Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama strongly denounces former pastor (video & full story)

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WINSTON SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama denounced his former pastor in his strongest language to date on Tuesday, saying he was outraged by Rev. Jeremiah Wright's assertions about the U.S. government and race.

"His comments were not only divisive ... but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate," Obama told reporters.

"Whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed as a consequence of this," Obama said.

Obama was forced to address the issue again after another appearance on Monday by Wright to combat criticism of his controversial sermons that have, among other things, suggested the United States deserved some blame for the September 11 attacks and had had a hand in spreading AIDS to blacks.

"At a certain point if what somebody says contradicts what you believe so fundamentally and then he questions whether or not you believe it -- in front of the National Press Club -- then that's enough," Obama said, referring to Wright's suggestion that Obama's denouncement was what a politician had to say.

"That's a show of disrespect to me. It is also, I think, an insult to what we've been trying to do" on the campaign, he said.


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