March 18th, 2008
12:03 PM ET
7 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. Roxy

    "We can move beyond our racial wounds" Obama says. Then I ask, why he CHOSE to be part of a church that preached the opposite? I don't believe "pastor" Wright was managing to help anyone in his church to "heal their wounds". If anything I think he wanted to make sure peoples' wounds remained open so his message resonated with them.

    People open your eyes! Have you not noticed how Obama denies having said this or that until confronted with proof? THIS MAN IS NOT WHO HE SAYS HE IS!

    March 18, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. AFVeteran

    I know there will be those who heard want they wanted to hear and it really doens't matter what Obama said.

    However to the rest of us. Let us vote not because of racial politcs but because you believe experience is what country needs and there is nothing wrong with that. Or because you believe change and hope is what our country needs and there is nothing wrong with that. Because I am just a man who just wants to feed his children and get them a good education.

    Let's hear it for the first Woman or Black Candidate.

    Democrats 08

    March 18, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Larry Buchas

    Great speech!

    he addressed everything head on. That's more than anyone else in today's environment, has done.

    Imagine, once again, a President that can prepare a brilliant speech within days? Compare this with the current person that presently resides in the White House.

    This is the type of leadership we really need.

    March 18, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Patrick Coady

    Wow! That was like a speech Bobby Kennedy never got the chance to make. Powerful!

    March 18, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. JLD

    Easily one of the best speeches in American history. He absolutely nailed it. YOu've got my vote, Barack! Particularly loved the point that he couldn't disown Wright anymore than he could disown his white grandmother who herself had made racially inflammatory remarks. Race is way more complex than the media try to make it folks. Let's come together.

    March 18, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Norm

    The violin is getting smaller but still there

    March 18, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. suzy

    To "rj" – are you crazy????

    March 18, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Maria

    President Obama is the real deal! His comments echo the sentiments of an entire generation, wow!!

    March 18, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. marina

    Who is the Holywood speechwriter?

    March 18, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Wendy

    I hope that this speech will help all people to look within themselves and decide to move away from the past and look forward to the future. I am disappointed though that Obama did not apologize for his involvement with these racist comments.

    March 18, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Natalie

    Seattle Sue: Of course the speech was racial...it was meant to be about race!!! Duh! Name one specific time when Barack Obama played the race card...hmmmm yeah i can't think of one either!

    Excellent speech Obama! Way to confront the issue head on!!!

    March 18, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. Lesh

    You did it, Obama. Job well done. You're courageous & brilliant. Obama '08.

    March 18, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. Jason

    WoW! He challenged us all...and we should all be pissed at CNN and Fox for polorizing race. Whenever polls are released its, ..."where did the white vote go, where did the black vote go, where did the women vote go?" Its bad for America. Barack Obama nailed it. Obama 08

    March 18, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. lamarr

    You can't solve racism because you can't solve evil. People whom are racist will be racist until they die. Thankfully, many people aren't horribly racist, just a bit, and just every now and then. Thanks, Obama, for at least trying. You have my vote.

    March 18, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Jackie

    Mr. Obama's speech was awe inspiring and answered all the questions the citizens of this country need to know in regards to racism and the socials ills and negative attitudes it fosters. We will either move forward now or continue to repeat the mistakes of the past. The choice is ours! I pray we make the right decision.

    March 18, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Brian of florida

    I dont know about you but i would have rather of heard him say "sorry " then lecture me about race.

    March 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. citizen

    First he says he was not present when pastor rendered speeches and now he says we was – what a liar!

    He is a damaged goods.

    Vote McCain.

    March 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Sally Underwood

    The intro to Obama's speech by CNN's anchor and two guests was less than objective. Those three speakers focused on past victimizations of Blacks–appealing more to sympathy than resolutions.
    I sensed their comments were intended to inflame the audience.

    March 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. sozzi

    If the German Chancellor can say that Germany is full of shame for the Holocaust. How come the United State of America can not face racism, and address it.

    That's why Obama will be a great choice for President in 2008.

    March 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Canadian

    Deb: why in god's green earth should he be apologizing to you or anyone?

    March 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Christian, Tampa FL

    The speech hit a nerve with me, and I cried. I am so, so afraid that this country will use this opportunity to throw away an incredible candidate and continue on the path of dysfunction. We must move beyond these divisive politics and accept Obama as a man of integrity. Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.

    March 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Mariah

    An old saying goes, "birds of a feather flock together." Obama and Wright are roosting on the same limb. I have never admired Obama and I will not vote for him. I prefer Clinton and if she is nominated, I will vote for her, otherwise I will vote for McCain.

    March 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. kd

    GREAT SPEECH!!!! LET'S NOT RETREAT INTO OUR CORNERS, NOW IS THE TIME TO COME TOGETHER

    OBAMA 08!!!!!

    March 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. C.G

    just one word....- Obama is liar

    March 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. anon

    Why does the media NOT cover Wright's support of Louis Farrakhan?
    Obama needs to find a church that is a unifying presence, not a divisive one.

    you will know him by those he calls his friends and mentors.

    March 18, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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