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. sozzi

    joe; Obama did not lie. If you heard or read very carefully, he did say that he heard some horrible rhetoric, BUT NOT the ones that have been played time and time over again by the Media.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Barackthevote

    Hillary's cry out to Obama to accept her challenge is just another mere political game that she seems to play quite well when her back is against the wall. Her tactics are simply to turn Barack's words against him, which is playing politics as usual. Obama clearly stated that he wants both states delegates to be seated, however, he will only agree to the terms of the DNC, not to the demands of Billary Clinton. She is wrong and is doing all that she can to defame a man of such great caliber and who represents the Democratic Party the best. I hope she realizes that her attacks are not hurting Obama, rather hurting herself in the primary's but also hurting the Democratic Party come time for the general election in November. Billary needs to chill out and just surrender this race, because frankly, she just cannot win.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Doom.

    So far we've got some stellar comments here. keep up the good work. Someday soon, you'll all be reasoning and communicating like real people!

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Eugene Ramcharan

    Seating the Michigan and Florida delegates under the broken rules is tantamount to accepting George Bush's stealing of the Presidency form Al Gore as normal and accepted behaviour. And to think that Americans are now castigating Barack Obama for not walking out of Rev. Wright's church when he heard objectionable statements. Talk about speaking with both sides of your mouth. Why don't all Americans who disagree with George Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan just get up and leave – go to Mexico, maybe.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. Laura

    I think it is highly suspicious that after his pastor's comments, that he claims he would have spoke out against, he made him a religious advisor on his campaign. When will this double talk end? First Tony Rezko now Rev. Wright. It is the same story over and over with Obama. Is this the change that he speaks of? If so I don't think it is change anyone can believe in.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Lindi

    Joe, It pays to have good comprehension skills before you open your mouth to display your ignorance,Barack said he has heard the pastor say controversial statements and not the explosive video comments,even his worst critics Fox news released a statement confirming that records obtained from florida shows he had a speaking engagement in that state on that day and was not in Illinois.
    So check your facts and go look up the info yourself do not depend on what you hear someone else repeat.To engage in politics you need to be savvy and not gullible!!

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Ryan

    According to the Slate Delegate Counter, HRC would need 60-40 wins in ALL REMAINING STATES as well as placing 60-40 in Michigan and FLA to even pull slightly ahead.

    She is mathematically out of the race. Let it go. HRC needs to drop out of the race and buckle down to defeat McCain.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Ray W

    Don't worry about an up hill battle, save you're cash. Sorry, it ain't about race, it about abilty, it maybe a close horse race but you GOT no CHANCE!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Dan G.

    Once again Mr. Obama blames others for his failure to use good judgement. It seems the Obama campaign loves to play the race card rather than face the facts of who is really at fault.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. John Walters


    If we are suppose to vote for Obama based upon his "Judgement" – then how does he explain his judgement when he picked two people as key to his campaign leaders – and now is having to distance himself from both – one resigns and the other he has to explain.

    So no experience – no judgement – NO Presidency.

    March 19, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. sjmarie

    Florida and Michigan voters knew in advance that their votes wouldn't count for delegates. Some people did not bother to vote. Hillary did not make an issue of their votes being counted until she was behind in delegates. Obama is not to blame for the voters being disenfranchised. It is the leaders of the Democratic party who agreed to break the rule and hold the election earlier than agreed.

    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Jack B

    Like Joe said you lied about Rev. Wright, you lied about the NAFTA note that surfaced, you should review your comments about Don Imus and compare his comments and Rev Wrights and then tell the people who's remarks were more offensive.

    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. Veterans for Obama

    This man is exactly what this nation needs now. I have much respect for Senator Clinton, but she will not be able to mobilize and unite this Nation and bring back in favor with the global community the way Obama can. Leaders like this come only once a generation...let's not be afraid to change the course of this nation. The issues are real and grave.

    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Daniel Jurek

    I respect Mr. Obama's judgement issue regarding Senator Clinton's inability to properly diagnose the ramifications of entering into war with Iraq. However, during that time Senator Obama positioned himself neutral on matters of great importance and signiiicances in our country's battle against terrorism. As of late, the tides have turned against Senator Obama in regards to judgement or the lack thereof. Mr. Obama did not pay much attention over the last twenty or more years to his paster Mr. Wright and his internal beliefs as it relates to America and whites in general. Judgement against Clinton was a matter of a period of several years, Senator Obama's lack of judgement in good character spained over several decades. You decide which of the two canidates lacks good judgement.

    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. John

    You LIED to us Senator Obama ... you repeatedly claimed that your church wasn't that controversial and you claimed that you were not in the pews when controversial statements were uttered ... don't expect your well-delivered speech to cover up the fact that you consistently misled us. So much for the "new" politics of hope. I'll be voting for Senator Clinton in the upcoming NC primary. And if you happen to get the party's nomination, this life-long Democrat will never vote for you!

    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. David

    If Howard Dean fails to Seat the Delegates and make the Votes in Michigan and Florida count, he should RESIGN Immediately!

    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. Cait

    If you can't take the heat, Obama should do us all a favor and get out of the kitchen.

    Like to see him unite the Dems by supporting a re-vote in Michigan and Florida. Actions do speak louder that words and speeches.

    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. David


    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. Nich Anderson

    Someone please edit this ticket item.
    "United State's" hurts my brain.

    here's another example:
    "Obama noted Wright was on the verge retirement."

    Some of the others are quotes so could be the person's
    stumbling of words rather than edit errors.

    No need to post this comment.

    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Christopher Fandl

    What did Obama expect running for President? I mean....hello. He is doing a pretty good job of spinning this to me.

    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Cathy

    To Joe .... Barack Obama did not lie to us. You are taking everything out of context. And his speech revealed true leadership, insight, sensitivity and depth....the traits of a great American president. Hilary does not have the depth or capacity to see the big picture as Barack does.

    March 19, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. AJ, IL

    Why waste more money on primary do-overs in Michigan and Florida? By summer 2008, Michigan will probably have lost more jobs and Florida will probably be hit by a Hurricane. Let's save the money for real problems in both these states. How much health insurance does $12 million buy in Michigan? How many homes in Florida can be saved from foreclosure with $12 million?

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. Nosakhere Walcott


    You are one of many who like to take Obama's comments out of context. Are aware of what he was referring to? He was referring to the service at which he had made those comments. Take your misinterpretations so some other blog.

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. kmb

    To the folks accusing Barack of lying – what he actually SAID was that he had not heard the specific comments that had been played repeatedly on YouTube and on television. He never once said he had not heard ANY controversial rhetoric. You need to be a little more accurate!

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. Maria - Texas

    He is SHOCKED?! Whatever! It just goes to show how inexperienced he is! What is going to do when other countries come at us! What a cry-baby!

    Grow Up! It is about time! Welcome to the real world!

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
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