March 18th, 2008
12:03 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: We can move beyond some of our racial wounds


Watch portions of Obama's speech Monday. (Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama said Tuesday he chose to run for president because he believes "we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together."

Speaking to supporters at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center, the Democratic presidential candidate said he rejected racially charged comments made by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but explained the root of his remarks.

Wright used to preach at the Trinity United Church of Christ, where Obama worships.

Obama said that his belief that all people want to move in the same direction comes from his "unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story."

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. NY

    Great speach by Obama.. Perfecting the Union. Histroy making! He may never be President but he sure is playing a role in advancing racial equality in the US. I believe his bi-racial background gives him first hand experience to speak on this subject.

    March 18, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Common Sense

    Fantastic Speech. Go Barack!

    March 18, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Eric

    I watched his speech. He admitted that he lied to the American people recently by telling us he was in fact aware of his pastor's often harsh comments. When asked several times by several news organizations had said he was unaware of such hateful comments by the pastor. He also portrayed himself as the victim in the speech. He should do the right thing and step down.

    March 18, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. John - Maryland

    I really think he did a good job of openning up the dialogue about race in America. That subject is very sensitive but he displayed to me that he is presidential and willing on taking on – head on the issues that faces America. His speech will be sliced and diced but that was bold. Let's move on....

    March 18, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. AD

    Very good speech.

    March 18, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. KAREN

    this speech still does not satisfy me because how could he have sat and listened to all that hate for 20 years and still not distance himself from it? In my opinion it is a simple reason...he agrees with Wright!
    Go Hillary!!!!!!

    March 18, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Isaiah

    In a word....WOW! That wasn't a home run, that was a moon shot! This is why hes a one in a lifetime canidate. Something this country and planet has been searching for.

    March 18, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Angeline, Silver spring, MD

    Excellent, well-thought points that America needs to hear. Rush Limbaugh are you reading this?? You've got to admit, this guy is a blessing to America. It does not take a genius to realize that a man should be held accountable by "his own" words/actions. America is great, unity in America is greater & more necessary at this point in time.

    I now must vote for Obama08

    March 18, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Sylvia Cavazos

    Obama is conning the American public with all this talk about change. He could not even change where he went to church. And now he wants us to accept his spiritual rearing as that of just a bystander. He did nothing to change that. Sounds like a bunch of bull to me.

    March 18, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Bryan from Switzerland

    Your speach now does not convince the people of America infact
    you have made matters worse because you are not prepared to
    distance yourself from your Mentor and also that
    you regard him as part of your Fam.

    March 18, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Gerry

    Phenomenal speech. America is fortunate to have a leader like Obama, truly a uniter.

    It's time to lay down differences, band together and solve the problems facing the nation.

    March 18, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. checkthisout

    OBAMA, Those were NOT Just Words.........

    Spin it whichever way you want. I am not listening.

    The damage has already been done.

    Do not lie, your credibility has just evaporated into thin air.

    March 18, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. angelina

    That's what one thing i like about Sen.Obama is his authenticity,very courageous being an asian american can realy relates to d speech.

    March 18, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. MH, Texas

    Same old words......he's trying to make excuses for Pastor Wright's comments. It's the "white" peoples fault for all the black problems. Whatever! He's a liar. That's all I have to say.

    March 18, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Armand1980

    I dont think so OBAMA, you have lots to explain and come clean about, when u really show us who you really are, then we may move beyond. Right now, you are just another politician who lies and mannipulates just to get the votes and the election. You are no different..

    March 18, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Greg

    Weak speech. The reverend preaches against rich white people and guys like Kerry are backing Obama. The Clintons get called n-lovers by some whites and get preached against with hatred by the reverend. Blacks need to aknowledge skin color does not define a racist.. Obama had chance to make an very need speech but he blew it.

    March 18, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Texas

    President or not....Obama america needs you.

    Hillary will truly move this country....she might win the nonmination, but at this point in amercian history. She represents old values....

    McCain has my vote but if Obama was the would be hard to discount the idea of this man truly being a leader our this country.

    March 18, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Janice Meints

    Obama seesm to be a preacher not a politician,

    March 18, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. m

    Obama is a genius. He spoke honestly, and intelligently. Well connected with the people. Only a fool will not see meaning in his honest speech, as a Constitutional lawer. What he said is real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 18, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Arni

    What a brilliant speech! It shows the depth of understanding this presidential candidate Obama has. He is beyond being black or white, he is a true American who believes in all about America, its constitution, its people and its genius of change.

    I am not sure if the media has enough intellectuals who can grasp this message and show it.

    Arni, Austin, TX

    March 18, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. AB

    Not very convincing especially after the racially charged and atrocious comments we have heard from Pastor Wright.

    March 18, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Kathy(Atl)

    I was deeply moved by Obama's speech today. I am a jewish middle aged mom/wife and a full time worker. I say Amen Amen!!!! I was crying by the time he got to the ASHLEY part of his speech. His speech moves(or it should) the fiber within all of us americans. It is definitely time we all come together. I say Thank you very much Barack for helping us to find a different way!!!!

    March 18, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. White, Female Boomer

    Great speech which dealt head on with issues and the solutions, issuesand path he wishes to address in his campaign.

    I wonder if America is ready to listen, reflect and move on together, or whether we will choose to follow the status quo which is not working for most of us and bury again the issues that divide us.

    March 18, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Brian

    So now we know that Obama is a Liar. His first reaction when faced with this controversy was to lie. " I was not present when any of the inflammatory remarks were made". Now, knowing that the media would uncover his lie, he has taken the high ground and said he was sitting quietly listening to his friend.

    March 18, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Cosmic Comedy Queen - Go Hillary!!!

    Blah, blah, blah, excusitiis! You went there for a long time. Why? What kind of idiots do you think the American people are?

    March 18, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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