March 19th, 2008
06:07 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama: Wright controversy has 'shaken me up'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/19/art.cooper.nc3.jpg caption=" CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewed Obama Wednesday."](CNN) - Barack Obama told CNN Wednesday the recent uproar over his former pastor's sermons has reminded him of the odds he faces in winning the White House.

"In some ways this, this controversy has actually shaken me up a little bit and gotten me back into remembering that the odds of me getting elected have always been lower than than some of the other conventional candidates," the Illinois senator told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an exclusive one-on-one interview. (Related: Behind the scenes: Anderson Cooper asks Obama if the controversy has damaged him)

Obama declined to speculate on whether the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah's Wright's sermons may damage him politically, but said his campaign does best when it doesn't follow the "textbook."

"If I was just running the textbook campaign– doing the conventional thing, I probably wasn't going to win because Senator Clinton was going to be much more capable of doing that than I would be," he said. "We had tremendous success– and I think we were starting to get a little comfortable and conventional right before Texas and Ohio."

The exclusive interview came one day after Obama delivered a major speech on race and politics in Philadelphia, during which he denounced some of Wright's comments, but said he could not repudiate the man himself.

Full story

Catch the full interview tonight on Anderson Cooper 360, 10 p.m. ET

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (332 Responses)
  1. Ted in Chicago

    ok Barack its the big leagues – no time for injuries

    Here comes HRC

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly challenged Barack Obama to agree to new primaries in Michigan and Florida on Wednesday and said it was "wrong, and frankly un-American" not to have the two delegations seated at the Democratic National Convention

    WELL ARE YOU UP TO IT OR NOT?

    LET US ALL WATCH YOUR RESPONSE – CAN YOU GO THE DISTANCE? CAN YOU DELIVER THE KNOCK OUT BLOW

    Being President is an insanely tough job – in so many ways – the test is now –

    May the best PERSON win

    Ding

    March 19, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. joe

    OBAMA YOU LIED TO US

    FRIDAY YOU SAID YOU HAD NOT HEARD HIS HORRIBLE

    RHETORIC

    THAN YESTERDAY YOU STATED YOU HAD BEEN IN HIS SERVICE

    ENOUGH SAID...YOU....LIED...TO US

    March 19, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. raf

    Can we just let Michigan and Florida secede from the Union? Everyone else cool with that?

    March 19, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. Chris, Orlando

    RACE.

    CARD.

    You played it, Obama. Now fold your hand and leave the contest.

    March 19, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Belle

    Nice that it shook you up...it should!

    March 19, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    YO WHATUP ANDY MOONEY MY MAIN MAN YOU TELL IT LIKE IT IS

    March 19, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. d

    Obama is so arrogant...and a liar to the people of the United States. He is not a leader!

    March 19, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Joann

    I realize that Hillary's 'husband' has experience as a former president and I'm certain that this is where the confusion along with a lot of the support that she's getting is prompted. I supported her initially, until she started showing that it me that this was a sly way of getting 'Bill' back into office. Normally, we are ALL afraid of 'change' no matter how badly we may say that we want it.

    March 19, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Len

    Can anyone honestly tell me that he has sat thru how many years of these hateful sermons and has not been affected?

    If he disagreed with his positions why does he still go to church there?

    He allows his daughters to sit thru the so called sermons?

    He may be a part of you, but he and you have no place in running the Nation.

    March 19, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Jason

    At least he's honest about his chances. Who knows, he could still win this thing if voters set aside their knee-jerk reactive impulses and actually listen to what he has to say and what his plans are.

    March 19, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. oh please

    Could someone just ask him directly why he lied? Let's stop discussing the sermon and just ask him why he said he'd never heard those type comments from Wright? Plain & simple. Why'd you lie? Then we move on.

    Thanks!

    March 19, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Elizabeth

    God help us if that old cout gets into the White House! I would NOT TRUST him with the nuclear switch and many other things. For one thing, he is a WAR HAWK. I do not want my grandchildren to live under a president like that. I am VERY CONCERNED – how did we reach SO LOW?

    March 19, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. NickNasc

    "But the argument to seat Florida and Michigan’s delegates based on results from January seems to lose some weight when you consider this: a new study by a Wharton professor suggests that about two million more people would have voted in Michigan and Florida if they thought their votes would have counted."

    JUST WANTED PEOPLE SO SEE THIS AGAIN!!!!

    I have been screaming this at the top of my lungs for WEEKS but not even CNN would report this MAJOR Fact! It took some Professor to get a buried 2 line story on this SIMPLE LOGIC!!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Big O

    This guy impresses me more and more each day...
    He would be great for America !!!

    March 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. gail

    that barak could ever describe his run against clinton as an uphill battle is laughable. barak has been riding the rampant misogyny of his beloved america to a healthy lead, and is only now encountering real scrutiny (in the wake of an SNL skit, of all things). spare us your 'poor me' ramblings barak; they ring WAY false.

    March 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. David

    Hillary is just trying to manipulate the game, but I remind her that the BOSS is a HARVARD graduate.

    Hillary will never win

    Obama 08!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. DeniseGA

    ABC is reporting, Hillary Clintons campaign did urge the Media to press Obama on Wright!

    Hillary is failing to mention, MI and FL legislature is also against the proposed plans for revotes.....Just as Bill Nelson, was speaking without the legislature behind him....

    They push as if they are close to a vote to build hype, and then say it is Obama shooting it down!!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Dan , TX

    Fortunately, I don't need Blitzer or any other of the pundits on TV to tell me what to think. I have the ability and intelligence to go to Clinton, Obama, and McCain campaign sites and look for all the information that is needed to make a decision without having to look through the lenses of the CNN, MSNBC, FOX etc. idiots.

    It amazes me that these "analysts" can't be bothered to actually read what the candidates positions are and relay that information to us. It amazes me that these "journalists" rely on out of context soundbites to form their own opinions rather than placing them in a real context. I'm disgusted with American journalism.

    March 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Exodus

    The Great Exodus is brewing as we speak. How can I take my vote back? Please someone tell me.

    March 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. bigben

    Obama you want some cheese with your wine?

    March 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. d

    I'd like to know who much $$$ Obama gave to his church over the past 20 years.....

    March 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. PAVoter

    "the odds of me getting elected have always been lower than than some of the other conventional candidates,"

    Barack...you've just hit the nail on the head and realized the electability problem you have. You are untested. Please don't force the Dems to be politically correct and go forward with your nomination. Hillary can get the White House back. Please don't be selfish!

    March 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Vig

    Yeah, it's shaken him up alright – he's had nothing but glory worship up to this point – I don't think he even had to think too much – he never broke a sweat – good to see him sweating a little. Is this what he will do if he ever gets elected – a national crisis – and then say he was shaken up. The guy's game is talk.

    March 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Joe

    I don't think Hillary is a conventional candidate. Again, playing the race card indirectly is what Obama does best. Enough! Obama and his campaign has played this card from the getgo by accusing others of racism. Obama you have dug your own hole by sitting in those pews during those hateful sermons.

    March 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Nancy

    Help me out here. I've been following this story in between caring for a houseful of family members down with the flu. Here's my question: When did Rev. Wright become Obama's "former" pastor? My understanding from early reporting is that Obama is a member in good standing of the church that Rev. Wright is the head of. But this report (and others) are now referring to him as the "former pastor." Did he resign? Or is this Obama rhetoric?

    March 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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