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. Lynne

    So, Senator Obama is playing the race card once again.

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. Bruce

    Obama's true color eventually comes out. The most troubling thing is that he acts so natually and spoke eloquently even when he's lying. And he called himself the man with better judgement?!

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. Very Concerned American

    Barack should allow Michigan to vote. How dare Obama not respond.

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. Not Obama


    Are you a fighter for the people?? Then why are you against re-vote.

    If you want to represent people and be a president and a Leader you shouldn't be afraid of revote.

    If you want to be the President of United States then be loyal to American People especially do not ignore FL and MI people.

    If you want to be a Leader make better judgements. One of the good judgements here is counting the vote of people of MI FL. If you want to be a leader then don't be coward. Be Brave and ask for a re-vote.

    If you cannot fight for the people of FL and MI. Then we don't want you to represent us.

    This is a test for you to see wheather you have leadership qualities. A Leader should be Brave and not a coward like to ignore the people

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. Edwin Portland

    I hope Obama and the DNC do the right thing and enforce the rules that were laid out. The states that willingly and purposely broke the rules should suffer the consequences. The Bush like thought that the rules are only applicable when convenient has no place in America.

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Brian in Tampa

    You HRC backers are something else. Don't you get it!? HRC wanted nothing to do with the voters of Florida OR Michigan until she thought she needed the votes. PERIOD! Now all of a sudden they MUST be counted. Typical of HRC politics. Do whatever you have to do to win. Lie, cheat, steal, take improper donations, change the rules as the game goes along, etc., etc.....

    I live in Florida. We have no one to blame for our delegates not being seated but our REPUBLICAN governor who moved the primary!

    BTW, how dare ANY of you try to say that Obama's speach yesterday was not anything other than historic.

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. Armi

    Joe (4:23pm ET):

    Barack was asked if he had heard "those comments" (refering to the video snippets played on YouTube). His response was he was not in the church when (the YouTube) "comments" were made.

    In Barack's speech yesterday he said he had heard controversial comments (during the times he was in church) and that he disagreed with them. But in his speech he was not referring to the ones played on YouTube.

    So no, he did not lie. He answered the question directly in the first case, and during his speech he had the integrety to admit that there were other times when the pastor made objectionable comments.

    Again, he did not lie. In fact he was not only forthright, but completely transparent.

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Roger B from Portland, OR

    Joe and everyone else who doesn't get it.

    He said he never heard THOSE statements, that he wasn't at THOSE services. He said in his speech that he had heard SOME contraversal things but clearly nothing to this extent and not those particular things. Most Reverands are constantly writing new services, keeping things fresh.

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. janet in wv

    will he had lied befor and he will again i never did trust him i am happy that other's are seeing him for what he is,

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Ann

    From the comments I've heard from Obama and his supporters, it doesn't sound like he wants a revote in Florida or Michigan. I'm one of those disenfranchised Florida Democratic voters. A revote is a moot point for me, though – I've since changed parties.

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Daniel Jurek

    Senator Obama does not appear to understand the true meaning or definition of the word, "Judgement!" It took Senator Obama several decades to investigate his Paster Mr. Wright's credentials. It took Senator under significant pressure a matter of months to decide if the war against Iraq was justifiable. Even then, Senator Clinton had to make her decision to vote for or against the war on the propaganda President Bush was delivering. Judgement as I, and most Americans see it, depends on how long an individual is given the opportunity to evaluate a decision and the timeliness one has to make that decision. Senator Obama had twenty or more years, not a time frame Senator Clinton was afforded. If my memory serves me correctly, Mr. Obama was only a congressman then. He took advantage of that opportunity, and played neutral for as long as he could.

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Janice

    Shut up already Barack! Enoough of your talk!

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. julie

    Obama's entire platform has been based on being open and honest–supposedly different than politics as usual. It has become blatantly obvious that he did indeed lie about knowing about the awful words screamed by his beloved pastor. This simply confirms that just because Obama can give a motivating speech, does not mean that he is telling the is he really as different as he claims to be??

    March 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. JoeT Warrenton VA

    How many more "Rev. Wrights" are in Senator Obama's circle of advisors, and how many of them will be in the cabinet of President Obama.

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Mike

    Qualifying for President is about experience and every American knows this. To this end, why don't you show some intellectual honesty and challenge Obama or his surrogates when they say "Change" trumps expeirence. If what they espouse were true you and your cohorts would be looking for a new job as hiring someone right out of broadcasting school with no experience is change!

    On the re-vote...if this does not happen the Democratic party is finished!

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. todd

    he didn't lie. he said he was in church when Wright made some controversial remarks but NOT the remarks that are currently under fire.

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. Dave, Santa Barbara CA

    He didn't lie. He said he heard controversial statements but he never did claim he was there for those statements. Either way, I cannot support him saying he would have quit the church. Confrontation is healthier.

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. julie

    Obama is beginning to sound like a mad scientist, you have to wonder, What in the he– is he talking about half the time, And dont even get me started on his arrogance! or flat out for all the country to see his,, lies.....

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. vic nashville,Tn

    Hi Obama
    Its too late to discuss !!!!!

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Enrique

    Hillary and the Vast Right Wing are shamelessly attacking Barack's church in the hopes that we'll all forget about the nearly 4,000 American lives that have been lost in Iraq and the billions of dollars that have been spent there.

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Rashawn

    I feel as though his speech yesterday should put this behind us and we should get back to the issues. I am tired of the negative ads. Hilary Clinton has said why is the media being so hard on her and not Obama. The media completely skipped over the civil suit on Bill Clinton and her role in the 1.2 million dollars donated to her campaign during her 2000 election for senate. Why is no one looking into that? They look up youtube snippets of Obama's pastor. There are youtube snippets of this issue at hand. Everyone should take a look at it. "the video hilary clinton wants no one to watch." Why is CNN nor any other news broadcasting this?

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. amanda

    Oh please. If Hillary had lost either of those states, then she wouldn't want them counted at all. The DNC agreed to all this BEFORE those states voted, so to go back on an agreement because it suits your personal goal is selfish and villainous. Besides, she's lucky here because if Michigan were to re-vote, Obama would easily win.

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Very Concerned American

    The only fair thing to do is seat delegates and revote!

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. Drew

    Racism in this country can break anyones spirit unfortunately.

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Sara

    Ted in Chicago,
    Clinton agreed to rules and now wants to change, since things are not going her way. What part of thid don't you understand? OBAMA 08'

    March 19, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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