Controversy on the Campaign Trail

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They vowed to keep race out of the race, but the topic is rearing its ugly head.

Both campaigns have taken an increasingly negative tone - one that has both presidential hopefuls speaking up.

Click the play button to watch Mark Martin's report on Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"Both of us have had supporters and staff members who've gone over the line and we have to rein them in and try to keep this on the issues," said Sen. Hillary Clinton.

"The one thing that I am frustrated about during the course of this campaign and it's typical Washington politics is we do end up spending a lot of time obsessing over who's up and who's down, and what surrogate made what statement," Sen. Barack Obama said.

Obama has come under fire recently for statements made by his good friend and former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"Hillary never had a cab whiz past her and not pick her up because her skin was the wrong color," Wright said.

And former vice president hopeful Geraldine Ferraro has been criticized for remarks that some label racist.

Wright, who recently retired from Trinity United Church of Christ after more than 35 years in the pulpit, serves on the campaign's African American Religious Leadership Committee.

He often used his sermons to express his political views, for example, the reason behind September 11.

"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye," Wright said. "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Obama said that he opposed the comments made by his former pastor.

"I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy," Obama said. "I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue. "

Click here to read Obama's entire statement.

And while many within the black church are concerned about racial injustices and other social causes, some are wondering if Wright has gone too far.

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Robin Mazyck and Mark Martin

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