Obama Did the Right Thing

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," April 29, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Here's part of what Reverend Wright said yesterday at the National Press Club.


REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT, FMR PASTOR TRINITY UCC: Whether he gets elected or not, I'm still going to have to be answerable to God November 5 and January 21. That's what I mean. I do what pastors do, he does what politicians do. I am not running for office. I am open to being vice president.


WRIGHT: Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery, and he didn't make me this color. My goddaughter's unit just arrived in Iraq this week, while those who call me unpatriotic have used their positions of privilege to avoid military service while sending...


WRIGHT: ... While sending over 4,000 American boys and girls of every race to die over a lie. I served six years in the military. Does make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?



VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Obama responded to Reverend Wright's speech just a few hours ago, calling it a spectacle. Listen.


OBAMA: I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday. After seeing Reverend Wright's performance, I felt as if there was a complete disregard for what the American people are going through and the need for them to rally together to solve these problems. You know, now is the time for us not to get distracted. Now is the time for us to pull together. And that's what we've been doing in this campaign. And you know, there was a sense that that did not matter to Reverend Wright. What mattered was him commanding center stage.


VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us in Houston is Reverend Myron Cloyd of the Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ. Reverend Cloyd has known Reverend Wright for the past 25 years. Welcome back, sir.

REV. MYRON CLOYD, PILGRIM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH: Good to see you again. How are you doing today, Greta?

Watch Greta's interview with the Rev. Cloyd

VAN SUSTEREN: Very well, sir. Have you had a chance, by any chance, to speak to Reverend Wright in the last 24, 36 hours?

CLOYD: No, I haven't. Unfortunately, I haven't. You know, things have been so hectic, as you well know.

VAN SUSTEREN: I can imagine.

CLOYD: Yes, I haven't had a chance to have a conversation with him.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you watch or listen to Senator Obama today?

CLOYD: Oh, yes. I watched it. I read the transcript. And I watched the videotape of his message today.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think?

CLOYD: Well, you know, I think he did the right thing in distancing himself from Dr. Wright by denouncing him. And it was actually, you know, at least in my own estimation, something he should have done a long time ago, you know, two or three years ago. There was no way that who Reverend Wright is and has always been was not going to be used against him in this campaign at some level. Most of us expected it to happen in the general election against the Republicans. Most of us didn't expect this to happen, you know, as he was running against Hillary Clinton had in the Democratic primary.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you denounce Reverend Wright in the same way Senator Obama does.

CLOYD: No, I do not, for a couple of reasons...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, then -- the reason why I'm asking you, then, is because then it suggests that Senator Obama is doing it for political reasons, which is what Reverend Wright accused him of yesterday. Or am I not right?

CLOYD: Well, a couple of things. You know, there are some things that, you know, the Reverend -- Dr. Wright says that, you know, I don't agree with. You know, and again, you know, if you get me in a room with, you know, any pastor, you know, we'll have some different perspectives on some things. So there are some things that I -- you know, again, I don't agree with him in. Again, in his role and function -- you know, he's not really -- you know, his role and function, even as a minister and a pastor, particularly in the kind of ministry that he does and his take on that, is not so much as a uniter of America. You know, he has a very clear, specific mission to make a difference in the lives of black people, and that's expressed...

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think...

CLOYD: ... In, you know, in what he does.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think Senator Obama said what he said today, calling him a -- calling it a spectacle and saying outrageous -- do you think Senator Obama did that because he believes that or because he was doing it for political reasons?

CLOYD: I think probably some of both, you know. I mean, I talked to a lot of people about this over the last couple of days, and you know, people who I know who've been tremendous supporters of Jeremiah Wright are dismayed by this to some degree, to varying degrees. But certainly, I think, you know, Obama may have been hurt by this. I don't know the depth of their conversations, if they've had conversations, you know, what their understanding is. But certainly, you know, as someone who's running for the presidency of the United States, you know, he's got to unite, you know, all kinds of people across this country, and...

VAN SUSTEREN: But does he do it for -- does he do it out of conviction or because he wants to get elected? We only have about 20 seconds left. Because that's very different.

CLOYD: You know, I can't say. You know, I can't say. As I said earlier, I think he should have distanced himself from Jeremiah for political reasons, certainly, because there's no way that this was not going to be used against him. Jeremiah is, you know, too fiery. But he's the same as he was -- you know, what's being called as a spectacle in terms of what offered at the National Press Club yesterday is -- you know, is his manner and style of preaching, and he's done this, you know, all over this country and literally all over the world for years.

VAN SUSTEREN: One quick question, then. Do you believe Senator Obama when he said he never heard any of these things in the last 20 years that he now finds objectionable?

CLOYD: You know, it depends on how much he went to church. I've got people who are members of my congregation...

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think, yes or no?

CLOYD: ... And they...


CLOYD: ... And they come to church maybe, you know, once a month, once every, you know, three or four months, and they call themselves members of my congregation. It depends on how much...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what's your gut?

CLOYD: ... He went to services.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's your guy? What's your gut? Does Senator Obama...

CLOYD: You know, I don't have a gut on that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right.

CLOYD: I don't have a gut on that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Thank you, Reverend. I hope you come back, sir.

CLOYD: All right. Sure.

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