“I think certainly what the last three days indicate is that we’re not coordinating with him, right?” Mr. Obama said. “He’s obviously free to speak his mind, but I just want to emphasize that this is my former pastor. Many of the statements that he has made both to trigger this initial controversy and that he’s made over the last several days are not statements that I’ve heard him make previously. They don’t represent my views and they don’t represent what this campaign is about.
People will understand that I am not perfect and there are going to be folks in my past – like Reverend Wright – that may cause them concern,” Mr. Obama said. “But, ultimately, my 20 years of service and the values that I’ve written about, spoken about and promoted are their values and what they are concerned about. That’s what this campaign has been about. And will continue to be about.
Some of the comments that Reverend Wright has made offended me and I understand why they offend the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “He does not speak for me. He does not speak for the campaign."
But Mr. Obama said the election should not be decided on issues like comments from his former pastor. Voters, he said, were concerned about gas prices, health care and the Iraq war.
“None of the voters have asked about it,” Mr. Obama said. “Now, there may be people who are troubled by it and may be polite and are not asking about it.”
"The governmental leaders, those -- as I said to Barack Obama, my member -- I am a pastor, he's a member. I'm not a spiritual mentor, guru. I'm his pastor.
And I said to Barack Obama, last year, 'If you get elected, November the 5th, I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people.' All right? It's about policy, not the American people."*
"If it was not clear before today, Senator Barack Obama said, it should be clear now: his presidential campaign has no control over what the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., his former pastor, says or does.
'I think certainly what the last three days indicate is that we're not coordinating with him, right?' Mr. Obama said. 'He's obviously free to speak his mind, but I just want to emphasize that this is my former pastor. Many of the statements that he has made both to trigger this initial controversy and that he's made over the last several days are not statements that I've heard him make previously. They don't represent my views and they don't represent what this campaign is about.'"*
McCain Can't Quit John Hagee [Video | 05:46].
McCain "Proud" of Endorsement From John Hagee Who Calls Catholics "The Great Whores".
McCain Defends Hagee: ‘He Said That His Words Were Taken Out Of Context’
STEPHANOPOULOS: "...you solicited and accepted [Hagee's] endorsement?
MCCAIN: Yes, indeed. I did...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're going to hold onto his endorsement? Your own campaign acknowledged that you should have done a better job of vetting Pastor Hagee.
MCCAIN: Oh, sure...
MCCAIN: I'm glad to have his endorsement."*
This whole story is about Senator Obama’s run for the White House and absolutely nothing else. Barack Obama went to Rev. Wright’s church as a young man and was blessed with the Christian bona fides that would be absolutely essential for a high-profile political career.
Faster than anyone could have imagined, the young Mr. Obama became Senator Obama and then the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Then came the videotaped sermons and the roof caved in on Rev. Wright’s reputation. Senator Obama had no choice but to distance himself, and he did it as gently as he felt he could.
My guess is that Mr. Wright felt he’d been thrown under a bus by an ungrateful congregant who had benefited mightily from his association with the church and who should have rallied to his former pastor’s defense. What we’re witnessing now is Rev. Wright’s “I’ll show you!” tour.
For Senator Obama, the re-emergence of Rev. Wright has been devastating. The senator has been trying desperately to bolster his standing with skeptical and even hostile white working-class voters. When the story line of the campaign shifts almost entirely to the race-in-your-face antics of someone like Mr. Wright, Mr. Obama’s chances can only suffer.
The reappearance of Reverend Jeremiah Wright in the national media with an interview by Bill Moyers, a weekend speech in Detroit at an NAACP conference of some 10,000 and his recent speech at the National Press Club opening a two day theology and Church meeting in Washington, DC, has reignited this discussion and its impact on the presidential campaign of Senator Obama.
To some, the "political" consequences of Rev. Wright's comments on Obama have been the principal, if not their exclusive, concern. Some persons, like Eric Deggans, in an article earlier today in the Huffington Post, said it would be the "the race-based bullet" coming from the "friendly fire" of Rev. Wright that could prevent Senator Obama from winning the Democratic nomination.
Aside from whether or not Democratic primary voters believe Senator Obama can effectively address their day-to-day concerns with high gas prices, rising foreclosures, absence of affordable health insurance and ending the war in Iraq, the underlying issue, uncomfortably presented by Rev. Wright, is the reality of race relations in America...
Rather than condemning Rev. Wright I commend him for refocusing the issue of race in America within a more relevant contemporary framework: A conference on the role of the Church in America, its organization, community work and its theology. The Church and its companion teaching of the gospel of Christianity was the centerpiece of leadership provided by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was Dr. King's abiding faith in the ultimate decency and fairness of most of white America that enabled him to build a successful coalition for the elimination of institutional segregation and the most egregious forms of white supremacy and racism in the United States.
It may be that America will look back at this election and conclude that we owe a great debt to Rev. Wright. However painful the rebirth and perfection of a new 21st-century America may seem now, ultimately he may be the unheralded, indeed unpopular, "hero" who enabled us to reembark on a new journey of recovery for social justice, initiated earlier by Dr. King, the greatest moral leader in our country in the 20th century.
The millions of white people who have voted for Senator Obama in the democratic primaries may be telling us something that we are unable to "hear" and understand. They just might be saying, in spite of all of the negative media and a political pundits, the time has come when they want to finally cross over the bridge to a new 21st century based on a color/race-irrelevant and multiracial society.
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