Obama Breaks With Wright

It just happened at a press conference in North Carolina. And Obama really let his old friend have it, calling Wright’s appearance on Monday at the National Press Club a “spectacle” and saying “The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago.”

That claim will be tested: Has Wright really changed?

Obama also defended himself from Wright’s charge that Obama had merely been acting as a politician in previous distancing from Wright: “What particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing.”

Responding to a question from a reporter, Obama said: “I did not vet my pastor before running for the presidency.” He did, however, disinvite his pastor from speaking at the speech in Springfield where Obama launched his campaign for admitted political reasons, so it’s not like Obama didn’t know his spiritual advisor was controversial.

Obama clearly is trying to put this behind him once and for all to cauterize the political wound and move on, but he’s lost a significant force in his life in the process. I don’t know if it’s unprecedented, but . . . wow. (I wrote about Wright this morning at The Beachwood Reporter.)

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10 responses to “Obama Breaks With Wright

  1. I am watching this news conference and Senator Obama handles himself extremely well. It is remarkably obvious that he is forthright and genuine. I will be extremely proud to vote for Senator Obama in the general election should he prevail.

  2. It would be hard for any black politician to run for president if they have a pastor. Wright is well within the mainstream of black preachers, as evidenced by the warm reception he received at the Detroit NAACP. This really shows how little white Americans really know about how blacks in this country feel about the dominant society. It’s a shame that the media can remember the Weather Underground, but seems to forget that scarcely 40 years ago, black Americans were housed, hounded and kept out of college. That had to leave a mark. Rev. Wright remembers. In fact, he can’t forget. Too bad he’s dragging Barack back to 1968 with him.

  3. I think Wright is saying the same thing about Obama – he’s not the person Wright knew 20 years ago.

  4. I agree. The more he talks, the more Wright looks bad. But, I don’t hold Obama responsible for it.

  5. Do you hold Obama responsible for anything?

  6. Of course I do. But, I also see McCain gets away with saying he “rejects Pastor Hagee’s remarks on Katrina.” Why isn’t he pressed as Obama has been?

  7. From today’s New York Times, a perfectly reasonable stance (FYI, I voted for Hilary, but I am appalled at the flack Obama is getting for another man’s words and deeds):

    t is an injustice, a legacy of the racist threads of this nation’s history, but prominent African-Americans are regularly called upon to explain or repudiate what other black Americans have to say, while white public figures are rarely, if ever, handed that burden.

    Senator John McCain has continued to embrace a prominent white supporter, Pastor John Hagee, whose bigotry matches that of Mr. Wright. Mr. McCain has not tried hard enough to stop a race-baiting commercial — complete with video of Mr. Wright — that is being run against Mr. Obama in North Carolina.

    If Mr. Obama is the Democratic presidential nominee, we fear that there will be many more such commercials. And Mr. Obama will have to repudiate Mr. Wright’s outbursts many more times.

    This country needs a healthy and open discussion of race. Mr. Obama’s repudiation of Mr. Wright is part of that. His opponents also have a responsibility — to repudiate the race-baiting and make sure it stops.

  8. You’re right about McCain, but he represented the power elite in this country. It is not in the interests of powerful media to make him look bad.

    You will note that Mrs. Clinton’s feet have been held to the fire just as much, and her daughter’s, too, for that matter. Clinton has had to lose Ferraro and Chelsea Clinton has had to keep explaining about Monica Lewinsky. Why didn’t McCain’s ties to his female lobbyist get the same scrutiny? Because it is not in the best interests of powerful media to harm his candidacy.

  9. True that.

  10. Marilyn, not to get off topic, but when has Chelsea Clinton ever explained anything about Monica Lewinsky?

    I don’t believe she should have to explain anything, but you actually suggest she “has had to keep explanining” and I must have missed those stories, other than the “none of your business” story from the student.

    Of all the things Obama should be criticized for, and there are many, the rantings of Jeremiah Wright are the least legitimate in my opinion. I’d sure hate to have to answer for the rantings of Cardinal George or any number of parish priests whose sermons I suffered through.

    The Wright story will resonate because it gives people an excuse to vote against Obama. “Well, I think Obama’s OK, but that preacher of his really troubles me.”

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