Obama Says Pastor Wrong and Divisive

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks during a press conference with Major General Scott Gration, U.S. Air Force, left, General Merrill McPeak, U.S. Air Force, and other military leaders from the United States armed forces Wednesday, March 12, 2008 in Chicago. Citing his judgment and ability to lead, admirals and generals from the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, that together have served under the last nine Commanders-in-Chief today announced their endorsement of Obama for president. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
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Philadelphia (AP) Barack Obama says race is an issue that this country cannot afford to ignore.

The democratic senator is trying to stem damage from divisive comments delivered by his pastor, while also bluntly addressing anger between blacks and whites in the most racially pointed speech yet of his presidential campaign.

Obama is the son of a white mother and a black father. He says he understands the passions on both sides in what he calls “a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years.” but he says wishing away the anger without understanding its roots will only widen the misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In a speech at the national constitution center in Philadelphia, Obama rejected remarks by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright that are now circulating on television and on the internet. But he says he can no more disown Wright than he can disown the black community.

While Obama rejects some of what Wright said, he continues to embrace the man who inspired his christian faith, officiated at his wedding, baptized his daughters and has been his spiritual guide for nearly 20 years.