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. Rob Winnipeg Canada

    Is Mcain capable of saying the same thing 2 days in a row?

    If anyone has taken the time to actually listen to the complete sermons of Rev. Wright, Watched Moyers interview and his NAACP speach and the one this morning anyone with intelligence would determine this Pastor issue can I hope be finally put to bed anyway. Anything can and will be misinterpreted if taken out of context in soundbites... even Mccain or the Clintons.

    April 28, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Casey Gossman

    Why are the religious leaders of Chicago and area,so intent on completely destroying Barack Obama's chances of becoming a potential president. He's trying to unite the country and we need it so badly and religious? leaders are seeking, dividing and destroying that image before Barack has a chance to even show what he can do! God forgive them – they know not, what they do!

    April 28, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. Nando, Florida


    April 28, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. Susan MO



    You are too opinionated.

    Like Obama???

    April 28, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Ed

    How can someone have a "mentor" for 20 years and not share the views of his "mentor"? Hmmm????

    April 28, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Mike from Westchester

    Hey Nobillary and Obama:

    Those who say Senator Obama has no substance have not read the Audacity of Hope nor made the effort to go to his website and read all his detailed policy statements.

    Its all there if you really want to know. Leaders like Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, and Ronald Reagan do not take in detailed policy speak. Think of all their great speeches. Were any of them dry policy discorses?

    Obama is a leader. Hillary is a policy wonk at best. McCain is well meaning and principled, but still a befuddled old man who even in his supposed forte of foreign policy, can't keep shiites and sunis straight without Lieberman at his side. We have been through 7 plus years of unintellegent leadership. McCain would be more or less of the same. Hillary would be a devisive disaster.

    Obama/Biden '08

    April 28, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Tom Eyemdaman

    Jeez, now I hear people complain "How does he know Barack's mind?" He said he BELIEVES Obama doesn't share Wright's extremist views. Will you try to twist everything he says?

    McCain has so much integrity it almost hurts. We should be so lucky to have him as president.

    And, his comment about Hamas wanting Obama to be president was not an attempt to link Obama to Hamas, rather to point out that Hamas would rather be under the policies of Obama than the other candidates. What does that tell you about Obama's policies?

    That's the point McCain was trying to make, and most people missed it and thought he was trying to directly link Obama to Hamas.

    April 28, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Miky

    At the the very beginning the party has several candidates who line up and in order to decide who is more electable the people go through the primaries and caucases to decide who is more electable. At this point Obama is the clear choice. If all along you knew HRC was more electable why "con" people into going through a process when you knew you wanted HRC ? why didnt you just select and anoint her as the nominee and not waste peoples time? Let the process go to the end and whoever will be leading even by one vote at the end of the process be supported by the supers and declared the nominee. HRC said a win is a win is a win no matter by what margin, that should hold true too for the nominee. When Dean says the race is a virtual tie because of the margin!!! Is he serious! How about the Pats telling the giants at the end of this years superbowl we are tied because the difference is only three points!!!! If at the end BO is leading even by one vote and the super delegates over ride this the world, especially after the 2000 election will never accept any direction about democracy from the US!!1 Come on people dont change the rules in the fourth quarter to force HRC peoples throat. Let the will of the people count for something!

    April 28, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Emilio- Ontario Canada

    Some of you folks make me laugh. You seem to have a problem with Obama 's message of "Hope" and 'Change." Would you vote for him, if he preached "Despair' and "Status Quo"?

    April 28, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Yes we can!

    Anyone who does not vote for Obama due to his "former" pastor's beliefs shouldn't vote at all....We all have friends, family and yes spiritual leaders that we may not agree with all of the time....Obama has maintained his great integrity, honorable character and poise throughout this entire ordeal...That's why he continue to do well, continue to gain delegates and continue to pack out places no matter where he goes....Has anyone else seen the more attacks again him, the better he does. Well that's called "FAVOR"....when it's your time, it's your time and no one can stop it.....NC and Indiana SHUT THIS THING DOWN PLEASE, SO OBAMA CAN UNITE THIS PARTY AND WIN THE GENERAL ELECTION!....anyone who switches thier vote to McCain because of pure hatred should have their right to vote stripped!...

    April 28, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Ismael

    I don't think McCain is a bad guy; actually I liked him a lot until a few months ago when he flip flopped on water boarding and immigration. See it's not that I share the same views as him, but I did respect that these views were no nos for people of the Republican Party. Despite knowing that he still stuck to his guns. Not anymore though he has started pandering to his base and abandoning his own beliefs. I think it is a sham that the republicans run their ads putting down Obama, and McCain says he thinks their bad. So now the ads still run, making Obama look bad, and McCain looks like a great guy for speaking out against them. That sounds like a double plus for the republicans to me. Just all seems so fake.

    April 28, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. Uncle Sam

    Is the issue of Sen. Obama's 20-year relationship with his pastor guilt by indoctrination?

    April 28, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    "I do not believe that Sen. Obama shares Rev. Wright’s extremist views"– at least not to my knowledge. Heh-heh.

    April 28, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. Tyler

    Don't be fooled by this. He is trying to make Obama look better to the American people because Obama is who he wants to run against. He knows he can beat Obama.

    April 28, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  15. Deb

    McCain has the luxury of seeming like a "Good" Guy while he lets the Republican Party go after Obama!

    Obama will be destroyed immediately and completely, he will not have a Political Career left if he becomes the nominee in November!

    Hillary 08

    April 28, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Still Crazy After All These Years

    McCain's comments -"Interesting".

    April 28, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Orlando

    Come on CNN you are insulting me here. Fire the moderator for not post great quotes. J.MAC We are coming for you. You think they called you ACE because you crashed 5 American planes just wait until Nov.

    April 28, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Tom,des moines


    April 28, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Mr. Wright says that black churches are invisible to the "cultural majority"...what the heck is that...oh white people.

    This is baloney. He's not going to be able to explain away his conduct by saying that it's a black church thing...

    Despite what Rev Wright believes–many in the "cultural majority" do attend majority black churches, revivals meetings, and gospel fests. I can tell you, the real travesty is those other dedicated ministers of the faith aren't also speaking out against Rev. Wright.

    Yes–when black people celebrate their faith they are filled with the holy ghost and express it in shouting, confession, praise, and song. But Rev. Wright, in a couple of his displays–is making the people he is trying to reach say "holy mackerel" instead of holy ghost.

    April 28, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Neil K, Lake Forest CA

    Decent of Sen. McCain to say this, but let's see if he stays true to this statement if Sen. Obama becomes the nominee.

    April 28, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. Indiana will decide

    Wow, what a decent response by McCain. He doesn't even need to get into this. He will let Americans who are afraid of things they don't experience do all the damage.

    Obama is the one.

    April 28, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. Diana McCarthy


    April 28, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. David D Kollie

    Patrioticism is not measured by what one wears or has as a symbol for his/her country. If that is the case then most Americans are not patriots because most do not have have the American Flag in their respective homes

    April 28, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. mike

    the only reason mccain feels that the words of obama's former reverend is not reflective of obama's views, is because he himself has an equally extremist Rev. look it up, he'd be a hypocrite to insist that obama agrees with wright, when he himself has been listening to the nonsense his Rev. spews, ie New Orleans had a level or sin that was being punished by God, hence hurricane Katrina.

    April 28, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Holly

    I have to say I have always liked McCain he has the most experience and would never vote for torture.

    However Hillary voted for it, she just votes for whatever is popular regardless of whats moral.

    A vote for McCain is a vote for honesty and integrity

    A vote for Obama is a vote for Change


    A vote for Hillary is a vote for a woman without a conscience who does whatever she needs to win, regardless of consequences. She lies so easily about anything to pump up her resume. If she tried to get a job and her credentials were written the way she says them, she would be fired.

    Please America vote for integrity. We used to have it.

    April 28, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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