March 14th, 2008
02:01 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama minister under scrutiny


CNN's Susan Roesgen reports on the controversy surrounding Obama's minister.

(CNN) - Barack Obama's Chicago minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is under fresh scrutiny, after an ABC News report Thursday shed light on some of his controversial sermons.

In one delivered last December, Wright argues Hillary Clinton's road to the White House is considerably easier than Barack Obama's because of his skin color.

"Hillary was not a black boy raised in a single parent home. Barack was," Wright says in a video of the sermon posted on YouTube.

"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 'nigger!' Hillary has never had her people defined as a non-person," a fiery Wright also says.

Wright, who retired from his post earlier this year, also is seen saying in the video, "Who cares about what a poor black man has to face every day in a country and in a culture controlled by rich white people?"

Wright's sermon shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorism attacks is also under scrutiny, during which he said America had brought on the attacks with its own practice of terrorism.

"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," he says. "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant. Because the stuff we have done overseas has now brought right back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

Obama and Wright have long been close. Obama has been a member of Wright's church since his days in law school, and Obama's bestselling book, The Audacity of Hope, takes its title from one of Wright's sermons. Wright also married the Obamas and baptized their two children.

But Obama has long maintained he is at odds with some of Wright's sermons, and has likened him to an "old uncle" who sometimes will say things he doesn't agree with. He has also specifically denounced Wright's 9/11 comments.

An Obama campaign spokesman also said Thursday the Illinois senator "deplores divisive statements whether they come from his supporters, the supporters of his opponent, talk radio, or anywhere else."

UPDATE: Speaking with the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Obama said, "I profoundly disagree with some of these statements."

"Here is what happens when you just cherry-pick statements from a guy who had a 40-year career as a pastor. There are times when people say things that are just wrong. But I think it's important to judge me on what I've said in the past and what I believe," he also said.

- CNN's Susan Roesgen contributed to this report

soundoff (345 Responses)
  1. Jb

    If Obama expects to be the democratic nominee and run against McCain, he needs to vociferously denounce those comments in no uncertain terms. You can't cry racism and then have your minister of over 20 yrs get away with such hurtful words like that.

    March 14, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. AL

    If you stay in a church for 20 yrs. is because you like what you hear and believe what they said, otherwise you leave and find a place more to you believe.

    March 14, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. PEACE

    If this man is Obama's "spiritual leader and mentor", he should withdraw his bid for nomination. There is NO WAY I want our President sharing such despicable beliefs about white people. This man (Wright) married Obama and Baptisted their children. He preaches hate. This is WORSE than Geraldine Ferraro.

    March 14, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Chris, Orlando

    About time the media starts talking about this...

    March 14, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. trebo12

    Ok, sounds like the truth to me. Why is this a problem?

    March 14, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. terry

    Old news, plus this guy retired last year. Additionally, Obama said a while back that he didn't agree with everything that guy said.

    Let get to some issues!

    This year the media is doing a terrible job spotlighting issues.

    What about the economy?

    What about the war?

    March 14, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. carl

    He should as a pastor be ashamed of his self. there should be a apology from him to hillary clinton.

    obama should be out saying how bad this is.
    wright.s comments are terrrible.

    PA should vote for hillary big time.

    March 14, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |


    March 14, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. eddie johnson

    and how is this story and Geraldine Ferraro going to stop the plunge of the dollar and ges at $3.50/gallon and the War in Iraq?

    Lok the guy is nuts but if you people think that Obama will have this unlimited power and will do thinks different you are all delusional.

    March 14, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Will

    CNN/ The Media is being way too sensitive towards an attempt at having 'equal' coverage.
    Just because Geraldine Ferraro made some racially charged comments the other day does not mean that an equal story has to come out on the Obama side....

    The two cases are entirely different! Ferraro is an ex-Democratic VP candidate who has a significant role in Clinton's campaign. It looks like all of Clinton's whining about media coverage has lead to CNN taking a complete 180 turn and now taking an unfair approach towards Obama!!!

    March 14, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. angel

    well, there goes obama's trip down the isle to the white's comments like these that brings in the truth of how people pick there so called friends and followers. obama should now face the questions about his true color, stance and answers to many other tougher questions and inquires.

    March 14, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Bridget


    Barack Obama get out of race now!!!And SHAME ON YOU!!!

    March 14, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. Tubby The Tuba

    The man has some good points.

    March 14, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. Marc

    This guy is at least as accountable for his words as Ferraro. Remember, this guy married Barack and Michelle and baptized their kids. And, was in a leadership role for pastors in Obama's steering committee.

    That said, it's unfair to judge either candidate by whatever nut job supports them. I'm sick of the two candidates having to be apologists for everything the crazies are saying. Let's get back to the issues.

    March 14, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. Marc

    Show your support. Get your Obama-Wright 08! God "bleep" America t-shirts on ebay. That is change you can believe in!

    March 14, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. Edgar

    What no comments by Obama supporters! No denounce and reject! Where are the 300 + comments that have been going on for days talking about great Obama is and how HRC should go and dig a hole.

    OMG! OMG! Obama supporters where are you!!!!!

    March 14, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. Black Male Dem

    I don't know know if the guy is officially in Obama's camp or if he is just a supporter, but if he is in his camp then he basically is offsetting the comments made by Geraldine Ferraro. Obama's advantage is gone and now the race is back at deuce.

    The biggest difference is that these statements were made in the past and the pastor has already retired, but haters of Obama will not even consider that when they start to beat him down because of these tapes.

    March 14, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Dave, Laguna Niguel, California

    Well, no wonder the Obamites all sound so militant and angry all the time. I think I'm finally starting to understand how the cult of Obama works.

    March 14, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. Elvin

    This is upsetting because the comments were made by his minister. The person he looks to for moral authority. Much more upsetting if it had been made by someone supporting his campaign.

    March 14, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. AMK

    Ahahahaha...."takes its title from one of Wrights sermons"......seriously? Has Barack ever done anything without the help from someone else???

    March 14, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. lime

    Im forming a white democrats for Mccain chapter at this very moment. And I am a lifelong democrat. I voted for Mondale in 84. Dems have no shot now. both Obama and Hillary are damaged goods.

    March 14, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. Amy in Iowa

    We Americans need to follow Barack Obama's late mothers example. This remarkable white woman embraced the different, rather than that ethnocentric thing of shunning the different. We do not need to agree with everyone. We need to try understand why they hold their points of view.

    March 14, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. Amazed, USA

    Sick that people consider him a Christian leader.

    March 14, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. Josh

    this is getting way too nasty, I don't care whether you're on Obama fan or a Hillary fan.

    March 14, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. In Bad Taste

    Aren't we entitled to see the ABC interview of Obama's adviser following the news report that challenged the misplacement of the blame for the pastor's views on the presidential candidate?
    In my humble opinion it made the anchor look like an unrehersed soloist on a voyage of talent discovery. And I hope others in the news media learned something from that debunking of devisive agenda. If anything is news it is ABC's mediocrity and the challenge by Obama's adviser during the interview to hold a review of Sen. Hillary Clinton & Sen. McCain's pastors.

    A tired, torn & very sad independent.

    March 14, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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