April 28th, 2008
02:05 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain: Obama and Wright do not share views

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/04/22/mccain.tour/art.selma.ap.jpg caption=" McCain has begun to publicly address the Wright controversy."] MIAMI (CNN) - Despite his newfound willingness to make political hay out of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, John McCain insisted three separate times on Monday he does not believe Barack Obama shares Wright’s “extremist views.”

McCain, campaigning in South Florida, faced a series of questions about Wright from reporters shortly after the pastor made a defiant public appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, in which he defended his church and condemned the national media.

“I’ve said again and again, I do not believe that Sen. Obama shares Rev. Wright’s extremist views which he has stated, whether it be the United States Marine Corps or the flag or what,” McCain said. “I am leaving that issue to a dialogue between Sen. Obama and American people.”

In another press conference held Sunday, McCain broached the topic of Wright unprompted for the first time, despite previous suggestions that the Wright issue would be an out-of-bounds topic in the presidential race.

McCain said his shifting stance on Wright was justified because Obama told “Fox News Sunday” that the controversy surrounding his ex-pastor was “a legitimate political issue.”

The presumptive Republican nominee repeated that explanation on Monday.

“As I said before I am of the belief that Sen. Obama does not reflect the extremist statements that Rev. Wright has given,” McCain said. “I have no comments on it, but I also understand why millions of Americans may, as Sen. Obama said yesterday, view this as a political issue.”

However, McCain appeared to change his position on whether state Republican parties or downballot GOP candidates should exploit the Wright issue in local campaigns.

The Arizona senator last week told the North Carolina GOP not to run an ad linking the state’s Democratic candidates for governor - both Obama supporters - to Rev. Wright. But on Monday, McCain said he would no longer weigh on such matters.

“I will not be a referee,” he said.

soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Trisha, Monsey NY

    It is a shame when McCain takes up for Obama more than selfish Hillary!
    That woman would throw anyone or any thing under the bus to win, listen people, I have done my home work even if the networks who love to keep this controversy going have NOT! And I have found that the Clintons are the most corrupt couple in our History and you can bet the farm they are only out for themselves.

    If you love your country as I do and desire no more war and killing of innocent people or wish for peace for all nations and if you even dare to hope for equal pay for ordinary americans you will never vote for for McCain or Hillary Clinton,....Americans do your HOMEWORK!
    Obama is the BEST Candidate this country has ever seen in decades!!

    April 28, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Sandra

    Disappointed in McCain. Thought he had a little integrity but he is playing it both ways.

    Go Obama!

    April 28, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. lastochka

    McCain is a hypocritical fool, not a maveric. How does he know what is in Barak's mind and heart?

    April 28, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. Bayou Joe

    What is this the Brotherhood of Senators. This message is for John Mccain....We already know what Obama represents. Rev. Wright is not his only mentor. It is only his adult one. His mentor was his Muslim step father. and his Atheist White mother. Barak is a product of his genetic make up and also his indoctrination. He is a left wing
    Socialist and that is where his loyalties lie, not with the United States.

    Don"t make it difficult for me to vote for you.

    April 28, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |

    Here we go again, with the racist statements. Senator Obama does not share the views of Rev. Wright. Senator Obama is a man of his own right and does not have to be a radical. All of you that are sspewing these racist talk and language are bad people.


    April 28, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Nobillary Andobama

    This incessant bickering over whether Obama is racist is moot. The Rev. Wright does not speak for Obama and he made clear he doesn't endorse that message....

    What is relevant is whether or not Obama is fit to hold the highest office in the land...and the answer is clearly NO!

    I am begging this guy to say something substantive from a foreign policy and National Security Strategy point of view.

    He is very good at looking pretty and making a rousing speech and sprinkling the words "Change" and "Hope" into these speeches....but when you start to peel the onion back there are absolutely no concrete solutions to the issues America faces other than what ever Bush did was wrong.

    What experience does this guy have when it comes to dealing with the persistent threat of Islamic terrorists? A two day trip to Iraq and another trip to Africa??? Has he ever served in a position of great responsibility in the Armed Forces or State Department??? Does serving 3 years on the Senate Foreign Relations committee qualify as significant experience???

    Where is the substance?

    Too many times in the course of human events have flocks of people been moved to selecting wholly unqualified leaders because of charm and rhetoric....WAKE UP AMERICA!

    "HOPE" is not a method....only a nice sound bite

    April 28, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. Chicago

    Well where would the world have us discuss politics?

    Historically black churches have been political; the civil rights movement started in the church.

    I'm for real.....where and let's create a forum where our greivances are addressed, but if not don't criticize the only place where black can congregate without the police getting nervous and maybe shooting us 50 times.

    April 28, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. gary


    April 28, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. April in Texas

    I would like to see everyone look back and honestly ask yourself if someone you know or even more specific your pastor has said anything you dont agree with.. I would have to say NO ONE can say they have never disagreed with someone so please let Wight be Wright and Obama be Obama as they ARE two DIFFERENT people..

    Obama 08

    April 28, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. sharonl

    It's obvious. He's working with Fancy Pants to bring Obama down. What she doesn't say about Obama, he does. And the press repeats the comments again, and again. They're both old school and don't have a clue. Watch him – he's a sheep in wolf's clothing. Dear old Blitzer must be in his element.

    April 28, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. John LANCASTER

    I think it's pretty obvious that John McCain has seen the handwriting on the way. As polls show, he is more likely to be able to beat Obama that Clinton so he is moderating his stance on Rev. Wright to help Obama get the Democratic nomination. McCain would prefer to be up against Obama in the the general election.

    BUT, if Obama becomes the Democratic candidate you care going to see fireworks fly and the Republicans will eat Obama alive. One should also notice that Wright is not courting the media with interviews saying he is misunderstood and moderating his views althrough he not distancing himself from them, he is just making up excuses. In the long run his coming out again will continue the damage he has done to the Obama campaign.

    So, hypocrisy reigns supreme in all camps when it comes to politics. I remember what they taught us in the Army during the Vietnam war, "...theere is no such thing as a fair fight, only a winner."

    April 28, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Tim in Canada

    I think Rev Wright is a standup comedian.

    April 28, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. James Lucas Clemmons NC

    Unfortunately, Obama is a very naive and green politician; what he should have done is ask the American public to hear all of Revernd Wright's original speech before he tried to distance himself from something that appears to hurt him politically. Revernd Wright has said somethings that makes American squirm, especially White Americans, but that does not mean it is not true, Unfortunately he wants to be President at all cost, just like Hilary, but he could have closed the door on Hilary if he had simply owned up to the fact that Revernd Wright speaks a controversial truth that has always existed in the black church. It is a controversial truth because it is not politically correct, and it makes white America uncomfortable, therefore it must be wrong. In order to gain the white vote he needed to distance himself from the core truth in Revernd Wright's message, therefore he becomes less threating to whites. Its all politics and I understand and accept that, but surely this is not the CHANGE Obama is talking about. Condemning the remarks of your spiritual advisor before you even listen to the entire speech. I listened to that speech and it was very truthful. He spoke some harsh things about America. ... but that does not mean it was not true. I love this country, but America is not perfect, and America is not always right. Saying otherwise just to get elected is not my ideal of strong leadership and change. ... it sounds like more of the same.

    April 28, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. White male for Obama

    The media is playing games about this primaries. Like obama just said, the media wants to carry only negative words or thing that each other disagree on. The media will never say Obama praise Clinton or Mccain on somethings, but they will tellevise /broabcast any criticizen to instegate problem.

    Media are into broabcasting bitter news or aweful news. They are not willing to tell people how good or progress that is happening in Iraq or in America.

    Enough of this, the media gave the nominee to Hillary Clinton 5 months ago, but Obama has closing that gap. So the media are not actually correct most of the time.

    If it was upto the media this democratic nominee race will drag on for ever. They have nothing to carry on their networks, but to portray any argument in a light to put other person in a difficult position.

    last week Maccain was beating both democrats, Last month Obama beat Maccain, now Hillary will beat Maccain. Stop these nonesense CNN. If you like don't post this message.

    April 28, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Bob, Columbus, OH

    I don't care who you like, don't like, are going to vote for or how large your member is. We all should shut the hell up and vote whatever way you want. Too much BS in this country.

    April 28, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    They do not share views in public, but you cannot prove since the Rev. is his mentor they do not share views in private which is where you really get to know the persons true being. It is obviuos that Rev. Wright is angry and wants a socialist world wher you take from the hqaves a give to the have nots.

    April 28, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Pat

    Was Hillary drinking Cindy's beer?

    April 28, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. heathj

    I am a black dem. and because of the way McCain is treating Obama he gets my vote. He was getting it any way but I feel more proud to vote for him now. He is not throwing the Kitchen sink at him. That is a good man.

    April 28, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. El Senor in GA

    The pastor thing is old news...... Props to McCain for not following it up, One way to change politics... stick with the real issues

    April 28, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Pat

    Step back Huckabee; Leiberman has Vice Presidential Nomination in the bag!

    April 28, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. jay

    if Obama doesn't agree then "why Rev. Wright was his pastor for 20 years?"

    April 28, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Powered by the People


    Remember she is running

    no comments

    John and Hillary are working together

    Hillary will loose

    Loss the young and AA vote

    Silly season

    April 28, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. JC

    Enough with the small talk. CNN look at the canidates voting records. Show the country that Obama is not the moderate he would pretend to be but a far left-wing "typical" politican that America does not need.

    Between far left Obama and Hillary the great liar I would take McCain any day despite his age. He should have been president in 2000 but perhaps we can make up for that now.

    April 28, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Debby

    I also agree Obama doesn't share his pastor's views, but Wright isn't doing him any favors by coming out of the woodwork and doing these hate and mocking speech's.

    April 28, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Cynthia

    If I were as forgetful as John McCain pretends to be I would definitely not have much to say about anyone knowing that they might come back at me.

    April 28, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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