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. ROBIN

    He did not say anything about his pastors rantings, because after 20 yrs of remaining in that church with those preachings, he feels the same way. He is only telling people what he THINKS they want to hear in the hopes of getting elected.
    . He stated he had never heard his pastor say anything less than respectful to a white person when he was around them, but he did not say that he did not hear that pastor say anything disparaging when they were out of ear shot.

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. RC

    It can't believe Clinton and her supporters somehow think that:

    a) The votes in Michigan and Florida should count. That is absolutely laughable and no explanation as to why is needed if you have an IQ above 12.

    b) That Obama is standing in the way of getting something done. His comments/stance is very clear. Again an IQ above 12 with some basic literacy understanding is required.

    No wonder the U.S. is in the state it is in.

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. OBAMA 2008

    "First they ignore you,
    then they ridicule you,
    then they fight you,
    then you win."

    – Mahatma Gandhi

    .:: OBAMA 2008 ::.

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Amy in Iowa

    It has to be difficult to deal with so many ignorant people. Obama I am not sure it is worth it to go through this divisive campaign. I commend you. You are my hero.

    Obama '08

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. srs

    Friday – Barack admits that in the past the Rev made statements that he did not agree with, but he was not in the pew when those particular controversial comments were made.

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Jim King

    Unless Obama has true ideas for all Americans he should drop out of the race. He could cause riots in the US because Blacks expect Obama to be "given" the nomination "just because" of color. Hillary will not do this and I don't blame her at all.

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. susannah jones

    Why does Barack Obama think he is unconventional and 'non textbook'? he and his campaign have all the prerequisites and have exhibited all the behaviors and moves of any 'conventional' politician and then some.....I think that if he gets the nomination this wounded country will become a failed state because he and the hounds at his side are ravenous

    Susannah Jones

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. steve batlin

    He and his family should have withdrawn from the church years ago.
    The Racist Reverend did not start preaching this stuff at Christmas.
    911 happened in 2001. Obviously his comments were made before. If you object or denounce the comments you distance yourself
    and family from the church. The Manchurian Canidate has yet to
    withdraw from the church.

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. KLS79

    More air time for Obama??

    March 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. DEM, Texas

    One America, The is no royal family HRC, The American people own that White House.

    HRC will not have the change to clean it out again.

    Clinton Royal Crime Family

    March 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  11. T. D. Harris

    Barack Obama has expressed himself very well on the issue with his pastor. He continues to impress me as a gentleman. How refreshing to have a well mannered candidate who does not go on the attack. Nor is he on the fence. He is standing up for his beliefs and can explain them. CHANGE works for me.

    No need to play the "black" card. We know what he is. Like the Zebra going into heaven that wanted to know if he was black on white or white on black and was told. "You is what you is". He is an American. I like everything I hear, read and see about the man including his youth and lack of experience.

    March 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. jlunz

    I switched to Hillary the other day and I am now convinced I did the right thing , I sent her a contribution and will support her to the end. He still has more skeletons in his closet and he knows it.

    March 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. New Zealand Observations

    screw michigan and florida, they knew the rules, hillary is trying to seat delegates that were not freely or fairly voted on. Hillary is attempting to steal the nomination in the hopes of putting john mcain in the white house. Backroom deal by Billary Pantsuit Clinton?

    March 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Joe S.

    I'm at a loss to understand why the Florida and Michigan primaries are an issue at all. It was understood from the very beginning that if they moved their primaries up so early that their delegates wouldn't be seated.


    They did it anyway and now they're whining. It's called 'making your bed and having to lie in it' where I come from.

    So why are we even talking about this?

    March 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. PeterO

    Florida and Michigan screwed up – stop blaming Obama. If they want new primaries, then the States and DNC need to figure out the fair way to do it. It's likely too late.

    Hillary is just trying to blame it on him, just as she tries to blame everything on someone else – she never takes responsibility for anything unless it's good for her ego.

    She is really destroying the democratic party.

    March 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Burnie, atlanta georgia

    no matter who gets into the White House...they will only be a figure-head. The real people that run this country are the big money corporates. The government cant do anything except the financial conglomerate allows.

    March 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. kerry

    For those of you who believe that Obama is lying to us with respect to comments he made regarding his former pastor, I beg you to ask your government for additional educational spending so that your own reading comprehension levels increase. If you go to the trouble of actually reading his statements, you will not find inconsistencies. Frankly, I am incredibly disappointed with all of the "spin" and politics as usual happening the past weeks in the media. We have a country facing much greater troubles right now. Let's focus on the issues.


    March 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. therealist

    How can I vote for anyone that intentionally lies to me??

    March 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. jeff

    joe, clearly you have not been following this situation. He was not present (in attendance atthe service) when the pastor made those disgusting remarks. However, he has always admitted to knowing about those remarks at the onset of his campaign.

    March 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. Rick

    Hilary is the lair. It tells of her inconsistency. Why can't she agree to the rules of the game? Ooooh we all know why...she can help but win the nomination regardless of what it takes. It was agreed among all parties that the states will not count. Why can she just get that into her thick skull? Would it have been different if Obama was down by 100 delegates? Give me a break.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Kathy

    Hillary is right to seat or let the votes be counted in Michigan and Florida not for herself, but for the democratic party as a whole and for all of the democrats that voted in our system that want their votes to count. It is necessary for the general to have those states vote Democratic and you are only alienating them. Do not blame Hillary, but yourself now.
    If this controversy has shaken you up that is your fault for 20 years of going to that church. You also tried to cover it up, lie about it and had the minister on your committe so you need to stop whining and take responsibility for your own actions.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. Tom Carroll

    Don’t let your guests respond to questions about Rev Wright’s sermons with their standard “Obama wants to move on to issues important to voters”.

    The words used by Rev Wright are exactly related to issues important to voters …. the values that make up the foundation of his sermons will influence Obama’s actions related to society and world affairs. Obama lied about knowing of Wright’s extreme comments …. now he admits he did know about them. Talk about lack of judgment! Yep, I’m ready for “change” but not for another lying politician!

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  23. kyle

    Joe he was NOT at THAT sermon. He said he has heard him say contraversal things, but that doesn't include the sermon that has been playing over and over. That is all. He did not lie.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. Tavi

    I don't understand how he can still keep going – I'm exhausted for him. Yet he still says things that I could see myself saying in a similar situation, and for the first time in MY LIFE I feel like a guy that I would vote for as the president is a relatively decent person. Which of course means that the nastiest of the nasties here in America won't let him win because he challenges some of the trite ideals of middle america, the media, and big business. Sigh. Some democracy.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. ObamaSPPRTER

    Great Speech, Senator!
    Keep up the good work. You are such an inspiration to me and my generation.

    May God be with you.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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