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. Tammy

    Well I am a Christian who believes in evolution and I know thousands and thousands (probably millions) more. Do you actually believe these two things are mutually exclusive?

    Anyway, evolution is not even mentioned in this article. I agree with Obama on that and many other issues, but I do not like how he suggests that rural people can handle guns but innercity folks cannot. And which races do you think these "two realities" apply to? No – the difference is that the POLICE are in Chicago and not in downstate Illinois. They occupy Philadelphia (where I live) but not Pennsyltucky. How else are we to protect ourselves but to have guns?

    April 14, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  2. balancedfairness

    I just don't understand how John McCain can claim to be a Christian and believe that an immoral, unnecessary, and unjust war–which has resulted in the completely unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and the unnecessary deaths of over 4,000 American soldiers, not to mention the 30,000+ injuries to American personnel?

    I just don't understand how John McCain can claim to be a Christian, but defend the TORTURE of human beings by methods that would have made Pontious Pilate proud? How does a self-described Christian explain his vote AGAINST banning torture?

    WWJT (who would Jesus torture)?

    April 14, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  3. FEDUP

    This is just one of the tricks he learned slipping back a forth between the white and black worlds. Be courtious and smile and you got them, hook line and sinker..

    April 14, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  4. female grad student NYC

    "An American Research Group poll conducted over the weekend showed Clinton with a 20 point lead over Obama in Pennsylvania, 57 percent to 37 percent. Previous polls had showed a closer contest in the state."
    that is from the AP.

    I guess it IS ok for a woman to drink beer and whiskey and play with guns, it's a shame Obama already criticized Senator Clinton for this. Oh wait, hold on a second - now he's showing his 'gun side' as well after criticizing gun-owning Pennsylvanians and Clinton's gun experience, all in the same breath too. whaddya know?

    April 14, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  5. LadyC

    It is so sad that Sen Clinton is trying to use anything she can to bring doubt towards Sen Obama. Yes people or bitter/upset because of the econony is....... I just wish the Media would STOP anaylzing every single word Sen Obama says. The "man" is for change. Sen Clinton can Lie and then it's nothing. But let him say one word and everyone wants to analyze. She can't fine dirt him so she use "words" just words... come on now. Shame on you Sen Clinton shame on you.

    Thick to the issue.

    April 14, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  6. David

    I have never seen a candidate talk so eloquently about these issues. He's the most poignant politician I've ever seen. I just wish the media outlets didn't take snippets of his speeches and responses and blow them out of proportion. Anyone, who listens to what he's saying can't deny the fact that he has his act together.

    April 14, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  7. Todd In farmcountry Pennsylvania

    I am a Born again Christian, who graduated from a Baptist college here in Pennsylvania, a sister school to that of Messiah, where the debate took place. I am a chemist and minored in Biology. I actually agree with Sen. Obama. So did my Biology professor, who happened to be a highly published author on the subject. Genesis does not rule out the possibility of evolution. And a belief in Creation does not preclude the facts of evolution. As a matter of fact there are many absolutes that evolution of certain species has taken place. Just as Barack mentioned that a day during the debate, In the Creation period a day COULD NOT have been a 24 hour period, as a day was defined as one revolution of the earth. The earth not been put into motion, on day one, so there is no time frame to call it such.. I believe that Adam and Eve were definitely separated apart from those first animals, and man was Created as the Bible story states, but those animals COULD have been "animals" such as Cro-magnon and others.. It has been 15 years, so my terminology may be amiss, but the theory is plausible, and I look forward to asking Jesus when I finally meet him.. This belief will not affect my salvation...Nor are we called to judge the salvation of others.. Creation is not going to be the first question God asks us upon rapture, It will be do you know me, and do you know my Son!

    FYI.. Christian... To be born again through the sanctifying blood of Jesus Christ. To be a follower of Christ.. To accept that Jesus has paid the price for our sins through the crucifixion and resurrection..

    God Bless Obama..

    April 14, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  8. Each one, teach one

    Christian - The frequency with which any gene variant is found in a population may change over time. If the gene variant contributes to the likelihood that its possessor reproduces, it stands to reason that variant will increase in frequency in the population over time - just follow the population and its offspring through several generations to see. That is evolution by natural selection. Plenty of christian faiths find no issue between this observation and their faith. Nor do I. I hope you will carefully question the basis for your apparent certainty that these points of view are incompatible.

    April 14, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  9. Christian with a brain

    Faith in Christ and belief in evolution are not mutually exclusive. The largest Christian denomination in the world supports evolution.

    April 14, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  10. Kevin M

    Please! Christian. Last I heard most Christians believe in evolution is some form or another. Some like me believe evolution does not necessarily have to contradict the bible.

    It would be nice if we spent more of our time attacking the issues rather than each other. That is what Obama talks about and that is why we need Obama is Washington.

    Obama inspires and Obama delivers. We don't need more of the same from either party.

    April 15, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  11. Philly Kid

    Obama is about moderation in all things. That is the smartest way to confront all our difficult and controversial issues. Please 'Christian' try to be less judgemental about his origins in the church, it doesn't matter how you get there, only what you do with the time given you there. You should know that "Christian".

    April 15, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  12. Zoe Marley

    He joined the church as a political move? and ur christian? So a christian can't believe in evolution? OH, u really believe in the Garden of Eden and take everything in the BIBLE literally right?.. next ur going to stay that slavery was justified and is in the bible right? get some sense

    April 15, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  13. Anna

    Why the hate against Hillary? I don't understand how Obama can say whatever he wishes and then turn it around and blame everyone else. What is wrong with the American people that will follow this guy that we dont' know anything about. Hillary is my choice and I pray that she will win the nomination.

    April 15, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  14. Philly Kid

    And Hillary says he has no substance. lol.

    All Hail POTUS!!

    April 15, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  15. Kola Waziri

    Obama is the only candidate who is truthful about his faith, attitude and ambition for the American people. Hillary would not even respond to the question of when she last attended her church or when she last shot a gun! Americans need to see Billary for what she is – a symbol of all that is wrong with America.

    April 15, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  16. jimmy vekmen


    April 15, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  17. Skipper

    Now he has a monopoly on understanding all the "common folks'" issues?


    Why does this man think he can dictate the priorities in this election? Even here, his condescending tone is evident.

    April 15, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |

    This man is condesending, arrogant, academic jerk.

    How dare he insult folks from Penn.

    Who does Obama think he is....Dr. Phil ?


    April 15, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  19. Jesse


    At least Obama doesn't have to lie to the people to get them to believe in him

    Obama treats the public like intelligent individuals who can join the debate and make up their own minds!

    Root n Tooting Hillary just lies and tells everyone that she loves guns and drinks beer and downs shots on camera... does she think everyone is as drunk as her??

    Ps watch out for those snipers... run run LOL

    April 15, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  20. Ron R

    PA.....please end this for the sake of the democratic party. Thank you.

    April 15, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  21. Christian+evolution=not wrong

    To Christian...
    You can be Christian and beleive in evolution. This is the type of thinking that is putting us back. Christian faith is not anti-evolution is about jesus, and god. If someone personally thinks that evolution exsists but that someone created the world, then why are you judgeing him? I am a christain and one things that my pastor always say is Don't Judge, an the only judge that matter is god. He was raised in church schools, so your statment that he did it for a political move is a wrong satment.

    I really wish my fellow Christians would stop calling people with alittle bit a diffrent thinking as wrong. Ther are few things that he needs to believe in and Obama believes in all thoughs same things. to say other wise just shows me how some Christians are not Christians but elitists.

    April 15, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  22. Daniel, Loganville Ga

    I am convinced from watching and listening during this primary season that there are a lot of people who are content with things remaining the same. They don’t want to discuss the issues that are plaguing this country, they want to focus on the pettiness that will keep us divided, and I honestly believe there a lot of people in the political circle that have referred to Sen. Obama in far worst terms than “boy and snake-oil salesman” as Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis did recently and MSM just simply gloss over it because it is so common and accepted.

    April 15, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  23. James from SC

    Staight talker-straight walker

    Can Hillary speak the truth just one time?

    April 15, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  24. The Voice

    Barack Obama, of all of the candidates this year, appears to be the only person who actually sees different sides of an issue.

    This is not to say that he doesn't have his own idea of what is right. Or that he would actually fix what he keeps saying needs fixed about the US. Or that he has a plan?

    But atleast he's trying to understand all of us, or all of U.S. And quite frankly, I don't care if he believes in Cthula or the Great Pumpkin- as long as he gets the job done and I wind up being better after his term in office.

    April 15, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  25. John from Las Vegas

    He can speak for me anytime....

    OBAMA '08

    April 15, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
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