Obama Defends Wright on ABC's 'The View'

Dem candidate to appear on ABC's "The View" on Friday.


March 27, 2008 — -- Sen. Barack Obama isn't shy about sharing his views, but he might not be used to getting so many in return.

Obama, D-Ill., visited the set of ABC's hit daytime talk show "The View" on Thursday, taping an interview that will air nationwide on Friday.

The hot subject on the minds of the co-hosts at "The View"? The controversial remarks of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor of 20 years.

"I never heard him say some of the things that have people upset," Obama said on the show.

Watch Sen. Obama on "The View" this Friday at 11 a.m. ET on ABC.

The Rev. Wright, the retired pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, has a long history of what even Obama's campaign aides concede is "inflammatory rhetoric," including the assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own "terrorism."

An ABC News review of dozens of the Rev. Wright's sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the United States based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001, that the United States had brought on al Qaeda's attacks because of its own terrorism.

"I'm not vetting my pastor," Obama told "The View", "I didn't have a research team during the course of 20 years to go pull every sermon he's given and see if there's something offensive that he's said."

The senator, who is currently leading Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in the pledged delegate count for the 2008 Democratic nomination, agreed Wright's remarks are "rightly offensive."

Obama described Wright as a "brilliant man who was still stuck in a time warp."

"View" co-host Elisabeth Hasslebeck expressed concern that Obama's choice of pastor may show a lack of judgment.

The candidate explained, "Part of what my role in my politics is to get people who don't normally listen to each other to talk to each other, who [say] crazy things, who are offended by each other, for me to understand them and to maybe help them understand each other."

Obama said he talked to Wright after the controversy erupted.

"I think he's saddened by what's happened, and I told him I feel badly that he has been characterized just in this one way, and people haven't seen this broader aspect of him," Obama said.

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