(CNN) – In Jeremiah Wright's first television interview since clips of his controversial sermons circulated the Internet, Barack Obama's former pastor says his words were unfairly taken out of context for 'devious' reasons.'
In an interview on PBS set to air Friday, Wright expressed frustration with how his sermons had been portrayed by the news media and critics of Obama's White House bid.
“I felt it was unfair,” he told PBS' Bill Moyers according to released excerpts. “I felt it was unjust. I felt it was untrue. I felt that those who were doing that, were doing it for some very devious reasons.”
Some of Wright's past sermons came under fire after a news report turned some of his most contentious comments into a YouTube phenomenon last month. In one, the minister said America had brought the September 11 attacks upon itself. In another, he said Clinton had an advantage over Obama because she is white. He also accused the U.S. government of adopting policies to systematically oppress African-Americans. (Listen to some of Wright's sermons via Roland Matin's blog)
Obama immediately rejected the comments, though critics charged the Illinois senator should have denounced the minister long ago. In a widely-praised speech on race relations, Obama said he could no more disown Wright than "I can disown the black community."
Speaking to PBS, Wright did not recant his past sermons. "The persons who have heard the entire sermon understand the communication perfectly," he said.
Wright also called the response to his words "very, very unsettling," and suggested critics were pushing a caricature of him.
"The message that is being communicated by the sound bites is exactly what those pushing those sound bites want to communicate," he said, adding later, “I think they wanted to communicate that I am unpatriotic, that I am un-American, that I am filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ - and by the way, guess who goes to his church, hint, hint, hint? That’s what they wanted to communicate.”
Wright also said he has never discussed politics with Obama.
“He goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God.”
Wright's comments come just as the North Carolina Republican Party is set to run a television commercial that points to "controversial figures from Barack Obama's past" and shows clips of the former pastor. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has called on the state party not to run the ad.
The Republican National Committee and presumptive GOP nominee John McCain have both asked the North Carolina state party not to run the ad.
Oh what a great big lie! Go read the text of the whole sermons (or watch them on YouTube). The context does not change the meaning of the clips.
Oh the media is going to LOVE this one!!
Down with Obama and his racist, anti-American pastor they'll say........
Obama is a black panther they'll say, a black supremacist they'll say!!
The country does not want to see a black man in the highest position in America so bring him down by any means necessary, they'll say!
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP OBAMA! KEEP SPEAKING THE TRUTH WRIGHT!
There is no excuse for the words the Reverend said, period. And, there is no excuse for remaining a member of his church for 20 years. Those clips aren't the only outrageous things he's said from the pulpit. Please.
What would you expect Wright to say? He sure would not say that he's wrong! Thats like asking a snake if he would bite you!
Boo Hoo, I preach hate and racism and now I think other people used it in 'devious' fashion.
gimme a break.
This poor man and his family was receiving death threats. I would speak up too. Jeremiah Wright is a decent theologian. Not some crazy person like John Hagee is.
What happened to Wright was sickening. A complete failure to put his life into a greater context, just for sensationalism's sake.
"Let's take down Obama by any means necessary"– it's disgusting that it happened. It's disgusting that people buy into this crap.
I just hope someone finally mentions that he was quoting other politicians and leaders who said those same words.
Darth Vadik, CA
You must live in California with all the other morons!
Stop judging this man but what you saw in the media or on youtube!!!
Wright is the one who said what he said – no one was plotting against him. He is the devious one preaching hate – no one else. I think it would be best of he just kept quiet.
Rev. Wright it takes Big Men to say Big Things..... Those who don't understand only hear what they want to Hear.... The media only wants ratings.
Rev Wright....Thanks for coming forward....I, like many other Blacks, know the media took liberty and blew your sermon out of proportion...
I look forward to hearing your side of the story on Friday.
keep talking Rev Wright!
This is unreal the way CNN blocks comments!!!!!
Down with Obama!!! His Antil-America pastor, wife, his evil friends and Oprah!!!!
Mr. Wright, your mentee is no longer electable, do you wanna take back what you taught for 20 years to Obama?
Obama has no right to disenfranchise the voters from FLA and Michigan.
Hillary is ahead in the popular vote by 100,000
Vote democrat – Vote for Hillary
Yes she will!!!
I agree with both:
Marshall in Nebraska
Karen in Ohio
I hope they also mention that he also served in the military.
He earned his right to say what he said.
Nothing has changed, he is still a black racist preaching anti-American hate speach and promoting Black Theology.
Thomas Jefferson said the same thing about Slavery. Is he considered unpatriotic?
Never................................do you understand.......................NEVER!
Obama was wrong...His pastor was right
CNN needs to show the whole ceremon. Then we can judge that.
Regarding the pastor comment on racism he was absolutely right and PA primary proved that
I'm sure CNN will not post this
He has definitely said some things that were out of line; however, his comments pale in comparison to things that have been said over the years by the conservative, right-wing, nut-job preachers like Falwell, Robertson, etc.
Bell the Superdelegate ... do you agree with what he said about Natalee Holoway?
Even the Liberal Bill Moyers can't put lipstick on this pig.