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. kelly WI

    Keep it up media. Show Hillary and Obama for what they are.
    Go McCain

    March 15, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. Joe

    Barack could not have done a better job of addressing this issue. Wright's comments reflect a generation of Black people that are angry about the past, Barack represents a generation that wants to lead this country to a future where we can move past racial divisions.

    March 15, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. Josh

    Wow! I can't believe that someone in here is accusing CNN of being biased in favour of Hillary!!! HAHA!!! Hillary has been fighting the media this whole campaign season while Barack has gotten a free ride. Now that the truth about him is starting to come out, the Obama flock is crying foul. Clearly, Obama is the one creating a "force of division." He has been going to a church that has a racist pastor for over 20 years...wouldn't THAT be considered "POOR JUDGMENT?"

    March 15, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. emmy

    what else is Obama hiding..hoping no one will find out..step down Obama..step down

    March 15, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. Disheartened

    How we can entrust someone as our president who is not aware of what is going on in his own church to know what is going on all over the country and in the entire world. Everyone knows if their pastor is benevolent and patriotic or radical and anti-American, and one doesn't have to attend every single week to determine this. This incident has caused me to question Obama's credibility. I no longer trust him. Our country is severely broken, we cannot take the chance.

    March 15, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. Amy

    Obama IS NOT responsible for his pastor.

    He has denounced him and rejected his comments.

    What else can he do? SPIT on the guy??

    March 15, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Buddy

    I denounce Obama.

    March 15, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  8. ObamaorClinton 08

    MP-Penn. Have you not seen the uproar about Ferraro! Clinton has had much more bad press than Obama. Neither handled the situation correctly. We need to get back to the issues so we can win back the white house from the republicanws

    March 15, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  9. International Observer

    Oh yes right. What does Obama has to say about anti-national wife and preacher? And his connection with mafias?

    CNN should open comment for this political ticker:
    "Obama says Rezko raised up to $250K"

    March 15, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  10. kevin from alaska

    CNN is so bias. Using "decries" plays up to the Hillbots that will claim he's "whining." Oh well, I guess CNN is pulling for Clinton, MSNBC for Obama, and FixedNews for McCain. Sad.

    March 15, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. Victoria Ukachukwu

    Good job, Sen

    March 15, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Ray

    Obama's minister does not speak for him. My minister does not speak for me. No matter who you support, no matter what your political affiliation, you must admit this is absurd.

    I don't want to read a tabloid – I want to have the candidates focus on important issues. I wonder if anyone realizes that THIS IS NO TIME for games. This is getting frustrating.

    Enough fiddling while Rome is burning. CNN, knock this stuff off! Can you folks still be proud of yourselves as journalists? If you don't give it airplay, then no one even needs to know that this irrelevant stuff is being discussed. Come on, let's achieve a higher level of dialogue here. Can you help us accomplish that, or must we get our news elsewhere for a more intelligent perspective?

    March 15, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. Obamabot watch

    This man can't cover up 20 years of support with a few sentences of denial. Clearly he knew what this man was about, condoned it, supported and and approved of it. It infected his wife: look at the comments she has made about America!! Good grief people, get real. This man is harboring an agenda that's based on anger and hate, and trying to paper it over. It won't work.

    March 15, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. Jose Card - Independent

    Now I start to see more Obama 08 stickers on cars. The media can stir up more negativity if they wish, but voters have decided which candidate to stay away from and it's neither Obama nor McCain.

    While McCain is leaving for Europe and Middle East to meet with foreign leaders, Hillary was in a St. Patrick parade in Pitts. That's all nice, but it just shows the great difference in the levels of foreign experience the candidates are talking about.

    March 15, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  15. Pedro


    Why should Obama step down when he's the one who's winning and will have the lead when the convention rolls around?

    March 15, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. karen

    MSK–how can you say Obama should step down when he is winning??

    March 15, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  17. Freddy

    Sounds like the Clinton supporters are shoveling BS again. These people have no morals. But Hillary doesnt either so they can have each other.

    March 15, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. Gayle

    How can he denounce this man now, his pastor, as though it's a big surprise that the man makes those kinds of remarks? He didn't go to church on the days the pastor spoke? Humbug. He should have denounced that type of statement a long time ago and distanced himself from his pastor years ago, not now when it's convenient.

    March 15, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. tedd

    Obama sould step down. He is causing a division.

    I agree Barack should step down. He is causing racial tension by playing the race card!

    March 15, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. Mike, Birmingham AL

    The only people trying to keep this "not-a-story" alive are Faux News, Hannity, Limbaugh and O'Really.

    They hope if they keep flinging the crap, something will stick sooner or later. The reality is my preacher says things that I don't agree with sometimes. I don't have to believe everything he says.

    Keep trying guys – you got nothing here.

    March 15, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. NYC, NY, New Yorker

    This guy talks about judgement. Yet his judgement to go His pastor church was bad one and know rezko. He blames Sen. Clinton for having bad jiudgement to goto IRAQ.

    Clinton/Powell '08
    Yes She Can.

    March 15, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. Victoria Ukachukwu

    Good job, Senator Obama. As I see it, you have shown that you are committee to uniting and bringing people together asyou have maintained throughout this campaign. May your message of unity and decency prevail.

    March 15, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. Mike Boye

    Obama said he learned of Pastor Wright's statement in January, and that he disagrees with the statement.

    The question is, WHY DID HE KEEP HIM IN HIS CAMPAIGN STAFF from January untill March?

    He now only denounces the statement and removed him from his staff because it is make public.

    March 15, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. Irene

    What about Hillary's religion.........

    Please Google .....Hillary Clinton Fellowship
    see who she is lining up with......
    . Evangelical Republican Senators and Hillary Clinton meet in secret weekly....Google it it is shocking

    March 15, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. m

    the media you are part of the problem. I am beginning to loose my resepect fro the CNN because of your bias converages. Please be objective and tell the truth as usual. What about the clintons and the Monikas. I Client number 9 not a Clinton Supporter?

    March 15, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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