March 18th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
7 years ago

Blitzer: Obama had fine line to walk

Obama had a difficult task Tuesday.
Obama had a difficult task Tuesday.

(CNN) - Barack Obama had to walk a very fine line. He had to reassure the American public that he was strongly condemning the harsh words of his long-time minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. At the same time, he had to reassure many of his African-American supporters that he wasn’t simply ready to abandon Wright. It was not an easy assignment.

Obama said that Wright “expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America.”

He also said this of his minister: “As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.”

Obama had no choice. He had to deliver this speech as much as he has wanted to avoid the entire subject. The brief clips of Wright’s angry remarks about the United States could not be ignored. Even some of Obama’s most ardent and passionate supporters going back to the start of his campaign were deeply worried. They feared that those clips (and, potentially, many more that have not yet aired) could derail his presidential ambition unless Obama addressed the subject head-on. He needed to take pre-emptive action. He did.

Now, we wait for the reaction and the fallout.

– Wolf Blitzer

soundoff (289 Responses)
  1. KCBob

    Unless there is video of Obama in church pumping his fist in agreement with the Rev. then this is really a nonissue.

    Do you hillary supporters know what loyalty to your friends means? Obviously not. Expecting a man to throw away a life long friendship because he holds some strong views you dont agree with is crossing the line.

    March 18, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. WF

    To BLUEDEM22 and others who keep saying Obama contradicted himself by admitting to hearing controversial remarks in church before– Last week he denied being in the pews during the ACTUAL sermons that are going around Youtube, that he'd not heard those ACTUAL COMMENTS. He's always held that Wright is known for, and has always given, social commentary in his speeches that he (Obama) doesn't always agree with him. You guys should read the whole story instead of the sound-bytes before posting your ill-informed opinions.

    March 18, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Larry

    I was for Obama before this. It,s okay for the blacks to say any thing they want and it,s not racial?????????????????

    March 18, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Anon

    It's obvious people will hear what they want to hear in this speech. For those continuously saying he lied about being in church during the speeches. He did not lie about that – he said that he has been in the church when there were statements made that he did not agree with. There is proof he was not in church during the 30 second snippit you morons want to keep playing over and over in your head.

    You might have listened to the speech but you definitely didn't hear it!

    March 18, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. mary

    I congradulate Obama for his courage and and thruthfull he is. It's not everyday you see someone like that. Like he say and I believe him he is consistent. This man deserve to be elected as president of usa. He is an honest man... The world is watching.

    March 18, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. linda

    Brilliant!!!!

    March 18, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. nina

    the speech was nothing courageous, he had to do it. ANd he was not even humble, he was as arrogant as always.

    March 18, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. King of NJ

    Obama gave one of the greatist speaches of the 21st century today!

    March 18, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Jacob

    Obama that was excellent
    One of Best Speeches Ever ,
    it is not american people who is driving the election it is the media dont get fooled people
    I am sure this will get moderated , CNN supports Hillary

    March 18, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. NO Obama

    Mr. Obama should have used his 'superior' judgment and leave that hideous church. I hope people will use their good judgment to say no to Obama

    March 18, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. S brian

    I feel sick to my stomach to the Obama fans on this board.

    Go away, Liar!

    March 18, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Shaun

    The coverage of Rev. Wright has been played so much that it has really put a damper on my views and concerns . The media plays into the fears of people .We all have pain in race relations and sometimes our leaders only express's what's in people hearts,.

    March 18, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. peter smith

    Senator Obama would not have come forward with this speech, if these sordid comments by his pastor had not been revealed. His race for presidency was supposed to transcend the race, genter and politics. For a candidate professing change we can believe in – he has not changed anything- political expediency is what is at work here. It is really disappointing to see him flaunder and bring the entire racial history -physcho-analysis to justify his behavior

    March 18, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Mr. C.

    Clinton supporters are just NAGGING uncontrollably... God have mercy.

    March 18, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. bakersfield

    CHANGE CHURCHS

    March 18, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Kim, Los Angeles, CA

    OBAMA LIED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. HE WAS ON EVERY NETWORK LAST WEEK DENYING THAT HE KNEW ABOUT THE REVEREND'S COMMENTS. TWENTY YEARS AT A CHURCH, AND HE DIDN'T KNOW? COME ON, NO ONE IN AMERICA BELIEVES HIM.
    OBAMA IS TOAST. HE IS A SUPPORTER OF AN ANTI-SEMITIC, ANTI-AMERICAN HATE FILLED CHURCH. I AM A DEM WHO WOULD HAVE SUPPORTED HIM IN NOVEMBER. NOT ANY MORE. I WOULD RATHER VOTE FOR MCCAIN. IF THE DNC IS SMART, THEY BETTER GO WITH HILLARY OR LOSE VOTES AND DONATIONS. THIS SPEECH TODAY WAS A PATHETIC ATTEMPT OF OBAMA TO DEFLECT THE REAL ISSUE: OBAMA LIED, OBAMA SUPPORTS A RACIST CHURCH, AND OBAMA IS NOT FIT TO BE PRESIDENT.
    HILLARY OR MCCAIN IN NOVEMBER...never Obama.

    March 18, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. jay

    It took the people of this great country decades to come together to vote for a blackman for president only to find out the one they voted for or was going to vote for puts his true faith and beliefs in a man that has so much hate for this country and the people in it. remeber he said he looks up to this man for support in his beliefs and for support in his faith.

    March 18, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. Jacquelyn Catalano

    I find it strange that Obama criticize his WHITE grandmother, however, he refuses to criticize The Rev Wright, who is BLACK?

    March 18, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Megan

    Please take the time to listen to Obama's speech, if you haven't yet. Take the time to read his books. If you read and listen to the man himself, there is no doubt of his love for his country, or of his commitment to making it better. I applaud him for addressing the difficult issues at hand, rather than ignoring them or settling for a 30-second answer. We are not a perfect country, there is work to be done, and Obama is willing to address those imperfections while at the same time maintaining a fierce and unwavering belief that America is a great country. Read and listen to his own words in their entirety. Decide for yourself who he is based on real research. Then vote.

    March 18, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Tim R in Golden, Colorado

    Wow, look at all the vitriol and hate that's coming out.

    This is exactly what Obama is trying help us get over!
    Please leave your bigotry behind, grow up and look at people afresh.

    We are all ONE country. Hillary's campaign keeps subtly playing the race card, or the terrorist scare card, to use peoples unconscious fears against Obama. Obama doesn't do these dirty tricks and truly IS trying to unite the country.

    Hillary Huckabee needs to bow out now!

    March 18, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Barry Que

    It's amazing to see the false information spread in these comments. Obama has certainly not admitted to being present during Wright's now infamous sermon. He was in a different state at that time and there are numerous sources that verify this. The original journalist who claimed that Obama had been present was a conservative writer for the conservative publication "Weekly Standard." It was an obviously dishonest attempt to discredit a Democratic candidate. The fact that Hillary supporters are trying to push this as fact shows how they are desparate to use anything to support their fading candidate. Karl Rove tactics belong in the Republican party, not the Democratic party.

    March 18, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. eb

    it is sad to see and read how ignorant and idiotic ( in the true sense of the word : " a person living in his own head) a lot of Americans still are. How the do not know themselves and how hypocritical they are. Here is a man who is white as well as he black...but no, the "Christian" American make an issue out of it and reject hearing the truth. They deserve a Bush administration..every bit of it!......

    March 18, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. RN_RAGAN

    I think that Barack obama is nothing ,But a Lier he has known for years that there were things his pastor was saying ,and he must have agreed with him to stay at the curch.

    March 18, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. Tyson Evans

    It is absolutely amazing to me that we blame one man for anoter man's words or actions. Bill has committed adultery, purgery, and fraud, but yet Hillary gets no part of his blame. Why is it that Obama has to take the rap for something someone else said. I kow I don't agree with everything my pastor says, but you sift through what you don't believe and you take the wisdom for yourself. Seceondly, it is not a surprised that a man who obviously lived through the civil rights movement such as Wright would have the view that he has, it is the same on the other side of the stick. SO EVERYONE CALM DOWN, and let the issues and the candidates words and actions speak for themselves.

    March 18, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. stephanie

    He should focus on Wright's other issue such as God.... America instead of racial issues. He will face a big challenge in general election with the other issues. People began to have a question mark about in his integrity( last week he said he never heard what Wright's statetement when he was in the church .. and Rezno's relationship.) His campaign is about change and hope but I talked to a lot of people and they start to mistrust him. He just like any politician..

    March 18, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12