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. Nick

    This is the poll the biased media does't want you to see


    Also go to this


    April 14, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  2. Chris in Michigan

    gObama, you keep focusing on the issues!
    I love how no matter what political spin / distractions / divisive drivel comes out of the mouths of his opponents, he deflects them graciously + keeps pointing the country toward unity + solving problems!

    April 14, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. mjc

    you can't win. false uniter, false hope.

    April 14, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. Pennsylvania Voter

    Just another example how McClinton and CNN intentionally distort Obama's opinions.

    April 14, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Now we're talking about issues which I expect candidates to do. If democrats candidates can't stick to the issues we all stand to lose. Thank you Obama.

    April 14, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  6. tyrone

    Obama is absolutely right – Guns should be outlawed like in Europe. That way the streets would be safe.

    April 14, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  7. Dee

    This is one of Obama's strongest virtues, and the reason I am voting for him:
    He is able to "listen and acknowledge the values and ideals" of many different sides of an issue.

    Clinton's inability to see other people's ideas as valid, her stubbornness, is what prevents her from getting things done

    For example, universal healthcare, which she's been fighting for 15 years now–has anything changed? NO.
    Because people hate working with her and hate how she digs her heels into the ground and refuses to acknowledge what they have to say.

    April 14, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  8. Nicknas

    AHHHHHHHH How refreshing. FINALLY someone who can speak Intellegently from more than ONE SINGLE MINDED PERSPECTIVE.

    This is why so many are for Obama. HE ANSWERED THE QUESTION!!!!!!!

    Two of the issues that scare 99.9% of politicians into running home without saying a word and the man sSTOOD UP AND SAID HIS PIECE!

    Learn Hillary LEARN!!!!!!!

    April 14, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  9. speechifying

    Stop... look... listen... children

    The great Obama is going to speak.

    Wait for the finger-wagging and his new slogan: Now, now, do not parse my words...what I really meant was....


    April 14, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  10. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Religion, like all vices, should be practiced in private and, as far as I'm concerned, isn't a fit topic for conversation by anyone, Republican or Democrat.

    April 14, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. "Hussein"

    Time to embrace it. Barrack Obama is the next United States President. Onto a path of healing. God bless the U.S.A.

    April 14, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. honkey white guy from cali

    Bingo! That is exactly what we need. This crap of just because the idea was republican or democrat the other has to hate it i mean it really is a big thing to find things that everyone agrees on these days. big reason for that is the people that view the world from the minds set that if there on my team then I want nothing to do with them and they are after me has to stop! We have got to come together as a nation one Different in ideas and believes, but unified in the hope of democracy! now I sound like Sen Obama. Well at least it is more feels better to strive in hope than to anguish in defeat.

    Go Obama 08!!!

    April 14, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  13. come children

    Gather Children...

    The great savior Obama will speak.

    I used to think that Obama was pretty on the outside but rotten within. Now, even his surface has worn totally off.

    To those who still dream of a unified democratic party- forget it.

    Yes, I a lifelong democrat who marched with MLK and protested 2 wars and worked for civil rights, and believes in America and ALL its people... would rather see the democratic party itself totally destroyed, rather than go counter to my heart and my conscience and vote for a candidate that I KNOW will destroy this country.

    I can not vote for Obama and place party loyalty against the good of my country and its citizens. I will NOT vote democratic for the first time ever, if Obama is the nominee.

    Yes, I would rather lose to a republican than win with Obama.

    That is how bad, many of us who can read character, believe Obama is.

    April 14, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  14. Christian

    I don't see how Obama can claim to be a Christian and believe in evolution at the same time. He joined the church just because someone thought that he should join it, not because he was saved and baptised. It was more like a political move to join the church.

    April 14, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Sunny

    Religion should not be involved in governments. Just imagine a Jeremiah Wright Politics!

    April 14, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. Dare to Dream 08

    No, if your opponent is Hillary Clinton. She will do and say anything to get elected. Hillary Clinton and Dick Cheney should go duck hunting together since they are two of a kind.

    April 14, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. Terell

    Obama seems to be explaining his words a lot for someone who chooses to inspire people with this words. Maybe he is not the champion of change he promises to be. It does seem that Hillary would be a better candidate.

    April 14, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  18. Now for Obama

    Obama is about issues
    Clinton is about attacking (By the way, why is it that when Obama rebuttals, Hill supporters call him arrogant and mean, but its okay for Hill to attack him?)

    Obama is the obvious choice for POTUS

    April 14, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  19. Obama Nation

    Divisiveness is not always black and white.

    April 14, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  20. JR

    America is hurting.The economy is a WRECK. Obama was right - his opponents are out of touch!!!

    We need a big change or else.

    April 14, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  21. Wolf

    Jerk....can't believe one word of his spin! Read the transcript and compare his comments – he is just what he claims others to be – bitter, disengenuous, fabricator!

    April 14, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  22. Typical White Person

    According to Obama himself- "words matter". Does this guy realize that as president he might be expected to speak about something other than "faith" and "hope"? For all of his oratory skills, he seems to have some trouble with the substance part!

    April 14, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  23. amy o

    Can we please put this whole "bitter" and "cling" stuff behind us? I think it's so silly. This is not a big deal at all. Obama was making a point that badly needs to be made in this country. Please, stop making a mountain out of a very small mole hill.

    April 14, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  24. Alberto

    Obama practically self-destroyed when he fuelled such ignorant/egotistical speech to a bunch of millionaires. People cling to religion for reasons beyond economic depression & rich people do own guns—Charles Heston for example. What astounds me is his Messiah complex. That if you don’t vote for him you are somehow ignorant, deprived, un-illuminated. Gosh Obama couldn’t it just be that some consider, you know, the senator from NY the better qualified?

    April 14, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  25. lol

    last time obama gave us a race lecture with his speech because of his reverend and "mentor's" racist comments. now snobama wants to deflect attention away from his elitist comments about small town PA. he can't spin his way out of this one. small town america wants a leader who respects them, obviously obama does not.

    April 14, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
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