March 19th, 2008
03:20 PM ET

Obama on controversy

I just finished interviewing Senator Obama, we talked at length about lingering questions surrounding Reverend Wright, as well as how he thinks the controversy has hurt him.

Here is a brief exchange:

Anderson Cooper:
“How badly do you think this has– has damaged you?  Obviously you've been taking it very seriously over the last couple days.  I mean, you've been very available to the media.  You made this speech yesterday.  How much has it hurt?  'National Review online' says, you know, bottom line, will the speech help you win white working-class voters?”


Anderson Cooper interviews Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama on (and above) the campaign trail as they fly to Charlotte, North Carolina. Watch the interview tonight on 360° 10p ET

Sen. Barack Obama:
“Well, you– you know– one of the things I said early on in this campaign was if– if I was just running the textbook campaign– doing the conventional thing, I probably wasn't gonna win because Senator Clinton was gonna be much more capable of doing that than I would be.  We had tremendous success– and I think we were starting to get a little comfortable and conventional right before Texas and Ohio.  And, you know, in– in some ways this– this controversy has actually shaken me up a little bit and gotten me back into remembering that– the odds of me getting elected have always been– lower than– than some of the other conventional candidates...”

“...And if I bring something to this conversation, it's gonna be because I do what I did yesterday, which is hopefully open up new conversation about a new direction of the country.  As a practical matter in terms of– how this plays out demographically, I can't tell you.  I don't know. "


I'd blog more but our plane is just taking off, we're heading to Charlotte...see you from there tonight.

– Anderson Cooper 

soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Marcia

    My sister and her husband are very staunch Republicans. I am a Democrat. They have said some very disgusting and hate-filled comments in the past regarding Democratic candidates. I don't agree with them, don't like to hear them, but I wouldn't "disown" my sister because she said them. What Sen. Obama said yesterday is true...we all know someone who has said outrageous things, but they don't shape who WE are. He handled himself with humility and grace under fire. I am so proud to be an Obama supporter...I will carry a copy of his speech with me for a long time to come.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  2. Kevin, Texas


    I have some question I hope get answered in you interview

    1) why did he not start this conversation back when he first got news of it? CNN reported that he was aware of comments back before this race started. Was he putting it under the rug because he needed the African American vote back then also, as CNN reported was it the African American leadership didn't think he was black enough in the beginning so this might make him look worse if he spoke out badly.

    2) Why did he make a dontion to his church for $2500.00 was this before or after the sermons he attended?

    3) Why keep flip-floping on concerns of Americans,
    Candian Government, Rev Wright, Rezko.

    4) Why when Bill Clinton was accused of stirring up race back in the Carolian primary did Mr Obama not start that conversation back then? Even, Mr Obama attack President Bill Clinton on his comments and has allowed this from his Rev./Uncle/ Family member for 20 years to spew to a boiling point.

    5) Why does he still not always have the flag lapel pin on (which is tradition)?

    6) If your white grandmother brought you and your children to a white church would you have stayed if the sermon turned to race against African Americans? If so why?

    Looking forward to your report tonight.


    March 19, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  3. Linda

    I am not from this country, I am here as a tourist. Granted, I do not know much about this guy, Obama. But he is right about one thing , In no other country his story would be even possible, because the rest of the democratic countries, they do not give a damn about the candidate's religion. Shame on you USA, shame on you.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:20 pm |

    Race issues and racial divide have always been apart of the American fabric for generation. Our history as a nation have never dealt with race relations and sought ways to foster a greater understanding of race. Barrack Obama has challenged our nation to do this. The racists will never allow his agenda to prosper, but it is for the betterment of this great nation.

    It takes strife and uprising (Huricane Katrina and Los Angeles Riots, OJ Simpson) to bring race to the forefront, where it's addressed for awhile but eventually swept under the rug, until it raises it's dirty head somewhere else. Rev. Jerimiah Wright has caused race to be raised again.

    The nation has to want to change and that's Barrack Obama's challenge to America and it's people. Where do stand America? It's time for personal reflection.

    Where is the outrage against all aspiring Catholic Presidential candidates, with the outcry of sodomy, by priests within their Church? They have not been asked to remove themselves from their religous leaders and their character has not been questioned. Why ask of Barrack Obama to disown his religous leader?

    March 19, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  5. Paula

    Please look up the interview Obama gave about Don Imus and the remarks he made about the girls bsket ball team being nappy headed hos. Please compare what he would do and what he thinks about the coments. I think you will agree there is double standard and be very disturbed as I was.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  6. Melissa


    I really do NOT know how Obama can give a speach saying that he does not agree with his pastor's comments and that his pastor is just from a different generation and very bitter. That same pastor is TEACHING Obama and his family to hate and be angry. Obamas two young girls are being taught exactly what we heard everytime they go to that church. Obama for Unity, You will never make me believe that with what he worships. Also, His wifes comments go right along with it as well. He is not for Unity!!!

    March 19, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  7. mary

    I am not racist–my family is the great American melting pot. We are many races and many nationalities. But if I was a member (God Forbid) for 20 years of the KKK and said that I loved them like family, but all of a sudden I disagreed with them, how many would believe me? I no longer believe Obama is the man I want for my Commander in Chief. How can I respect a man who would listen to God*** America –and not stand up for our Country. His churches website states they are loyal to Africa. I do not see this as an issue of color...I see this as an issue of not real sure where his pariotic loyalties lie. You are American, right Mr. Obama? If your our choice for the Democratic ticket, I think I'll stay home that day. And I have voted for 20 years!!!

    March 19, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  8. Jamie

    We are at a time in our history where Americans need to drop simplistic notions of good and evil. Of course, Reverend Wright’s remarks regarding 9/11 were appalling, but this idea that only such remarks come from an inherently and utterly evil person and not a flawed human being is childish and dangerous. We have all said things (when no cameras were rolling) that we later regret. We have all loved people that make us crazy with their ignorance and misplaced anger, even hatred. What a shame if any one of us were to be judged with finality by a single moment in our lives. What a shame if our own beliefs and character were solely evaluated through the ugly moments of someone whom we might love. Why do we close the door to forgiveness and redemption so violently with judgment and condemnation? How do we teach people to be responsible and learn from their mistakes? When we have a decent person in our lives that we see losing his or her way because of disappointment, bitterness or anger, isn’t it better to try to guide him or her back from hatred then to abandon him or her and leave that hatred to grow and fester and become a real problem to society?

    March 19, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  9. Joann

    I'm sorry, but Obama is not the politican he claims to be. He said he would not be the typical politican, it was time for a change. I have followed Obama for a long time and while he gives a wonderful speech and has charisma he only confronts issues when they are brought to the forefront. He knew of Rev Wrights toxic statements, that is why he took him off the schedule to speak at the announcement for his candidacy of POTUS. This was a year ago. I as an intelligent American find it hard to believe these are just a few sound bites of Rev Wright. If you spew hate once, there is a GREAT possiblity it will be said over and over again. Are we to believe in the last 20 years of association with Rev Wright, the Rev has only said negative things on a few ocassions? I find that very hard to believe. If you are wanting change as a candidate, why did Obama not change his church if he strongly disagreed with Wrights statements? I find it hard to see truth is the things that are coming from Mr. Obama.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  10. Mark, Toronto, Canada

    I must say that if Obama does not win the election, it will throw America back further into the hole of hatred. He is the only one who can change the worlds view of America, I am your neighbour and I am sick of what was happened in the last 8 years. He is the "Unifier", a godsend to the people of America. You need to open your eyes and see that he has come along NOW for a reason, to unify the country and more so the world.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  11. Sid P.

    Only people with closed minds could not have been swayed by Mr. Obama's speech yesterday. This is the most presidential person I have every in my sixty-four years on plant earth had the privilege of hearing and supporting. Come on America, we have got to move beyond the distractions. We are all trapped on this planet together, there is no place to go. I would certainly believe that any person with children would want a better country for them then the one that this has become. We are being led like lambs to the slaughter by politics as usual. Don't let it happen, without the leadership offered by Mr. Obama we will just stay stuck in the past and will destroy the future. Don't listen to the talking heads, at least investigate for yourself and make up your own mind based on FACT not sound bites.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  12. Paris

    I am interested to know which part of it was comforting to you?
    Contradicted himself and said he was there?
    The part that he refused to put this country and nation before his minister.
    Or the part that he for no reason used his grandmother and brought her to a level of a lunatic that says America created Aids to kill Africans?
    Or the fact that he choose to surround himself with people that have hatred toward America?

    Now one is denying the past but one thing is certain Obama is not the way for the future.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  13. Ursula, New Jersey

    Perhaps Wednesday's speech will help to raise the bar for more straightforward/honest dialog in the media about race. I'm really happy that Barack took such a proactive stand at the end of last week when the tapes of the Rev. Wright hit the airwaves. I think addressing this hot button race issue from Philadelphia, without fear, was the necessary medicine for recent political wounds. I got the impression from Phila. evening news last night that this could have been the first time that average working class guys may have actually taken notice of Barack. Why? Because the language of the speech was accessible and courageous and it replayed really well. History came alive yesterday with the words, "We the people." I hope that working people can begin to trust Obama and that his message can develop more satisfying sustenance, in the form of specifics, for this crowd.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  14. Gary

    I think Obama has the potential to do great things for this country. What a shame it would be if we allow the politics of old (the politics of personal destruction) to divert us from giving him the opportunity. He faced the race issue head on and gave a speech that no other politician would have had the courage to give. He is a breath of fresh air on the political scene and I hope that we, as a country, do the right thing and elect him to be our president.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  15. Lee

    I'm sure you have been very busy these past few weeks. But why hasn't there been major coverage and looped video clips of Pastor John Hagee who is John McCain's campaign supporter? He has a larger congregation and much more power and recognition than Rev. Wright?

    Why has no one dared to ask the tough questions? Why hasn't anyone demanded McCain to disown, remove, repudiate and distance himself from the Pastor who has made divisive comments about the Catholic religion, the Jewish religion, women, the Gay community and the horrific Hurricane Katrina catastrophe?

    And there are more political figures who have aligned themselves with preachers who have done divisive things...why no investigation into this phenomenon?

    Why only one side of this matter? It doesn't seem like appropriate reporting?

    March 19, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  16. Linda Ardell

    Hello Anderson,
    I pray that all factions of American society can see Barach Obama"s strength of character, dignity and compassion. We need him leading this country.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  17. David

    I believe Obama isn't a bigot or racist, but several hesitation and questions come to mind now.

    First, the President is only as good as the company he keeps and the Cabinet he installs. His association with Reverend Wright brings up some heavy questions on his judgment and ability to select the right people, does it not?

    Second, are the praises for Obama addressing a tough issue a little misplaced? Would he have ever framed his speech and addressed these issues if it were not for Reverend Wright? I think he was just doing what every politician is forced to do when they are involved in a controversial situation...they try to change the course of discussion and the direction of thought. I'll give him praise for that.

    My concern though is he would rather have his daughters listen to someone that is obviously spouting both hatred, victimization and questionable racial comments from the pulpit, but when it came to Imus saying something in poor taste he soundly said he wouldn't enable him to be on the air, nor hire him. Doesn't this seem a little hypocritical and questionable? Should he really have had Rev. Wright working on his campaign in the first place? Because he has dismissed him now, does it make it OK?

    I really can't help wonder and be concerned about the choices Obama is making and whether he is just going to pass along preferential treatment to those he is close with regardless of their outrageous views or comments...until it doesn't benefit himself.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  18. The Invisible Citizen

    Hi, I think the public is missing the much larger picture as is the media regarding this issue. What do you think is going through the minds of the perpetrators of 9/11 and their supporters, watching the American people nominate someone who aligns themselves with a man of the cloth who just five days after the most devastating day in American history says, "God Dam America", basically blaming America for this tragedy, as well as other numerous tragedies. Obama's union and 20 year association with this man, it could be argued, simply through appearance if nothing else, that he, Obama, and his close friend and adviser may in fact support the views of those who seek to harm us. Obama's steadfastness to stand by his friend, though not his statements, troubles me greatly. He accuses the press and others of character assassination seemingly trying to diminish the strength of such statements, while at the same time having us believe that his friend is just misunderstood! Well there is no mistaking his comments and Obama's lack of judgment in disassociating himself and his family from this man, and for so many years too. As Americans what kind of message is this sending to our enemies! And, what does this say about "US" as Americans, and a people! Giving Obama a pass on this brings into question our own judgment as Americans and how we want to be seen around the world. Just how far are we willing to go to achieve the change we so desire in this country? God Bless America!

    The Invisible Citizen

    March 19, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  19. Kelly

    I am so happy this speech was given. However, saddened that it had to come form Mr Obama. Even though he is probably the best person to deliver it plus have it heard and read by so many. When the short clips of his Minister first came out, I was dumbfounded as to why this was even an issue worth discussing. Then as I saw so many ask questions and react in an offensive way then I realized that perhaps many don’t realize the the uncomfortable issues must be brought to light so that an intelligent discussions can occur. And this happens all over the world in discussions and debates everyday. The types that are meant to define the 5 Ws … Who , What , Where, When and Why. (Basic stuff!! ) It also occurred to me that people outside of some Pentecostal, Breathrin, Baptist churches and so on ….some labeled as Black Churches not limited to but some predominantly attended by blacks …..are used to sermons where there preacher talks AT them rather than enter into a discussion with the congregation. People that are not used to having a regular Sunday morning discussion don’t know that it’s common to start with an uncomfortable issue and by the end of the sermon have answers for the 5Ws by the end; clearing up the truths from the un-truths and in some cases leaving it open ended so one can leave and do some soul searching. This is common place in many churches like Rev Wrights. As for Mr. Obama ….America has a man that has shown that when the going gets tough…he doesn’t just run away or does nothing and hopes for the best. He has shown that he is steadfast in his beliefs not only in his values but also his country and his politics. Here is a man that regardless of his own interest (winning the Presidency) showed he had the guts to stand up an tackle head on the uncomfortable truths of a country and individuals. He has shown that as a President he will not run away from difficult situations but will stand in solidarity with the country. The Country He Loves! Tackling each situation as a whole and moving as a mighty force. Isn’t that the type of president America NEEDS?

    March 19, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  20. Jasmine

    Obama is damaged goods, I think we Democrats should come to the conclusion that Obama was not honest about this relationship until he HAD to be. I hear the Black Panthers are still backing Obama though!

    March 19, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  21. Martha Anderson

    My thanks to Senator Obama for addressing the issue of race in this country. His speech was spot-on. Now the press needs to quit running the sound bite of the reverend and move on to matters that actually affect the American people.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  22. Cindy

    The question that has been bugging me about all this is why, knowing that the pastor felt this way about whites and about America, did Obama have Rev. Wright on his campaign up until last Friday? The real question isn't even why Obama didn't get up and leave the sermons, but why he allowed Wright to have any role in this campaign? If the videos hadn't been played on TV, would Wright still have a role today? And what was that role?

    I see so many people saying to judge Obama by his words, not his preacher's, and if Rev. Wright served as his preacher only, that might be a valid point. The fact is that he wasn't just a preacher, he was a member of the campaign. Rev. Wright's comments weren't just about race, either, but were filled with hatred for our country. How does Obama address that issue? Has he ever tried to talk to Rev. Wright about his comments before he began his campaign for the Presidency?

    Obama gives us a speech about how we as a nation need to heal our racial wounds. I agree. The first step in healing is for each person to stand up to hate and ignorance wherever it is found. We can't heal if we sit by and keep quiet. If Obama gives the messenger of hate and ignorance a position in the campaign that clearly is at odds with what Obama says he stands for, is it any wonder many people feel that he is saying one thing and doing another? And if it happens on this, on what else as well?

    Anderson, I've been a dedicated viewer of yours since you came to CNN and have always trusted you to ask the questions that need to be asked. Please ask these questions of Senator Obama. Americans are entitled to the answers.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  23. observer

    You should ask "Mr. Obama" what was his faith before he decide to become a Christian, as he mentioned in his speech said it was 20yrs ago that he met with Dr.Wright. What was his believe before then.

    How will he handle an Islam issue if he ever need to solve, will he favor them more (as he got his first taste of Muslim believes when he was young) ???? I dont want to see the Nation hurt again.

    How can he get rid all the Dr. Wrights' teaches of 20yrs within a week or so (just for political reason...) I dont think he can and will.

    Another thing that I observe is even though he may say there is no race at all in this Race, but I sure see 100% race issue in the voting system as he always get votes from his Black community. May be all the Pastors and Churches might have told them who to Vote.

    I also agree with kg comment. "Mr. Obama is like a flip flop ... he may say one thing today and he may say another thing tomorrow. He always say he is opposed to War .... Yeah, right. ..... He cannot even vote for the War as he was not even elected at that time. So why he keeps on saying thing that did not happen".

    I wish WE should be really careful electing the next President as we should not be facing the same mistake and sufferings like we are right now.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  24. Mikado83

    How Mr. obama has gotten as far as he has is completely mind boggling, this man came out of nowhere, and we don't really know that much about him, except that he's a senator from Illinois, other than that, who know's. He says he's for change in Washington, but he and his staff keep getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar! This latest controversy with the supposed rev. wright, its disgusting, to think of someone who is suppose to teach about "love thy neighbor "is filling its congregation with hate towards others is down right horrible. Whats worse is that Mr. obama looks up to this man, that does'nt say much about his judgement ! I don't want someone like him running this country and if he wins the nomination I'll vote for Mccain.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  25. Sherry

    I'm so tired of racism and division in this country. Sometimes I think it will never change. We really need C-H-A-N-G-E!!

    March 19, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  26. Texas

    Obama is a GREAT man and I support him 100%.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  27. jackie

    I am surprised that the media has not really commented on the theme that Obama started his speech with and continued to the end:

    "In order to form a more perfect union" ... using the analogy that the constitution is good, but not perfect, and that by amending it, we are perfecting it as we go along. Binding that notion to the understanding that we as humans, as Americans, are not perfect (like Reverend Wright) but we should always look to opportunities to perfect ourselves.

    It is such a big picture notion, to make this election not just about votes, not about rhetoric, but about opportunities to "form a more perfect union." Very Presidential, Senator Obama.

    March 19, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  28. Nahom

    I have never been frustrated with the media like this before but at the same time I am proud of us Americans that are able to see the truth beyond the spin. Race is an issue but an issue that is and will heal and with the help of a good leadership. We can all agree on some of the issues and agree to disagree on the other issues. This country has done many good things and some bad things but the most important thing is we all do what we can to be on the side of good. I believe Obama is good for Race relations, good for the Economy, good for National Security, good for health care and good for America. 9-11 united us to bring the best out of us once and I believe Obama could unit us again to fight for that common goal without giving up our individual desire, pursuit of happiness.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  29. Debbie, Denham Springs, LA

    I hope this hasn't hurt Obama, but on some level I think it has and that's really unfortunate because he's a good man and an excellent motivator and that's what we need right now. It's really sad that he has to answer to something that was made into such a huge issue that when you think about it should never have been. I went to a Catholic church for years when I was younger and I didn't believe in everything the priest said in his sermon every Sunday and there were sometimes horrible remarks made about homosexuals. But just because I was there doesn't mean I advocated those beliefs.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  30. Jack

    I for one am tired of being blamed for every problem a black person has. The statements of Rev. Wright are anti american especially white american. Why is that? This country has bent over backwards to pacify this group of people. Blacks have preferences in education, jobs etc. The rest of us don't. How much longer are Americans going to just stand by and let people run America down? Obama is a good speaker but so is Osama. With this kind of relationship with Rev. Wright who hates America what will we have to give up next? What about the right to defend ourselves or freedom of Religion.

    To Reverend Wright, Shapton, Jackson I say look in the mirror and you will see who the real racist are in this country.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  31. Nurul Aman

    Hello AC360!

    I appreciate you so much for taking this tour with Obama, despite your post surgery situation! It is so important for the country at this defining moment of our history. Thank you for that!

    Bravo! Bravo Obama!

    Obma delivered his response yesterday way more than he needed to do for turning this country into a new chapter of the 2st century.

    Like millions of true Americans of all races, my family and I couldn't be more proud of Obama's unprecedented speech he delivered yesterday. This is the best speech ever made by any leaders yet in this country. The substance of his remarkable and historic speech has touched the hearts and souls of every American and put forward two fundamental challenging questions to all of us: why we are still divided on every Sunday during our prayers in all over the country? Why are we still afraid of accepting the truth of wrongdoing school segregation that caused the education systems of America a sub-standard and discriminatory? Other political leaders of this country are surely challenged to answer these fundamental questions now.

    You are the hero of my family You are already more respected and in far better position than that of a presidential victory. We love you forever.

    God bless you Obama!

    March 19, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  32. Jessica in Chicago

    Kenny H. Stated:

    "The first time Anderson Cooper ( hope you feel better soon) interviewed Obama after the Wright mess, Obama said he never heard of those remarks. Now Obama admitted he was presence on occassions. We should now question Obama’s character."

    With all due respect, Kenny, do YOU remember everything your pastor has EVER said in his sermons? If a member of the press came to your workplace, stuck a microphone and a camera in your face and asked you to comment about an excerpt from one of the sermons you've heard in the past twenty years, would you be able to recall it and comment intelligently and with complete veracity? Hmmm...I wouldn't. I might go back later and check my calendar, and look at the dates that the remarks were made and later admit that I was present, but I don't know that I could recall specific comments.

    Maybe it's just me.

    To my understanding (after speaking to a professor who is also a member of the Reverend Wright's congregation), Reverend Wright is a straight-shooter and doesn't pull punches about his opinions. He also uses fiery rhetoric regularly to inspire his congregation into reflection and positive action. Is anyone checking the sermons from the pastors of any of the other candidates? Their prom dates? How about their doctors? Lawyers? Bank tellers? That would just be ridiculous, right? Right?

    March 19, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  33. Eric Turner

    Senator Obama gave an uplifting and straight forward speech yesterday, but the bottom line is that I think that this situation has really hurt him. Does this situation help Hilary Clinton out more? Maybe slightly, but the real winner is John McCain and the Republican Party. Being a young African American male, I agreed with a lot that Mr. Obama spoke about yesterday, but also being the son of a pastor, I was disappointed that he did not come out and take more responsibilty for his actions of sittining under that kind of spiritual leadership. My dad has been a minister/pastor for about 30 years now, and I have never heard him say anything like the inflammatory remarks that Rev. Wright preached. Obama also lied and said last Friday that he had never heard his pastor say anything out of the way like he heard in those video clips, but yet during his speech yesterday he says that he was in the pulpit on several occasions when his pastor did say similar things but he totally disagreed with. He speaks of having good judgement, but this is failure in using good judement by sitting under a pastor that is controversial and spews this kind of hate. Rev. Wright may be a good man, but some of his beliefs contradict the main purpose of Jesus Christ, and that was to love on another. As much as I love my own Dad (my pastor), I would have left a long time ago.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  34. Olivia, West Hollywood

    I listened to his speech.

    I understand that he considers Rev Wright as family and he said he spoke with Rev Wright many times and never did the conversations include anything like the dialogue I heard in the reverend's sermons on TV.

    I have had many conversations with family and close friends about politics, marriage, boyfriends etc. And if I disagreed with them and felt what they were doing or saying was not right (in my mind) I would let them know.

    I cannot understand or believe that with all the conversations with Rev Wright and that friends never discussed the sermons with Obama.

    He did not close the Rev Wright association with the speech yesterday. It was a great speech but it did not completely anwser the question. In your interview with him last week, he did say he never sat in a pew when these sermons were made. And you even asked him if any of his fellow parishoners ever came up to him and said "Did you hear that sermon last week/". I believe his anwser was no.

    So between last week and this week his answer changed to Yes I did know of these incindiary statements.

    Please try to clear this you for me. Thank you.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:59 pm |
  35. Elijah

    I live in Brussels where my skin is sometimes a problem to some people. But I have some of the best white friends whom we openly share all mmaner of issues including race and even my colour. My white wife – a European – never – not even once has haboured feelings of racial discomfort in our 15 years of marriage and great friendship. It buffles us why Americans are so touchy about race. Maybe there is something they are hiding. Obama must not be vilified for other's comments and sharing of mind. He is, perhaps, the finest American president that your country may not have! He is a jewel of a man. You had better give him a chance. We who look from out of America admire the share wit and intelligent of this man!!
    -Elijah, Brusels

    March 19, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  36. Brian

    Earlier posts credit Obama for "standing up and addressing the issue like a man" I disagree. The problem for Obama is and will continue to be; for twenty years he has heard comments (by his own admission) that were inflamatory, wrong, divisive (code for racist) and never stood up. Why? Did he agree with them? Common sense would say no. Did he need the polictical support of this large influential church in his district as he created his political career? Common sense would say yes. This issue doesn't reveal Obamas hidden agenda or latent black separtist feelings. Rather, that at his core, he is nothing more, than an politician. Why is it that in EVERY election cylce we average civilians glom onto the one canidate that sounds or looks the best? No doubt Obama is a smooth talking, quick on his feet, feel good, promise the world politician, doing what they ALL know how to do....spin. My advice; don't get your hopes up. Take a deep breath, make yourself a drink and contiplate these two absolute truths. If a politicians lips are moving....their probably lying. And, if you want to change your situation, you have to take responsibilty for it and change it yourself.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  37. Kenneth

    Obama didn't have to explain or dwell on what was spoken and felt by alot of african-americans, He did what you'd expect a true man, politician to do stand up and give his honest feelings on the matter, I personally didn't feel that he needed to respond, or explain ,validate or defend Rev.Wrights statements, IT IS WHAT IT IS !! I'm so glad tha Obama did the stand up in ya face response did Not throw his pastor under the bus or try to make excuses for him. A real mam always recognizes a real man, run run from or try to cover up the truth... thats what b@tches do!

    March 19, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  38. Carol Myers

    I am deeply disturbed about the comments made by Rev Wright. I was disturbed by a black commentator comments last night on cnn that "most" of the black pastors do this same thing. How can we ever get to where we have to get on the race issue if one side, the blacks are hearing words like the gov. gave aids to the blacks and God Bless America should not be sung but God D*** America. This to me is a pastor brainwashing his congregation to believe the way he believes instead of preaching God's message.
    Carol Scio Oh.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  39. tj

    As usual, most people did not listen to the speech....they heard it but didn't LISTEN to it. Clearly, Obama states that Rev. Wright is/was his spiritual advisor....advisor on GOD....for most people GOD and COUNTY are separate. It's not too difficult to understand. If a friend makes remarks you don't agree with, you don't condone their remarks, but you don't stop being their friend either. Jus goes to show what a double-standard their is in this country which is why Obama is the perfect candidate for President.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  40. john danford

    How can Sen. Obama justify his defense of his home church when they were absolutely affirming by their shouts, jumping and amens to the pure racist venom spewed by his ex pastor and mentor? There is no justifying a position of acceptance for this behavior regardless of what he may say. When I preach on Sunday , it is the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified that I preach, not hatred or degrading any group of people regardless of my past experiences or personal bias.
    If that is the behavior of his church when someone like Rev Wright preaches his poison, then I cannot respect Sen Obama. Even if they were my dearest friends, I would not allow myself to participate in a church where they showed such agreement to Rev Wright's out right racism.
    I feel saddened for Sen Obama in his inability to divoce himself from what is right and what is wrong. What does that say about his ability to perform in a presidential role if placed in a similar situation. I am disappointed in his veneer of an explanation.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  41. dottytn

    I think it is most important that Sen Obama not be judged by the words of his pastor. We must remember we are living in America. A country where everyone is allowed freedom of speech. What the pastor said was his opinion and his opinion alone. The pastor in a church does not rule the minds of his members. A disagreement with an idea or statement in a church would not cause a faithful member to leave his home church. Let's get back to the real issues of the campaign.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  42. getoveritalready

    Are comments from Rev. Wright all you can find on Obama? Give us a break! The American people are tired of the spin and the race card. The media can make a bad man look good, and a good man look bad. It will praise the ACTIONS of a president that are shameful in every way that you look at it look good, while making the STATEMENTS of a good man's former pastor look bad. This election is not about Rev. Wright, it's about the American people.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  43. Nisha

    I have to agree with Michelle. My daughter is also of mixed decent and has begged me to make her hair straight. She started asking me when she was four yrs old. It isn't just that people are listening to 30 second sound bits and not researching the church, but the fact that they naively believe that this man preached this every Sunday for 20 yrs. Come on America! This church has more than 10,000 members and some of them are white. On the days that these statements where made there were white people in the congregation. For all those that want to know about his children hearing this, have you never heard of children's church or youth ministry? For those that believe he should that there is no way this man did not have influence on him, then I ask that you please remember your father's father and his father and his grandfather, you know the racist men who murdered, raped & inslaved so many. Not just blacks, but the Indians as well. You see they didn't just stop at words. They put there hate into actions and I do believe that there are pictures and videos of that. Enough that it will make what Pastor Wright said minor. Would any of you like to be held accountable for those actions?

    By the way, I am an African American and a American soldier. While I may not agree with what Pastor Wright said, I do agree with his right to say it. He was a marine and if anybody has the right to say anything bad about America, it is us. Those of us that risk our families and our lives for you. For you to have the right to "fairly" vote for the person who will make the decision to put my life and the lives of thousands of my fellow solidiers at risk. Only 1% of the American population serves in our military, but 100% have the right to vote. Make your vote well informed. Do your own research and do not base it on petty differences about words and race.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  44. dsmith

    i beleive that this speech is a huge turning point for obama.
    he takes, in my estimation, his first big stand.
    his eloquence and his truthful demeanor in speech is only an aspect of his greater integrity.
    i am an african american
    i was adopted by caucasion parents when i was one.
    i have truely seen the best and the worst of both worlds.
    obama is just cementing a phenomenal reputation by this speech. His stand of loyalty but not condonment, is just what people need to hear.
    his authoritative stance is the perfect move.
    How can people call him a communist, i do not know.
    maybe that more perfect union is not so perfect on the subcontious level for many.
    i am inspired now, to not"retreat into [my] corner", but to be the change, along side of barack
    hopefully in the the future he will have the opportunity to do his thing and make changes as president

    March 19, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  45. virginia Nielsen

    I can,t wait for this interview tonight !!! I just came back from Europe and Obama is their hope for the presidency of our country , I even saw in a book store in Germany a book about Senator Obama called " The Black Kennedy". I felt that I'd would be very proud of Barack Obama as my president, showing to the world what America is capable to do peacefully.
    God bless America !!! OBAMA 2008-2016 !!!

    March 19, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  46. Greg

    Unfortunately, this Rev Wright situation provided a lot of people a scape goat. At first, it was "there's no substance". Then the substance was again provided (it was always there, the media was enamored with the Rhetoric), just log online and read the details of his policies. What it really was is that their candidate truly was not measuring up to what Obama was effortlessly showing us. Obama also didnt look the part for some (color wise).

    Everything Obama has done from the organization and innovation of his campaign that no candidate has ever structured, his inspirational oratory skills, intelligence, not going negative, and being calm and candid throughout the ups and downs. He has displayed every trait that we have historically asked for, but as always right before our eyes we are basically "crucifying" this candidate and his attributes.....all because of a Rev??. There's not a family in America that does not have a relative whom they don't support there way of being, but also does not completely disown them. I think some of America is still afraid, and are still being taught to hate....and to this day and in this election think it's okay, or found a way to justify it. I am so embarrased by what we've become as a people and why it is we've grown to be hated by those outside of our borders. If not Obama, then we deserve what's left of the remaining status quo candidates.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  47. tina

    It's funny to see which parts of Obama's speech get analyzed by which news program. I read it, but have only seen parts on TV. I hope folks will take the time to read it because it was a great speech. He hit the mark on this! I am totally comfortable with his explanation of his pastor's comments. His is verbalizing what so many people are thinking but are afraid to open up and talk about. This is such an exciting time in our country's life.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  48. Jean

    To Sylvie, hello Sylvie , wakeup!! Obama has already denounced Wright over aver and over. What Obama cannot do on the other hand is disown Wright, which would be tantamount to disowning blacks. This follows that whatever Wright said, some of the things said are true, some inaccurate, and that is really not a problem. The problem is the delivery, which was divisive and inflammatory.I don;t know what your race is, but i am sure you have come across people that you love who have uttered racial epithets, and you still love them and have not even denounced them. Hate and denounce the doctrine , but save the man.

    March 19, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  49. Shannon

    Hi Anderson!

    First off - I LOVE YOU!

    Second – why isn't Obama's camp truly taking pride in the other half of his heritage? He has an amazing platform by which to unify this nation, so why does everyone insist on saying that he will be the first BLACK president if elected? The real truth is that he would be the first half BLACK/half WHITE president if elected, right? So, my real question is – has his "white" lineage become so very distasteful that it's not even worth 1/2 his platform? We're not all horrible people - I promise.

    Just a question. . .or 4. :o)

    Shannon, California

    March 19, 2008 at 4:53 pm |



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