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Easter Sunday: Voters ponder Obama and Rev. Wright. What do YOU think?

One of the most remarkable things about the ongoing controversy over Barack Obama's angry pastor is the sharply differing reactions, even among those whoIllinois Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his controversial Chicago pastor of 20 years from the Trinity United Church of Christ the Rev Jeremiah Wright before videos of Wright's racial sermons circulated blaming the U.S. government for, among other things, starting the AIDS epidemic to kill blacks seem to have so much else in common.

New polling suggests the wildfire Internet spread of the newly-retired Rev. Jeremiah Wright's most inflammatory sermons has scorched off some national popularity of Obama, who's based so much of his political message on being "post-racial," not militant, not angry, pro-unity.

But that now can seem contradictory to many with Obama's intimate 20-year association with a black nationalist who rages about "the U.S. of KKK-A," suggests the country invited or deserved the 9/11 attacks and believes the AIDS epidemic is a government conspiracy to kill blacks.

For a sample video of Wright's sermons, click on the Read more line below.

Then, Obama continued to expose his two young daughters to such views In a congregation whose loud, demonstrative cheers clearly endorsed such extreme statements, while claiming he'd not heard them.

(UPDATE: In his sunrise Eastern sermon at the Trinity United Church of Christ, titled "How to Handle a Public Lynching," the replacement for Rev. Wright, the Rev. Otis Moss III, did not mention his predecessor by name but likened his recent public treatment to that received by Jesus, who was crucified. "You picked the wrong folk to mess with," a defiant Moss told the enthusiastic holiday congregation. He also appealed for donations to a special "Resurrection Fund," which he did not describe.)

As reported here last week, Obama's chief political strategist, David Axelrod, admitted being sufficiently worried more than a year ago that they un-invited the pastor from giving the invocation at Obama's campaign announcement in February, 2007.

At the same time, some black and white voters say they were moved by Obama's ensuing speech as a long-awaited invitation to begin an honest, calm and cleansing national dialogue on race.

It's a topic clearly on the minds of voters in Pennsylvania, one of the largest....

states to weigh in on race and the race for the Democratic presidential nomination between Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton, who's trailing in money, delegates and the popular vote but leading in Pennsylvania and using Obama's success to raise more money.

Recent items on the issue in The Ticket have elicited many hundreds of Comments, baring feelings of sympathy and support, naked anger and even racism that had not been expressed in that forum before the sermon videos unlocked the issue for public debate. To see such Comments, click on virtually any of the links in this item. And check that section at the end of this item.

Just as talk radio and television are preoccupied with the matter, so were a surprising number of shoppers and employees this weekend in the mega-mall known as King of Prussia, in the Pennsylvania town of the same name.

Dereck Cummings is an openly gay man and a former Jehovah's Witness who says he isn't in the habit of judging other people on their lifestyles or religion. But Cummings can't shake the disturbing feeling there's something worrisome in the incendiary sermon highlights, something that keeps nagging at him as he tries to decide how to vote in

his state's Democratic primary election April 22. "If that's been your priest for that many years, it affects who you are," said Cummings, an assistant store manager in the suburban shopping mecca outside Philadelphia. "Those thoughts come across, Sunday after Sunday, and that just scares me."

His co-worker, Stacey Hermann, couldn't care less, saying the statements fade given her concerns over taxes and education. "He isn't responsible for what another person says," Hermann said, shrugging.

King of Prussia mall is the commercial center for a sizable population of swing voters, whose willingness to go back and forth between Republican and Democratic presidential nominees makes them crucial in general elections.

So their take on the latest bruising to Obama matters for the upcoming primary and signals how fertile the ground is for Clinton or, later, Republicans to try to take advantage of the issue politically. Since the controversy erupted, for instance, polls show Obama support plunging sharply among white males.

In the mall's food court, several self-described swing voters said they were not bothered by Wright's words, though they did not like them. "It's unfortunate," said Judy Wolstenholme, a retired phys ed teacher.

"You don't want someone out there with a history of preaching hatred. I think it might hurt [Obama]. He should have been a little stronger in putting down those theories. But it only bothers me if I believe he isn't smart enough to rise above that message, and I don't think that right now."

Still, Wolstenholme, a registered Republican, said she likes both Hillary Clinton and likely Republican nominee John McCain better than the Illinois senator, as does her husband.

Joshua Snyder, a theology professor at nearby Villanova University, said he thinks the Wright sermons probably sounded very different in church than they do blasting out of computer and television screens.

"When people preach, they tend to get bombastic," Snyder said. "You can use it as a sound bite, and especially in white suburbia, that helps to perpetuate a stereotype."

But in the construction site of a new jewelry store in the mall, union workers said they were deeply offended. "It was unbelievable the way the reverend was talking," said David Terrano, a carpenter. "It makes me worry that, if Obama's president, he's going to be thinking about things that way."

Cummings and Hermann work together at the Ann Taylor store, where another co-worker said the off-duty conversation frequently veers toward politics.

"I listen to what Rev. Wright said, that we brought 9/11 on ourselves," said Myisha Upshur, a Philadelphia resident. "It sounded very callous. If I were listening to that and I lost someone in the 9/11 attacks, I would be very hurt."

Still, she said, "I appreciate that Sen. Obama didn't say, `I'm never going back there to church.' We all have friends we don't agree with. That doesn't mean we should turn our backs." Hermann said she's voted for Republicans and Democrats and that her decision next month won't be affected by Obama's church history.

But Cummings' gay life experience teaches him differently. He said he was "dis-fellowshipped" from the church of his childhood when he came out of the closet but that he still finds traces of those early influences in his thinking. He wondered, can Obama really avoid being influenced by Wright's angry words the same way?

"It rubs off," said Cummings. "And that doesn't go away easily."

Now, it's YOUR turn. Click on Post a Comment below here and let's see how you feel and what others have to say.

--Christi Parsons

Christi Parsons writes for the Swamp of the Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau.

                                        Photo Credit: AP Photo/Trinity United Church of Christ

Comments () | Archives (240)

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If we weren't so easily duped by soundbites, this story would have never gotten the play it has. I challenge everyone to listen to the entire sermon in question. On the other hand, our inability to pay attention to anything for more than 30 seconds will end up a benefit to Obama . . . this story will pass when every one has heard enough of it. I want to know when Hillary is going to release those tax returns. And, since you are in California, can you report how that fraud trial against the Clintons is going out there? Somehow, any soundbites from it are conveniently being moderated away!

I'm a registered Republican.

It wouldn't be necessary for us to be having discussions about race and class if the Democratic Congress had done the job for which they were elected to office,...that is, they should have impeached Chaney and Bush for treason and for their crimes against humanity. The war in Iraq was engineered to enrich the stockholders of the Carlyle Group, and that's just what it's doing, to the tune of some billions of dollars weekly. Bush and Chaney are common criminials who are using U.S. troops and the U.S. treasury to fight a private war against a nation that has done no harm to us in any way.

The American people have been duped into believing that the economic crisis is because of bad management by banks, while the reality is that the Republican party decided "God damn, America, give us your money and get out of our faces."

I bless the Dixie Chicks, Jeremiah Wright. and Michael Moore for having the courage to keep me from falling asleep to the tune of the Patriot Act and NAFTA.

Do you realize that soldiers who are deployed in Iraq are required to sign an affidavit that they will lose all of their financial assets if they so much as speak disparagingly of the military campaign in Iraq? Anyone who lived through Viet Nam knows that that war was meaningless . The war being fought in Iraq doesn't score any better than Viet Nam. EXCEPT that it's making more money for Blackwater, Halliburton, and the Carlyle Group.

Every American who works needs to understand that there are other ways to use investment funds besides wars that will return big rewards. We could be putting our money into organic and locally grown foods, and into Tesla Motors and improving the quality of life on our planet. Instead we have come to be seen as a pariah to the rest of the people with whom we share the earth.

I think if this was Hillary Clinton or John McCain attending a church like this and then after that they said "typical black person" their career in public life would be over. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would be picketing their homes and asking for an apology. Yet the media has praised Obama for reading a speech (maybe prepared for him) from a teleprompter and in that speech he admits he lied about knowing about the remarks, calls his grandmother a racist and throws her under the bus. Now all is forgiven inside the beltway and in the mainstream media. I really have to ask, what the hell is going on? Why do we allow black public figures to do things that we would NEVER allow a white. Simple, white guilt. Even though we in this generation have done nothing still we are reminded of things that happened not in out lifetime like slavery and things that no longer are like Jim Crowe. Neither of which Barack Obama himself has had to deal with. He is a Harvard educated, Hawaii born man who really hasn't faced any adversity. We are suppose to forgive him for attending that church? We are suppose to forgive him for thinking white people of any generation are "typical" if they see a black man on the street and want to cross it? I don't know about anyone else but I am offended. He gives a speech lecturing America about what we need to do to bridge the gap while he and his campaign have played the race card at every chance that has popped up. Whether it be from Hillary's LBJ remarks or Gerladine Ferraro actually telling something that was true. Obama and his campaign have used race to bash the Hillary camp over the head throughout this election. So does he want to unite or does he just want to say he wants to unite while his actions say that he is a divider. I think I'll base my opinions of Obama on his actions. Remember, George W. Bush ran on the "uniter not a divider" and look where those words took this country. As Hillary says, "Actions do speak louder than words."

I was surprised by reading on Friday about how manipulated the sound ites are. In the most offensive soundbit shown on cable networks, Dr. Wright is quoting Ambassador peck, a white US Ambassador the day after 9/11. Trinity Church is being unjustly accused. Fox should be ashamed. For the story go to
to read the accurate story read
Trinity church has done great things and deserves better than the treatment they are getting.
Mike Moore

A lot of people seem to blame Rev. Wright or Obama for injecting race in the campaign discussion.

Get real!

The real blame goes to the Hannity/Limbaugh/McBush, Fox neo-con slime machine. Until the MSM explores the true origins of the out-of-context smear and examines how it was used to manipulate voters' opinions, the smear will keep its traction all the way to November. It's incumbent on someone in the MSM to speak up about this new McCarthyism of character assassination, guilt by association, and "patriotic correctness." Is there no 21st century Joseph Welch or Edward R. Murrow to speak truth to America? Perhaps Rev. Wright's sermons this week will make the point, if only the MSM will dare to report it.

"At last, sir, have you left no decency?"

Any clips with Fox News logo on it, should be thought of as circumspect and with an agenda.

Rev. Wright's ranting has Hillary in it. Black Jesus reference. We are challenged trying to determine Jesus skin color, it varies in different Church's and drawings.

To me, Obama is the opposite of Rev. Wright. He had to hear that fiery rhetoric and think of another way to win elections. He had to find a different path how to talk with citizens. Get others to believe in social causes with him. He had to be different than Rev. Wright.

When Obama gives a speech like he did last Tuesday, he no way sounds like Rev. Wright. Obama is more positive in every way.

To suspect 8,000 people in Obama's church as cult members hating the government, that's wrong. Too many people have a different mind that could see right ways and wrong.

Obama never had to be the key person to tone Rev. Wright down. Wright had authority from other Church groups. Wright traveled nationally and gave similar ranting rhetoric and was accepted.

It wasn't every sermon Wright damned America for decades..

For 20 years, Obama hasn't spiritually injured himself at that church. He hasn't risked his wife and daughters.

They have excelled as a family in the 20 years so that negativity didn't rub off on them. The Obama's know how to work with people instead of arguing.

Many Corporate boardrooms lack diversity when Rev. Wright rants who runs America.

AOL executives explained it this way, people wanted to work with friends. A friend of a friend got them an executive job.

Those people had all white friends. Hiring new people for diversity reasons they didn't think was right. It sounded weird, they were saying diversity is a stranger they don't want to know.

AOL has tanked in recent years, the executives backgrounds so much alike, they couldn't figure anything outside the box to fix their corporation and marketing problems. The all white executive boardroom was a failure of thought and process.


Both are a couple of demagogues and liars, and inciters of violence

Ok, this Wright stuff is disturbing, very. But the bigger problem I have for Mr. Obama is his pattern of saying one thing and then distancing himself from those words when the opposite is revealed at a later date. That is called "spin", people. We have a need and right to know Senator Obama from every angle and what he believes when he talks of equality and a "vision" for America.

To say that Clinton +/or Obama is at fault for the direction the Democratic campaign has headed, is ludicrous and short-sighted. America is a melting pot of races, genders, culture, etc. and we each have a personal interest in seeing "ourselves" in our President. With that connection comes passion and emotional investment. However, it also must be tempered with information about the candidates (good and bad, without negative "label" attached to said information) so that we can make informed choices, rather than only emotionally-driven ones. To Americans: try to take off the blinders of opinion polls, media spin, mud and excitement. That person is Senator Clinton. She has worked hard and diligently for all Americans, and spent years building strong relationships because she has a passionate vision of what America can be, not just because she's running for President. Vetted, intelligent, tested and hardworking.

Senator Clinton is the right choice for me in '08

There was no full disclosure or high road taken by Obama today because on Friday he said the completely opposite of what he says today. His speech was motivated as a forced political response to prevent a fatal blow to his presidential ambitions.

Obama now admits that he was in the pews when some of the statements were made. Nice how he changes his tune mid scandal.
He gave an interview with FOX News where he stated
that had he been in the pews and heard any of these statements, he would have left the church and never gone back.

Also, something that bothers me about his speech is that
he seeks to loop in Hillary's campaign for playing race card:

We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card . . .Or, at this moment, in
this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time."

Last week Obama DID POUNCE on Hillary Supporter on all Major News networks!!!!

Sorry, I did vote for Obama in CA now I won't - I will vote for either Hillary or McCain because Obama LIED (as described above).

It isn't about racism, it is about hatred, paranoia, stupidity and bad judgment.

Obama's spiritual leader is spouting mindless venom about America and white people is general. That unequivocally disqualifies Obama for at least the next four years until he develops some solid values and figures out who he is as a human being and an American. He is simply not mature enough to be President yet.

We don't need a 1970's Coke commercial - rather we are electing a President.


I think the media should drop it. And stop running that video. Give it a break and stop trying to inflame people.

This commentary does not reflect well on America. To judge a man on video clips that are being shown out of context should be an insult to all americans. If the media or the public would have taken the time to really investigate these clips and Rev. Wright the following would be learned:
The clips are being shown out of context;
The broader message is not of hate or racisim;
Rev. Wright is a man of God who is passionate for the lord and his country;
Fox News started these clips knowing that America would be outraged;
The owner of Fox News is a Clinton Supporter.

The media should be reporting the news not creating it as Fox News has. This is what we should be outraged about not these soundbites that were edited to provoke exactly what is happening. America wake up and take notice on how you are being manipulated and then do something about it.

By the way the entire sermons of which these clips were taken and others can now be found online.

It's amazing that people will deny everything they have heard Senator Obama say and what he has represented in his public life - his management style, his campaign based on grassroots organizing, his collaboration throughout his career, and instead say - I wonder if he'll come out later with something sounding like Rev. Wright? Obama is NOT Wright; he has built something different in his career.

People have short memories - Wright wasn't just complaining about slavery. He grew up in the era, which many of us can remember, when most African Americans in the South couldn't VOTE, couldn't be on a jury, held no public office, were not on police forces, couldn't try on clothes in stores, couldn't SHOP in some stores or sit at a Woolworth's lunch counter, couldn't sit where they wanted on a train or bus.

Wasn't it Jerry Falwell who said the Hurricane Katrina disaster was deserved because of America's stand on homosexuality? Isn't that outrageous? Weren't there priests and religious groups who urged on the people who killed doctors for performing legal abortions and abused women who tried to use them, all within the law? Isn't that outrageous?

We do separate ourselves from other generations. My father was prejudiced but my life has been more free than his was. Senator Obama was an adult when he started at Wright's church, not a child. By the example of his own life we can see he has made different choices about how to approach the world. He urges us to do the same, not to continue to live with all the past's wrongs.

Wright's church obviously has good going on - it has built a strong membership that reaches out to people in need: that ministers to people in prison, people with HIV/AIDS, children needing mentoring. Why doesn't that good work get more press?

I am a independent that typically leans toward right of center. This revelation about Obama and his church have convinced me to vote for anyone BUT the Senator from Illinois. Just call me a "typical old white woman"!


The people in these States tend to be some of the oldest families in the nation and, in particular, abolitionist families whose ancestors defended the Mason-Dixon Line and died in record numbers. The deadliest military battle in American history was at Gettysburg, PA, where nearly as many people were lost in one battle than in the entire Vietnam War.

When he went to the birthplace of America, Philadelphia, and lectured those people on the history of race in America, they were furious and it shows up in the polls. Obama is in freefall against both McCain and Hillary in those 3 all-important States. Democrats can't lose one of those States this year, let alone all three.

People are saying: "A guy born of a Kenyan father and mother from Kansas is lecturing us about race history in America? He's got no connection to the Civil War and slavery whatsoever."

He's done in those 3 States and, if nominated, will get blown out because of it. It's that simple. It's over already.

people must say sorry for seeing Obama's photo in Muslim clothes.
People must say sorry for saying Obama's full name.:Barick hossein Obama.
but Obama don't need to say sorry for conditionally love America.
Obama don't need to say sorry for comfortablelly listioning to Wright's following sermon:

God damn America.
America Deserve 9/11.
White people inject AIDS virus to black people...

Obama don't need to say sorry for saying his Grandmother is a racist,his grandmother is also a typical white person.
that is , a typical white person must be a racist.

Obama don't need to say sorry for refusing American flag.
Obama don't need to say sorry for not honoring his country--put his hand oh heart.

Obama don't need to say sorry for believing in Wright for over 20 years.

Because Obama has good judge, he is always right. he never need to say sorry.America own him for ever.

I attend a mixed non-denominational church in St. Louis, Mo. If my pastor ever preached of hate and bigotry I would get up out of my seat and never return. We go to the churches that most agree with our own way of thinking and believing. You can't tell me Obama does not feel the same way as this "pastor" or we would have done the same. God bless you all on this day of resurrection and celebration. God Bless America and God Bless President George W. Bush! And I pray that you find a church that preaches love and colored blindness! Amen!

who's callous? more than a million iraqis are dead who'd be living today had we not gone to war against the iraqi people, yet americans don't care -- americans hardly care about their own casualties in the war -- americans excel at one thing: hypocrisy -- travel the world & you won't find any other place where folks come close to being the hypocrites americans are


If reporters didn't keep making this controversy a big thing, it wouldn't be.

There is a philosophy out there of black supremacy, usually espoused by black intellectuals. These sermons smack of that philosophy.

My question is this: in less than 50 years, non-Hispanic whites will be a minority in this country. When that happens, how will they be treated?

As we all know, revenge is a dish best served cold.

if he was at odds with what the minister said, why did he stay in the congregation for years....the minster did not just begin stating such befiefs. if he felt being a member benefited his career ,in congress,because of his district, then he should be consistent and not disown because it is not longer a benefit.

I think if our cable "journalists" had done their jobs, this wouldn't be half the issue that it has been. I challenge every American to watch the 9/11 sermon in context. Wright was quoting George H.W. Bush's Ambassador to Iraq, his words were spliced together and completely distorted by Fox News - but then respectable news organizations reported it as fact and neglected to even order the video of the sermon themselves. The least the press needs to do is confirm that they're showing reliable, unmanipulated footage.. This is the largest failure of our so-called "free press" that I have ever seen in my life.

Watch the context of the 9/11 sermon here:

Overblown. I know and like people that have point of view I don't agree with. I myself am guilty of saying things I probably should not have said. Who isn't!!

Obama should be judged by his words and actions. Going to Harvard then becoming a community organizer is not the typical path to running for president. The man will be great.

Barack's speech on Tuesday was deeply personal to him and it resonated on personal level for me. Race relations is the 500lbs gorilla in the room of American politics. This was the most honest discussion I've ever heard, appealing to the common interests of all Americans.

The controversy with Wright honestly made me call to question the people advising this presidential candidate. However all of my questions were answered in Barack's speech Tuesday. He did not shy away from directly addressing serious questions and clearly distanced himself from his former pastor's abhorrent remarks.

With regards to faith, we have the freedom to choose what resonates with us on a personal level. Some choose to believe in Scripture as a literal account of God's will, while other's believe in it's lessons. Jeremiah Wright is a racist based only on the sound bites circulating the net, but then again so was the priest of my Marianist high school in Mineola, New York. Despite his flawed personal beliefs, I still found a message of Christ that I was able to take as my own and dismissed my spiritual leader's social commentary as incredibly misguided.

Rev. Wright is just another religious nutcake that believes that an invisible wish-granting genie from outer space talks directly from him. Let's get back to the separation of church and state that Thomas Jefferson believed in. The rest of the world thinks of as a theocracy because of the religious “test” that our candidates for public office have to pass.

Martin Luther King, JR. spoke of unity and harmony in a color blind America. Rev. Wright speaks of separtism and hate in a race-based and damned America. With his mouth Senator Obama speaks of a MLK society while he lives out a Rev Wright society. Actions do speak louder than words.

Senator Obama never stood up for America, his grandmother, the truth or anything else ... he just sat there exposing himself, his wife and his children to the hate. Today, we should just Obama by the "content of his character" as MLK stated in his "I Have a Dream" speech. In doing so, Obama isn't someone I can count on to stand up for me as President of the United States of Commander in Chief.

When the red phone rings at 3 am and America is in crisis I don't want Obama calling his mentor, friend, pastor and father figure for advice to hear "God Damn America."

How many voters, if given a second chance, now knowing of Obama's history with a church filled with hatred for white America, would vote for him a second time?

Obama is not black talking about whites, he is also white talking about whites.

Here's what Obama said:

"The point I was making was not that Grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, you know, there's a reaction that's been bred in our experiences that don't go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that's just the nature of race in our society."

How do we have a conversation about race if instead of trying to listen one another to understand one another, the first reaction is to take three words out of context and call the person a racist? Seems to me that is not a conversation at all, but an attack. Like Obama said in his speech:

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

Ronald - Your cynicism is a national disease.
Ken - If you are a registered Republican then I am a hamster.

Face the facts you Obama supporters. He participated in worship with a man than took the Gospel of Jesus and changed it over to something vicious and evil called "Black Liberation Theology." However, there is no basis fo such a "theology" in holy scripture and the bottom line is if a man has the temerity to lie to you about God then he'll pretty much be totally unashamed about lying about anything else.

Obama is a nothing more than a footnote.


The "Progressives" say we are broken and a state of in crisis, They say it has been so since at least 9-11-01. If such is the case then why is it, after having SO much time to prepare, the "Progressives" can only offer a pair of totally unqualified and completely inexperienced boobs for ascension to national leadership? Obamillary is the best they have?

Get real.

Get real. This is a phony debate, created by a phony news network. Why haven't Republicans and their propaganda network, known as Faux News, uh, that is, Fox Noise, no, I mean Fox News ever demanded that Bush denounce Scooter Libby for endangering national security -- and possibly getting overseas operatives murdered after revealing the identity of a CIA agent? Why hasn't Fox News, or even any legitimate journalist, ever explored the implications of the fact that the president's closest advisor, Karl Rove, is the grandson of a dedicated Nazi official, who had close ties to Adolph Hitler?
I'll tell you why: It's because the Republican Party is no longer a political party. It is a hyper aggressive, hyper paranoid groupthink cult whose members believe in blind loyalty to bad leaders. And their leader these days is a freakish, lurching Frankenstein monster, stitched together from guns, crucifixes, fetuses, dollar signs and Ann Coulter's feces.

What is a White Person? What is a rich White person?

I believe in forgiveness, and I have never heard words of anti Americanism or racism come from the mouth of Obama. Can we move away from guilt by asociation. I also agree that you have to listen to Rev. Wrights sermons in their entirety, before you come to conclusions!

It makes me angry to watch how someone who has inspired so many Americans to feel some hope and excitement about our political process (discount FL and MI ) and who really does exemplify strength, wisdom, courage and fairness can be vilified because of the words of someone else. I have followed and listened to much of this year's campaign only because there was a feeling that maybe, just maybe, we could finally have a decent nomination and election of a President. I don't mind the "usual" campaign scrapping or even a reasonable amount of media scrutiny. We need that. But to go to the extremes that this has gone is destroying what really matters, ensuring a democratic political process and returning to the kind of America we used to be. One that was looked on with admiration by most of the rest of the world. I think of where we have been in these last 8 years and I feel sadness, shame and determination that this must change. I am ashamed of our leaders, not our Country. I have a son in law in the military who served in Iraq, and I support our troops and pray that this will end so others can be as fortunate as I have been, to have a loved one return home safely. As a white person, who has been to many services in "Black Churches" and who has a bi-racial grandchild, I understand (as much as "one of us" can ) the dynamics of those churches and recognize that the church has been what strengthened it's people and helped them to cope with the brutal hurts of racism and the pain that slavery caused this Race. I find much wisdom and truth in what Obama has said, and I have seen and heard some pastors like Reverend Wright speak. The message is not usually that "inflammatory" but the style is not unusual in how messages of many kind are presented in a Black Church. Weddings, funerals and baptisms also get treated with much emotion but a person attending the church leaves with the feeling that they have been "somewhere" and have something to go home with that can make a difference. Isn't that what a church is supposed to do? Not every person in Obama's church takes a "militant" stand or feels as strongly or the same as Rev. Wright. There are many points of view. From a broader perspective, helped along by reading, thinking, discussing and having the privilege to have my wonderful son in law, my grandson, the family we all share, and friends from all races and religions, I think Obama has done the best he can to give Americans from all races , not just white, some understanding of his church, his faith, his pastor and his own family. What more must he do? He has stated that he doesn't agree with Rev. Wright's statements and he has still kept him on a personal level as a friend and his spiritual leader. That seems to me to be an honorable trait, and one he should not be criticized for. Has anyone criticized the Bush family lately for their friendships with the Saudi's or the Bin Laden family? Why shouldn't we give Obama the same courtesy? I don't think the issue of Race would have become so inflammatory if the media hadn't become obsessed with it and made it our "daily fodder". If we Americans allow the media to determine how we will vote, we are on the same disastrous course that we have been on and we can only blame ourselves. Aren't we intelligent enough to block out what they are harping on daily, or to realize that it is all about making headlines and keeping the ratings up. Look around you American voters and see the pain and hurt that has been caused to so many people who get caught up in the limelight of the media. The frenzy of the media contributed to Princess Diana's death, and probably the suicides/ deaths or tragedies of many who are known celebrities or politicians in this country or the world. The Press needs to rein itself in and develop a sense of responsibility for what they are saying to the rest of us and the rest of us need to shut the TV and cancel the magazines and newspapers of those news casters who engage in such malicious reporting and sensationalism.

Shame on you for only running Wright's most angry words, without running any of his other, loving words -- which comprise 98 percent of his words. -- This represents failure, on your part, to provide balance.

Shame on you for not exploring what motivated this pastor to use such language -- why he said what he said -- failure to provide context.

Shame on you for not running clips of Obama's speech, answering the charges of guilt by association -- failure to show both sides.

Shame on you for practicing bad journalism. Bad, sloppy, salacious and sensationistic journalism is spreading like a virus in the mainstream media!

Journalism schools, take note: please raise your standards and start getting some higher IQs in the profession.

The issue is not about race - it is about judgment. We in America condemn hate-speech. Let us be consistent. Barack Obama exhibited very poor judgment.

I am horrified that some in the press and some officials are trying to excuse Barack for this. 20 years? Rev. Wright has been his main spiritual adviser for 20 years.

There is no excuse. Barack Obama needs therapy to learn the difference between righteous indignation/anger and hate.

This is the beginning of the end of his political career. And, sadly, he does not even know. He is determined to try and convince us that Rev. Wright is the moral equivalent of his grandmother (typical white person" and Geraldine Ferarro.

I want my vote back.

One, Obama is NOT responsible for what anyone says or does not say, who is not directly a part of his campaign.
Two, I am white, and middle aged, are their racial divides that exist today? At Southern Poverty Law website, any one can look up which hate group they live near, it is mind blowing. Three, I believe electing Obama would allow this country to get over some of these divides, though electing him based on color should NOT be the reason one might vote for him, just as I believe one should NOT vote for Hillary simply because she is a woman.

Reverend Wright is entitled to his opinion. He happens to be an old coot who, through a lifetime of being exposed to real persecution of the people of his race, has become a conspiracy theorist. He is retired now, so leave him alone and remember that his words are not Obama's words.

However, much of what he said was, while incendiary in nature, based in hard truth. U.S. foreign policy was and is horrific and has victimized many, many people. This fact did help make us a target for terrorists. We did not, of course, deserve to be hit, and Bin Laden should be shot (if the administration did not want to keep him free as a bogyman, he probably would have been) but that does not change the fact that our governments actions made us a target.

As a final note, John McCain has cozied up to and accepted endorsements from people who said that 9/11 was God's wrath caused by our acceptance of gays and that the US was founded, in part, to eradicate Islam. These are people who preach hatred and bigotry every day, yet no one cares because hating gay people and Muslims is somehow ok.

for decades..decades a candidate for office or an elected office holder would resign from a club, group or so forth that descriminated against minorities and in particular african americans. even george walker bush, did sometime similar when he quit being a member of the natiional rifle assocication because their message of comparing policement to nazis was was a given that an officeholder had enough character to be repulsed by messages of hate and decrimination.
Now we have obamma that sits in a church for 20 years with his wife and in the past 10 years or so with his children that are being brought up with such devisive sermons.
obammas wife said she was never proud of her country in her entire adult life. after being caught uttering such nonesence she they all do when running for office and saying something that may cost votes. but my guess is she was influenced by the hate servmons coming from the minister.
obamma allowed his children..his children to sit thru such sermons and wonders why there is racial distrust in the world today.
obamma and his wife should be ashamed of themselves for not have the character of those from the past that had the character to stand tall and disstant themselves from such hateful messages.
if obamma wants to push for change.he should start with his church and wife. hopefully, his children have not bought into that the hate message of wright even though they have had it crammed down their throat every sunday.
on this point alone, obamma and his wife do not belong in the white house. tolerating such hateful messages and not moving rapidly away from it shows an enormous character flaw that neither seem to understand. i understand it and my vote will not be cast their way. i do not vote for nor tolerate those in public office that lack the character(except in an election year!)to stand tall on principle and lack the courage to stand up for equality regardless of race, gender and so forth.

This is much ado about nothing. Everyone of us has at least one friend with whom we differ on opinion, maybe on one or possibly on many issues. We don't reject these friends for that reason, but instead when arguments on a subject are expressed, we state where we stand. This is the same and all those who think it isn't, haven't examined their own situations or are judging by a different standard.

It amazingly disturbing that no one but a few managed to take the times to actually watch more than the 10 second clip that CNN is showing over and over again. Those who have realize how bad they have been manipulated by that 10 second clip. At least some peoples have done their homework that more than most of us myself included can say.

The famous 9/11 clip was not even from Wright he was QUOTING a white Republican ambassador speaking on Fox News Channel..

But you don't get that if all you listen to is that freaking 10 second clip. How convenient! Journalist are not that lazy if that was left out it was done deliberately. And the stupidity of the way it was done for a week and we fell for it. Twenty years ago you could probably manipulate peoples that way but this is the age of the Internet and we should know better! I don't like being taken for a fool you can easily manipulate. How about you?

I read his books and still felt that I was being decieved. I hear him in the media and see that he is using his race (white guilt) and his salesmanship (rhetoric) to sell the American people on an idea even as he lies and anchors his soul in a theology of black liberation.

I cannot without knowing this man more in good conscience place the power of the President into his hands.

I know Hilary is not perfect but I know that she would fight for "all" people to have a better and safer life.

Would Senator Obama still be a candidate if the Rev. Wright had said "God D___n Mexico?"

I am unconcerned about what any minister says from a pulpit. They have no corner on truth, spirituality, or other knowledge. The choice of words is poor, of course, but why are we wasting our time on stuff like this. I am a product by birth of two parents who were disgustingly racist and I became a person who has no bias based on race, color, religion, or any other human trait. Does that mean I should have rejected my parents long ago, before they died? They did many good things for me, including helping with my college education which transformed my own views completely.

Let's talk about war and health care as they affect Americans and get off the mudslinging.

The bottom line here is Obama initially said he never heard any of these sermons which contained the comments and then he back tracked and said he did. And as faras Obama's experiences, he didn't exactly grow up in the hood either so why is his speech considered by some to be an awakening.

I think you people who keep pumping on this subject are far SICKER than the Reverand Wrights utterances. I would wager your ploy is not about Reverand wright, but in your imbicilical mind. An assumed way to perhaps aide in the attempt to destroy Obama. You are apparently in bed with the FOX news corporation.

I agree with Ronald we need to stop relying on media like FOX and CNN; many have said that they were ashamed of themselves or that they were angry with FOX for showing such a distortion. When you view Wright's full sermon it is solidly accurate. I also think that Wright having served in the military while Bill Clinton, Bush Cheney has earned him a voice.

We were told to buy duct tape and anyone with a Muslim sounding name should be suspects.

Now some are crying about "typical white person". They should remember that typical white persons, along with typical black, brown, yellow and yes illegal’s are dying every day in Bush's war.

Most think of themselves as a typical worker, or average Joe. Again we are back to context. It is the typical person that is finding their jobs sent offshore, typical persons are working jobs without benefits, typical persons are more likely to be affected with economic downturns, loosing their houses, not being able to afford the basics of life in America.

It is exactly these typical folks that FOX is duping, the typical person is working to long and hard to spend time looking at what Wright actually said. We need to look at the facts that $4 gas, banks lying and giving out bad loans, poor educational choices are making us into less than third world country.

We can get passports easier than most nations; however most Americans have not even gone to Canada or Mexico. All other "First world" countries have some sort of umbrella health care and many in third world countries are becoming better educated. Wake Up!

The fact that we are owned by China, and still we cannot get the simple things from the 'ready to lead on day one" things like tax records, Clinton's library financial details and earmarks accounting is telling me that I want transparency on day one.

Fact is the President is not "the decider", we are. We need to decide if we can get a POTUS that will then work to get the smartest people to advise. We have had 8 years of a leader that did an excellent job of making the Halliburton’s of the world rich and before that while we were living in good financial times bottom line is Clinton was in effect duping us too because he was distracted with fill in the blank, we did not see that our flight schools were enrolling suicide bombers.

CIA and FBI did not, do not have the technical ability of shared information Bin Laden has and uses email yet the White House in the "single super power” JUST recently got email.

McCain just went to Iraq to meet the leaders, these same Iraqi leaders met with the leader of Iran jus the week before; Iraq will do what is good for Iraq not what America wills them to do; meanwhile how is it that American military were dying whilst Al Maliki, America's had selected Iraqi leader is meeting with Iran?

American soldiers were dying in Iraq when the entire Iraqi government was on vacation. We were paying for their vacation.

Lastly let me remind you that as the towers fell and our airlines were grounded, BushCo allowed Bin Laden family members to have their own jets take them to a safer location while we the typical American that happen to be in flight were dumped at the closest landing spot with not one iota of thought of how to get us home. My thought is TYPICAL!

I thought race relations in our country were never better. Now I find out from Barack Obama that black people are going to churches to learn hate for me and my country. I am told that that this is "normal," and to be expected. No big deal.This is terrible news--I never knew. I have been feeling physically sick ever since. If this is the truth, what a fool I have been. But I find it hard to believe that people who are nice to me on a daily basis hold the color of my skin against me, and that all Black ministers fail to preach the message of love and reconciliation of the gospel. I read that the press thinks this speech was a bench mark in courage. Excusing or explaining hatred of a race and hatred of country, is not attractive, laudable, or acceptable. I am energized to actively work against Barack Obama's election; our country deserves better. And to think that Mr. Obama gave this message during Holy Week!

I went to a church where the minister said things that I really did not agree with, but even though he left us more than 10 years ago, to this day he has my highest respects and tought me things I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I took from him what I needed to learn for me, and left the rest that I did not belive in. He was such a great man, I think of him often.
I will vote for Obama that is a fact.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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