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The Barack Obama-Jeremiah Wright link: What first forged it?

April 29, 2008 |  6:40 pm

Noam Scheiber of the New Republic earlier today astutely focused on what remains the great imponderable in the Barack Obama-Jeremiah Wright relationship: What caused the younger, aspiring pol to first come under the sway of the older, established preacher?

Scheiber rejects as simplistic the two basic theories that abound -- that Obama cynically joined Wright's church as a purely political calculation, or that he saw in the pastor a substitute for the father he basically lacked.

Instead, Scheiber consulted "Obama: From Promise to Power," a biography by David Mendell that probed how the two became linked, an effort helped by insights provided by Wright himself. Scheiber's posting consists mainly of what he rightly terms a "fascinating passage" from Mendell's book. Here's part of it:

"The liberal, Columbia-educated Obama was attracted to Wright's cerebral and inclusive nature, as opposed to the more socially conservative and less educated ministers around Chicago. Wright developed into a counselor and mentor to Obama as Obama sought to understand the power of Christianity in the lives of black Americans, and as he grappled with the complex vagaries of Chicago's black political scene."

-- Don Frederick

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