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Barack Obama thought O.J. did it

March 19, 2008 |  1:01 pm

In his much-publicized and hashed-over speech on race relations Monday, Barack Obama made a brief reference to the notorious O.J. Simpson murder trial, citing it as an example of the predilection to "tackle race only as spectacle."

Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois senator Barack Obama says he believes O J Simpson was guilty of the two murders he was acquitted for Less noticed was the elaboration he provided in an interview aired Monday night on ABC's "Nightline" on the question that once so divided many whites and blacks: did Simpson butcher his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her wrong-place, wrong-time friend, Ron Goldman?

"You remember when, during the O.J. trial ... black and white culture just had these completely opposite reactions and nobody understood it. I'm somebody who was pretty clear that O.J. was guilty," Obama told "Nightline's" Terry Moran.

He continued: "And I was ashamed for my own community to respond in that way, but I also understood what was taking place, which was that reaction had more to do with a sense that somehow the criminal justice system historically had been biased so profoundly that a defeat of that justice system was somehow a victory."

For the full transcript of the interview, go here.

For Obama, the jury remains out on whether he has defused the controversy that enveloped him as attention turned late last week to inflammatory comments uttered over the years by his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. But ...

the latest daily tracking of the public pulse by the Gallup Poll shows he's definitely taken a hit. Among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters, Hillary Clinton is on the upswing (she's now backed by 49%), while his support has dipped (to 42%).

Notes the Gallup release on the results:  "This is the first time Clinton has held a statistically significant lead in over a month. She last led Obama in Feb. 7-9 polling, just after the Super Tuesday primaries. Since then, the two candidates have usually been in a statistical tie, but Obama has held a lead in several of the polls, most recently in March 11-13 polling."

-- Don Frederick

Photo: O.J. Simpson (Associated Press)

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