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. Christian, Tampa FL

    Wright's views are NOT extremist. Is McCain really that out of touch that he doesn't understand that Wright is articulating the sentiments of a lot of Americans? Wright may be heated and controversial, but he's not an extremist.

    April 28, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. we ARE bitter!!!!!

    Well that's too bad because I fully agree with Wright's views. Anyone who disagrees has NO IDEA what this country is really like.

    April 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. mary

    Senator McCain you are way to nice. Obama would and will go after you on everything, be careful, he is not nice like you!

    April 28, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Brian - Trinidad

    McCain is being very smart.Let the voters make that judgement because they'll go against Obama in droves.He doesn't have to get into that mess,and get accused of being racist,like the Clintons.

    April 28, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. What do YOU know

    Do I hear "Revered" Jerry Fawall on line 2? Mr. McCain, Mr. Fawell on line 2.

    April 28, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. Marilyn

    Obama has said that Mr. Wright was his mentor. How could you have a mentor whose views you do not share? How could you attend a church for 20 years when you don't share the views of the pastor? Only the gullible would believe that Obama does not share Wright's views!

    April 28, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. norb

    John McCain strikes me like he has a little higher IQ than George W. Not the sharpest tool in the shed. Anybody but McCain/Lieberman.

    April 28, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. Getting tired of this

    First, McCain does have some integrity – though his lurch to the far right in order to secure the nomination did away with a good deal of it.

    But second, this RNC strategy to attack Wright is going to blow up in their faces and he knows it. The African American communities that McCain is trying to court with his "forgotten places" tour will not take very kindly to a well-respected African American pastor being caricatured in such a myopic and clearly underhanded manner.

    The RNC has enough trouble with African American votes. Keep on this path, and it will land less than 5% of that vote in the general election, even if HRC is the Dem. nominee. This is the same reason HRC has suddenly found her voice on this issue. They were happy to use it to smear Obama, but it is toxis, and will smear them just as badly if they go too far with it, as the RNC has started to do.

    April 28, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. Bill, Albany, NY

    I would love to question all the right wingers here that say Obama and his church are one in the same. OK fine then everyone else then can label every so-called Christian that attends the bigoted churches of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Liberty University and Bob Jones University a bigot.

    April 28, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Dot in Atlanta

    Wow, what double standards! If our pastors were the barometer in terms of what we think and how we act; we would have a much better world. Most pastors preach love, hope and most of all salvation. The kind of hateful mean-spirited attitudes displayed about Obama certainly don't reflect the views of their pastors (I hope) ; perhaps these people don't have a pastor or their pastors are like what they say Reverend Wright is like.

    April 28, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Sad, Sad, Sad

    Rev. Wright is brilliant! Why is it when a black man questions, or criticizes this country he is angry, bitter, un-american, un-patriotic, BUT when a white person does the same thing, it is not a big deal.
    The problem I have with the entire Rev. Wright controversy is this is the way to get rid of a black candidate. ANY BLACK PERSON RUNNING FOR OFFICE WOULD HAVE THIS PROBLEM. You are talking about an oppressed group, that is 40 years removed from segregation, of course their perception of this country is going to be totally different from any other group.
    And for those of you who say "Obama listened to that hate speech for 20 years" obviously don't attend a church, because if you did you would know that preachers typically preach different sermons every sunday.
    The ignorance of this country is UNBELIEVABLE!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Rev. Wright Is NOT Running 4 Office

    Unless I'm mistaken Rev Wright is NOT Running for Office I don't give a hoot what HE says I care most about what SEN. OBAMA says!
    Correct me if im wrong! Hillary LIED from HER OWN MOUTH! It wasn't Bill or Chelsea or her Pastor who said it!!!!
    See the Difference? No? Must be a Hillary supporter!

    April 28, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. Gary

    This proves the point that from time to time that even politicians can tell the truth!

    Riverside, Ca

    April 28, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Rob

    McCain, like Obama, would like to talk about the issues, Hillary will talk about one issue–ME, ME, ME. She is NOT interested in a civil discussion.

    April 28, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. marianna

    Poor McCain is trying to save Obama's candidacy, which seems to be the only possible chance for the GOP to get the White House, that is, if Obama is the nominee. McCain would lose to Hillary in a landslide, but has a big chance against Obama. That's presidential race these days. Did I say race? Oooops!

    April 28, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. IF

    Can't you read beyond the first line? Look at the last paragraph... he's saying he doesn't believe Obama shares Wright's views, and then says he won't prevent his campaign from running ads linking Obama and his campaign to Wright's views. Honest? I thought he was, but he's losing fast his gentlemanly ways... getting polluted by the Clinton's way, probably.

    April 28, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Determined

    This is information that the American people NEED to know; this is VITAL to ALL voters. The Clintons are scandalous. There is a case pending RIGHT NOW in CA, it’s a real, legit case Peter Paul vs Clinton. For the skeptics, the case number is : BC304174

    April 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. Liz Marquez

    I find it extremely difficult to believe that they do not share Rev. Wright's views. After all, how long did Obama stay in that church. He keeps lying to us over and over again. He has lied from the beginning about his pastor. Now, it turns out that he was in the church when Rev. Wright made his famous "GD American sermon" after Obama said he was not. Just one lie after another, these two work very well with each other. Now with the Hamas endorsement what a team.

    April 28, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. Life

    This is information that the American people NEED to know; this is VITAL to ALL voters. The Clintons are scandalous. There is a case pending RIGHT NOW in CA, it’s a real, legit case Peter Paul vs Clinton. For the skeptics, the case number is : BC304174

    April 28, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. Paul

    See, this is why it's funny that Hillary supporters think the GOP will be way tougher on Obama. While Hillary is busy throwing rocks at the hornet's nest, McCain and Obama are both showing their integrity. Thank heaven they'll be the nominees and we'll see a post-primary season that is about the issues. They'll argue about the war or the economy, and Hillary will be left to pout somewhere about Rev. Wright.

    April 28, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  21. Antoinette

    Well, there you have it

    I better not hear a word from him about the Wright controversy

    If Obama doesnt share his views, than this is no longer a political issue because WRIGHT does not share OBAMAs views

    But i bet he will McFlipFlop

    April 28, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. propaganda press

    what's so extremist about the man's statements?
    John Mccain is playing games again

    April 28, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  23. danielle

    Question, has CNN endorsed Hillary or vice versa? Because all this anti Obama news is crazy! First, CNN claims Obama is behind in polls but thats untrue plus he's winning in the popular vote and every other category; now there back on the Rev Wright story. I think McCain, despite his alterior motives made a great point, we can not hold a man accountable for someone elses actions we need to focus on the issues. If we arent, then everyone needs to answer questions about people they know: Hillary needs to answer for Bill and the Monica L. scandal; if he lied and cheated to her and the country whose to say she wont do the same? Shes already lied about somethings but the media wont fully address it . John H. , McCain supporter called the catholic church a cult, so maybe we need to question McCain. The list can go on. The news has always been negative but I guess its shocking to see it come full circle.

    April 28, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |

    Barack is by far a better candidate than Hillary. American people should give Obama a chance and we shall see how America will be regarded internationally. I guarantee you there will be peace in the world.
    Barrack is been beaten like Jesus on the cross. The world is watching us.

    April 28, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  25. Norman G. Kirkendall

    It is said that Obama does not share Rev Wrights view. How can this be when Obama sits through church at least every Sunday for years. Obama would change church if he did not share many of the same views. Obama's wife did not like America until he became a presidential nominee and Senator Obama refuses to place his hand over his heart at appropriate times saying many people don't at our ball games. I agree, many don't but if Senator Obama is going to be our president, he needs to lead rather than follow and show his patriotism to the main stream and real people of America.

    April 28, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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