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. Boris

    We should perhaps check on the views of Obama`s Barber and Doorman...

    April 28, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Antoinette


    You cant shut him up. He has every right to defend himself over those soundbite clips

    But at the same token, Obama distanced himself in March from the guy. Dont see the biggie

    April 28, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Independent in Illinois

    If Obama can't even persuade his former pastor to simply be quiet,
    how can we expect him to " change the way Washington works " ?

    April 28, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. USMarine

    Former Pastor? Jeramiah Wright is still listed as the senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ. Does anyone really think that Jeramiah Wright and Obama's church have separated?

    April 28, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. Kay Lani Ray Rafko

    At the Press Club Conference, Wright threaten Obama when he said “I said to Barack Obama last year If you get elected, November the 5th I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people.” What does this mean? This is really weird, odd and kind of scary. Why didn’t Obama take this threat seriously? Why he didn’t address this before? This is a serious and odd development. It is obvious the Wright has a stronghold on Obama. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0408/9912.html

    April 28, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Jay


    April 28, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. Kristina

    All I can say is case : BC304174

    April 28, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. Big John

    I watched the Rev. Wright sermon three times. As CNN continues to play it every other hour. I can see where Sen. Obama has been schooled in how to give a charismatic, powerful oratory. My favorite part of the sermon was when Rev. Wright spoke on immigration. As a Native American man I stood up and cheered when he mentioned Native Americans as the original inhabitants of this land.

    There is much that white America simply does not comprehend about both the African-American community and the Native American community. Rev. Wright is not some hate-monger. He is a colorful, intelligent and honest man. He speaks of change in America, he has lived through apartheid, he remembers how his people were treated, like us Native Americans, with indignity and disrespect by white America.

    It's time America wakes up and sees this country through the eyes of it's most mistreated peoples. Sen. Obama gave an eloquent interview with Fox's Chris Wallace on Sunday. It gave me hope that America is a country that will make amends to it's indigenous people and the people who were brought to this country involuntarily, as slaves.

    April 28, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. The Rev

    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 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Of course, Wright is free to speak his mind, especially after how the media distort his message.

    Don't worry, senator Obama. You offered great hope to this country, but sometimes the country is blinded by fear, they cannot see. I hope there are more enlightened people out there. We shall see.

    Be the decent person that you are. This country would be blessed if they choose you. The media is pressuring you to reject/denounce Wright if you are to have any chance. You can put it to them like this – being a Christian, I make my pledge to love my fellow man – and that includes Wright, even though we disagree at times. So, your view has nothing to do w/ Wright, but more to do w/ trying to live in a more Christian way.

    April 28, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. Raphael Tx

    Jerimiah Wright is also your former employee as well. America do not forget that Jerimiah Wright was a Spiritual Advisor on Baracks campaign for more than a year until his sermon made headline news.

    If you look at their comments they are one in the same.
    Wrights comments," The Govt created AIDS to infect African Americans."

    Obamas comments, "Small town Americans are bitter and cling to guns,religion and hatred when things go wrong." "Typical white Person"

    Do you see the similiarities in their Ideolgy. Is this what you want in the White House?
    Pretty soon Wright is going to come out with a conspiracy theory why we call it the "White House"
    They are both so way out of touch with reality.

    Hillary please win and stop the nonsense.

    April 28, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Frank in NYC

    Honestly I support Obama but this guy Wright is either really really selfish by using his fifteen minutes of national fame to send whatever message he is sending OR he is working for the republicans and/or clinton to sabotage Obamas campaign because Obama would be the best president. When i use the term "best" it doesnt mean best ever or perfect but would do better things for the country than McBush or Clinton would do simply because he would shake things up and change the course of Bush...Clinton...Bush....Clinton....Im bored this hasnt worked

    April 28, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Jean

    Go Obama!!!! Make them Sweat!

    April 28, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |

    All I have to say is "birds of a feather flock togther"

    April 28, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. Misty

    This is for American Girl!

    Rev. Wright is amazing. Please hear is whole sermon. It is absolutley perfect. I am glad he spoke. I learned a lot.

    Different does not mean defficient. Diversity is oppurtunity and success. America is a land of immigrants, oppurtunity and truth seekers. Rev. Wright and Obamaa are brilliant.

    April 28, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  16. Mirta

    He is a hate monger and the worst kind of racist. How dare he insult my country and frankly, I don't care if it is taken out of context!!! He is a liability to Obama and I love it!!

    Stacy – tell me what had Obama done that has been so great? Volunteer on the South Side of Chicago (which is all he seems to talk about)??
    Give me three accomplishments....most people can't even come up with one. The guy is full of fluff. God help us if he gets elected.

    Hillary '08

    April 28, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  17. Rob- BC Canada

    Wolf , the one who seems to have the biggest problem with Rev Wright is your program and its fear of losing ratings by speaking to the legitimate issues that face America.Foreclosures,gas prices,Iraq,jobs and real change.Wag the dog.

    April 28, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. Barack Is Worth The Fight

    There are so many people out to destroy Barack Obama. So much so , that they had to go to his church and attack his pastor. It won't work because if Barack goes, there is NO hope for change in Washington. There is NO hope for having someone in the White House who will do something to change this quagmire that we're in. We will have to rely on a man who cares about nothing else except expanding the war, and a woman who can't remember one lie from the next.

    I'd say Barack's nomination is worth fighting for–and we will win.

    April 28, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. Kay Lani Ray Rafko

    Wright coming out is a no winning situation for Obama. If it’s true he never heard of Wright’s anti American stands for 20 years one has to question Obama’s awareness and judgment. If he knew of Wrights hate speeches and denied it then it comes down to just plain lying and serious lack of character.

    April 28, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. immigrant

    Rev Wright and people like him are the reason why American black community is not able to be the part of the main-stream America.

    Rev Wright : you haven't seen the reality of the World, your message is all about hate and fear.

    Why do you have so much of hate in your heart about Europeans ? Keep some love in a corner fo your heart, you will feel better.
    You may have learnt from your Arabic friends those Koranic phrases, but do you know "Hussein" is a popular Muslim name ?

    You said you are not a Politician, but you sounded very much like the one in NAACP podium.

    As an immigrant, I am proud to be in America that has provided me with an opportunity to grow. You should be positively guiding your church people, who are quite fortunate to have born and grown in America, and not in Africa or Asia.

    Africa : were you born there, or your grandfather ? You don't even know the plight of Africans, so leave that sad part, and try to utilize your time uniting your community together with American main-stream, there are many people like me in America who will love and welcome your move.


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

    Wright's views may not be Obama's now, but the senator was a member of Wright's church for years - years!!!. Then the Rev. Wright was a member of Obama's campaign staff before he became controversial. So, I would say that Obama does have some of Wright's views about the U.S. (Michelle certainly does!) It's just not politically expedient right now to admit to them.

    I think it is good to know that Wright is a black racist - and Obama was his follower! Now we know why members of the Obama campaign staff and his followers have pressured blacks to vote for him becasue he is black - not because he had the needed credentials.

    April 28, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. Big John

    This country was founded on free speech. If the "CLINTON NEWS NETWORK" thinks it's more important to focus on a black pastor than the real issues than the network does so at their own peril.

    How much is CNN making off of this prolonged, ugly, tired presidential race? CNN you greedy idiots!

    April 28, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Alan Boyer

    Be careful, Obama. Don't sell your soul to the devil just to get elected. There was nothing in Wright's last two speeches that you can argue with. His delivery style is what is making everyone nervous. When you read the transcripts, the words don't seem so explosive. Wright speaks factually abouts America's history regarding the treatment of Black people. White people just don't like to be reminded about what they have done to non-whites in the country and abroad.

    April 28, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. mn mama

    Good judgement Obama. Is this Racial Division your Change that I can Believe in? Now which side of my brain am I supposed to be using?

    April 28, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. Brandon

    Preach it, brotha.

    Reverend Wright /=/ Barack Obama. The sooner we can realize this, the sooner we can get back to reporting real news.

    April 28, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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