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. Jay

    Poor Poor Obama..If he cant take it now he will NEVER make it in the election!!

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Sig, Los Angeles CA

    Joe,

    Don't take the man out of context given that millions have watched and READ his speech. He didn't say he heard those specific comments which people have asked about, he said he has heard Wright use language and expose political positions he did not agree with. And lets be frank, you were NOT going to vote for him anyway – everyone knows, so stop pretending.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Andrew Koran

    I voted "uncommitted" in the Michigan primary. I am an Sen. Obama supporter. Sen. Clinton knew the rules before the date of the Michigan primary was chosen as did our Governor and other legislators. Rules are rules. Now the people who are complaining the most should suffer the consequences of their earlier decision.

    Now that it is politically expedient for Sen. Clinton she has determined to pursue Michigan and Florida voters in desperate hopes of winning the nomination.

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

    His campaign has been irreperably damaged due to his own behavior. He can't continue to lie to people and expect there to be no consequences for it.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. ROBERT SORENSON

    Barack's speech about race in this campaign was historic. It sets him apart, positively, from conventional politics. He spoke to the conscience of the nation.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Audrey

    Raf – They done it to themselves. The elected officials opted to break the rules and Hillary Clinton went along, now why all the hue and cry? These are the consequences of breaking rules.

    March 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Edwin Portland

    Honesty, accountability, standing up for what's right, talking to Americans as adults, you Hillary folks are right, this guy isn't ready for Washington.

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Joe, even if you type it in all caps, your opinion is not a fact. Mr. Obama did not lie. You are mixing up the facts and slandering a person who is trying hard to bring about new politics and a new way of thinking.

    And Ted... you really support somebody who implies that the other candidate is un-American? That's old-think in my book. Sounds reminiscent of the 1950s. It's really disheartening and more so leads me to believe that Mrs. Clinton will not really have new ideas and visions for this country, but more of the same-old same.

    Obama is the only candidate in this race who has the vision, the judgement and the ability to lead and unite and change politics as usual.

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. JAY

    joe, he did not say he was at the sermon. he said he had heard comments made by the pastor that he disagreed with...not these particular comments...it has been PROVEN that he was in florida when that particular sermon was given. get your facts straight before posting please

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. sak

    I like the fact that this man OBAMA is really not running a conventional campaign. Come on folks, give every one a break.....as if we never lie....Even if lied, he made a remarkable speech to clear his views....

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. FloridaWho?

    Obama said "...less of a chance than some of the other conventional candiates." How could anyone imply that a woman presidential nominee would be "conventional?" This is just another subtle example of the "race card" being played. If there is something else that he could have meant by the work "conventional", then someone please shed some light on this.

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Tracy

    Obama, the man of change, is no different than the politicians he condemns. Obama will say anything and do anything to win the election. The only difference between him and every other ordinary politician is that he is eloquent speaker.....liar.

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. ShannonL

    ""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. "

    Did he just play the race card?!?!?!?

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. boo hoo joe

    he was in florida when the rev made that crazy speech from the pit. Get over it. I hope that not everybody is judged by the priest that molest little boys just because they so happen to be members of their church

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. John L

    Joe, If you can Read with understanding. He said he didn't hear the sermons which was on the clips the media over saturated us with in the past two weeks. He didn't deny hearing other things that may not have been as negative, whith which he said he confronted the Rev.

    Lets not get the facts blurred. He didn't hear those sermons on tape and those are the only sermons we have had the privage to be exposed to. It would be nice to see if there are other less hostile sermons that Wright has preached in the past.

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. Hermione

    raf – Yes, if they take Crybaby Obama with them.

    Hillary '08

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. Peg

    Joe and Ted, you are asking the wrong questions and stating untrue statements. Joe, Obama said he was not at church sitting in the pews when the 30 second sound bite we've heard 10,000 times was voiced.....so don't misquote him. Get over it, seems like there's alot more problems in this country than Dr. Wright and his 30 second sound bite.

    Ted: Too late, too costly, possibly fraudulent.....etc. would be the do-over in Michigan and Florida. Plus, your Candidate didn't care very much about our disenfranchisement when the rules were enacted and our Democratic primary was nothing more than a "beauty contest." Open you eyes, look at the facts!

    P.S.
    I reside in Michigan...

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Mike

    joe,
    He said he heard "of them," not heard them directly. That's what he's always said. You're grasping for straws.

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. Len

    Disingenuous is putting it pretty lightly. Seriously, Hillary is the dirtiest, nastiest politician out there. Sounds like my ex-wife.

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. M

    Whatever happened to not running your campaign on race?

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. Veterans for Obama

    Ted in Chicago.....Did you read the article? Obama has stated repeatedely that it is not up to the candidates to make the rules, but the DNC. That is why we have a DNC. He will do as they wish. Hillary is using this for political ammo because she's desperate. Can't you see her strategy? Typical Clinton.

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Suburban Ohio mom

    What did Mr. Obama mean by his odds are lower than other conventional candidates? Is he referring to his race with that comment? Or his unconventionality, which includes his race? That statement definitely is worthy of an explanation, AC!!

    It does seem that Mr. Obama is not going out of his way to insure Michigan and Florida primaries are redone. So I believe an argument could be made that Mr. Obama does not care at all if those people are disenfranchised?

    He will definitely have a tough time returning to Ohio in the general election if he is lucky to get there!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. jason from woodbridge nj

    people are blowing this subject way out of proportion. it sad to see a large number of people condemn obama for something he had no control over. he is no different from the rest of us. we all have friends and family members who have said deragatory things we are not proud of. can we please stop playing wright's youtube video over and over again and focus on the real issues? america will never move forward if we're stuck on this archie bunker mentality.

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. Sara

    Of course we all know this "Overblown" Pastor issue was leaked by Clinton. OBAMA 08' Does this compare to Hillary's crying?

    March 19, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Susan

    For Joe, who thinks Barak lied to him.

    No Barak Obama did not lie yesterday-listen to the speech again. He said he had heard TAPES of sermons, not that he had been in the pews when they were first given.

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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