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. Kristina

    Obama For President!

    March 19, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. TheLeftNut


    They all lie.

    March 19, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. JP

    Senator Obama is being too nice to Clinton.

    The Clintons are proven liars and cheaters. They will do whatever it takes to get the 16 years in the White House they feel they have a divine right to.

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

    He said that he wasn't there when Wright said that specific thing.

    Yesterday he said he had heard Wright say controversial things.

    That's not a lie.

    Stop listening to pundits and make up your own mind.

    March 19, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. FELIX

    HELLO!!!! Hillary's name was the only name on the ballot in MI.
    Back in October she said, Michigan and Florida won't count ... my how her story changes when she's in trouble.

    March 19, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. zina

    Thank you for this article, CNN. It shows how human and how much depth Barack has. I would be worried if he said that the controversy did not bother him. America, this is a good man.

    Obama '08

    March 19, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. scott

    FL and MI's gov't broke the rules, they need to own up to it and deal with it. If the people of those two states are disenfranchised, then FL and MI legislatures are to blame.

    I don't care what Obama's preacher said. Obama didn't say it. Just like Bush and every other politician supported by Falwell, et. al. didn't say the hateful things espoused by them.

    March 19, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Obama Supporter

    He did not lie. He said that he was not in church when Rev. Wright made those particular comments. However, Barack said he has been in church when Rev. Wright made other comments......just as most of you have heard your minister's and priest say harsh words in church.

    Please get the facts right!

    March 19, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. Armando

    Obama for President!

    March 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Liz

    PS– I should add, I once was an Obama supporter. I made calls and donated every dime I could. I truly regret that decision. I'm a very proud American and I do not tolerate racism whatsoever. Not for any reason. Hate is hate.
    Hillary Clinton has my support now.

    March 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Angela

    Shook up? Wait for the general election....

    perhaps a bit more experience under his belt would have helped him handle these kind of challenges.

    Maybe this wake up call will help him to realize he should spend 8 years being vice president.

    March 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. JJ

    Joe you say Obama lied to us... Can you give me the exact quotes in which you have come to this ignorant conclusion. Obama has said that he was not in the sermons that you have seen constantly on the news and Youtube. Those where the sermons in question. He did say in the interview before his speech that he did know Mr Wright for making controversial statements... So how about you get your facts strait and stop lying yourself please.

    March 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. CJ

    I agree with him on the odds, however, I don't think it's a fair comparison with Hillary. I don't know if Senator Obama has noticed, but Hillary Clinton is a woman. It hasn't exactly been easy for women to get elected to the presidency, either.

    March 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Matthew

    Let me get this straight. 65 percent of people polled want to get out of Iraq but they won't vote for Obama because of insane comments by somebody else. But they will vote for a tired old man named McCain who has no policy differences with Bush. No wonder were so loved by the rest of the world.

    March 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. jalo

    ref. being american is obeying the law not commanding it. so swallow the bitter pill and move on.

    March 19, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. kay

    TO JOE;_
    HE said he was not there the day of the 25 dec 07 when the sermon was preached. but as been a part of the church and attended the church time to time..
    Get ur fact straight before you come here fooling people

    March 19, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Mel

    Hey, Joe – chill out.

    Friday he said he was not in Church when the Wright gave the sermon that has been circulating on TV. That is correct – not a lie.

    Yesterday, he said that, however, he *had* heard Wright make other objectionable statements in Church – also true.

    It is ok to disagree with a politician. But, twisting the facts is not ok. Leave that to Dick Cheney.

    March 19, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Politico

    Raf... that is simply hillarious!!! I love the comment.

    It is so funny how Obama is playing the victim!! Am I the only one that is catching that??
    "This controversy has shaken me up, and showen me how low my chances of getting elected are!!?"
    Give me a break, you and your pastor brought this on yourselves, do not try turning into the victim.

    March 19, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Katy

    HIllary agreed DNC rules re: Michigan & Florida violation. Now she wants to change the rules in the middle of the campaign because she wants more votes. Hillary wants to apply jungle rules. What kind of president will she be and what the world will view American when a American president play jungles rules / laws? Hillary does not love America & American, she loves herself only.

    No revote for Michigan and Florida and don't blame Obama for following the DNC rules. Hillary has the right to ask for revote, Obama has the right for abide the rules and asking for the fair game.

    March 19, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. deb in az

    how could sen obama question anyones judgement when his own judgement is in question...........i find it very offensive that he would compare steriotype that his grandmother said to that racist, bigot minister........i thought it was a pretty good speach untill he played the race card..........let these votes count or let them revote. these are people that you will represent if you get the presidency sen obama........

    March 19, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Cliff OR

    Problem is, Obama did send surrogates into Michigan to campaign for him. They urged voters to vote "uncommitted". His teams worked feverishly on the ground for at least two weeks before the primary, telling voters that an "uncommitted" vote could result in a vote for Obama if the candidates were later seated at the convention. So, yes, he and his team always held open the possibility that the delegates could be seated. Had he won there by a good-sized majority as Clinton did, he and his team would be screaming their heads off to have the Michigan voters voices heard and their delegates seated. It's his fault that his name was taken off the ballot anyway. No one campaigned there (excrept for his surrogates going after the "Uncommitted" vote). So just seat the delegates and live with it.
    As for Florida, that was an even playing field. All the candidates were allowed to fund raise there, and they all did. All names were on the ballot. No one campaigned there (except Obama who ran an ad against the agreement he had with his fellow candidates). So, again, just seat the delegates and get on with the election.

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. HamptonU1992

    Are you serious? Hillary is a joke. She agreed to everything that Senator Obama did. Faced with a serious reality that she's going to loose, and now she wants to challenge?

    You are bringing down the party Hillary. It's not about you. It's about the American people!

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Anee

    It should shake him up, he lied and now that he we see the true Obama, a panderer who will say whatever it takes to win the WH.
    He should concede and let the Dems prepare for the battle against McCain.

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Luka

    Obama probably won't win the presidency because we Americans are too stupid to appreciate intelligent and thought provoking discourse. Hopefully, in the years to come as we are deep in debt to China and waist high in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and most likely Iran we'll all be able to remember that we had a choice and a different path we could have followed and we ignorantly went with business as usual based on a few ridiculous comments from a retired preacher.

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. LaLa

    I agree whole heartedly with Obama. He represents himself & not his pastor. He speaks for himslef & not his pastor. I was very glad that Obama did not denouce Pastor Wright, because he should not have to do so. Obama is a good man, who has the best at heart for America. Unfortunately, with so many racist people in this America Obama doesn't have a chance. That is Americas lost!

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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