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. Andrew

    On every news media, Obama is getting all negative press and Clinton is getting all positive press. What is the deal? And why is no one talking about this Energy Bill that Clinton keeps quoting despite the fact that it gave oil companies incentives to explore alternative fuel options? This is madness. Can we get some balance?

    March 15, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. Shirley, Silicon Valley, CA

    I look forward to seeing an even stronger leadership in Obama as he meets each and every challenges given to him.

    March 15, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. me

    I agree with the pastor's comments and wish there was such a cool church near me.. I wish the Senator would defend the man's statements.. as I think I should have a church in America that says things like this occasionally that I believe in.. so sorry if that offends you all. (fascists).

    March 15, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. michele

    People need to focus on the issues and let this go. This story has been out there for a long time. The only reason it is coming up again is because it is 6 weeks before penn.

    March 15, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. meggy

    now tell who is racist between the two...wrigth is the spiritul leader of obama and what a shame.

    March 15, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. Anthony - Los Angeles, CA

    It's different when repudiating remarks of a "rogue surrogate" such as Geraldine or the Obama staffer who called Clinton a "monster." But someone that you call your mentor, spiritual advisor, and have belonged to his church for 20 years....this is not a "rogue surrogate." This is a close relationship. Obama was well aware of the remarks and didn't repudiate them when they were helpful in winning in Chicago. Now he does what he needs to do to win a national election. No matter what his marketing efforts imply, he is a TYPICAL POLITICIAN.

    March 15, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  7. E>Dozois

    After reading about Obama in The Globe and National InquireLeads
    me to wonder what next?

    March 15, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. vd

    Obama caused this force of ddivision himself by not removing his family from the hate spewed by tthis man of God.... What a shame that he had to be forced to renounce those thoughts... He should have done it as soon as he heard about it.. "when he first decided to run for President" in his oun statement... What a lack of judgement... He has no one to blame but himself...

    March 15, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  9. samsam

    he and his people causing more divisions than clinton people,
    what is his belive before joining christian?...i believe some day his
    picture attanding mosque with his father in indonesia will be on youtube..

    March 15, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. PGraber

    Birds of a feather flock together.

    March 15, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. Delores Williams

    I think Obama has the most convenient absences known to man. It is not about the Country, but the man that is his spiritual leader, advisor, and by his own words, mentor. Wright uses hate to perpetuate the lie that white America is black America's ONLY problem. It is that 1960's thinking that blacks need to get rid of. We are no longing eating at separate counters or forced into menial labor, except by our own choices. One of those choices is who you listen to. If you want to be a victim you listen to Wright.

    March 15, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Gil

    This will haunt Obama until the end of the campaign, when McCain takes every conservative state, Florida, Pennsylvannia and Ohio. Even if Obama won by 90% in California and New York, McCain would get the electoral votes. The Republicans will be playing wright's comments on a daily basis for the next eight months, and there is nothing Obama can do to defend himself from this one.

    I believe that Obama is a really nice guy; I just question his judgement. He's not a good judge of character, and simply does not know how to say "NO." I'm a Democrat who will be voting McCain in November.

    March 15, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. seeing red flags

    I believe a thorough investigation should be made. There are people out there who checked out the church and left because of Wright's incendiary sermons. They need to come forward with their testimonies, some have been to the church when Obama was there and they can either verify or discredit what Obama has said for his excuse. I think it is a weak excuse. He needs to know what is going on or he won't make a good president.

    March 15, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. Joann, FL

    Hillary & Bill should step down. They have caused this division. As she said from day one "she is in it to win it "and will stop at nothing to accomplish that, dirty politics and all. And I do believe that the news media enables the Clinton campaign with their constant reporting over and over of the same negatives about Barack, it does seem very biased.

    March 15, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. Tom, ALBUQUERQUE, NM

    Barack Obama is full of it. This man is a modern day charlatan selling the American public a facade. One may wonder how these flawed characters end up leading a nation however it is obvious that mankind is gullible to a fault. Obama is selling smooth talk. telegenic looks and an Ivy League education. This man is gravely unfit to be President...

    March 15, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. Patrick

    Obama should step down? For what reason exactly? He has committed no crime...

    Would you like me to name some of the shady folks involved with both the Clinton Bush and Mccain political groups?

    We have seen plenty of political corruption in the past few years... of course its democrats that always get caught in what are really personal matters that don't involve crimes in office while republicans get caught accepting bribes from defense contractors et cetera.

    It's the public corruption and theft of my taxpayer dollars that I am more concerned about than someones personal issues... maybe you should be too.

    March 15, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. Wendy

    CNN really is biased. I understand nobody can be perfectly balances, but jeez, attempt some equality here please.

    March 15, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Doug

    "Obama sould step down. He is causing a division."

    Hah. The person leading in delegates, states, and popular votes causing a division. That's rich.

    Clinton, on the other hand, who said last October that the MI and FL primaries don't matter; now thinks that the MI primary was "fair" even though Obama's name wasn't on the ballot. Ridiculous.

    Mitt Romney has more character than Hillary Clinton. How sad.

    March 15, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. joe

    I'm glad his pastor spoke up , what about preacher and the radio jock that came with racial remarks about Islam and Senator Obama's name. Someone need to speak up, many of the so called leaders are indebted to the Clinton faction and the GOP. It is acceptable, if you are Rush Limbaugh or the the likes of to make the racial one sided statements.

    March 15, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. jp

    Senator Obama insults the intelligence of the entire population if he expects us to believe he was unaware of his 20 year pastor's beliefs. I am sure that he was well informed of the statements being made by his minister; if not from attending definitely by his political advisers.

    To echo Obama, "it is important to be right on day 1″ well he hasn't got it right after 20 years! I am seriously concerned about his lack of judgement and his limited knowledge of his pastor and spiritual adviser for 20 years.

    March 15, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Danny

    I can't believe Barack attended church with this minister many years and did not hear some of this same type of this crazy retoric before???

    March 15, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. Tom from NC for OBAMA

    u Obama haters would hate him no matter what. he is as genuine as they come and you just can't stand it.
    If you want to judge on the company they keep, just take a look at the scum Hillary has chosen to stay married to and tell me that isn't political expediency.

    March 15, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  23. Fran

    What the videos and you will see that Obama has lied again about not being their (remember 20 years going to this church). He was there and he was being endoresed by Wright. The new "pastor" was also there hi-fiving Wright. He is a liar and he hates white people and America. I am not white and I can see it clearly.

    Remember the words of Obama's wife!!

    CNN is about time you reported this!!

    March 15, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  24. Jeff

    Too late Obama. You have a 20 year relationship with this radical and racist spiritual leader of yours. You can't sudden end that because the pressure is on. 20 years is too long and now you are worming your way out of it. Too late. If it was Hillary, people would be calling for her to step down. Fair play is fair play.

    Hillary 08

    March 15, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  25. Max

    Barack ambodies a bit of all of what is good in America, he is such an inspiration to those longing to hear the good news. I will judge him base on what he believes and what he saids. This country needs healing and prayer. God blese Barack, Hillary and John!!

    March 15, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
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