March 19th, 2008
06:07 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama: Wright controversy has 'shaken me up'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/19/art.cooper.nc3.jpg 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. NAMANDE - MA

    The damage is done. If Barack gets the nomination, which he should, we are going to see more and more of the clips of Rev Jeremiah after November – that you can take to the bank. Very sad!!

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Laura P

    Mr. Obama,

    Stop being such a cry-baby! Geessh!

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. EA

    I am a black woman and mother, and I think that if the senator did not approved of what the good pastor was preaching, as an adult its okay for him to do so, but when he subject his impressionable children in that enviroment, I think that is child abuse, what is he teaching his children, to hate America, to hate white people. It is shameful what he and his wife has done to the kids, He siad he did not agree with the pastor those days are gone, then why did he stay there, he has lost my respect.

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

    JOE– For the umpteenth time, he said he has heard him make controversial comments before, said he was like an old uncle that makes comments you disagree with, but do not disown them.
    But when asked if he was there for the remarks being played on TV, he was NOT, he had heard about some of them, but some he was hearing for the first time.
    GET IT RIGHT!

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Ed

    The conventional uproar over the statement by Wright, is more than anything else, gist for the networks fodder. Obama, will be a 'n'word, weather he wins the Presidency or not. The feelings of race division run too deep in this country of the unsaved and the 'saved'. Listen to the chatter of the Consevative, jealouse, misguided people who dislike him just because the man is black. The more the issue is drawn out as 'shocking statements ', by the press, the more those who weren't going to vote for him anyway are solidified.

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Stephanie

    I think a great majority of America has proven they are not racist in backing Obama. It is Obama that appears to be the one who is racist.

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. nancy

    I just can't trust this man he has lied more than once. Campaign money from Rezko he got more than he originally said, Canadian meeting that happened when he said it didn't, and now this with his minister in which he said he never heard him speak any of this in person. What else is going to come out? I think if he would have come out and been honest the american people would believe him but he is just sorry now that he got caught and he is very hard to believe. If he makes it into the white house he will probably be impeached because something will come out while he is president.

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Andre

    barack obama is my president. He makes HRC and mcain look like one and the same

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. True

    It's true that you can not disown the individual who holds views similar to Rev. Wright without in a way rejecting the whole African American community. Certainly not all black people feel that way, but most probably know someone who does, someone they like and care about. I'm a white gal from Chicago and many of the older black folks I know hold those views. You can't change their minds and it is painful to hear those thoughts, partially because I love my country and partly because I know where they are rooted. It's pointless to argue, too many raw nerves on both sides, but if you like the person and look at all the wonderful qualities in their personalities then you choose to overlook and agree to disagree.

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. RT

    Hey Ted,

    Yeah, he said he is up for a re-vote. What article are you reading? BTW, your candidate signed off on Michigan and Florida not counting last year. Why act like she is actually trying to help them now. Stop your spin on this story. You probably believe that Barack really is the one blocking the re-vote don't you? You are gobbling up all the lies Hillary is hand-feeding you.

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Chris - Hemet, Ca.

    Didn't all the candidates agree and sign a pledge at the beginning of the campaign that Florida and Michigan would not count because they moved up the primary dates? Didn't all the candidates agree not to campaign in either state? Didn't seem to bother Sen. Clinton then. It only began to be a factor when her nomination wasn't neatly secured by Super Tuesday. She flatly underestimated Sen. Obama.....poor judgement on her part.

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. tda

    I think Hilary is the liar and the one playing politics. When the votes did not matter to her, she was MORE THAN WILLING to dismiss them. Now that she needs them to even have a snowballs chance in hell to win the nomination all of a sudden the voters matter so deeply to her. What a crock!! At least Obama speaks to us as adults with a memory of recent events, not as idiots like she does!

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Bayou Joe

    The odds just got a little bigger and bigger. Just like your nose pinochio. Birds of a feather flock together. No one can convince me and my family otherwise. People of all races and creeds tend to congregate with people with the same or similar ways of thinking.
    Did Obama really think that the American electorate was that gullible?

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Sue

    Obama needs to step down to save the Democrats from a landslide defeat in November. His lack of experience and poor judgment in staying in that church with his racist, anti-American mentor and spiritual advisor says a lot about who he is and what he stands for.

    Most Republicans, Independents and even a lot of Democrats are not buying into his twisted logic. Comparing his white grandmother who sacrificed and raised him to Reverend Wright was disgusting. There is nothing he won't do or say to get himself elected President.

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  15. Peace

    Hey, if Michigan and Florida don't get their votes counted, can we stop paying taxes????

    March 19, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. CB

    Why should he agree to something Hillary wants for her benefit? Michigan and Florida have their own in-state politicians to blame for this mess. Give it a rest Clinton, the MI and FL people said NO! Spin up something else to blame for your lower delegate count.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. Bill, IL

    He's at it again...calling Clinton completely disingenuous with attempting to get the Florida and Michigan delegates seated. She was saying that they needed to be seated before their elections and afterward. We are not that forgetful Barack! We also won't forget your service to your own state...you dirty power seeker.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Anna Sacramento, Ca

    Well now everyone knows that Obama is indeed a politician through and through. Let's see so far he has thrown his grandmother under a bus by comparing her to Rev. Wright, lied to us and allowed his children to listen to horrible sermons, used the race card and still wants to disenfranchise Michigan and Florida. What kind of change is that? Sounds like he REALLY has the judgement to be president.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. Celia Ann

    The odds are against him, that unfortunately is one part of Rev Wright's sermon that is true. Senator Clinton is now blaming him for Michigan Delegates not being seated and her not getting a re-do in Michigan. I live in Michigan and have contacted every democratic law maker in the State to not to vote for a Re-Do until she discloses everything she should.

    It is rediculous that she use "voter's rights" in this argument, especially not in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw. It won't work. In these depressed areas, people are not just going to cave in and give her our votes, and the same goes for Senator Obama. You guys grilled him. In his words, you "shook him up." Her tree is bigger and requires a lot more shaking.

    It has not been fair that the media has covered for a week Rev Wright. and not covered all of her problems. Whether you believe Rev Wright was as wrong as too left shoes, or not, you let voters make thier own decision. You have not applied the same rules in this sitation CNN.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Very Concerned American

    Barack better agree with the revotes in Michigan or he will be unAmerican. Period.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Dan G.

    I would like to add, on Friday nights 360 Anderson Cooper all but apologized for having to report this story; which I thought was pretty close to showing political bias on this subject. I hope Anderson's current ride with Mr. Obama isn't his way of trying to provide support for Mr. Obama, but rather to report the news vice try to place a spin on the news. It was an important story Friday and it is just as important today.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. michael, ny

    Joe, have a little respect for yourself and stop being dishonest. Blantly lying to destroy your opponent is not a character one should have.

    Obama said he had not heard the specific comments before but had heard the pastor make other comments in the past.

    As to MI revote, that deal is dead. Check politico.com

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. deborah

    Obama you might accuse Hillary of Old Politics, but after you bargain with the white voters in your speech with your High level oratory skills were does that leave you, ill tell you exactly in the same place. We already know that your a smart guy but you are not intuch with the simpl people with the hard working people. tell me do you really think people understood you newsflash they didnt. so I give you a 10 for your speach and a 3 with connecting with the same people that have given so much for this country

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. john

    What? It should shake you up Senator Obama! Once again you LIED to the American People. You said you never sat at any function in which your Preacher spoke these racist, Hateful and Divisive comments. Then you go on the News and state you had sat through these comments before. Canadian Official Meeting "You Lied", NAFTA "You Lied" and now Wright-Gate, another lie?? My question to the American People is : " How many Lies does it take to get to the White House"??

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. IveyLeague

    No. Obama was on the campaign trail during the Dec 7th speech. However, to diffuse this constant critique, Obama proactively stated that he knew that Rev. Wright had some controversial views.

    In fact, he answered this same question back in early 2006, fall 2007, January, 2008, and in the historic March 18th speech.

    WHY NOT MICHIGAN?
    It has been documented that millions of voters did not vote or voted in the Republican primary due to the DNC's decision. Now, HRC wants these voters not to be able to vote in the Re-Vote.

    Who is disenfranchising who? Obama backs a plan to let all voters vote per Michigan's own voting rules.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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