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Obama's former pastor says media exploited him

Barack Obama's former pastor complained that the media used him as a "weapon of mass destruction" in an attempt to derail Obama's campaign for the presidency.

world Updated: Nov 07, 2008 13:38 IST

Barack Obama's former pastor complained on Friday that the media used him as a "weapon of mass destruction" in an attempt to derail Obama's campaign for the presidency.

Speaking at a forum about race and religion, the Rev Jeremiah Wright accused the media of taking out of context videotaped clips that showed him making anti-American statements from the pulpit of the Chicago church where Obama had worshiped for 20 years.

The videos, which included Wright thundering "God damn America!", dominated cable television for weeks. The public outrage that followed caused the president-elect to sever ties with his longtime spiritual leader.

Wright told an audience of about 200 people at the forum that he was trying to convey the anger and desire for vengeance that people felt after the September 11 terrorist attacks. He said the media failed to mention that he was a proud Christian who was raised in a Christian home.

"Their intention was to use me as a weapon of mass destruction, to tear down that man's integrity," said Wright, former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

In a question and answer session with the audience, Wright said he didn't believe Obama shared his opinions publicized on the videos.

"Do you agree with everything your pastor says?" he asked.

"Ninety per cent of the people sitting in church don't agree with everything their pastor says.