Dodd is correct in the fact that Obama is clearly rejecting these statements now.
WALLACE: Senator Dodd, let's start with Barack Obama's long-time pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and some of the things he has said from the pulpit. Here's part of his sermon from the first Sunday after 9/11. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: Now we are indignant because of stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yard! America's chickens are coming home to roost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator, over the years, Reverend Wright has said that the U.S. government created the AIDS virus to kill African Americans. He has said instead of singing "God Bless America," we -- blacks should sing "God Damn America."
How would you characterize Reverend Wright's remarks?
DODD: Well, I'd use the words of Barack Obama. He's totally rejected this as quickly as anything. He was not there when these statements were made. They're outrageous statements.
I don't know how much more clear Barack Obama could have been on all of this. Obviously, these things come up. We've seen a lot of invective being used over the last number of weeks in the campaign. It doesn't help, obviously. But guilt by association is not typically American.
We've all been around in places where people have given speeches or said things that we've thoroughly objected to, totally objected to.
The fact that he was as quick as he was -- I thought his comments yesterday, Barack Obama's comments yesterday, in Indianapolis recalling the words of Robert Kennedy with the death of Dr. Martin Luther King -- talking about we're never going to accomplish anything in this nation of ours as a divided people.
I think one of the qualities that Barack Obama's bringing to this candidacy is that ability to bring us back together again. President Bush talked about it six, seven years ago. We never came close to it.
The country wants that very, very much. And I don't think we helped that cause necessarily by focusing exclusively on these kind of comments that he has totally rejected.
WALLACE: Well, you say he is quick to condemn them. Even if you believe that Obama was unaware of all these comments, this is one statement that Reverend Wright said. These are statements that go back. And the one that you just saw goes back to September of 2001, six years ago.
Even if he says that he's unaware of that, he admits that he became aware of these statements last year. And yet just last month, here is what Obama had to say about Reverend Wright's statements, "He is like an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don't agree with, and I suspect there are some of the people in this room who have heard relatives say some things that they don't agree with."
An old uncle, he says. Senator, he only rejected these statements after these tapes became public.
DODD: Well, Chris, again, we can spend all morning talking about this. The American public are watching their foreclosure rates climb. Oil prices are going up.
WALLACE: Well, sir, you're changing the subject. I'm asking you...
DODD: Well, the question is -- well, this is subject matter...
WALLACE: You don't think it's relevant that this man was a member of this church for two decades and this fellow...
DODD: No, you made it relevant here for the last four or five days on this network. But the fact of the matter is...
WALLACE: It's not just this network, sir.
DODD: I know. But the fact of the matter is people would like to move on to other things. I've answered your question. Barack Obama has rejected this.
WALLACE: Well, no, I don't think you have answered it, because you said that he answered it -- that he rejected it very quickly.
DODD: Well, I don't think he's...
WALLACE: He didn't reject it quickly. The fact is last month, when he's known about it, he said he's a crazy old uncle.
DODD: Well, going back and reviewing at what point who said what to whom -- we can dwell on that. He's rejected it. He said he no -- he doesn't have any association with it. He finds these comments outrageous.
I don't know how much more clear he could be on the subject matter.
WALLACE: But he didn't find him outrageous and condemn them last month...
DODD: Well, I'm not sure he...
WALLACE: ... when we didn't have the videotapes.
DODD: Well, I'm not even sure he necessarily was aware of them until they became public. I can't say...
WALLACE: That's not true. He says that he was aware of them when he started running for president in 2007.
DODD: He has rejected them here. Whether he did it a month ago or a week ago, he's rejected them. I think that's the important point. And again, guilt by association here is something we've got to stay away from in this country. Anyone involved in public life, Chris, has been places, have been with people who have said and done things we totally reject. Running for president, obviously, revives a lot of this.
But I think it's implement about what he has said. What position has he taken? What sort of a campaign has he run? What is he calling upon Americans to be doing in this country?
These are not the words of Barack Obama.
WALLACE: But, Senator, it isn't...
DODD: So we can dwell on that, but I think we ought to move on. He's rejected it.
WALLACE: Senator, it isn't a question of guilt by association.
DODD: Sure it is.
WALLACE: Forgive me. If you read Barack Obama's book, "Dreams For My Father," he talks about what a huge role Reverend Wright played in his deciding his affirmation of his identity as an African American.
He's been a member of this church for two -- forgive me, for two decades. He was married by this reverend. His children were baptized in this church. It is not that he happened to walk into a room and Reverend Wright was there. He has been a member of this church, a member of Reverend Wright's flock, for 20 years.
DODD: Well, again, Chris, look. A member of a church and a parish where you may have a pastor, a minister or a rabbi who says and do things you totally disagree with -- you don't necessarily walk away from your church.
WALLACE: You would stay in a church that had a...
DODD: Well, I would -- no. I would certainly disagree with this individual. We've all been in situations like that.
But the idea somehow that this is deeply involved and ingrained, that this is -- this is really who Barack Obama is -- what you're suggesting, or those who are making these accusations, is this is really who Barack Obama is.
Anyone who knows this man, who has worked with him, who has spent time with him, would say this is totally unlike him. It's not him at all. And so the suggestion somehow that this is really who this candidate is I think it is an unfair accusation.
The question most Americans have is why hasn't Obama rejected these types of statements for the last 20 years.