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

Obama: Wright controversy has 'shaken me up'

[cnn-photo-caption image= 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. Hewitt

    I think that Michigan and Florida should re-vote, but those politicians involved in the early primary scandal should pay the consequences somehow, be it monetarily or politically.

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Cocteau

    I think we can agree Obama is not what he proclaims to be and his 'pie-in-the-sky' is starting to fall.

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. Brenda Holt


    If you don't want to vote for the man, then don't, but don't be a hater. I bet you tell the truth all the time.

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. Faith

    If it was understood prior to the primaries that the delegates from Florida and Michigan would not be seated if they held their primaries early, and they held the primaries early anyway, Then Florida and Michigan are to blame, not Barack Obama. What's unfair is for Hillary Clinton to want to change the rules just because she is behind in the delegate count. Regarding Barack Obama's pastor...we'd all be stunned to hear the truth about about how the majority of people feel about other races. If walls could talk!

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Independent

    Senator Obama is answering like a mature person honestly and with wisdom. Racism from any angle is the most challenging issue facing our nation and has to be addressed in a balanced way. He is doing this effectively and admirably. I hope that others support this important dialog and dont undermine its effectiveness will political positioning.

    March 19, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Susan

    My respect for Obama is reaching new heights. Not only has he proven that he is the superior politician, he has proven he is the superior individual. Sadly, I believe he won't get the nomination because the majority of the populace does not have the strength, intelligence or personal integrity to stand with him.

    March 19, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. David

    After hearing your speach yesterday on Race I regret my support for Hillary rather than you. You are a great brave leader with the right vision to lead us forward.
    Hillary, please give me my vote back.

    March 19, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. AA

    Lier!!! American doesn't need lier.

    March 19, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. MI and FL are part of America right?

    You don't get a re do in elections, no matter how much you make it sound like a Rocky sequel. Hillary is la la land on this and so are the people calling for it. I will say this, no matter who wins, I will likely vote Democrat, although I will puke if its Hillary. No way I vote Demo if they cave in on MI and FL, no matter who is the nominee, I will squander my vote on Ralph baby. And For the DNC now to basically point to the Obama campaign as in the way is about the biggest gayest action I can think of.

    March 19, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Geoff Smith

    Barack Obama is one of the few politicians that has been wililng to take on issues honestly and forthrightly. Racism is still a huge issue in this country. It's time for us to have a president that can help us move forward and heal from the mistakes of our past.

    March 19, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Listen to Me

    Why is this still being talked about? Why doesn't someone at CNN expose The Clinton Chronicles, or the other film made by an ex Clinton supporter "Hillary Clinton: It's All A Big Lie"..? Doesn't CNN care if she gets elected or hasn't Bush done enough to ruin the reptuation of the USA?

    March 19, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. Very Concerned American

    Barack is lying and continues to lie. He has lied about his involvement with his pastor. He has lied about his ties with Rezko.
    He has lied about his background.

    How many more lies are we letting this candidate get away with?

    March 19, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. NY Dem

    Joe you are wrong.. he said he had not heard THOSE PARTICULAR youtube soundbytes that were played over and over. He had always said that he had heard certain comments that he did not agree with.

    Stop twisting words people! Read the facts.

    March 19, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. tom


    Read more carefully. When he heard ABOUT the sermons, not heard the sermons.

    If he had lied about his presence there or having heard the sermons themselves, don't you think the media would have hammered him on that?

    March 19, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Mac in FL

    We now know who you really are Barack – a chameleon in a nice suit.

    March 19, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Carlos, NY

    Joe/Ted in Chicago

    How many blog entries will you make with different names? Or is it Clinton supporters all have the same writing styles and write in CAPS.

    March 19, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. Kerri

    Have we forgotten that Michigan and Florida were the ones that scheduled their primaries ahead of the usual time, and now they (including Hillary) do not want to pay the consequences. They shouldn't be allowed to "re-vote" just because it is a close race. They made their decision to vote early and should have to deal with it.

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Cyrus Martin, Euless Texas

    He did not lie. He said that he did not hear "Those comments" while in attendance. He did hear other comments though and he has denounced them. Sheesh

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. 123

    "More safe" is not proper English.

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  20. Rashawn

    Hilary has Lied on numerous occasions. Why is no one looking into that? This is one reason why she does not want to release her tax return until after the Pen. primaries. She has lied about her involvement in receiving the money from Peter Paul when there is video taped evidence of wanting to give thanks for him donating to her campaign in 2000. Now who lied?

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Bill

    What is Obama looking for pity again, calling himself a non-conventional candidate? What does that mean anyway? Maybe he means the uncoventional way he has of not telling the truth. I guess he feels Americans should overlook the fact he lied about hearing the comments by Wright, lied about how much funding he received from Rezko, lied about being in a race for the senate when he gave his anti-war speech at a anti-war rally. I guess if you can give a good speech you can get away with just about anything these days.

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Mindy

    If this "shakes" you – how are you going to handle real crisis in the White House? Again I think this is just more proof you are no ready for this job

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. Diana

    Hillary Clinton has a proven record of years of dedication and service to our country. Obama is like the new kid on the block that you have to get to know. Quite frankly, in the shape that our country is in right, we can't afford to take any risks. For America's sake, please vote for the
    person with the proven record-Hillary!

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. jj langdon

    The more i think the greater grows my conviction that this primary election between Barack Obama and Hilory Clinton will be nothing but democracy without a taste of democracy.It's strange because you have rules and laws yet these politiions are considaring breaking the very rules they establish but we must understand that in the dictionary polatics is factual skemming with in a group

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. Thom Knight

    It is absolutely not true that Senator Clinton suddenly became "extraordinarily concerned with the voters" in Florida and Michigan. Senator Clinton went to Florida the night she won the primary in Florida and said that she would find a way to seat the delegates from FL. At that time, she was still the front runner.

    Senator Obama, please be a little honest and less political when you're accusing others of being "political." You change and twist your words so often and to me, you are the one who would "say anything to get elected" although your campaign keeps accusing Senator Clinton as such.

    Enough! Play fair.

    March 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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