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. Trina

    I believe that this Rev. Wright thing was good for the Obama campaign. Too often arrogance becomes the plight of politicians which becomes manifest in their poor judgement and blindless decision making. Now that he has been provided a good ole reality check, his hubris has been subdued and he can get back to the business at hand...facilitating change. Best wishes to him on his journey to the White House.

    March 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. George from Minneapolis

    Obama is so presidental. All of you coming on here to bash Obama, you are not fooling anyone. You were not going to vote for him anyway, even before the recent controversy.

    I will vote for him as will millions of other americans.

    He WILL win the nomination and the general election no matter what Hillary or the republicans do.

    Obama said at the beginning of his campaign "we wont get swiftboated." and he wont.

    March 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Chris

    "remembering that the odds of me getting elected"

    Even Obama thinks he's unelectable. This is going to go down the tubes fast for him if he's a nominee.

    March 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Vince Los Angeles, CA seem to have trouble with comprehension....Obama said he was not in church when the Wright statements playing in the press were said.....(This was actually verfied as Obama was seen in Miami when these statements were made and one of the statements was made before he joined the church).....Obama clearly stated that he has been in church when SOME controversial statements were made (not the same statements being played by the press)..

    Most people understood this fact....Republicans, Independants and Democrats alike....perhaps you should focus on your comprehension skills before posting drivel on public forums.

    March 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Ric

    Obama '08 = racist church, anti-American.

    Shame on you!!

    March 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. docrock,tx

    Lies....Lies.....Lies....and more lies from the mouth of one of the biggest racists to hit the stage in a long,long time.Anyone that votes for this hate-monger will desreve what they get.

    March 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. RC

    What is this? Are we playing "different answer different day?"
    God help us if Obama gets into the White House.

    March 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Tom in Miami

    Aww, poor Obama. You say nothing and have no plans but to appease your corporate finanaciers (check his voting record on energy policy), push your religious agenda (check his voting record on foriegn policy and the UN), and work to prey on American ignorance so you can usurp the presidency.

    George W. Bush did the same thing in 2000, the same people who voted for him are going to vote Obama in.

    Edwards '08 should have been a reality.

    March 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Uncle Sam

    If Barack Obama lacks the moral courage to confront wrongdoing in his own church, how can we expect him to act differently as president?

    March 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. MAB

    Obama has shown us that not only can he take a punch, he can face it calmly, consider it intelligently and diffuse it gracefully. These are excellent qualities for a leader.

    March 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. DD, New York

    I don't believe a word Mr. Obama has to say.

    March 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. Basquale

    For how long will the media inclisive CNN cover on the Wright Controversy? Tousands of times every day every hour and it seems it will never stop. Shows how sick the society is. Where are the intelligent people in America who go on and discuss the real problems on this planet?

    And CNN I wish you would put a statement on some bloggers here who are getting insane. Its disgusting at times.

    March 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Rick in Boynton Beach

    If this is the best his opposition has on him, it's time to say welcome President Obama.

    March 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Adam

    Obama takes lemons and makes lemonade! We might have to just accept the fact that he is a nice, honest person. Dang! And I so wanted to hate him.

    March 19, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Juliet George

    Joe, did you actually read Obama's speech or did you listen to it at all? it seems you are hateful and an illiterate. You need to grow up and not be blinded by hate. Obama said he was in the church when the Pastor made some controversial statements and not the ones that were being aired non-stop on some right-wing television stations

    March 19, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. lym

    Joe get over it!

    March 19, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. Linda

    I taught my children that if they hang out wiht drug addicts that they could be using drugs and if they hung out with thieves they could be stealing. How does these teaching apply to someone who sat in a pew for years listening to a hate preaching preacher?

    March 19, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. Talimee

    This whole Florida and Michigan debate frustrates me. Of course they should be allowed to count. Of course because they are American. Of course because America wants to portray the image of a democracy. Now, I still dont see why the DNC would punish states for moving their elections. Elections are a matter of the state, they should choose when they want to hold elections (obviously before the nomination if they want to count), it is in the Constitution.

    This whole debate about rules bothers me. Since when rules say that voters should be disenfrachised when they didnt do anything wrong? Didnt slavery strip people of their rights to be free by their government? How could you be "OK" with people being disenfrachised?

    I say let them vote, or at least count their votes in the popular vote. Then, let the superdelegates go with the popular vote. Let's not relive what happened in the 2000 election... we were disgusted then, we are disgusted now.

    March 19, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Adam Franklin


    Obama did not lie. He has been in his service, but he did not say that he heard the particular sermons by Wright.

    March 19, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Hillary 08

    Obama has proven he is Nothing but a Lier!!. Time for you to step down, as Hillary is the winner!.

    March 19, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Willy

    If you can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen Senator.

    March 19, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. Jim in FL

    Obama, this explanaton sounds both much more chronologically plausible and logical. Too bad it contradicts some of your words from last week.

    March 19, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. Former Obama Supporter

    Obama supports someone who preaches hate and is a racist. I'm sure other former supporters of his are jumping ship as well. How could he have gone to a church for 20 years that had a preacher who was anti-american, hateful and a racist. He didn't stand up against this until he was forced into a corner.

    March 19, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. mb

    Obama needs to do the right thing and he won't be shaken up. I've been in the psychiatric field for a long time and this demonstrates how bad he is for the presidency. Maybe he can call up Hillary and ask her what he should do.

    March 19, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Not again

    I am really sick of seeing him everywhere on CNN... Is there anything else going on in the world??????

    March 19, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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