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. s.stevens

    This is what I hear coming out of Obama's mouth....blah, blah, blah. I don't think he even knows what he stands for.

    April 14, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  2. Danny

    I think Obama don't understand Gun and God with out adviser he answer not so clear same like his cousin JWB. Other thing I don't think that Obama he is real Christian.

    April 14, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  3. Jim B

    Obama's abilities to deal with complex issues such as abortion and guns demonstrates why he will be a good president for a country as diverse as ours. Those of us who are willing to engage in constructive dialog and work towards solutions appreciate his abilities. Others are likely to cast aspersions and argue about sound bites.

    April 14, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  4. Jim B

    By the way, most Christians believe in evolution. There is no contradiction between the two.

    April 14, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  5. tired

    let me clear this up for ya. God, (the creator) said "thou shalt not kill", along with fornication, and committing adultry. That should just about cover it. Unbelief will not get you past his judgement. Evil vipers

    April 14, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  6. Barb Canada

    Obama please explain why you called small town Americans Racist! You talk about the other comments you made, and luckily for you, nobody has held you responsible for your Antipathy comment! Did you use that word thinking you could fool small town, simple people, while showing your wealthy educated audience how smooth you can talk? Let's hear some better answers!

    April 14, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  7. Laurence, N.N.,VA

    This is what Obama was talking about when saying Clinging:

    Romans 12:9: Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; CLING to what is good.

    By now sensible people have realized Sen. Obama is the nominee.

    April 14, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  8. Harry Moyer

    Christian: I would like to point out that it isn't very "christian" to judge someone else's faith. There is a good percentage of people out there that are Bible toting Christians who believe in evolution. If this is something you are not aware of I could understand, but otherwise you are saying that there is a huge segment of our society that aren't really Christians. And that would be a lot of judgement. Are you aware that John McCain is a Baptist? That he also has never been baptized? And has no plan to be baptized?

    Mr. Obama is trying to bring everyone to the table to try and find common ground. That's a heck of a difference than dividing us on the basis of a individuals belief, religious or otherwise.

    If you'd like to see what it'll be like in a Hillary Administration, read this little jewel by Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame. http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2008/04/12/carl-bernstein-what-a-hillary-clinton-presidency-look-like/

    April 14, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  9. Don O'Malley

    Obama supporters scare me. Once again, they're trying to blame Hillary Clinton for what Obama said about small towns. Hillary didn't break this story, nor did she break the Rev. Wright story, but Obama supporters blame Hillary. Must be nice to keep your head in the sand. Why don't you , instead, think about the fact you just might be following a man who is not at all who he says he is? If you add all of his comments up, he doesn't seem to like too many people in America. And you think he really should be President? This isn't American Idol, this election is about our nation.

    April 14, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  10. Richard

    I am undecided who I am going to vote for though I now have to say I am leaning towards Obama. look, I don't know what everyone else got out of Obama's comments but what I got is this. We are as a nation are landlocked on some issues, Abortion, Gay Marriage, Gun Control, Religion, and we can continue to argue these issue till we are blue in the face if we want and get nothing else done. Or perhaps, we can put them aside for a while, understand we need to have more inner dialogue on them and less national dialogue, and work to fix some of the things we agree on. Thing like health care, the environment, poverty, education. Perhaps Obama mistake was singling out small town America, we are all to blame for letting the issue that divide us cripple us as a nation, when there is so much good we are capable of doing. Let us try and think of that as we move forward in this, the most crucial time in the history of our Great Nation.

    April 14, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  11. Sam

    Obama... I don't believe a word you say now... You have flipped and flopped so many times, we don't know who you are and what you stand for! I don't care what color your skin is!! Could be purple for all I care! You are NOT the choice for America! (will CNN publish this?)

    April 14, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  12. Ilona Proud Canadian

    To "Now for Obama"

    I have been wondering the very same thing, but it is no use asking, you won't get an answer.

    Obama supporters, go to the Huffington Post and read the article by "Frank Schaeffer" Good News for Democrats. Please, this article is really worth reading, I know it is a long read, but please read it through to the end you will be amazed and glad that you did. Please share this with all your friends. Good Luck.

    April 14, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  13. D. Elwood Cook


    Not everything in the bible has to be taken literally. I don't believe in almost everything. Many of the stories, i believe, are there to help guide us.

    I think you ought to be careful suggesting religion as a political move. You don't know what he truly thinks. Neither do I, and therefore we have no business suggesting it as a political move.

    And if your going to knock evolution, you better have an understanding of what it is and how it works.

    April 14, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  14. Newman

    Yes, Obama will be president. The end is nigh for the evil white queen.

    April 14, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  15. PA for Obama

    Hillary can go and take a hike.

    Obama stands up for issues and hillary..hmm............ I am not sure what she stands for and what she does not stand for. Every couple of years she flip flops

    April 14, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  16. Hillary all the Way 08

    Oh, Hillary is so attacking of Obama, according to you Obama lovers.
    It would be so hard to talk straight to Obama after awhile, with all of his crying and whining, about this not being right, and that was unfair or "shameful," blah blah blah. At a certain point, due to any intelligent avenue of communication I certainly don't blame Hillary for just sharpshooting him just to irritate him, for any kind of reaction rather then watch him pose with his stupid stiff persona!

    April 14, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  17. Peter Damoah-Afari

    Everybody in the US know the difference between the two Democratic candidates – as to who is smart, intelligent, and talks from the heart. It is just that when people are loosing something that they thought it was their birthright, they tend to do nasty things. What Hillary is doing now is what I am talking about. She would rather want to see Mccain (the follower of Bush's policy) to be in the White House instead of Obama. Obama has been frank on issues that Americans are aware, and I am urging people to be objective and stop arguing about unnecessary things that some candidates are wasting time to touch on.

    April 14, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  18. brian mckenna

    It is refreshing to see a candidate come out and discuss issues openly. Every time that attacks have been waged against this man he has not ducked anything, he has come out and spoken with grace, intelligence and candor. Whether he wins the presidency or not is still up in the air. I for one think this country is better off for seeing the way a successful campaign can be run.

    April 14, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  19. Mike_in_OR

    Don't worry Obama, you already explained you weren't present when the "bitter" remarks were made – we blieve you.

    Hillary '08

    April 14, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  20. Another Christian

    There are a lot of Christians who believe in evolution "Christian."

    April 14, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  21. Smiley from Conyers, GA

    I'm glad to see we're finally getting back to the real issues. This man is very presidential. He knows how to get both sides to agree to a common ground. Let's see what Hillary says now. She's always been pro-choice lets wait and see which way the wind blows.

    April 14, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  22. In touch with people


    In order to get to heaven we got to thru Hell.

    You speak the truth and no one can deny this. You have the one thing any decent person should have and that is HONESTY. We need that to lead us in the next 4 years.

    PA don't be fooled by lies and dishonesty Vote for the truth.


    April 14, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  23. JBB

    It's the Media that are hedging on every word that Mr. Obama says. How Bitter are U!

    I don't live in a rural area, but I can tell you that I am bitter at how things have gone from bad to worst, not only for myself, but my neighbor, friend across town and extended family who live across the United States; Senator Obama was not degrading rural Americans, if you are offensive, you were in that stage already and the truth came. You see truth does not need any offense or defense it stands by its self.

    People that are going through hard economic times do turn to God kind of Faith for answers and solutions. So turning to God is a good thing, that it where you increase your faith in Him. Man will fail you, government will fail you.

    Just because Hillary was born in Scranton, does not mean that she is in touch with people now, The country is in a very bad situation. She knows nothing about a depression state/era. She is not going through not having enough money, the savings people have now they are trying to live by now and can't save for retirement.

    How is she relating to the blue collar? She can remember going to the cottage on vacation, that means she was the elite back then. So how can she be in touch with the people, someone who had in their possession over 109 million dollars. If the people of rural America want change it definitely is not with her.

    She promised the people of New York 200,000 jobs, and the state lost
    30,000. PA and Indiana, be careful when you go to the Polls,think twice.

    How can she lead a country and her campaign is a shambles, mangement is shaky and a lot of undermining. Look at her staff now. . . . .

    The Polls have pumped her up even when her numbers were not accurate. I know someone who is greater than the predication of man made Polls and that is Jesus! God sees what we can't see, hears what we don't hear and definitely knows what we don't know. Watch the God Kind of Polls!

    April 14, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  24. Ron

    Win or Lose, I give Barack a great deal of credit for REALLY trying to run a positive campaign..
    Hillary is just another OLD-SCHOOL politician..anyone who thinks she is going to accomplish half of what she thinks she is I have one thing to say...

    April 14, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  25. b obama

    hello america i will tell you why to vote for me.first i will let you know that i know everything.you dont have to think america, i will let you know whats right.its not your fault you are dumb.next i will outlaw the republican party .because us city folk are at least twice as smart as you country bumpkins.i will let you know when and why you are bitter.i will take your guns and religion away because they run counter to the collective good.your tired of illegal immagrants ?Dont worry i will give them back new mexico ,arizona,colorado,utah ,nevada,california and texas.You say you are bitter about the economy dont worry i will raise taxes and all will be good.Your tired of the war?Dont worry i will go to iran,hamas,cuba and venezuela and beg their forgiveness for trying to spread democracy.Remember i know more than you.im B obama and i approved this message.

    April 14, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
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