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. no longer supporting clinton

    going to a church even for 20 years does not mean that u always agree with what the minister is talking about, and just because u have been a member for 20 or 30 years like i have at my church in the state of georgia does not mean that u are there all the times that church is in service. there are other churches that i attend on a regular basis instead of my on church were my membership is at. i believe that all of this fuss about rev. wright being a reflection of what obama thinks and believes is politics that is trying to scare people into voting for that hypocrite hillary or the republican party. i have looked at all three individuals and i changed my mind from one individual and came to the conclusion that obama is by far the best person for the job. when u look at the way that things are going in america and the world, how divided that this country is and the constant wars that are being fought everyday on this small planet of ours that we call earth, we need a person who believes in hope and change and who has the courage to help bring this about is obama.

    April 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. Garnet, Shawnee

    I just heard on Democracy Now( the news media) that my government probably going to bomb Iran, and all of the corporate news media can talk about is a preacher who lives in America, served his country, and has witnessed some of the atrocities that this government has done, and NOTHING about the FOUR soldiers that were killed today, not to mention those that were injured. Boy wouldn't it be nice if this corporate news media could report the news, and leave the gossip to the soaps?

    April 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. dwc

    I think this IS a strategy between Wright and Obama. Funny he says, " you can see we are not coordinating with him." As they say in the movies, this is to easy, too pat. This way, Obama can distance himself from current remarks and take the heat off of his 20 years when he listened to other remarks. After seeing how Obama's campaign started the whole race thing, I don't put anything past his campaign.

    April 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. maurine

    when rev wright didn't comment you kept playing the lies in that sound bite that was taken out of context. now he has spoken there is something wrong with that also. you are the ones who should be saying you are sorry, for not playing the full speech and letting the american public judge for themselves. we are not that dumb.

    April 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. Joe (veteran)

    Hey USMarine in the above post. Rev. Wright served with honor in the Marines for six years. Don't be so quick to judge him. Semper Fi.

    April 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. jo

    respond to us marine,,,obama's pastor wright does not retire until june 2008,and no they have not parted waysfrom each other in any form or fashion,,he sat in that house of GOD and listen to wright yell these awfull things about our america,,GOD HAVE MERCY ON THEIR SOULS

    April 28, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  7. Motov8n

    I'm voting for OBAMA not REv. Wright!!!Obama '08.

    April 28, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. vivian

    No matter how much you try to distance Rev Wright from your campaign he is a shadow you will not be able to erase. His words resemble the words of Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, Fidel Castro, Hamas, Acevdeo Vila from Puerto Rico, and many other world leaders that are waiting for you to be president so that they can destroy this country.

    April 28, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  9. l3sli3 from michigan

    obama is for all the people and is willing to bring change to america and lead us positively into the future, obviously rev wright is for rev wright in doing whatever he wants to help sell perhaps a future book but clearly he is not acting in senator obama's interest so i hope america feels these actions of wright prove the distance and difference shared between obama and wright. Lets move forward and say yes to obama!

    obama 08

    April 28, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    Rev. Wright.....What were you thinking!! Please take a chill pill and go on a long vacation and don't come back till the General election is over....

    April 28, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  11. George from Minneapolis

    What has Wright said in the last 2 days that was a lie ?? I hope that anyone who comments on Wright at least watch his 2 speeches, one yesterday and 1 today. Thats the least you can do.

    I watched everything he has said yesterday and today and I did not find one lie. Maybe I missed something.

    Please correct me if the man lied about anything.

    April 28, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  12. king from toronto

    i listen to mr wright,an i must say.he's like a profesor x 2.the man is briliant!!! an no!! this is not gonna affect obama.

    April 28, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. What a Joke

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

    Name one thing!

    April 28, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. lol

    obama's correct wright is free to speak his mind, just like obama was free to stay a member of this church for over 2 decades. how much of this ideology do the obama's share with the reverend? if they didn't agree with the man, than why would you stay for over 20 years.

    April 28, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. Jason in Tacoma

    It appears to me Rev. Wright suffers from integration anxiety.
    Why else would he act in a manner that hurts Obama's campaign and interpret the reactions to his surmon as an attack on the "Black Church"?
    Perhaps someone needs to tell him it's okay for things to get better. He's like the war veteran who still fights the war, years after it's end.
    Not to say racism doesn't exist, but he shouldn't hang onto it for the sake of maintaining his identity. He should stop, shut up, and take a long look around and perhaps remove a piece of armor.

    April 28, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. SLO Bear

    I know it generates ratings, but history will not look favorably on the media's role is enabling Hillary's attempted theft of the nomination.

    April 28, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. radster


    He pretty much stopped preaching last year, the church has had a new pastor preaching most sermons for a while. If you judge reality based on "websites", good luck making the right decision....

    April 28, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  18. @americans

    this is a free country and Rev. Wright can speak his mind!

    Go Obama!

    April 28, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. 1voice

    Ohhhhh..., he's your 'former' pastor.

    Soooo..., who's your 'new' pastor? Huckabee??

    April 28, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  20. Tom,des moines

    Thank you Rev.Wright for telling the true about Hussein Obama.

    April 28, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. Ivan, Schiff

    Obama is between a rock and a hard place with regard to Rev. Wright.
    By not severing all connections with Rev. Wright from the beginning, doing that now will look as an action of convience, not one of conviction.

    April 28, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  22. Julie.

    Have I heard any of these statements NO, well YES, well no ,But if I had, I would of left, well I would have left if he , but he left , yes I heard them , no I didn't hear those statements. OH PLEASE.

    OBAMA IS NOT ELECTABLE. I dont think I care about Wright anymore, but I'm very tired of the lies that fall so easy from Obamas mouth!

    April 28, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  23. holly

    If Jeramiah Wright was a comedian, no one would pay him any mind. I saw his speech as being hysterical. I laughed because to me, it was funny. I even had phone calls during the speech from my 77 year old father, where he was laughing stating that "the man is crazy"(in a funny way). My dad grew up in Mississippi and he knows by living in it what racism REALLY is. The stuff that Rev Wright talks about to make his point practically do not exist anymore, so why are people upset. Old time black preachers scream, holler, and say...stuff. He is light weight compared to some black churches and I hope that the American people can see that he is as harmless as we want him to be. He can only have an affect if people let him have an affect. Just sit back and enjoy the show!...OBAMA08!!!

    April 28, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  24. Polly Perez

    I was considering Obama at one time but I think the Reverend Wright story is huge. I myself would never go to a church where I didn't agree with my pastor, who would? Barack has been supporting this man for 20 years! It has put doubts where I didn't have them. I think the Democrat party needs to rally behind Hillary. Imagine losing to McCain and if you don't think the republicans are going to play this up then you have another thought coming.

    April 28, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  25. DAN

    It sounds more like Obama has been speaking Wrights mind, hearing Wright speak on cnn I could almost hear Obama ,except now we know what this change is all about. It's about an old pastor who's hate has grown into a dictator style minister and decided to blame white people and goverments, This is certainly not about change and hope it sounds more like revenge.

    April 28, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
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