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Obama Shocked, Angered by Former Pastor's Remarks


Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, in his harshest criticism to date, says he was offended, shocked and angered by his former minister's recent remarks on race and the American government.

Obama, speaking in North Carolina Tuesday, said Reverend Jeremiah Wright's comments were divisive, destructive and offensive to all Americans.

Obama said there are no excuses for Wright's claims, including the assertion that the U.S. was somehow responsible for the spread of the AIDS virus.

Wright appeared at the National Press Club in Washington Monday to combat criticism over his past sermons.

The developments came as Obama's rival, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, picked up a prominent endorsement in North Carolina one week ahead of that state's primary. North Carolina Governor Mike Easley said the former first lady knows the importance of investing in education and economic development.

Meanwhile, the Republican nominee-in-waiting, Senator John McCain, outlined his health care proposal at an appearance in Tampa, Florida. He said he favors a plan that grants tax-credits for individuals to choose an insurance plan. He said universal coverage would be too costly and inefficient.

U.S. President George Bush today reaffirmed his support for McCain, saying he does not think the senator will neglect the war on terror if elected.

In other news, an Associated Press - Ipsos poll says Clinton and Obama are running about even in the race for the Democratic nomination, but suggests Clinton has a better chance of beating McCain in November.

Obama leads Clinton in the number of delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination, although superdelegates will likely supply the margin needed for one of the candidates to secure the nomination.

Superdelegates are Democratic party officials, members of Congress and other political leaders.

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