March 18th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: Obama had fine line to walk

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Obama had a difficult task Tuesday."](CNN) - Barack Obama had to walk a very fine line. He had to reassure the American public that he was strongly condemning the harsh words of his long-time minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. At the same time, he had to reassure many of his African-American supporters that he wasn’t simply ready to abandon Wright. It was not an easy assignment.

Obama said that Wright “expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America.”

He also said this of his minister: “As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.”

Obama had no choice. He had to deliver this speech as much as he has wanted to avoid the entire subject. The brief clips of Wright’s angry remarks about the United States could not be ignored. Even some of Obama’s most ardent and passionate supporters going back to the start of his campaign were deeply worried. They feared that those clips (and, potentially, many more that have not yet aired) could derail his presidential ambition unless Obama addressed the subject head-on. He needed to take pre-emptive action. He did.

Now, we wait for the reaction and the fallout.

- Wolf Blitzer

soundoff (289 Responses)
  1. WD

    What's interesting to me is that, although his goal (and I agree it's a noble one) is to unite the people, just read these blogs. Who exactly is being united?

    March 18, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Janice

    Obama has good judgement from day one?

    I think NOT.

    Good judgement is not being part of racist church for 20 years.

    March 18, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. Michael Farrah

    Mr. Blitzer
    Why can't you simply admire his speech. Why can't you and other media personality help the country from the disease of prejiduce and ignorance. Why always stir unnecessary problems. Obama had done something which no president of the past has done. It is your duty and everyone elses in this country to get rid of the racism.

    March 18, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. lym

    I have read Mr. Obama's speech and thought it was very heartfelt. All who have negative comments to make didnt care for Mr. Obama in the first place. You dont care to move on because your so pathetic that you want to stay in this contriversial moment. The same people who are accusing him of being a liar are probably cheating on their wives like Sptizer did!!!! Whose really the liar.

    March 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. cw in oh

    People think about what he said.who was he raised by.all obama has given the people is substance. he stood by his grandmother. outside the fact he heard painful words from her. Obama is as much white as much as his is black. people of the U.S.A please do not let the media twist an change facts so the people swing there way. the elite think the people of of the world are dumb anyway. He was right this is a situation we stayed away from for too long. If we never confront this situation we wiil be ONE NATION UNDER GOD !!

    March 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. DEM

    People let be true ourselves, we have always heard things that we do not approved of.

    Brainwashed Hillary supporter will never vote for a person of color regardless until they search theree heart and see what America truly need.

    Americans must wake up and give the Clinton the same test and see the real Clinton not just the Clintons you wish they where.

    I don't see Media playing the Paul V Cinton tape.. It's on YouTube as well.

    I just saying be fair

    March 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. T. Connor

    Everyone that veiwed that speech should now be enlighted, feeling good, and wanting to change this country for the better. If you are still mad and don't understand what he said, then you are that negative person that Barak is talking about. Whatever race you are. May Good Bless you.

    March 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. James

    How many uneducated, biased, anti-obama people have commented this blog? Seems like the hate is excellerating. I'm willing to guess most of the people commenting didn't listen to the speach.

    March 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. John

    Obama said that it was americas original sin. WTH?? Why is he turning this into blacks vs. whites? I hated the speech! it was JUST WORDS!

    March 18, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    It hard to believe that we have people like you in this country. For two hundred plus years we have been happily electing white men (slave owners, others morally unfit, racists, etc) without any question. For God sake think and act like human, one who treat other people justly and with some degree of respect. Victims, whether black, white and yellow have rights to cry.

    March 18, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. JTGazza

    The problem today on both sides of the aisle (or pew) is that you cannot have a valid discussion about race without being labeled or feeling the need to withold your toungue for fear of being labeled a racist. This applies to the GOP and both Hillary and Obama supporters alike. Whether you like Obama as a man or not (or trust him for that matter), you cannot deny the veracity of his comments today in repsect to the racial divide in this country (I present most of the posts on this blog as Exhibit A).

    Villify the man all you want but I implore you to not let the greater point of today's message get lost in the process.

    March 18, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. Go Obama

    And he walked it well... he walked it well.
    He is carrying the weight of the nation on his shoulders and is looking more and more like the only candidate for that honor.

    March 18, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Matthew

    all these anti-Obama pro-Hillary comments say a lot about the people voting for Senator Clinton

    March 18, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. Dave Y.

    Wolf your statement at the end...

    "Now we wait for the reaction, and the fallout."

    you REALLY mean....

    "Now we CREATE the reaction and the fallout."

    March 18, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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