Transcript: Obama and Clinton Debate

You have said that, "He would not have been my pastor," and you said that you have to speak out against those kinds of remarks and implicitly, by getting up and moving, and I presume you mean out of the church. There are 8,000 members of Senator Obama's church, and we have heard the inflammatory remarks of Reverend Wright, but so, too, have we heard testament to many great things that he did.

Do you honestly believe that 8,000 people should have gotten up and walked out of that church?

CLINTON: I was asked a personal question, Charlie, and I gave a personal answer. Obviously, one's choice of church and pastor is rooted in what one believes is what you're seeking in church and what kind of, you know, fellowship you find in church.

But I have to say that, you know, for Pastor Wright to have given his first sermon after 9/11 and to have blamed the United States for the attack, which happened in my city of New York, would have been just intolerable for me. And, therefore, I would have not been able to stay in the church.

And maybe it's, you know, just, again, a personal reflection that, regardless of whatever good is going on, and I have no reason to doubt that a lot of good things were happening in that church.

You get to choose your pastor. You don't choose your family, but you get to choose your pastor. And when asked a direct question, I said I would not have stayed in the church.

OBAMA: Well, let me just respond to two things. Absolutely, many of these remarks were objectionable. I've already said that I didn't hear them because I wasn't in church that day. I didn't learn about those statements until much later. But...

GIBSON: But you did rescind the invitation to him...

OBAMA: But that was on something entirely different, Charlie. That was on a different statement. And I think that what Senator Clinton referred to was extremely offensive, to me and a lot of people.

But what I should also point out is that Senator Clinton's former pastor publicly talked about how Reverend Wright was being caricatured and that, in fact, this is somebody who had maintained an extraordinary ministry for many years.

And so there are two important points. Number one, I wasn't aware of all these statements, and I can understand how people would take offense.

But, number two, the church is a community that extends beyond the pastor. And that church has done outstanding work for many, many years.

The third point I guess I would make is, once again, that unless we can bridge some of these divides, we're not going to solve problems in this country. And what my entire body of work over the last 20 years has been devoted to is getting blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, young, old to work together, starting when I was a community organizer.

And my own life embodies that diversity. That's what America is about, and that's what this campaign has been about.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, two questions. Number one, do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do? And, number two, if you get the nomination, what will you do when those sermons are played on television again and again and again?

OBAMA: You know, George, look, if it's not this, then it would be something else. I promise you, if Senator Clinton got the nomination, there will be a whole bunch of video clips about other things.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...