Cheney: Obama speech on race "important"

March 19, 2008 6:42:54 PM PDT
Vice President Dick Cheney said he disagrees with Sen. Barack Obama's pastor on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and called the Democratic presidential candidate's speech on race important.

Cheney, who was in Oman as part of a Middle East trip, declined to say whether he believes Obama was correct to stop short of completely distancing himself from his spiritual mentor when he denounced the pastor's remarks in a speech Tuesday. Cheney made the remarks in an interview with ABC News.

"It was an important speech, but I will let the Democrats wrestle with their own issues and problems," Cheney said, according to a transcript released by the White House.

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, formerly of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, suggested in one sermon that the United States brought the Sept. 11 attacks on itself and in another said blacks should damn America for continuing to mistreat them.

Asked if he had problems with Wright's comments, particularly his 9/11 remarks, Cheney said: "I do. ... I obviously don't agree with him."

Cheney said he plans to "do everything I can to help" Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting.

Asked if he would campaign for McCain, Cheney replied: "I don't have any idea at this stage."