March 15th, 2008
06:53 PM ET
7 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. Carolyn West

    J. Wright will not be the "former minister" until March 31, 2008.

    I do not plan to forget what this man said and the fact that Obama has been affiliated with him for 20 years. You may put a muzzle of the Hillary's campaign but I'm not running for any office and I'm not affiliated with any campaign and have no intention of sweeping this mess under the rug. I would never vote for Obama – not because he is black but because I question his integrity and his loyality to this country.

    March 15, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  2. Barbara Flem

    I have watched Hannity and Combs each night talk about this issue night after night to the point I feel they have a hidden agenda. Like Shakespeare said: "He does protest too much." On Friday night, March 14, one of the guests, a Dem. strategist, said he felt this was a hi-tech lynch mob and I agree.

    March 15, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. Mark Webb

    Very presidential! I love you Obama.

    March 15, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. WilliamJ

    The only "forces of division" that are in play her are the "historically tragic" words used by his Rev. Wright.

    OBAMA KNEW ABOUT ALL OF THIS and NOW HE IS TRYING TO SLEEZE HIS WAY OUT OF BY PLAYING THE VICTIM. NOT GONNA WORK... YOU ARE FINISHED, MR. OBAMA.

    YOUR DAYS AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ARE NUMBERED.

    NOBAMA EVER!!

    March 15, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. Wayne

    The forces of Division. You mean the bigot pastor which Obama not only gave a formal position to on his campaign but kept going to his church knowing full well the racist hatred that was being spewed there? Or how about hiring the bigot pastor Donnie McClurkin and refusing to fire him even after Obama was told about McClurkin's long history of anti-gay hatred? The forces of Division? They are all stand firmly with Obama!

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

    On his MSNBC's Countdown interview (3/14/08), Barak Obama said that Rev. Wright "helped bring me to Jesus".
    What religion did Obama embrace before Rev. Wright brought him to his church?

    March 15, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. jlunz

    I am extremely disapointed in Obama, I will now vote for Hillary. He sat in the pews for 20 years and never heard any of this, LIAR !

    March 15, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  8. Pam

    20 years, Barack, 20 years sitting in the same racist America hating pew.

    March 15, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. Audbrey, PA

    I will NEVER vote for Obama. If Obama wins the nomination you can bet that Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are all going to McCain. Conservative democrats will just have to support McCain.

    March 15, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Independent

    Yes, let us denounce the forces of division. But let us divide Hillary's camp and dig up dirt. What a hypocrisy.

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

    Talk about judgment, forces of division! Obama has called Minister Wright his mentor and spiritual advisor for twenty years and now Senator Obama has the "audacity" to say he wasn't aware of the hatred this man preaches. Wake up America, Senator Obama is only a political hack.

    We don't need a president whose wife and minister degrade our county.

    March 15, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  12. Dan

    Start doing some of your own research people. The right wing propaganda machine should not be your only source of information. Check out who owns CNN and FOX. Then you'll understand.

    March 15, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. chris

    Stop! You blame the Democratic Party for not being able to get along, but in actuality its YOU, CNN! Hillary and Barack are trying to deal with issues, and you insist of tabloid journalism with your huge photo of Obama and Wright on your opening page. Where is your dignity?

    March 15, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. Eric

    Do any of you really believe that a guy can go to a church for 20 years and never hear this stuff? He never heard people talk ABOUT this stuff at church functions? Please. Obama is a liar, and is no different than the rest. As for the "DESTROY MCCAIN" comment posted by sad, I can see why you have that name. Get help.

    March 15, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Wayne

    The forces of Division. You mean the bigot pastor which Obama not only gave a formal position to on his campaign but kept going to his church knowing full well the racist hatred that was being spewed there? Or how about hiring the bigot pastor Donnie McClurkin and refusing to fire him even after Obama was told about McClurkin's long history of anti-gay hatred? The forces of Division? They are all standing firmly with Obama!

    March 15, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. Ardnuas

    This is why I voted for YOU !!!
    We AMERICANS are awesome when we are UNITED.....You are the person we need to KEEP us united, and cause our FRIENDS around the world to unite with us !!!!!!!!!!
    Obama/Edwards08 Si Se Puede

    March 15, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. Bill

    Obama is full of lies. 20 years he has know Wright, his pastor, mentor and Obama can not tell us that he never knew of Wright's hate. How dumb does Obama think we are.

    Obama has lost his credit on judgment and being electable. It is time for Obama to step down so the party can unity.

    So much for change and clean politics. Turn the page Obama

    March 15, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. roger

    twenty plus years at that church and donating last year$ 22,000 to this church and being married by Wright and his children baptised and the hate he spews one would't stay for 3 weeks never mind 20 plus years

    March 15, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. Eric

    Obama has stated that he did not know Rezko was under investigation when he raised money for him and when he entered into the property agreement with him.

    Obama has stated that he did not know about ANY of the Wright statements before he started to run for President, never heard any in person, and only found out about the rest in the last few days.

    Can Obama possibly be this ignorant about the people closest to him or he is just lying about what he knew and when he knew it?

    March 15, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. Mo Voter

    Obama should step down. How can voters truly believe he is not anti-America or anti-white now after Wright's comments as leader of a church Obama has attended for decades?

    March 15, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. Cindy

    To MP- Pennsylvania: If anyone is biased it's you. Where were you when everyone, including the media was very very negative on Hillary and Obama could do no wrong. Now it's Obama's turn. No one is that perfect that nothing negative could be said about them. They both have faults. Obama is just getting exposed right now, and rightly so. Let the people know what's important to know about the candidates before they cast their votes.

    March 15, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. Love Hill

    you cannot say you are surprised. You've been in that church, listening to this hatred for 20 years. Stop lying. If you didn't like the pastor's speeches, you would have left this church long time ago.
    You needed his rhetoric to get the radical Black votes in Illinois.

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

    I can;t help but wonder why, and by whom, this surfaced now! And, who began the introduction of political divide by gender and race?

    March 15, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. An Agnostic Democrat

    As usual, CNN has its collective tabloid news noses up the backside of the Clinton campaign. God forbid they should ever question any falsehood or exaggeration coming from HIllary now that she's been lying all along about her experience, accomplishments and connection to the Peter Paul trial and Rezko.

    What I want to know is why CNN didn't ever question George Bush about marching us in to IRAQ?! Where was all the investigative reporting back in 2002?

    But then again, when have they ever reported the real news unless they're are being directed by the Clinton campaign and the surrogates to tell them how to do their jobs and direst the news cycle. Pathetic!

    March 15, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. Susan

    Let all of this B.S. go and get back to discussing the issues! I don't care anymore about who said what when, I want to hear from the candidates about issues we are all concerned about, such as the economy, healthcare, the rising cost of food and gasoline. Let's move on!

    March 15, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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