April 14th, 2008
07:50 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama talks guns, God


Watch Sen. Obama discuss firearms and abortion.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama continued to try to put his recent controversial comments about rural America behind him Monday.

"Can a Democrat talk about guns, God, and immigration without getting in trouble?" a news executive asked Obama after his speech at the Associated Press annual meeting.

Obama laughed. "I actually think it's possible," he responded. "Not only is it possible but I think it's necessary," he added.

Obama pointed out that attitudes toward firearms in his home state of Illinois are representative of "two realities and two traditions" in the rest of the country.

In downstate Illinois, closer to Kentucky, gun ownership is viewed "as part of deeply held traditions that are passed on from one generation to the other," and failure to appreciate the importance of those traditions "means that you're ignoring something essential," Obama told the room of journalists.

But, he added, "What's also true is that in Chicago, so far this year, there have been 22 Chicago school children who've been gunned down on streets, most of them faultless victims"

Obama painted a similar portrait of the tensions surrounding abortion. "Those of us who are pro-choice have to acknowledge that there's a moral element to the abortion issue." "When we fail to do so, then we're denying something that is deeply held and understood by millions of Americans, including those who support a woman's right to choose," he added. "At the same time, I think it's important to recognize that women don't make these decisions lightly."

"The point is, on all these issues, what's most needed is an ability to listen and acknowledge the values and the ideals of those who are on the other side of a particular debate," Obama said.

–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. Obama2008

    Well said Mr. President! I support Barack Obama because he takes issues head-on.He speaks the truth and he stands by his word. When he speaks, i believe him, and that's why i'm voting for him.

    April 15, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  2. Adam

    Perhaps someone should show Obama the back of the two dollar bill. There is a picture of a group of men in Pennsylvania who did vote for guns and cling to their religious beliefs…anyone remember the signing of the Declaration of Independence?

    April 15, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  3. Luis

    Obama about issues?

    From what I have heard he's about "can't we all just get along?"
    We need someone with a little backbone to pull these Republicans
    away from the feed trough and set things right!

    Real issues take Real solutions!

    We need national "townhall" type debates where we the voters get to ask the tough questions; Not the usual censored "mouthpiece " commentator asking preshared questions.

    Unless I hear some real solutions from Obama,
    my vote will be for HIllary!

    April 15, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  4. Beacon

    A "DEVOUT" Christian who believes in evolution......Wow, did I miss something?

    The AIDS virus was not as it is today as it was 20 odd years ago. I don't recall any churches or other groups forming groups to ministers to AIDS victims. I guess Senator Obama and his church was the first to do so. Wow, did I miss something?

    I thought Rev. Wright was Senator Obama's personal mentor and spiritual guide. Now we find out he was Senator Obama's pastor. Wow, did I miss something? Either you lied to the American people are you lied to your church, which is it?

    Contrary to what you believe Senator Obama, God has chosen certain poeple in this world to know His will. It comes from having a close relationship with him.

    Senator Obama, the news media wont spin this because your are their Crown Prince. I am not impressed by your deceitfulness. One of the most important gifts Gods gives to some of his people is the spirit of discernment. You proclaim to be a devout Christian but never mention the name of your savior, Christ Jesus with any conviction in your heart.

    Your closed door comments area exactly what they are. Many of us know exactly what you meant.
    Every time something goes wrong in your life, you make light of the matter and blame others for your mis-doings. You may deceive your followers, but you're not hood-winking God.

    Remember, He knows the thoughts and intents of your heart. Whever you are, He's there.

    April 15, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  5. hans


    April 15, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  6. hans

    Obama made the same staetements in 2004. He goes to the heart of why blue collar voters are misguided when they vote on issues other than economy.

    April 15, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  7. idk

    I don't know about you guys, but Obama doesn't really have issues, he says a lot, but got nothing to back it up. Plus he's saying these issues because he realized that just by telling promises is not going to get elected, he needs to talk about stuff that affects us Americans as a whole, personally i think its too late, plus i don't believe what he says now since he never talked about before.

    April 15, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  8. Anee

    Snobama is so done. He can never win a general election, just like the guys who endorsed him... Kerry, etc.

    April 15, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  9. WG in CA

    I am an independant who has voted Republican the last 2 elections and Democrat the prior 2 before GWB. Also, my demographic is AA. I believe in God and the importance of religion. I am very disappointed in the current administration and my disappointed centers primarily around the war in Iraq and the spin to bring democracy after no WMDs were found. Prefacing this information is important because I had wanted to think Obama could be a viable alternative for my vote. I am not so sure now. I think he is probably the one single candidate with the highest level of integrity but he's in a contest with a pathological liar and a man who seems to want victory in Iraq at any cost. Both of these opponents will do anything, say anything to discredit him. And truthfully, he does the same to them but in a way that is not as ugly and not as personal. Its politics. They all have to play the game to some extent. Barack will most likely win the Democratic nomination even with this gaffe because she cannot make up lost ground at this point and the superdelegates will not want to over turn the will of the people and further divide the party. So, honestyly, if Mc Cain picks someone that I think has a high degree of integrity, I will most likely support him. As an AA, I would dearly love to support Obama, but I think the Dems are going to self destruct and HRC is going to drag Barack down with her. I would love to vote for Obama, but given the Dem's chances which I think will continue to errode thanks to HRC, I will most likely support Mc Cain. Under no circumstances will I vote for HRC, that would be more than I could stomach.

    April 15, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  10. Zach M.

    Christian, I don't see how you can be a thinking human and not believe in evolution. Do you really believe the creation story in the Bible? If so which one, since their are two? Do you believe that the world is 6,000 years old? If so do you believe in the early history of Ancient Egypt?
    – A Christian with a brain

    April 15, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  11. Beacon

    A Christian who believes in Evolution....Senator, you can't have both. Either you cancel out creation and accept evolution, or vice versa. I guess maybe you misspoke on this issue.

    You may woo your followers when it comes to issues facing this country, but when you step into the Christian world Senator, make sure yoou know what you are talking about. I am a deacon of the beacon.

    Life begins at conception, period.

    April 15, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  12. Christian, Tampa FL

    In response to "Christian:"

    Most of us Christians do believe in evolution and in God at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive, in fact I've always felt that science only confirms what we believe about the universe and its Creator. I recommend reading the theological work of C.S. Lewis, especially "Mere Christianity" and "Miracles," for an example of a Christian scholar who can reconcile science and faith.

    Obama has said repeatedly that he is a devout Christian who has been saved and baptized. Please don't demean his faith. It is terrible that he has been attacked over his religion many times, often for baseless reasons.

    April 15, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  13. we'll get there

    Thank you Obama for talking about tough issues – the ones that politicians have used for years to divide us all. If there is any chance that we all, repubs, dems, indies, can come together, then we have to realize that these hot button issues have to be addressed and made less important than the real things that affect us every day.

    Hillary supporters ( I used to be one too!) please understand that Barack is not magical, not a cult figure – just a guy who sees an incredible opportunity for all of us and I for one am willing to take a chance with someone who can see that rather then settle for more lighting rod politics that continues to divide us.

    I just hope as a country we are ready.

    April 15, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  14. Linlo

    How refreshing to have someone who is willing to look at more than one side of an issue. That is the kind of person who will bring people together to accomplish a great deal. As he has said repeatedly, what we all have in common is much greater than that which divides us. How sad that so many people post so many hateful things on the blogs because they can hide behind their anonymity.

    April 15, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  15. GOVERNMENT Cheese

    Okay, not sure if the bloggers above really listened to the audio of Obama's speech by reading their responses. I listened and I am a Clinton supporter . But if anyone did listen and then reads the Obamanites reponses one would find that they really did not comprehend their own chosen leader's words.

    At first you like what Obama has to say.....they (the government) is not really getting anything done.(enter big cheers here) However, when he speaks of the 'silly season' he is referencing the primary. Well yes, silliness happens everyday in WAshington. However, they do, on occasion, gets things done. Those things may be the bills and laws you guys are pissed about right now. Case in point.

    Yes , its all corrupt and for the special interest (enter crowd roar here.) Well, not always, sometimes it's actually for the good of the economy, the people of a certain country, or the good of the American people in a certain region. In essence, what fits a certain region in this vast nation may not fit another region. What may work for the economy now may not work tens years from now.

    That is why it is very difficult to be in government, back a particular issue at the time and have new evidence that makes it painstakenly obvious that perhaps the opposite is true. Happens all the time because of new developments and new social temperment. That is why someone who lasts in government a long time has to be a spinster. We, believing the media have made hese people that way. We cannot accept that they may be wrong now, but they weren't then.

    That is what creates the pandering politician. Heck, thats what created the politician.

    April 15, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  16. Beacon

    I go to church because I love God. I go to worship and serve Him. Bitterness did not lead me to him, and it certainly doesn't make me to call upon him. It was a personal choice I made because I recognized my need to be saved.


    Deacon of the Beacon

    April 15, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  17. A. Chico

    This comment only shows the disdain that Sen. Obama REALLY has to people of faith in this country. I am more convinced than ever that Sen. Obama's "Christian" faith is just a well planned facade to fool the American people. If you are a non-believer, that's OK, but don't hide yourself behind the Cross just to be more palatable to the voters who have no way to know your real opinions and thoughts just because you have no track record to evaluate. What kind of Justices would "President" Obama appoint? What is his real opinion on inmigration? How we will remove U.S. troops from Irak and when? I don't really know and neither does the American people. An exercise in charm will not solve our problems. It seems that Sen. Obama is all fuzz but no substance.

    April 15, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  18. TYPICAL WHITE MALE from Michigan

    I think it is OK to talk about these things, but let us remember from Obama's own mouth came the WORDS and more WORDS about those Poor people in small towns in America - that they have nothing to live for at all - they cling to their Church or cling to their GUNS - that America has given up on them - WELL excuse me, but I live in a small town and have many friends that live in small towns in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania and they are extremely proud people - proud to be Americans and part of the American process. These small towns are the backbone of America - we would not be the America we have today if it was not for these small town and people. Sure, they may have different ideas about how to live - different then people in large cities, but this is what they have chose and they are not BITTER because they know they are part of a GREAT COUNTRY, and they helped make this GREAT COUNTRY. Without all of those small town and people we would not have an America like we have today. I am very SORRY Mr. B. Obama - I was a Huge Supporter of yours until those comments behind closed doors. I could no longer support a person that really does feel that way about SMALL TOWN AMERICAN PEOPLE. Mr. Obama - go back to Chicago, or Reverend Wrights Church because Small Town America will never vote for you. You have successfully shown me and MILLIONS of others that you are just trying to climb the Political ladder, and you only care about yourself. Well Mr. Obama - I really do see the Pied Piper Effect now, and we Small Town American will not be led to the ocean. Mr. Obama - you have much to learn about America - go learn and come back some other day when we American can really TRUST you and YOUR WORDS and MORE WORDS.

    April 15, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  19. MN

    Words....Just words.....

    April 15, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  20. Lee Huai Tu

    If you can't see how someone could be Christian and believe in evolution then clearly you're not Catholic.

    April 15, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  21. P-funk

    Hey Christian NEWSFLASH! Not only was obama not involved in politics at the time he joined the church, second of all many christians accept evolution and the biblical teachings (I being one of them). Third of all you don't join a church because you're saved and baptised, you accept Jesus as your pesonal savior, and you are baptised after attending the church. But btw OBAMA 08!

    April 15, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  22. chris nguyen

    this obama dude did not get it.. how he can run to be commander in chief even he don't understand the common way of life of millions blue color americans.. peple don't get into hobbies as hunting just because they are in hardship.. and religious is an open forums of choices from generations which always exist in every soul before the bitter or frustration happened.. voters in pa should reject this fake obama dude and send him back to chicago.. hillary for 08'

    April 15, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  23. john cavanaugh

    to the first poster "christian" I think most christians (myself included) beleive in evolution, and i might remind you that the faith of others is not yours to judge. One day we attack Obama for the church he attends, the next day we say that hes not Christian?

    But the pro-war, pro gun right wing is still called the "moral majority"

    Yes we can!

    April 15, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  24. The Old Bear

    There is an oft-quoted Jewish story about a rabbi who is asked to settle a marital dispute. After he hears the husband's side, he tells him, "You're right!" Then he listens to the wife's story and tells her, "You're right!" One of the rabbi's students protests that they can't both be right. The rabbi sighs and replies sadly, "You're also right!"

    Like the rabbi, Senator Obama acknowledges that there can be truth on both sides of an issue - and that reconciling this paradox is more important than declaring one side right and the other wrong.

    Whether or not this is possible in the context of American politics remains to be seen. But it seems far better to pursue this difficult balancing of conflicting beliefs rather than exploit the continued bitter polarization of our country.

    April 15, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  25. Rene

    Obama is trying to bring truth about Washington and how they are not listening to the concerns of the people and how people are feeling about their econmiic conditions. and mixes word phrases but Obama said he was sorry about that and Obama did'nt mean any harm . My suggest is all of Obama supports we need to Pray for him to be strong and try to be very careful on how he word his words because it is people out there looking to damage him, taking his words that was not worded well to something bigger than it is., (Obama is not perfect )

    April 15, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
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