March 30th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama supporter calls Wright race controversy good for dialogue

Rep. Lewis sung and locked hands with Sen. Obama at a church service in Selma, Alabama last year.

Rep. Lewis sung and locked hands with Sen. Obama at a church service in Selma, Alabama last year.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, Democrat-Georgia, said Sunday that the controversy over Barack Obama's former pastor has reignited a conversation about race that could ultimately be beneficial for the country.

"The civil rights movement had the power to...what I call bring the dirt, the filth from under the American rug out of the cracks and corners, into the light so we can deal with it," said Lewis, a superdelegate who supports Obama, at a forum on faith and civil rights at Washington's National Cathedral. "Just maybe, just maybe, what is happening now will bring something out, so we all can be educated and sensitized."

While he did not mention Wright by name during a sermon he gave at the cathedral, Lewis indirectly addressed the Chicago pastor's fiery comments on race.

"During the past few days, the issue of race and the need for reconciliation have emerged through the presidential campaign. We know, and we all know, it's not a secret America had a dark past of division and separation," Lewis said. "But if we are to emerge unscarred by hate, we must learn to understand and forgive those who have been most hostile and violent towards us."

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–CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Cody Combs

soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. basic fact

    I did not have a problem with Wright and his freedom of speech.

    Why did you have a problem with Bill Clinton and his non-racist comments? And what about freedom of speech?

    March 30, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. fair play

    Black America has an obligation to be fair also.

    Why pull the race card in SC, when Bill's comments were not racist?
    Why not defend HIS right to free speech?

    Why introduce race into innocent comments, but them excuse verbalized hate as freedom of speech?

    March 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. why?

    Black Americans really kicked Bill Clinton in the butt.


    He Just stated a true historical fact.

    Now hatred coming from the Obama supporters is excused as freedom of speech.

    Where is the fairness and objectivity in that?

    March 30, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. lets face it

    Lets be honest.

    White people are voting their politics, ideology and preference.

    Black people are voting their race.

    Lets discuss ALL the ramifications and injustices- like calling Bill Cliton racist for his comment, but ignoring Wright's comments as just freedom of speech.

    March 30, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Stand Strong America!

    Hillary 08! ....for peace without hate...

    March 30, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. @americans

    th titile of this blog post is just a twist of what Lewis said CNN!

    be honest with you reporting and stops twisting facts!

    March 30, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. North Carolina

    Don't you mean, "Good for diatribe?"

    March 30, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. Path

    I am sick of Obama and his preacher. Obama has never sponsered any bill in the Senate. His resume is thin and I hope the American people wake up soon. This man is as dirty as the next person running for President. I don't think he has the common sense to run this country.

    March 30, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. frank_steve NC

    Again...who is Lewis...

    March 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Jot

    I can't believe what that man says, he is a traitor. By tomorrow morning they will start saying that clinton has brought RACE again in the compaign. it is all pathetic

    March 30, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Tom Z

    I can understand "fiery comments on race" and the need for continued reconciliation. But I cannot abide by Wright's anti-American words.

    March 30, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Chapman

    When is CNN going to report on Obama securing the delegate win in TX
    conventions??? Any of the MSM for that matter...
    Isn't it curious that we still don't know the actual official outcome of the TX caucus??? Come on guys we expect better!!! 😦

    March 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Cindy,CA

    I feel bad for John Lewis.. From what I have read in the paper's about his decision to switch to Obama, there was alot of pressure to do so.
    He seems to have payed a price. He looks sad.

    March 30, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. maya

    Talk about SPIN.

    Give me a break.

    March 30, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Yolie

    Abosolutely I agree completely with what Lewis said. This would be breaking all human barriers. Everyone has been hurt because of discrimantion of being too skinny, too fat, too skinny, too poor, too rich, too , too white, too dark, too yellow, too red, too gay, too feminine, too macho, too bald, too hairy, too... this could go on and on. It is time that we stop being angry and fearful of one another. Unity and Change is of essence. We must love one another for that is the biggest commandment of all. Remember we are one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.

    Obama 08!

    March 30, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. E.C.Rossi

    It would be wonderful to have a reconciliation of the races. But, I doubt
    if the failure to mention Rev. Wright by name will cause people to forget him. Certainly the Republicans won't forget him. If Senator Obama wins the nomination we will hear portions of Rev. Wright's
    sermons over and over again during the fall campaign.

    March 30, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. Nancy

    We are tired of hate and race/gender hate from black and white-it is never good for country!!!

    March 30, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. so sorry

    Chickens are coming home to roost.

    Should have run on a level playing field.

    The Hillary democrats are lost to the party this Nov... maybe forever if the party doesn't get serious about letting the people do the voting.

    March 30, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Bruce Texas

    It seems that, This is being Made a race issue after all by the Obama people and its about who will be the Best President! Obama Civil rights is a Big Issue But open your Eyes #1 is the Economy all suffer not Just one race! and reading your webb page scares me! WHERE IS YOUR ECONOMIC PLAN???

    March 30, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Dianne

    Obama and his pastor are FRAUDS! Wake up America Obama is a divider not a uniter.

    March 30, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Ardnuas

    I totally agree!!!!!
    Obama/Edwards08 Si Se Puede

    March 30, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Blessed are

    Blessed are the peacemakers.

    Too bad none of them were around while Hillary was being bashed and Bill was being called a racist and the haters spewed their anti-Hillary venom.

    I will stay true to peace and justice.

    My vote in Nov will tell it all.

    March 30, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  23. Bill, Albany, NY

    Race will and always be an issue in this country it will never go away. We will always have the Sharptons, Jacksons, Farakhans, Dukes, Savages, Limbaughs, Dukes, Coulters, Hannitys, Wrights and the rest of the scum. Sorry Obama I just reconize reality

    March 30, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. venom

    Too bad the peacemakers didn't take charge earlier.

    Lets see... Bill was called a racist, hatred was spewed at Hillary, the primary was fixed by the DNC to favor Obama...

    Methinks it is too late now. The dye is cast.

    Hillary or no democrat at all.

    March 30, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. brandon

    Lets keep this above board the poeple deserve the best
    I think Obama has kept it close to the vest and is doing the right thing
    Hillary and her team is not too bad.

    March 30, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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