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. R.M.

    This is what a great leader does. Tackle the problem head on not hide behind some kind of false veil and get your surrogates to do the job for you!! I am proud of this man!!

    March 18, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. d

    He is a liar... said he wasn't in the pews when Wright spoke so racially. And yet you think O is supreme !

    March 18, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. Peter

    Good effort. Hope he means it. Hope his supporters will support it.

    March 18, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. AFVeteran


    I guess you get out of it whatever you what to.

    He didn't mention anything about who you vote for. You can vote for a woman and bring about change. You can vote for McCain and bring about change. Just whoever you vote for let it be because you truly believe it was is best for the country. And not because you don't like someone.

    March 18, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. SarahJ

    And Spike,

    Our constitution is stained by slavery. Deal with it.

    March 18, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Brian of florida

    Oh yea ,way to through your white grandma under the racial bus.

    March 18, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. April in Texas

    I was totally moved by that speech. Yes we can overcome and get past these racial divides if we choose to. Still a Obama supporter and even more so now if that is possible. Proud white 38 y/o female who can see more of the United States now than ever before!

    Obama 08

    March 18, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Alice in Fort Myers

    I think Obama should run for President of Kenya. His loyalties seem to be more with Africa than this country that gave him and his wife a lot of opportunities that neither seem to appreciate much.

    As far as this country's concerned, there is no way that he can win the GE. He has fried himself.

    March 18, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Di

    To those who saw the speech and now say he has not won back your vote...I seriously doubt he had it in the first place – did Limbaugh ask you to comment here? Be brave and speak your true mind as Obama just did...

    We must elect Obama as President for the sake of our children and the future of this democracy!

    March 18, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Stephen

    Anyone who denies the message of his speech denies our country an opportunity to perfect itself. Our time is now and the messenger of this great speech is the one to lead the way.

    For all you cynics, you have an opportunity to join our movement and help make the world a better place. We'll discuss and conquer instead of divide and conquer. Consider it, please!

    March 18, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. George

    So he basicly lied to us on Friday night when he said he was never at any of the sermons that were controvertial. Today he said he was at those sermons. Yea, that's who I want as President. No Thanks!

    March 18, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Deb, IN

    Just another speech, not written by him I might add.

    TO LITTLE TO LATE!!!!!!!


    March 18, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |

    Straight from the HEART? PLEASE!

    It was straight from the TELEPROMPTER!

    Those aren't HIS words – they are his speech writers'.


    March 18, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Bobby

    It's very funny, all the Clinton supports pretending to be ex-Obama supporters that have switched over. Obama lost NO ONES vote and after this speech he probably gained some.

    and to those uneducated people who think Obama will lose to McCain becasue of Rev. Wright, maybe you should do some reading about Haggee and Parsley. 2 Rev and or Ministers that have made terrible comments, including...New Orleans got what they deserved.

    March 18, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. amoon

    he is truthful,all racists would never have voted for him,america will never be ready for a black president,you can feel the tone of the news anchors,

    March 18, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. Jacqueline Samms

    This speech was amazing. A person who can speak like this can certainly bring people & countries together. He has got my vote. Anyone who did not understand what he was saying is simply ignorant to the core.

    March 18, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Craig

    "Stained" Constitution...........Appears Wright has had influence.

    March 18, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    You can't choose your grandmother, you can choose your pastor. As a potential president, he should've known to walk away when he heard those comments. Bad move.

    March 18, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. carmen

    Our next President!

    March 18, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. Moshe

    Come on... so he gave a speech, one of many. we need a president that work, and work hard. Let's agree that Obama will start a new career as a speech advisor for Hillary. Hillary 2008, the only real choice

    March 18, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. Mir

    Obama supporters: do you care that he lied on national television about not knowing Wright's remarks? Or that he was in church? No, of course not. And by the way, Clinton did not start this issue; Michele Obama had plenty to say to fuel the fire.

    March 18, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Prince George

    Obama has again demonstrated stellar substantive performance. He has once again put cynics to rest. Obama is an honest, transparent, trustworthy leader. Now, let’s talk about bread and butter issues.

    March 18, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Judith Blaustein

    I rarely agree with Geraldine Ferraro, but concerning Obama her comments are right on! ONLY Obama is playing the race card. The fact that Rev Wright went with Louis Farrakhan to visit Omar Quadafi makes me very uncomfortable. I would like to see more substantive reporting on Senator Oabma. This reminds me of the start of the Iraqi War, everyone knew something wasn't quite right, but it was so politically incorrect to question the war. I think Senator Obama's speech was a smokescreen.

    March 18, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. JOey

    I agree with Fred totally. He gave a speech that was great....anyone can do that it is not that hard to give a speech. How is he ever going to stand up and beat a POW! It won't happen..I am a Democrat....I would vote for Mccain over Omaba.....and everyone I know says the same thing.....ask around.....Clinton is our only chance of beating Mccain....

    March 18, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. Foxhole Athsiest

    History making speech...this will be remembered and studied in school in future generations.

    March 18, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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