March 15th, 2008
06:53 PM ET
6 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. Tacoma, Washington

    I commend Barack for stepping up to the plate on this. Now, candidates, let's all take a deep breath and get back to the issues that are facing this country.

    March 15, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Connie

    If he wanted something different he wouldn't have spent 20 years under that influence. Wright wouldn't have been a "friend and adviser", or an inspiration for Obama's book. This is all just sickening and dishonest.

    March 15, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  3. Tracey

    Are we to beleive Obama had no idea of the views and opinions of his own minister...or does Obama just have poor judgement.

    Don't let this name answer the phone at 3am!

    March 15, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. lm

    guys - CNN (apart from Anderson Cooper who at least tries to be a journalist) is pathetic....there is no effort to inform....you should not be surprised by now.

    March 15, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Ver

    I hope Rev. Wright is there to help OBAMA and his family through this rough patch!

    March 15, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. Tim

    I am sorry Obama will never win the national election now. Do you think whites will vote for him now, after viewing all those you tube videos in Fox and the other channels. People were blaming CNN yesterday but this was getting played in all news show before CNN and worst tapes than the ones they showed in CNN.

    March 15, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. Coleman R. Brice, Asbury Park, NJ

    Obama made it clear that he disagrees with his Minister's divisive statements. I don't agree with or hang on every word my Pastor says either, though I adnire much of what he says. No one is perfect and our responsibility to ourselves is to think for ourselves. Blind allegiance to black and white mentalities and ideology is the rot cause of our pathetic mind set.

    March 15, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. kevin from alaska

    Oh even worse, CNN just ripped this story off from the AP. Weak. But still, CNN is pulling for Clinton, MSNBC for Obama, and FixedNews (even though they may not admit it) for McCain.

    March 15, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  9. Di

    Twenty years going to the church and Obama never heard incendiary statements from his mentor, spiritual advisor and the father-figure in his life? The man who baptized his children? Married him and his wife? The ma who inspired the name of one of his book? The man from whom he draws his speaking style? Words matter, words matter, words matter! Oh, I forgot, CNN is to blame!!

    March 15, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. kiki

    Obama kept going to Wright's church for 20 years and called Wright his mentor. Only wants to denounce now?

    March 15, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. Alvin

    Does a church goer have to agree with everything his minister says? I dont think so!

    If that is the case every American will be guilty.

    Obama `08!

    March 15, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  12. XRCatD

    there's no way i'd pick this man over McCain. He's basically a pure politician...waiting until today to address it when the controversial words were spoken years ago.

    March 15, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  13. burnham scott

    We have judged you Obama not Jeremiah and found you to be a clean cut and multi-faceted diamond. You are THE winner.

    March 15, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. tom in pa

    sorry for my spelling ..i was a little upset...

    March 15, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. SDuff87

    Um yeah...and how many times has CNN had a plethora of negative Clinton stories coupled with a myriad of positive Obama ones?

    Pretty sure they are not biased against Obama. This is a big deal and is certainly newsworthy. The Republicans certainly won't hesitate to pounce on it in the general election, so why wait to discuss it till then?

    March 15, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  16. Scranton, PA for Obama

    Right on!

    March 15, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  17. Lynne

    This man went to the church for over 20 years. Now he says he doesn't agree? Does everyone forget how many we lost in the 9/11 incident. Have you listened to the remarks of this pastor in regards to 9/11? Obama is not the man the United States of America needs right now. Remember what his wife said? It sounds like the preacher's words are instilled in this family. Let us not forget 9/11 and our wonderful country and vote for America and not for Obama!

    March 15, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  18. Kay

    The fact he has stayed at this church for 20 years and contributes to it financially speaks volumes in my opinion. Very sad and very distressing. I thought B.O. was better than this. Guess not.

    March 15, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  19. Disheartened

    How can we 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 anit-American, and one doesn't have to attend every single sermon to determine this. Especially if the pastor is also a personal friend. 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 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. gbolee

    how come CNN only publishes nice comments about Hillary...You are biased....I am switching to MSNBC

    March 15, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. WD Tremaine

    The sad tragety of our Ugly American history is that we have learned nothing from it. Bitterness and division run wild in America, and it becomes obvious everyday that Americans want to divide and destroy all that comes along with a peaceful message. Sadly, the reverend is right, in many respects, The self proclaimed greatest country in the world just can't handle the truth...Ah the imminent downslide of The Divided States of America secretly cheering for a World War 3...

    March 15, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. MN

    MP, please, it is OBAMA who has been attending th Wright's church.
    Not once, not twice, not a hundred times but TWENTY years Obama chose to do it, not being forced to do it. I am extremely disappointed but that's what he chose.

    March 15, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  23. Spirit of America

    This is not change we can believe in, unless we want the same old lies and politicians who will say/do anything (even betray their spiritual mentor and functional father) just to gain power.

    March 15, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. Paul Jamieson

    Obama is a liar

    When he says he didn't know about these statements

    He is lying

    March 15, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  25. j

    what came to light shouldnt matter. its mainly hillary and CNNS fault. she smears him just before the primaries. thats the only way she can win.... and texas and ohio were fooled into beleieving he talked with canada whne she actually did it...........

    March 15, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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