Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday he was outraged and appalled by the latest comments from his former pastor, who asserted that criticism of his fiery sermons is an attack on the black church and the U.S. government was responsible for the creation of the AIDS virus.
The presidential candidate is seeking to tamp down the growing fury over Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his incendiary remarks that threaten to undermine his campaign.
“I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday,” Obama told reporters at a news conference.
Obama told reporters Tuesday that Wright’s comments do not accurately portray the perspective of the black church.
“The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago,” Obama said of the man who married him.
“What became clear to me was that he was presenting a world view that contradicts what I am and what I stand for,” Obama said.
On Tuesday, Obama sought to distance himself further from Wright.
“I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia explaining that he’s done enormous good.&nsbp;.&nsbp;. . But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS. . . . There are no excuses. They offended me. They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced.”
Obama said he didn’t vet his pastor before deciding to seek the presidency. He said he was particularly distressed that the furor has been a distraction to the purpose of a campaign.
[Editors Note: Hear Barack Obama distance himself from Jeremiah Wright here.]