April 29th, 2008
01:40 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama to hold 'big press conference' on Wright

(CNN) - Barack Obama will hold a press conference Tuesday on Rev. Jeremiah Wright's most recent comments, the Illinois senator said.

Responding to supporter's comments in defense of his former pastor, Obama said would hold a "big press conference" during which he would address the issue.

April 28th, 2008
05:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: Wright is 'free to speak his mind'

(CNN) -
Barack Obama would not say Monday whether he thought fresh headline-grabbing statements from his former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, could harm his presidential bid – and continued his effort to distance himself from the pastor’s controversial comments.

“I think certainly what the last three days indicate is that we're not coordinating with him,” he laughed. “He's obviously free to speak his mind, but I just want to emphasize he is my former pastor.

“Many of the statements he made both to trigger this initial controversy, and that he's made over the last couple days are not statements that I heard him make previously. They don't represent my views and they don't represent what this campaign is about. But he's obviously free to make those statements.”

April 28th, 2008
02:05 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain: Obama and Wright do not share views

 McCain has begun to publicly address the Wright controversy.

McCain has begun to publicly address the Wright controversy.

MIAMI (CNN) - Despite his newfound willingness to make political hay out of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, John McCain insisted three separate times on Monday he does not believe Barack Obama shares Wright’s “extremist views.”

McCain, campaigning in South Florida, faced a series of questions about Wright from reporters shortly after the pastor made a defiant public appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, in which he defended his church and condemned the national media.

“I’ve said again and again, I do not believe that Sen. Obama shares Rev. Wright’s extremist views which he has stated, whether it be the United States Marine Corps or the flag or what,” McCain said. “I am leaving that issue to a dialogue between Sen. Obama and American people.”

In another press conference held Sunday, McCain broached the topic of Wright unprompted for the first time, despite previous suggestions that the Wright issue would be an out-of-bounds topic in the presidential race.


April 28th, 2008
12:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama's ex-pastor speaks out

 Wright gave a speech at the National Press Club Monday morning.

Wright gave a speech at the National Press Club Monday morning.

(CNN) - Barack Obama’s former pastor on Monday said it was not him, but the black church that has been the subject of recent attacks.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, speaking before an audience of 300 at the National Press Club, sought to explain the black religious experience. He said the theology of the black church is a “theology of liberation, it is a theology of transformation and it is ultimately a theology of reconciliation.”

Wright said the black religious tradition, despite its long history, is in some ways “invisible to the dominant culture.”

His remarks came one day after he addressed an audience of 10,000 at the NAACP dinner in Detroit.

Reiterating some of the same points from that dinner, Wright on Monday said “being different does not mean one is deficient – it simply means one is different, like snow flakes.”

Wright said reconciliation means “we embrace our individual rich histories.”

He said this means rooting out “any teaching of superiority, inferiority, hatred or prejudice” and recognizing that each person “is one of God’s children ... no better, no worse.”

“Only then will liberation, transformation and reconciliation become realities and cease being ever-elusive ideals,” he said.

Wright is a retired pastor from the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, where Obama worships.

Full story

Earlier: Obama's ex-pastor gives fiery speech to NAACP

Filed under: Jeremiah Wright
April 25th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Huckabee: 'Presumptuous' to assume Obama agrees with Wright

 Huckabee and McCain spoke with reporters Friday on the Straight Talk Express.

Huckabee and McCain spoke with reporters Friday on the Straight Talk Express.

(CNN) – Mike Huckabee, a former contender for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, said it would be “a little bit presumptuous to ever assume” that a congregant agrees with everything a pastor says.

“Influential? Sure. Necessarily transferable? Usually not,” Huckabee told a reporter while speaking with the press aboard Sen. John McCain’s campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express.

Huckabee, who was a Baptist pastor before eventually becoming Arkansas’s governor, is campaigning with McCain in Little Rock Friday. The former rivals maintained a cordial relationship before Huckabee ended his presidential bid leaving McCain as the GOP’s presumptive nominee.

Related: Huckabee and McCain do the rounds

Filed under: Jeremiah Wright • John McCain • Mike Huckabee
April 25th, 2008
12:50 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: I expected Wright to disagree with me

Obama held a press conference with reporters Friday.

Obama held a press conference with reporters Friday.

(CNN) - Barack Obama said Friday he expected the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to take issue with his recent denouncement of Wright's past sermons.

"I understand he may not agree with me on my assessment of his comments, that’s to be expected," Obama told reporters Friday at a press conference. "He is obviously free to express his opinions on these issues. I have expressed mine very clearly."

Obama's comments follow recent remarks from Wright in a PBS interview to be aired Friday night. According to released excerpts, Wright did not back away from his controversial comments, and said of 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 also said.

Earlier: Wright breaks silence, says attacks 'unfair'

April 25th, 2008
06:34 AM ET
6 years ago

Wright breaks silence, says attacks 'unfair'

Wright says his sermons have been taken out of context.

Wright says his sermons have been taken out of context.

(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.


March 30th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama supporter calls Wright race controversy good for dialogue

Rep. Lewis sung and locked hands with Sen. Obama at a church service in Selma, Alabama last year.

Rep. Lewis sung and locked hands with Sen. Obama at a church service in Selma, Alabama last year.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, Democrat-Georgia, said Sunday that the controversy over Barack Obama's former pastor has reignited a conversation about race that could ultimately be beneficial for the country.

"The civil rights movement had the power to...what I call bring the dirt, the filth from under the American rug out of the cracks and corners, into the light so we can deal with it," said Lewis, a superdelegate who supports Obama, at a forum on faith and civil rights at Washington's National Cathedral. "Just maybe, just maybe, what is happening now will bring something out, so we all can be educated and sensitized."

While he did not mention Wright by name during a sermon he gave at the cathedral, Lewis indirectly addressed the Chicago pastor's fiery comments on race.

"During the past few days, the issue of race and the need for reconciliation have emerged through the presidential campaign. We know, and we all know, it's not a secret America had a dark past of division and separation," Lewis said. "But if we are to emerge unscarred by hate, we must learn to understand and forgive those who have been most hostile and violent towards us."

Full story

–CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Cody Combs

March 28th, 2008
08:41 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama: Had Wright not retired, I'd have left church


Watch parts of Obama’s interview on “The View”

(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama says in an interview scheduled to air on TV Friday that he would have left his church if his pastor had not retired and had not acknowledged making comments that "deeply offended people."

Obama talked about the dispute as it continued to brew over some of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons and comments, which many viewed as anti-American and racist toward whites.

Bulletins from Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ in 2007 include comments - reprinted from other sources - that maintain South Africa and Israel worked on "an ethnic bomb that kills blacks and Arabs." They also quote a historian who said that "what the Zionist Jews did to the Palestinians is worse than what the Nazis did to the Jews."

The articles appeared in a church bulletin section called the "Pastor's Page," and include one that originally ran in The Los Angeles Times. That article was written by a senior official with Hamas, which the U.S. government considers a terrorist organization.

Full story

March 26th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama pastor cancels scheduled appearances

Video clips of some of Wright's sermons have caused an uproar.

Video clips of some of Wright's sermons have caused an uproar.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Barack Obama's controversial former pastor, has canceled his plans to speak at church services in Houston, Texas, this weekend in the wake of the recent uproar over portions of his past sermons.

Video clips of those sermons caused a public stir this month after being widely circulated on the Internet.

The clips in question include several racially charged statements and accusations the U.S. government has adopted policies to systematically oppress African-Americans.

Full story

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

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