U.S. Democratic Party presidential hopeful Barack Obama has again condemned controversial statements made by his long-time pastor.
In a speech on Tuesday in Philadelphia in the northeastern state of Pennsylvania, Obama said in recent weeks, the discussion of race has taken a particularly divisive turn.
Obama said controversial remarks by Reverend Jeremiah Wright expressed a "profoundly distorted view" of the country.
Video clips on the Internet show Wright delivering fiery sermons in which he alleges the United States practices "terrorism" and that U.S. policies led to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. He has also said the government intentionally mistreated blacks.
Obama -- an Illinois senator who, if elected, would become the first African-American president -- added that such remarks offend everyone, regardless of race.
Also in Philadelphia today, Obama's rival, Senator Hillary Clinton, said his speech focused on what she deemed to be an important topic. She said issues of race and gender are complicated in this primary campaign.
The focal point of Clinton's speech was Iraq, with the New York lawmaker saying she has not wavered in her commitment to end the war.