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

Obama: We can move beyond some of our racial wounds

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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. Enrique

    It was the best speech on race in America in my lifetime. This is an imperfect union, but it's one great country.

    March 18, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. George from Mineapolis

    Obama is very presidental. Now we can move on. He handled this head on, dealt with it. End of story. Its refreshing to have presidental candidate who has good character. He is a leader and will make a very good President.

    March 18, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. MELMARIE

    Great job Obama!!!! This was Obama at his best!!! Just goes to show why this man is the next president of the United States Of America!!!

    Obama '08

    March 18, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. sandy

    Hooray! Beautiful speach Senator Obama. He eloquently put into context this whole black/white issue. Unfortunately, his words will be analyzed to death by the media who will inturn bring up other issues and of course nothing will change. I implore these networks to "move on", for the sake of this country. Enough is enough. This is the type of man we need to run this country. I could care if he was green, he is what we need. Enough is enough!!! Oh, by the way, I am white.

    March 18, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. suzy

    I don't think he did enough damage control.

    March 18, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. memoryaid

    YES WE CAN!

    March 18, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. GAE

    SENATOR BARACK OBAMA,

    TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!

    HOMERUN!!!!!!

    TRIPLE DOUBLE!!!!

    "My Sheep Know My Voice"..............................................

    March 18, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. CB

    This is our President 2009 – .

    Obama!

    March 18, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Doug, DC

    What a powerful speech. Anyone who suggests that this man who has a little bit of every racial make up in him is anything but a unifier is CRAZY!! BARACK is exactly what this country needs. I'm tired of the politics of the past and I look forward to turning the page with a President that represents real change!!

    Wake up America!! OBAMA 2008!!

    March 18, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Wayne

    Great speech, but why did it take Obama TWENTY years to give it? He sat in that church and lisented to the racist Rev. spew hate and intolerance for all that time, but only now, after it has become a problem for his campaign does Obama decide to speak out against it. HYPOCRITE!

    March 18, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Robin

    Obama is not afraid to take on the big challenges that confront this country. He is a true leader and will make a great president!

    March 18, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Carole Baranowski - Calumet, MI

    Just listened to Barack Obama speech regarding race. Gotta wonder where is the white mother he speaks of and Grandma, who is supposed to be his biggest supporter. All we have seen so far are Michelle and the kids.

    March 18, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. ddd7

    Nothing has changed my mind, ESPECIALLY after this speech.

    March 18, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. HH

    One of the greatest speeches of all time. If he does not win the nomination this speech will go down in history.

    Hillary will say it was just a SPEECH.

    March 18, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. LN

    I think this speech shows why Senator Obama is ahead in the Democratic race – he is honest, inspiring and visionary. Bravo. Its about time we in this country start honestly addressing issues of race. But more importantly, its about time we move forward together as one nation.

    March 18, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Susan S., Wyoming

    What a great speech! So beautiful and true. Obama brilliantly turned CNN's biased, idiotic coverage of this non-issue into a teachable moment.

    Now when is CNN going to broadcast the hate-mongering in right-wing churches? I'm not holding my breath.

    March 18, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. michael, ny

    Albert and Ben,

    Obama was talking exactly about people like you. Stop distorting the fact and using race as a beit to move your agenda.

    Obama said that, over the 20 yrs he has been there, the pastor had made some comments he disagreed with. He did not make reference to this specific comment.

    It is unfortunate that some people cannot see past their noses.

    March 18, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Douglas

    I am glad to see Obama address this issue. I think that the media has been on a feeding frenzy on this issue. Obama has addressed it and it's time to move forward.

    March 18, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. scott

    so what was that about Ferrao in his speech. did Hillary follow her words and advice or consider her a mentor for 20 years? looks like a sudden bash to me. (oh BO doeswn't play on the Neg) but can anyone really say he said anything that we didnt already know?

    March 18, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Leo gunter

    Obama, "Yada Yada yada yada."

    Ho hum.

    March 18, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Fowler

    Brave speech ! Was not afraid to say

    "constitution ...stained by the sin of slavery"

    There is no one on this planet who can inspire people to reach higher grounds.....in a non-religious way

    Greatest speech ever

    March 18, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. The Great One

    No ALBERT. Obama never said that he wasn't in the church during some controversial words...he just said he wasn't present in the church during THE SPEECH IN QUESTION....stop reaching for things that aren't there..

    March 18, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Canadian

    boy he can talk.

    in the words of Kenny Smith after Vince Carter did his first dunk in the slam dunk contest in 2000

    "It's over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    March 18, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Kostas

    I can't believe that CNN moderates these comments and basically hand picks the ones that get posted and still allows the ignorant posts that some of you make.

    March 18, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Ann Richardson

    GO AWAY OBAMA, YOU ARE A LIAR!!!

    March 18, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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