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. Lorraine

    I totally agree with Obama. Everyone knew the rules from the onset and now that HRC is losing miserably, she wants the votes to count. I am going to go out on a limb here, but, my guess is that if it was the other way around – HRC would be fighting tooth over nail not to have the votes count. Everyone played by the rules BUT clear on that and now, she is trying to pull Obama's card about it?

    Please, give me a break.

    Obama '08

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

    I'm getting sick of HRC supporters calling Obama a liar because of the supposed 'contradiction' in his statements. He NEVER claimed to be unaware of Wright's controversial preaching. He merely claimed to not be present for the sermons/topics in question, and there's absolutely NO evidence to suggest he was present. That's it. People are so quick to judge an entire church based off 5 minutes of hand-selected clips from 35 years of sermons. It is the people who can't seem to get over this issue and accept his account that are distorting the truth and doing the race-baiting.

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Letha, Sioux Falls, SD

    More whining. You should have thought of all of this before you got into the ring. If you think it's tough now...just wait. Your comments and "feel sorry for me" is starting to be your motto. You still sat in a pew and listened to that man degrade every American and you still defend him. Your children listened and you were fine. So far, I all hear is nothing from you except pity because you got caught.

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. Ryan

    In regards to Joe:

    I was pretty sure Obama was not present during that particular sermon, and that's all he had said...? Undoubtedly Obama would have heard about it from someone else, and I'm not sure he has disputed that.

    Maybe I heard wrong...but the man just doesn't strike me as a liar. Perhaps I'm simply naive though.

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Angel

    God are people so dumb he said that he had heared the Paster make comments before not that comment in question ...

    Jesus....... sometimes i wonder if people understand english.........
    I guess it is true that uneducated people are Hillary supporters..
    oh yea please post my comment for once !!!!! thanks

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. Very Concerned American

    Of course Obama doesn't want Michigan and Florida seated.
    There are over 500 delegates. This would change the delegate lead to Clintons favor.

    Wake up America!!!!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. MDP

    People, There are rules to follow here. Obama has said he supports what the DNC recommends. Florida and Michigan broke the rules. Why is Hillary so desperate? Bill never acted like this. What Hillary says does not matter to America anymore.

    Dont get caught up in the smoke screen

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Liz

    For someone that speaks about using judgement, Obama did not use very good judgement the last 20 years. He chose to participate in one of largest most controversial African American churches in the U.S.

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. Don - Kansas

    The HRC do anything to win strategy will hurt Hillary and Bill in the long run. It is time for her to step aside so we won't hear the screaming after she finally realizes she can't win, even by trying to reneg on her Sept. 2007 agreement that Michigan and Florida wouldn't count.

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Alan

    Has anyone else noticed the Black Panthers link on Obama's website or has it been taken down already?

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Joe

    This ... "shook you up" ...... ?

    You need to get some "lessons" from Hillary ..... concerning how to handle "being shook!"

    She's been maligned by masters .... and still standing.

    March 19, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Ben

    Wow, lot of people talking in caps, and a lot of people taking comments out of context. If you are going to accuse Obama of lying, you may want to cite some references. I believe, that if you do a little research and read exactly what is being said, you would realize you are overreacting and incorrect.

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Mike Birmingham, AL

    Joe –

    Obama never said he was in attendance at that sermon. Records show him giving a speech in Florida.

    Now who's the liar?

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Daniel

    I started to disbelieve OBAMA, not because of he is black or white. Because he attended the anti-American church for 20+ yrs and claimed never heard the speeches made by his mentor. What a lie!!! Then he said he heard some speeches but strongly disagree. Change of mind, not change of country.

    So many people died for this great country. So many people work day in and day out for this great country. How could you be the command-in-chief when you held close tie with anti-America church. Disgusting!!!

    Deeds speak louder than words, Obama!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Hillary, I thought you said in January that "the votes in Michigan don't count for anything"? Did you at that time think about "empowering the American people" as you so forthrightly put it now?
    This also a critical test for you now. Did you mean what you said then? Can you try and keep your word?

    Politics! Before you go trying to take out the splint in someone else's eye, why don't you take out the log in yours first.

    And to think I had thought about voting for this woman! Talk about being disingenious!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. mj

    Obama said he has heard Wright make controversial statements however it has been documented that he didn't attend the service when the statement that has become so well versed was made. Let's move on to the more important issues facing us such as the economy and leave race and religion out of it

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. truth be told

    Joe, you are obviously misinformed... but then again, you don't really care, 'cause you just want you candidate to WIN AT ALL COST.


    Sen. Obama is the most honest and genuine individual running for President left in the race... and by FAR

    OBAMA/Richardson 08

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. SAM

    That speech was for adults. If you did not get the message , have your mom's permission before you get to adults business.
    Go Obama.

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Jose'

    It will be great to see how he handles a threat of wiping out thousands of Americans.

    Geeesh. Obama, your 15 minutes are up.

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Michael in Charlotte

    Joe you most be planing on voting. You think Mccain and Clinton have told the whole true 100% of the time? Ted what your saying your agreeing it's Un – American to follow the rules? Michigan and Florida and the Candidates knew the vote would count before hand and Obama wasn't even on the Ballot in Michigan.

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. John

    They have an explanation for everything ... Michelle Obama's horrible comment, Canada-NAFTA-gate, and now Wright ... I hope Anderson Cooper asked some tough questions – I like watching CNN – its more even-handed than MSNBC – which I don't watch anymore because it has gotten so ridiculous – their reporters may as well be on Obama's campaign payroll.

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. nick

    Joe needs to check his facts....and his CAPS lock. And his....over.....use.....of.... ..... ....'s

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. Al

    Hey Joe,

    Go vote for the candidate that won't lie to you or hasn't lied you already. Let me know how that works out.

    I'm going to vote for the one whose lie hasn't cost a million lives and trillions of dollars.

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Carolyn

    if this wright situation "shook him up" I would hate to see how he reacts to the next terrorist attack

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. Bob

    Even if they do not find a way to seat the deligates they should at least count the votes in the head count for the candidates. After all it is not the people who voted that messed up it is the state government.

    March 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
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