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. patt

    Obama denied he sat and listened to several specific speeches where Reverand Wright made specific inflamatory remarks. He never said he had not hear any negative remarks from Reverand Wright.

    I don't believe Obama is a weekly church attender and it was determined he was not at the services mentioned.

    March 19, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. David

    Obama you inaction (staying in this church when these racist statements were made) speaks louder than any words even you can speak.

    Will the party now have to move forward with you as a wounded candidate?

    How will America fair under John McCain?

    Will you put the nations needs above your own and get in a room with Hillary and work something out.?

    Time for more than words sir.

    March 19, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. anandamide

    joe:

    he said he hadn't heard the specific comments being broadcast but that he had heard the pastor make controversial statements in the past. no lie. know your facts before you SPEAK IN CAPITALS. ENOUGH SAID.

    March 19, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. Gene from NM

    Senator Obama made an eloquent statement of the issues, but he went out of his way to address his white grandmother’s racism. What purpose did it serve? His pastor’s own words contradict his statement that his pastor is not racially biased. He never mentioned Louis Farrakan’s radical racial and religious bias – a man lauded by his church. It would appear he believes racism is a one way street. If we cannot bridge the chasm across the various communities with a fair and balanced approach, we will not succeed in improving the racial issues within our great country.

    March 19, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  5. Kimberly

    If he is getting shaken up now, he better quit! THERE IS MUCH MORE COMING OUT ON HIS PAST AND HE KNOWS IT! OBAMA CAN NOT BE TRUSTED!

    March 19, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Kevin

    How about we sell Florida to Cuba and turn Michigan into a national park to help out with the national debt.

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. BK

    And today he is the victim. He lied and thought the American people were so stupid they would believe anything he said. This is the man that runs on honest, hope, and change? He is no longer electable.

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. kenny

    People get over it and move on and joe you wasn't vote for him anyway

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. Hillary supporter

    to joe:

    Are we the only people who caught this? Why are people ignoring the truth. I knew the Harvard grad would give a big speech and lecture us on race relations. I'm so offended by it all. Offended that he really thinks we are all stupid. Not so, Mr. Obama!!

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Maria

    Why is Michigan and Florida an issue. The rules are the rules.

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Dan in Chicago

    I don't get how Barack thinks his campaign is different from everyone else's. That campaign is so full of itself.

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. Juan Gonzalez

    In my opinion the "We had tremendous success" like he said is just because the american people did now what they now now about his controversial if I will said "Spritul Adviser".

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. bo

    Way to go Michigan and Florida, don't follow the rules and expect to get away with it. Sounds like a bunch of Bushies to me.

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Slick

    Rules were broken. "but it's not fair" wha wawa wawa!

    Get over it we can live with 2 less states.

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. maggie

    Please...didn't he lied to Anderson Cooper just days ago about quiting the church if he knew about wright's comments? and now he's claiming he's fighting the odds because he's black. cry fowl when you are desperate..the ugliness is beginning to show on Obama.

    March 19, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. CHERYL

    HERE IS A BOOK FOR YOU!!!!!!

    THE AUDACITY OF OBAMA!!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. Andrienne

    Obama, I am with you and the American people are behind you. We are praying for you. Do not be discouraged.

    March 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. yett0004

    You continually tell us all of the ways that you will be a better president than Clinton and that you are more likely to win the Presidency against McCain than Clinton and now you're telling us that the odds are against you winning?

    This nomination isn't about being able to tell people that you were cool enough to make the Democratic nomination, this nomination is about becoming our next leader. If you believe that the odds are against you, maybe you should just drop out...

    March 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. marilyn

    If Obama was as much of a gentleman as everyone says he is, he should get out of the race now. Then there wouldn"t be any problems for the democrates. I don"t know how any true american could vote for him now. Wonder if his kids have heard the preacher speak. Think how confused they could be. If he does get elected, I'm really scared for this country.

    March 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Len

    Correction: Obama admitted he had sat in the pastor's church through some sermons that bore some of the messages we heard, but not in that particular one being shown everywhere. He had also said, he disagreed with the pastor and made his opinion known to him.

    March 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Brenda

    Joe,

    Don't be a hater.

    March 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. VIVIAN

    Joe, He did NOT say that. He siad he had heard him say contraversial things before but he was not at the church when the reverend said the stuff you heard. He was not lying. You don't know the truth when you hear it!

    March 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. NC4Obama

    Obama, I don't hold you responsible for what your former Pastor said......the ones who say they wouldn't vote for you because of something Rev. Wright said means that they weren't going to vote for you anyway. I will continue to admire your stength and integrity.

    Mr. Huckabee came to your defense and I'm proud of him for that.

    March 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Mig

    If someone else close to Hillary or McCain would've said what Obama's Rev. Wright said... people (like the media) would not be as forgiving but for some reason Obama get's way with very thing... I'm so tired of him... Note... I will vote for McCain if Obama is running against him... and a lot of my friends and family that are Hillary supporters are going to do the same... the media needs to stop protecting Obama.

    March 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. joe

    Oh, wait. I see now. He said he wasn't present for the sermons shown on youtube. But he has heard other comments. He's reasonable. Hence, me not typing in CAPS anymore!

    March 19, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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