March 15th, 2008
06:53 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama decries 'forces of division'

 Obama campaigned in Indiana Saturday.

Obama campaigned in Indiana Saturday.

(CNN) - Referencing the recent uproar over his former minister's controversial sermons, Barack Obama on Saturday denounced the "forces of division" that he says have become part of the Democratic race for the White House.

Speaking to a sold-out crowd in Plainfield, Indiana, Obama again said he sharply disagreed with the some of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's past statements, saying they remind him of the country's "tragic history when it comes to race."

"I knew him and know him as somebody in my church who talked to me about Jesus and family and friendships but clearly had – if all I knew were the statements that I saw on television I would be shocked," Obama said. "And it just – it reminds me that we have a tragic history when it comes to race in in this country – we have got a lot of pent up anger and bitterness and misunderstanding."

"But what I continue to believe in is that this country wants to move beyond these kinds of debates," he added. "That this country wants something different."

Obama's comments come one day after he formally repudiated Wright's sermons - recently posted on the Internet and the subject of an ABC News report - that have drawn fire. The campaign also said Friday Wright no longer had a leadership position within the campaign.

- CNN's Mike Roselli contributed to this report

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. sad

    Please everyone just let this go. please give both the candidates the opportunity to get back on track and get back on the issues, and more importantly DESTROY JOHN MCCAIN.

    March 15, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. BMartin, Duluth, MN

    What? Isn't this the guy that said he consults Wright before bold political moves? The same one who holds hand with Rezko and Farrakhan? What will come to light next is my question?

    March 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Party Pooper

    The news media is part of the "forces of division." I just heard William Schneider on CNN handicaping Florida and Michigan in the event that these states get "do overs" and his analysis was more or less based on race.

    March 15, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. msk-

    Obama sould step down. He is causing a division.

    March 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. cmt

    How can you offer something different when you are so rooted in it, speaking out of both sides of the mouth, maybe?

    March 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Cindy,CA

    Words and honesty matter...

    March 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. Sarah

    OBAMA 08'

    March 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  8. tracy

    I have been an Obama supporter, but no longer. What kind of judgment does it show when Obama allows his young, impressionable daughters to listen to that minister spew his racist garbage for all those years?

    March 15, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. MP- Pennsylvania

    Well said Barack. Unfortunately when when someone in clinton campaign make cooments, no body cares. They talk about Barack'r relationship with Retzco, Wright. But how about Peter Paul with Clinton. CNN you are biased. Look at what you have today. You have negatives on Barack and positives on Hillary.
    Shame on you CNN. You forget your obligations to the people

    March 15, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. Ed

    Yeah!! Forces of division! Obama come on. Make a speech were you address all these forces of division. Mit Romney gave one, JFK gave one and now its your turn to do the same. Do you really expect white america to elect a black president unless your talk about it in a speech like JFK did. Everyone will judge you on the way you handle this crisis. Just think about it as a 3am senario and you have to govern. Good luck man, if you handle this correctly, Tucker predicted that you will be the next president. By the way, don't pay much attention to Hannity, he is a racist.

    March 15, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. Matt, Charlotte NC

    Reverend Wrights sermons have been all over YouTube for months. And Barack says he has never heard this before? Hum???

    March 15, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. hippie


    March 15, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. ChrisD

    Time to give it up Obama! The DNC better not put this guy up for president, we will lose. As soon as they find out he was in attendence at one of the hate filled services this minister preaches it will be proof positive that he lied about not knowing.

    March 15, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |

    This is typical. It looks like Obama is really no different than anybody else, and this just proves his stance on alot of things. But now that it is comming out, an being a bad time, and looking bad, he is trying to distance himself from his pastor and church. It is clear that his church was enthralled and behind the basis of those sermons. plain and simple!

    March 15, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Obama is a liar and cannot be trusted!

    March 15, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. Sue

    Nice try Barack. Do you really expect us to believe that you had no idea what your mentor and spiritual advisor was saying for the past 20 years in his racist, anti American sermons? How gullible and stupid do you think the American people are?

    March 15, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. Bob

    Let me get this straight. Obama knows this guy for 20 years, calls him an advisor, knows that Rev. Wright endorses Farakhan and has made racist statements and he just realizes that it might be a problem! No way is he believable!

    March 15, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. Observer

    "That this country wants something different." is not a solution without addressing the wrong.

    March 15, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. Sam Rose

    His handling of this shows true leadership–this country does have wounds that are hundreds of years old-Obama can bring us together-

    Senator Obama can lead us through anything that comes our way his judgment is superior to any other candidate-

    I just read the NYT piece on his mother–wow–what a great woman, I know now where his heart came from.

    Obama '08

    March 15, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  20. dale in indiana

    how can anybody believe anything obama says after his pastor ,which is obama's spiritual advisor for the last 20 years, has been preaching all this hatred and racial bigotry. mr. wright married the obama's, baptized their children and obama has never heard him say anything out of the ordinary......bull....wake up people

    March 15, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. JanetP

    "The campaign also said Friday Wright no longer had a leadership position within the campaign."

    This appears to speak to the fitness of Wright to serve in a leadership role for the Obama campaign. Well he didn't become unfit since yesterday. It is a tacit admission that bad judgment was used in including him in the first place. This should certainly negate Obama's claim to superior judgment in the Iraq issue.

    March 15, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. Billary

    At least we now know that he is NOT a muslim. Hillary's camp tried everything in their power to misinform the people.

    March 15, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  23. Asons

    Hey Barack, your social justice theory is showing. The truth about your anti american beliefs hurts, doesn't it? Hope people are coming to realize what you are really about .

    March 15, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. Robert

    Has everyone FORGOTTEN that Obama's mother was WHITE. We would be the last individual on earth to create division among races.

    March 15, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. Annette F

    Okay, thanks for the info. Now can we move on to the issues.

    March 15, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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