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. Ca Native

    Barack starting to make excuses for not winning??

    "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 good news is... your expectations will be fulfilled. Your embracing Rev. Wright is embracing a lead-anvil as your attempting to run to the finish line.

    The best description for Obama Presidential Bid: TOAST

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  2. Reality check #1

    Boy, CNN is really on the rescue to Obama. And have once again changed the spotlight of negative to Hillary. Is it because Obama has an ad on the side of your website? Tish, tish.

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. DD

    He's a Liar, plain and simple.

    It's his camp using so called legal violation to block re-vote at FL & MI. He cannot spin out of that. He denied FL & MI voters just because he knows he won't win. He is the person who want to win at all costs, here, it's at FL & MI voters' costs.

    By the way, Wright was his pastor for over 20 years. Of course, he cannot deny that, that means to me, he's agreed with him for these past years. Now he said he disgreed with him so as to lie his way to nomination.

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

    I believe Dr. King said it best: "I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate myself; hate is too great a burden to bear. I’ve seen it on the faces of too many sheriffs of the South—I’ve seen hate. In the faces and even the walk of too many Klansmen of the South, I’ve seen hate. Hate distorts the personality. Hate does something to the soul that causes one to lose his objectivity. The man who hates can’t think straight; the man who hates can’t reason right; the man who hates can’t see right; the man who hates can’t walk right. . . . And this is why John said, “God is love,” so that he who hates does not know God, but he who loves at that moment has the key that opens the door to the meaning of ultimate reality." The NYT compared your speech to a Profile in Courage. When you look at Dr. Kings words and the hateful words of Rev. Wright, I think it's more like Political Profiling.

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Tom in MA

    He should be shaken. Even if he gets the nomination, he will not get the presidency. If he thinks we will forget by November or buy his pretty speeches, he is wrong.

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Whuzi

    Obviously being President isn't as tough of a job as people make it out to be. Just ask Bush. He has taken more vacation days off than any President before. He doesn't even have to admit that there is a recession even when it is clear as day.

    Speaking of jobs. A friend of mine gets paid for a Clinton supporter, she probably does more work than Bush.

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. me

    He is sooo sickening!
    And how many times will Obama or his wife be on CNN?
    I cannot wait until he is out of the race. Most Democrats I know will never vote for him!
    And they better figure out what to do with Michigan and Florida!

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Jeff

    Hillary: "I want to change the rules, and you're a poor sport and don't care about people if you don't help me do so. I'll cry and pout and slam you, Barack!"

    My little daughter is better at the game than this, at least less transparent.

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Gee

    Stop talking, nobody is listening to a liar like you. Game over.

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. Whiney Baby Clinton

    Move on already.

    Maybe Sillary can move to Michigan or Florida and they can all whine together.

    I find it hard to believe that you were just made aware that your voted would not count now. Why weren't you throwing your tantrums when the decision was first made?!?

    March 19, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Jerry M

    If Obama doesn't attempt to fairly contest the states of Florida and Michigan and is percieved to be standing in the way of fair elections for his own political benefit, it will fatally damage his candidacy.

    Whoever emerges as the eventual Democratic nominee, they cannot afford to leave lingering doubts about the legitimacy of their candidacy.

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Are americans really foolish enough to think that this typ[e of propaganda only occurs in this mans church. In the name of God he destroys young minds and creates distrust among all people. Perfect, the pot calling the kettle black. Nothing will ever change until the American people are represented by someone who truly has all peoples ideals represented on a playing field that allows everyone to play. this individual is definetly not OBAMA , he has allowed his own childern to be witness to the very hatred that holds this country.

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. Harrison

    Joe – you need to get your facts straight.

    Obama was not in the church when the sermon in question (the one that we have all seen) occurred. You saying it over and over will not make it so.
    He did say that he has heard Rev. Wright has made similar comments in other settings and that he denounces and disagrees with those comments.

    You need to stop reading headlines and actually read the articles.

    McCain 08

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Jane

    Barak Obama is a statesman and brilliant thinker. He has an inclusive perspective contrary to the slash and divide tendencies of both the media and many in our country.... The United States has an oppertunity at this time to step into a new vision and identity that unifies and shines a light on our collective shadows.... What choise will we make????

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Al, Sacramento Ca

    He's had a few friends and partners that have hurt his campaing. It's just the nature of the beast.

    No politician is perfect and neither is he.

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Bob Austin,TX

    This whole not counting the votes thing... sounds awful republican to me. This whole caucus thing... having to vote twice?? Why can't we just get nominees and then a president who is desired by the simple majority of the voters... Or does that sound too much like a democratic process?

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. dAnnE so many others You didn't LISTEN to the message, you only HEARD what you wanted to hear...You do know there's a difference, right? Look at the transcipts for both the AC interview and the speech.

    Obama/Clinton/McCain: Vote on the Issues 08

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    we were alll shaken by the wrights uproar, and we knew all along that the odds against you winning are great, but we had faith in you and your campaign that we can pull it's still possible, but we gotta keep on fighting and put Billary and this drama behind us. You still have my support!

    I do believe that you can't hold a man for someone else's sin!

    YES WE CAN!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. OPO

    Michigan and Florida got us into this mess with their desire to have more influence on the outcome of this primary. Why are Howard Dean, the national DNC and Barack Obama the ones who have to pay of the selfish decision of two states. No two states are about the other states in the union. The blame lies with the legislatures in both states and the governors of both states signed the state laws into being to move the dates of the primaries.

    HRC, you knew what the rules were yet you decided to break them and leave your name on the ballot with the other candidates did not. Was it because you knew this day would come and you hedged your bet? I don't know but all this recent "disenfranchisement" talk looks more politically driven than because of any constitutional cause. You are LOSING and you think this will help you get back in the game. IT WON'T. We have already calculated that even if the states count, you still can't catch up. QUIT DIVIDING OUR COUNTRY AND OUR PARTY. You have shown that you will do anyting.....absolutely win this nomination. Shame on you Hillary!

    OBAMA '08

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. balthus

    What a poised, intelligent, articulate, reasoned, and ethical man Obama has proven to be. Such a dramatic change from the ugly divisiveness of the Republicans and the scandal-plagued presidency of Bill Clinton. Now if only Hillary would stop throwing mud in a vain attempt to satisfy her seemingly infinite ambition.

    Hopefully the superdelegates will have sense enough to see how overturning the popular delegate vote total in order to anoint HRC would drive away the legions of young people who have been inspired to back Obama, shatter the hopes of millions of African-Americans who have been the party's base for years, and jump-start the campaign of our nemesis McCain.

    It's time for a change America. Time to repudiate the slimy campaign tactics of HRC, to reject her distortions and exaggerations, and to support a candidate we can trust to lead us forward, instead of back.

    Obama '08 YES, WE CAN!

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Jim, Burlington

    You break the rules you agreed to then you pay the price.

    Hillary is shrill and desperate sounding at this point.

    Seat them at the convention and split the delegates down the middle AFTER the first round of nomination...

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Jess

    Perhaps we should let Hawaii secede from the Union Raf, so that we don't have to even consider Obama for President.

    March 19, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Ruben


    Obama denied being present when Wright made that infamous sermon that has been circulating the web. That is different from saying he has heard Wright say things he did not agree with.


    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. simple thought ?

    obama is like a little school boy. he lies and points fingers.
    he would gladly want these two states to vote if he wins the nomination. but says they dont count until the nomination is his.
    he's the one who's unleashed his lawyers to silence the hope of a compromise.
    he has know chance of beating the republican. none,nada, zip.


    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. Mary

    well if this has shaken him up, what will happen when the republicans really focus on him (if he's the nominee). where's the sound judgment he proclaims?

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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