April 28th, 2008
05:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama: Wright is 'free to speak his mind'

(CNN) -
Barack Obama would not say Monday whether he thought fresh headline-grabbing statements from his former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, could harm his presidential bid – and continued his effort to distance himself from the pastor’s controversial comments.

“I think certainly what the last three days indicate is that we're not coordinating with him,” he laughed. “He's obviously free to speak his mind, but I just want to emphasize he is my former pastor.

“Many of the statements he made both to trigger this initial controversy, and that he's made over the last couple days are not statements that I heard him make previously. They don't represent my views and they don't represent what this campaign is about. But he's obviously free to make those statements.”

soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Venus

    Just stay focus on your campain Obama!

    Rev. Wright is a man who can handle himself!

    April 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. An Agnostic Democrat

    Just like everything in life you take what you want and what works for you and leave the rest especially when it comes to religion and politics. Sounds good to me!

    April 28, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. obama lover

    i am proud of you. yes rev wright has the right to speak. i went back a while back and listened to his hole sermon, i watched last night and today. i like the guy and see a side of him that (some )people don't he has a humar and and i wold very much like to hear a sermon in person i can see how your feeling are and i feel for you for having to leave your belief. there is some sick people in this world

    April 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. American Girl

    I agree! Wright is not Obama!

    I think Wright is crazy

    April 28, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. James

    Good. Rev. Wright is being selfish here.

    April 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Stacy Clarks

    I wish people will judge Obama more on all the GOOD Obama has done over his career!!!

    Also, since when did people in this country ger ostrizised for speaking their mind?!?!?! The last time I checked, there is free speech in this country

    I want everyone who has a crazy parent, or maybe if you are from the south a racist parent to tell me they will disown their parent?!?!?


    plus pastor wright has probably done more good in this world (Aids test drive, scholarship to underpriviledged, both black and white, food for the homeless etc...) than MOST Americans!!!

    please America, are you going to let the media make up your mind the rest of your lives? or are you going to stand up and take control of your God given right to think for yourself?!?!?!?

    DEMOCRATS IN 08!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Liz in SD

    2 wars, gas at $4 a gallon, food prices through the roof, unemployment rising and we're still talking about a candidate's pastor? If we let the media dictate the issues in this campaign we deserve the disastor our government has become.

    April 28, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. mkn

    As far as I can tell there is no Jeremiah Wright campaign for President yet he is getting more air time than the War in Iraq and the thousands of dead and disabled folks who are a result of that war. Jeremiah Wright happens to be the EX PASTOR of someone running for president , WHO CARES????? CNN?...MSNBC???? give it a rest. Its insulting to those of us who actually care about the election and the country.

    April 28, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. R.I.F.

    C'mon CNN. The header of his ticker is so missleading. Of course he is free to speak his mind...this is America. The meat of Obama's statements was that Wright's views are not his views. Is the Clinton camp paying CNN? Or yeah, the longer the race goes on the more people watch your station and the more money you make from selling commercial time.

    April 28, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. Lee

    I wonder why the news media spends so much time "blowing up" Wright's so called negative, anti-American comments. You think it
    sells more "tickets" to the next newscast – like other "tabloid" news
    sources. I challenge them to check the facts behind some of the allegations Wright has made; not afraid to find and present Those
    truths, are you?

    April 28, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. Diane, Dallas

    Yes, he can speak his mind, while Barack focuses on your campaign.

    Obama 08

    April 28, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  12. Grif

    He just did Obama, and it didn't help you one bit..

    April 28, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. AppleinAZ

    He is a joke. How can this man marry him and his wife and then baptize his children, but 'never knew' his pastor was like that. What a frickin joke!!! This is our presidential nominee....so basically he doesn't pay attention in church but he will pay attention in world meetings?

    April 28, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. Diane, Dallas

    Voting for McCain is like signing a death sentence for thousands more American soldiers. I won't do it.

    America 08

    April 28, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. Barbara Querrie

    Yes,true,even Rev confirms it that sen Obama never heard his sermons and what he was reacting upon were youtube snips just like many of us.Now that we have seen a lengthy sermons of the pastor there is no doubt that we ow you an apology.Rev wright is an intelligent,learned philosopher that speaks almost in toungues such that it would be complicated for a lay man to understand his sermos hence the youTube thing that blinded us from the truth and painted Obama illicit yet he was innocent.
    We gonna vote for Obama

    April 28, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Lee WV

    People just refuse to let this die down,does CNN usually televise NAACP dinners?Obama has distanced himself from the contraversal statements.People are different and not deficient.If a 51 year old caucasion from rural WV can let this go other people need to also.

    April 28, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Braindead McCain

    McCain says Americans should take care of their own healthcare. Well what does he think we've been doing all these years? That's the status quo, and HELLO, it's not working.

    I want a THINKING president, not someone who gives us platitudes.

    Obama 08

    April 28, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. Jerry Gertiser

    Wright is his own man and free to say what he wants. I am dismayed about Sen Obama going on Faux News. They do not deserve or do they generally desire, anyone on that can think independently . I hope Sen Obama does not make that mistake again. Please Senator, do not justify their existance by going on that network.

    April 28, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. Benjamin

    Just want to emphasize that he is my former pastor (of 20 years), and had I not known he was going to retire, I would have stopped going to his church (for 20 years).

    I care deeply about the people that surround the President of the United States, and are spiritual guiders, and have positions on their campaigns.

    April 28, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. The Rev Said Some Good Things

    I listened to Reverend Wright, and he had some good things to say. I am an Obama supporter and I really did not want to hear him, but he candidate, but he had some interesting things to say. It's too bad that the media has painted him as a monster. So now he has to speak.

    Thank God I have a mind and am not easily persuaded one way or the other. It's all a game of politics and because Barack's opponents couldn't find an angry black man in him, they went to his fire and brimstone church.

    Sad, but I'm not buying it. Barack will be our next president.

    April 28, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  21. Timothy

    I would love for the media to drop this story they continue to ride this dead horse. Even if Obama heard these comments I can not blame him nor anyone else for their comments know more than I blame John McCain for the comments his pastor and friend made regarding homosexuals. All those who point fingers at Rev. Wright and Mr. Obama will themselves be judge. Becareful, when that comment you made in the backroom, restroom or social setting about a woman, black or hispanic comes out. Then you too will be trying to explain yourself away.

    Yes, the truth hurts especially when we have experienced bigotry. It has only been an issue because Sen. Obama is black and a presidential contender and these comments came from his former pastor. If he was only a senator the media nor the clintons would be concerned. America its time to forgive and move on. God still loves Rev. Wright and Sen. Obama it is you who have an issue forgiving and letting go.

    April 28, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. Duane A.

    Today's message to the reporters guild was long over due and I'd bet they won't set another MC up like that again for the question and answer session.

    April 28, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  23. Carol

    Yes he does. And you have a right to run for and win this nomination.
    Stick to the issues. Potential voters need to know what you plan to do about the environment, education, Iraq, healtc care, social security etc.

    Obama '08

    April 28, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. America, America

    If you are for Hillary and against Barack, it's easy to write the Reverend off. I, however don't believe that you are what your pastor says. I have a mind, my pastor has his mind, and we don't always agree. I go to learn about the bible, and that's it.

    April 28, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  25. No Hillary

    Hey Pastor, while I respect you as a honest man that speaks out his mind, you seriously cause demage to Obama campaign – the only hope most of us Americans have to bring CHANGE to this country. So would you mind just shutting up your mounth?

    April 28, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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