kind of person are you that you don't want to have a true conversation about race? Shame on you.

    March 18, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  27. Robert

    kojo March 18th, 2008 2:55 pm ET

    I am a registered democrat and it pains me to see the racial firestorm that the Clinton’s have engineered in their overaching ambition to be the first couple to occupy the white house.


    Regardless of her position and Mccains? Thats pretty stupid

    March 18, 2008 at 6:01 pm |
  28. Steve in Seattle

    How anybody can say that Obama is "exercising strong leadership skills" (as commenter David said) by giving this speech is beyond me. This is an attempt at damage control. This is a self-serving reaction to events, not leadership. Obama clearly was unable to "lead" Reverend Wright to any kind of racial understanding in the 20 years they have known each other; indeed, if we are to believe him, he was not even aware of the Reverend's views (oh wait, now he says he knew).

    Obama was quick to call for Don Imus to be fired after the latter's infamous quip about the Rutgers women's basketball team, yet he wants us all to bend over backwards to understand why the good reverend is the way he is. And he's willing to expose his own grandmother's racial prejudices just to save his hide. This is the man who Mr. Gergen thinks is going to "educate" us and provide "moral leadership" on race? The Obama worshippers remind me of that old saying: "there is no man as blind as he who does not wish to see. "

    March 18, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  29. Lee

    Its utterly amazing to me how some people have labeled Obama a racist because of remarks by his pastor, and belonging to a church for twenty years. I wonder if that logic holds up for either black or white children raised in a racist household. Is there any possibility that these children or Obama could have opposing views. Guess not, according to the simpletons that believe that way.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:55 pm |
  30. Cheryll

    I was't going to comment at first and then I kept reading and reading. I think I need help here, is Obama running for president or Rev. Wright? At this point I am not sure because we seem to put more focus on the Rev. I would also wonder why we are hearing about this in 2008 and this was done in 2003. As an intelligent person I would have not only asked myself that but I would have asked what was the entire sermon about, then I would ask for all of the Rev's tapes for the 20 years that Obama has been going to the church to see if that is all the pastor talked about, then I would seek out other prominate people like Ophrah (Yes, I know she does not go there but we don't know why) or the news castor in IL who looks like an intelligent black woman and ask them is that all the pastor talked about. I beleive in my heart that the answer is NO! I think what we have here is America showing her true colors that this country is not ready for anything but a white person to be president and if that is the case then that would mean that the speech that the Rev. Wright gave would be true! Mr. Obama has spoke about issues but now that our poor white peoples feelings are hurt , they will make sure that you never hear those issues again. The Clintons are about real scandal not what a pastor said and again unless I missed something Obama never said anything like that has he???? Hilary is from a priviledge background and Bill can't keep it in his pants and Hilary did do wrong with Whitewater and the same Resko that we are beating Obama up for is the same one that the Clintons had their arm around in a picture and I bet if you follow that money you will find it in their account. AMERICA FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE CAN YOU WAKE UP AND LOOK AT THE FACTS FIRST AND NOT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE PUT OUT THERE. Good Grief we really are a Dumb nation and that is what the Clintons and McCains are hoping for. Yes McCain was a war hero but he also was an adulterer with his second wife, he was part of the Keating 5 and his wife was a drug addict. None of them are perfect and I bet if you were a fly on the Clintons or McCains wall you would have heard some really racist things, remember Bubba is from Arkansas!

    March 18, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  31. afrolatino w/a touch of white

    Some of the ignorant responses on this blog is the very reason why America has turned into the “me” generation. It has become much more beneficial to try and acquire self wealth then it is to work for the people. The people want to know if you’re too old, too black, too white, who you’re sleeping with, or if your gay. Nobody talks about real issues anymore.

    It’s hard for our best and brightest to open themselves up to that and participate in politics today; because America doesn’t want Presidents anymore, America wants a Pope.
    The shame of it all, is that the next best man for the job; may take a look at all this…and take a pass.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  32. dsw


    I couldn't agree with you more, thank you!

    March 18, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  33. Mischelle from Illinois

    I agree. But I feel that Mr. Obama IS actually (what he says he isn't or wants us to believe that he isn't) a typical politician. It really was a beautiful speach. But it left way too many questions....Why would he have stayed for so long? I go to church, if someone spoke like that minister did at my church, I would find a new church quickly!

    It really does boil down to... you are a reflection of those who surround you and his actions (or lack of) speak SO MUCH louder than the eloquant speaches that he is able to deliver. He did not seperate himself from this man, WHOM HE IS NOT RELATED TO. So don't try to sugar coat this...he is like family to me....HE WAS NOT, and if he truely did not believe the hate filled rehtoric of the Reverand, then he should have gotten out of there a LONG time ago, and also addressed this issue long BEFORE now. He was just playing "politics" as usual and it backfired on him in the worst way possible.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  34. Karen

    The whole point of Senator Obama's wonderful speech was this part:

    "The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old - is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know - what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow".

    His eloquent speech was just right for now.

    I can't believe the horrible clips keep showing even though the speech teaches understanding and explains some of the history which explains Reverend Wright.

    The juxtaposed clips of Reverend Wright saying G...damn America and Senator Obama saying, "I can no more disown him than..." depicts a pure lie and has to stop. It's not only abusive but keeps hurting every American.

    It's ignorant and totally irresponsible not to drop the ugliness. Give everyone a chance to learn and understand so we can actually solve problems.

    Emphasizing the main point will move us past this totally misunderstood issue and lead to a more accurate depiction of the truth.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  35. Leigh

    "If Obama couldn’t “change” the racial dynamics of what was happening in his Church, how is he going to change America?"

    Joe, that says it in a nutshell.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  36. Fraser from North Potomac, MD

    Obama did a wonderful job showing that he empathizes with both Blacks and Whites–especially considering his biracial background. He helped us understand the viewpoints and concerns of both races–instead of retreating into our own self-righteous shells. It was a brave move and he admitted that he wanted to be honest as opposed to "politically safe". Whether you support him or not, he definitely held a mirror up to the conscious of America and forced us to confront our racial biases and misconceptions head on. When was the last time that we ever saw a candidate do something this courageous? I applaud him.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  37. mr troutman

    In another note what is the republican party doing to unify this country. They sure are doing a terrible job of doing that. Some of you are getting on Obama but where is the verdict on McCain. he hasn't shown no attempt to get all the masses together. The same ole white president and vice president is getting tired and old. We need every race to be represented regardless of positions.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  38. CT

    He lost your vote and he will gain more votes. Ms. Wendy Truth, So Bye bye to you.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  39. Sharron Fagans


    It is times like these that I wish we could all step back and take a detailed look into our own lives and see if in fact we are without flaws or shortcomings. Obama is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. I myself and once again losing faith in this country at a time when we need to step up to the world and show that we are more than a country full of infighting. How are we to take Democracy to the world if we can't get our own act together. Obama is a man, an imperfect man might I remind those claiming the Christian religion. I hope that one day we will be able to make Martin's dream a reality but the year 2008 which once held the possibility will instead go down in history as the year of racial divide.

    Ashame once again to acknowledge my American heritage overseas!

    Hope Fades to Reality, we are a country full of hypocrites. And to think the Iraqi people have access to our news outlets. Shameful.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  40. len

    The speech qualifies him eminently to work on behalf of racial equality, a noble and just cause. We need this on all sides of the divides he eloquently describes.

    The fact that it took him this long to notice the problem and the dissembling of facts last week and earlier show that he lacks the courage and experience to be President. He lacks discernment of the kind that enables a leader to make the right decisions quickly.

    It doesn't mean he won't be qualified some day, but his time has not yet come.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  41. mr troutman

    Not enough,

    You seem like the person he was refering to. You are the people the world is trying to get rid of. Feeding off hate and saying he is dividing the country because of some pastor speach is ridiculous. He wants to unite us and not play the race card. Black people aren't walking around here hating white people for the hell of it. We never started this evil practice to begin with. Some of you need to accept the source of this whole racial thing and where it started. I wonder if whites was the ones oppressed if they will bow down to someone and take this cruelty punishment. Of course not. They will speak up like all human beings so please understand how other people feel when regards to being down for a long period of time.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  42. Stephanie Wilson

    Dear Not Enough,

    It's unfortunate that you see yourself alone on a national issue such as this. Unity was not the goal I believe of Senator Obama but an additive that happened as a result of addressing the wounds that divide us. No words will ever be enough to heal people who believe they know a person from 20 minute soundbites. I don't know this Pastor, and Not Enough, it sounds like no one hates you for the color of your skin, some of us would only hope that someday you too can not fear skin color.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  43. Annemarie

    Today Barack Obama was presidential. You've mentioned before about whether he can take a punch or give one. I think today he elevated himself above "punching. He is the Atticus Finch of our time, but he does not live in the pages of a great novel, he is for real.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  44. Steve


    How does one distance oneself from one's spiritual adviser? I applaud Obama for taking the issue up head on. However, I think he's in a box that will be difficult to get out of, unless people just forget about it and move on to other issues. Wright was his campaign spiritual adviser, not just his pastor.. He named Farrakhan man of the year. He traveled to Libya with Farrakhan.

    This is good judgment? Now he is renouncing his spiritual adviser.

    Where is his judgment? Who is he? Can he say we should all get beyond race while being a member of a church led by someone who appears to be separatist (Wright)?

    March 18, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  45. Deb from NC

    I am deeply offended on so many levels by this whole mess. As a military brat, and mother of 3 army veterans, to see a presidential candidate defend a man who makes statements from a church pew such as “God damn America” is unbelievable.

    He’s asking for my vote while his mentor is damning my country!!! I don’t think so. If Obama were elected, just the thought of Rev. Wright even setting foot in the White House disgusts me.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  46. Tyrone in Michigan

    Obama has WON my full support today after hearing his speech on RACE. I feel that Obama broke down his feeling into a way ALL American could realate to IF THEY CHOOSE TO LISTEN. The speech given by Obama was Historic and I'm HOPING all Americans can look into the mirror, reflect, and engage into the conversation regarding race realations in America.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  47. A

    We are almost destined to miss out on a rare opportunity that do not come about often.......America wake up and remove the cover from your eyes........

    March 18, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  48. Susan


    I thought that we live in the United States of America, not the United States of Black America or White America. I thought that United means United.

    Comments like the ones from Senator Obama's pastor and others who have used HATE speech only divide us and instead of healing old wounds only serve to make them worse. I understand we have a freedom of speech, but those who HATE should watch there mouths.

    If one of my friends talked like that, I would be running as far as I could to get away. My folks did not raise me to talk like that.


    March 18, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  49. Ali

    It took a Black Man who is attempting to raise us all above the stink to bring this issue forward. He is now being held to a standard so high that most any White Person will not subject themselves or another White Person to. To talk about the very serious problem of racism that is now hidden under the identifier of being an “American”. Using the “I am an American” claim to hide from and wish that no Black Person would speak on it in any tone….agreeable or not to your ears. That claim being an “American” does not release you from your moral obligation. If a Black Person does speak of the Black Experience, they are quickly labeled separatist, divisive and racist because it does not glorify most Whites in America. If the truth does not pump up White America as benevolent, honest, loving, caring, giving and all knowing for the betterment of others, White America will not deal with it other that in a hateful way. When White America is seriously, honestly, with fairness and understanding ready to address this problem with an open mind and own up to their part in the deal and not attempt to reverse this situation into the laps of Black America….we are ready and waiting. In the mean time please do not deny our reality of experience of America when we speak on it. Take this opportunity lift our country out of this immoral shadow. We and our country will be better off for it emotionally, spiritually and….as you like so much….financially. Don’t miss this opportunity.

    March 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  50. Blackthought08

    I think his speech made a huge difference in not allowing his enemies to define him as "anti-American". J Wright's comments were no more offensive than P. Robertson's one on one conversations with God to rain da**ation on people he doesn't like.

    1. The right is allowed to blame 9/11 & Katrina on "homosexuality" and that's OK(Fallwell & others)?

    2. How do you think the Islamic world reaction will be when they find out John McCain's spiritual advisor thinks this country was created to destroy Islam? he "do[es] not believe that our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed.” Rod Parsley

    March 18, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
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