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Why Oprah quit Jeremiah Wright's church and Barack Obama didn't

Early in the 1980s rising television star Oprah Winfrey was looking for a local church in Chicago. Not surprisingly, she like many blacks including four years later a community organizer named Barack Obama, was attracted to Trinity United Church of Christ and its dynamic, outspoken pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

That South Side church was THE place for upwardly mobile Windy City blacks to connect and it had an aggressive community ouDaytime TV diva Oprah Winfrey's support of Illinois Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle turns out to have cost her perhaps more than she helped him. Winfrey abandoned the Trinity United Church of Christ run by the controversial pastor Rev Jeremiah Wright over concern for his inflammatory sermons while Obama remainedtreach program. And attendance continued Winfrey's childhood connection with black churches and their shared sense of community and support.

As The Ticket noted Sunday morning, the same reasons caused other black clergy to steer the young Obama there, saying he'd have more luck connecting with black churches in his urban organizing efforts if he actually belonged to one himself. Obama's friends later added that alighting at Trinity with its forceful male leader was also part of the mixed-race Obama's exploration of his black identity in the absence of his father.

Things went along fine for several years, as Oprah's fame and fortune exploded and as Obama laid the groundwork in local efforts and political connections for his political career.

But something began bothering Winfrey. By the....

...late 1980s, she was an infrequent attendee at Trinity's services and by the early 1990s she had stopped going altogether.

According to a revealing article, headlined "Something Wasn't Wright," in the new Newsweek by Allison Samuels, a major reason was Winfrey's concern with Wright's inflammatory sermons, her association with them through church membership and the potential impact on her widespread popularity.

Samuels' quotes unnamed sources as saying that, Winfrey, now a multi-billionaire, knew her audience was mainstream and while Wright's anger-filled rants may have been familiar to lifelong black churchgoers, they would be nothing close to mainstream in the minds of Winfrey's millions of fans.

Ironically, while Winfrey protected herself against negative associations with Wright, her endorsement of and active campaigning for Obama last year has hurt her popularity, as noted in two recent Ticket items here and the other one here.

Questions have arisen over why Obama as an astute budding politician would have remained in the same church environment for 20 years and when Wright's shocking sermon snippets initially emerged weeks ago deny having heard them.

He clearly was aware of the danger of association with Wright, having disinvited the pastor from giving the public invocation at Obama's campaign announcement in Springfield in February of 2007 because, reportedly, Obama said Wright's sermons could come across as a little "rough."

Yet in his recenOprah Winfrey left the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago in the 1990s over concern for the incendiary sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright while Illinois Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama continued to attendt speech on race in Philadelphia, Obama said: "As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthens my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother."

Yet five weeks later after Wright's National Press Club speech and news conference performance, Obama had this to say: "I am outraged by the comments that were made, and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate.

"They offend me, they rightly offend all Americans, and they should be denounced. And that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally here today."

Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" Sunday asked Obama about defending Wright a full year after he indicated Wright's words could be trouble for his campaign and what he'd learned in the five weeks between his Philadelphia remarks and last week's denunciation of Wright? The same question has been raised by numerous Ticket commenters in recent weeks.

At one point Obama said he was like millions of Americans: "My commitment, as I said, Tim, is to the church, not to a pastor."

Obama also replied:

"Well, you know, previously, there were a bunch of sermons that had been spliced from a collection of sermons for 30 years. And that's not who I thought he was. That's not what I thought defined him. He's somebody who's a Marine, he's somebody who has served
on city colleges boards, somebody who was a respected pillar in the community.

"And so I thought it was important to--for him to explain or at least provide some context for some of the things that he had said previously. But when he came out at the press conference of the National Press Club, not only did he amplify some of those comments and defend them vigorously, but he added to it.

"He put gasoline on the fire. And what that told me was not only was he interested in using this platform to continue to make statements that I fundamentally disagree with and that offend me, but also that he didn't have much regard for the moment that we're in right now here
in the United States where we can't be distracted or engaged in this divisive, hateful language.

"Instead, we've got to bring the country together to solve problems. And, so in that sense, what became apparent to me was he didn't know me as well as I thought he did, and I certainly didn't know him as well as I thought I did. And, and that, you know, was disappointing, but something that I had to clearly speak out about."

The complete Obama transcript is available here. And the full hour video is available here. The parts concerning Wright are in the first 17 minutes.

Does Obama's most recent explanation of his relationship with Wright assuage any concerns you may have had? The comments section below is open.

--Andrew Malcolm

                                                         Photo Credits: AP and Trinity United Church of Christ

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I think every Obama fan should ask this question. Are these items we want linked to a future president? I now think what has been said about him is correct (though I did not at the time), "if he were white, he would not even be given a second look" Maybe as Vice-prez, but that is too late now.

I feel that there is a major difference between Obama and Rev. Wright. I though Obama handled the Meet the Press interview very well. He was betrayed by his Pastor. I thought of Roman Catholics in parishes where priests had acted in much worse ways. Most of those people remained Roman Catholics.

Well, Oprah endorsed Obama so that means she must approve of Rev. Wright and everything he says and ever will say because she knew Obama went to his church and she knew what was being preached there. Isn't that the logic that everyone is using when judging Obama?

Just to clarify, it's a stupid argument to judge someone on an association as benign as being at a gospel church of 8,000 members that does God's work in Chicago just because the Pastor is over the top. If that was a deal breaker very few Americans could get anywhere in life.

Why can't we put Wright on trial in Salem? The original witch trials were held 1692-1693, but they practiced a form of waterboarding to get witches to confess, so it's not a lot different tfrom today. Do you think the wingnuts would be satisfied with that? John Hagee, Rod Parsley and Pat Robertson could be the judges - I expect they ahve a lot in common with the original Salem judges. Maybe they can get burning at the stake approved as not being cruel and unusual punishment. If this Administration can fire federal judges for political purposes, that shouldn't be a stretch. Who says there hasn't been any progress in the last 300+ years?!

Ugh, more grist for the mill? I am a Hillary supporter and even I am sick of all the Rev. Wright stuff. Look we get it. To some this is not a big deal, to others it shows a lack of judgment. At this point there is no more to add. People can make up their own minds about how they feel. We don't need to hear anymore storied to figure out what we think.

This latest from Obama only reinforces what I've thought all along, that he'll say anything to get ahead. The media have been overly kind and hands-off with Obama and unfairly mean-spirited with Hillary. The Wright controversy is just too blatant even for the media to ignore. In the end Obama may still get the nomination but his true colors have been revealed and he's not to be trusted. Will he re-embrace Wright if he gets to the White House and invoke Christian forgiveness as his reason? I wouldn't be surprised since Obama has been forgiving Wright for his outrageous comments for many, many years.

Hillary in '08!

I note that you are quoting a third party article with respect to Oprah that is based on quotes and comments from two unnamed and unidentified "sources". Much of what is written in that third party article is implied to be said by these so called sources but that is not clear either if it is. I note that the third party article makes it clear that Oprah would not comment. I guess the purpose of your article is to propagate hearsay? It is doubtful it is the truth. If it is to relay facts, you should first do a little homework before laying this all out here don't you think?

We need to get over the Wright drama. Obama did not say those words. His very DNA indicates that he could not share Wright's view. Enough is enough; let us look at the issues facing this nation and the world. Wright's issue is minor to the price of gas and the lies the politicians will tell folks to get elected. Here we have a serious candidate for president who tells us the truth and will bring our troops home and we are jeopardizing this because of some crazy stuff his pastor said. Mark my work; this is going to back fire because people are getting tired of politics as usual and want real change. We are tired of the red & blue divide and the Wright’s drama only continue this divisiveness. Help us bring the country together to solve real issues.

It's hard to imagine what Senator Obama could say or do to erase the fact that Wright said what he said, Obama knew it, and yet stayed and supported him for many years.

OK, so Obama explained all about Wright. And he explained it well. I supported him before and I support him still...always matter what the next hit is. Now can we finally put this Wright issue to bed? Thank God MSNBC has the decency to not play the sound while reporting on ths last Wright issue. I applaud them.

I don't care about Wright. With the Iraq War, Afghanistan on the brink, Iran, torture, recession, health care crisis, baby boomers retiring, and you are still peddling this story about Wright?

Stop peddling presonality distractions and stick to the issues. What is with the media...we get non-stop coverage about gaffes, haircuts, and guilt by association.

Why don't you cover the military analysts scandal? You know, do some journalism for a change.

Oprah was familiar with the Black church style. She's an AfroAmerican and was raised in the Black community. Barack was raised by his white American mother and grandparents. His father - who abandoned him - was from Africa. He needed to learn what it means to be Black in America. His time at the Wright church was valuable in terms of teaching him about the Black community. His goal is to become a bridge between the two worlds and to heal the racial divide. I pray he gets the opportunity as our future president.

I think that Obama has done an amazing job to handle all that has been thrown at him over these last couple of weeks. Truly, I am impressed...I was leaning toward Hillary, but as we get closer to this primary...I sense that I may very well cast my ballot for Obama. He seems to truly care about honesty and integrity. And if the truth be told...can anyone really know everything about another. I don't know everything about my husband!!!

You judge a person by their actions, not by their words. Mr. and Mrs. Obama's actions clearly show they wanted to have a close relationship with Rev. Wright all the way up until David Axelrod and severl super delegates explained to both of them how it was "inappropriate". The choice of the Obamas to have had a relationship with Rev Wright for over 20 years clearly identifies a poor lack of judgment on both of their parts if they wanted to represent themselves to the rest of the country as agents of change. They didn't change when they should have, they changed when they were forced to. Poor judgement indeed.

Has anyone considered the possibility that it was arranged that Rev Wright purposely repeat his inflammatory remarks at the National Press conference for the sole purpose of allowing Obama to finally and completely denounce him as the political pundits were saying Obama should have done in the first place? Ie, the Reverand fell on his sword for Obama.?

I believe that Obama joined this church in order to understand the black community that he was working in and for spiritual purposes. Religion is controversial and therefore has no place in our government or our politics. Some of what Wright said is not controversial in the religious setting. We seem to forget that. This is the problem with religion and why it should be separate from politics. I don't like the fact that George Bush has religious leaders advising him in the White House.

I am personally disappointed that Mr. Obama has denounced Dr. Jeremiah Wright's comments. As a white man who has studied James Cone and other important African American thinkers, and who for many years taught Religious Studies at an historically black college, I can attest that Dr. Wright's ideas are not in any way out of the mainstream of African American theology and preaching. They were, to my mind, quite cogent and reasonable, certainly not fundamentally different from what I have heard and read from non-white preachers of many sorts. Indeed, as I watched the National Press Club speech I found myself agreeing more often than not. So then the question is, why has Mr. Obama reacted so strongly to Dr. Wright's statements? The only reason that makes any sense to me is that Mr. Obama is trying to do damage control for his image, namely that he is, as it were, between the races. In general I support Mr. Obama's campaign. But I am disappointed that he has not had the strength of character to tell the truth. The truth is in fact pretty close to what Dr. Wright has said: white Christianity is almost totally ignorant of black Christianity, and generally it is black Christianity (like other third-world Christianity) that is where God does God's best work these days.

You journalists like to use poisonous insinuation to crucify righteous Obama. Does it ever enter your conscience that you are destroying a man who wants to dedicate his life to IMPROVING yours? Clinton found a poison dart in Wright and used it to attack the integrity of Obama through insinuation and association. How stupid America is to buy into the con job offered by Clinton and Clinton's media machine. She owns the media. Do you think Americans can't see though the bullshit lies? We are human beings. We know the real thing, and we know the phony con artist. Obama is the real thing. Knock off the bullshit lies and insinuation. It ain't gonna work, and if it does, guess what America, we will have BLOWN it again just as we did when we re-elected that buffoon who's president right now.

Since when does anybody care what somebody's pastor has to say, except when its a black candidate. People who don't live sterilized lives will from time to time have associations that all of America may not approve of. Let's examine the entirety of the associations of Clinton and McCain as well.

Give Barack a break. We all know that Barack was a part of that church because of Michelle. Rev Wright hates America and so does Michelle, but let me remind the voters, she isn't running for president, so let's move on and get over it already.

Absolutely not! Either Obama is stupid or he thinks the American public is worse than stupid. Too late for damage control. He clearly knew and condoned such messages of hate from his pastor of 20 years.

Strange Bed Fellows

How is it that Barack Obama's integrity and values, and potential nomination to run for President is being rattled over concerns of associations with his pastor (which he has addressed forthrightly and denounced unequivocally), while nothing is being said concerning Hillary Clinton's continued marriage and intimate campaign partnership with a man who: 1. had sexual relations outside of his marriage 2. lied under oath to the Congress of the United States, 3. and was impeached! Yikes!

Why hasn't Hillary had to publicly denounce, rebuke, shun, and distance herself from Bill Clinton, and how is it that she has remained a loyal member of his household all these years? What kind of skewed values are we to assume are floating around in that fellowship? If we hold her to the same standard being presented to Barack Obama then are we to assume that she condones acts such as lying to Congress under oath, extra marital affairs, and impeachment proceedings? Unfair comparison, you say? Really?

Surely we would have experienced the Bill Clinton Presidency differently had the Monica Lewinsky thing never happened. The Nation could have focused our attention on the issues and concerns of the moment that truly mattered, while avoiding the debilitating folly of scandal. The same could be said about the current distraction the Obama/Wright non issue is causing to those who have difficulty deciphering the titillating and opportunistic world of tabloid hysteria from pertinent, long term issues of substance and national importance.

More back tracking from Barry O. Again it is shown that he is just another politician. That being the case, with his lack of experience and judgement how can anyone think he is even remotely qualified to be president?

The issue for me is this...

Barack Obama did not know for 20 years that Rev. Wright was encouraging hate? That is scary.

Now, 20 years later Barack Obama expects mt to believe that he now gets it? That now when he says that those comments "end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate." - that he just NOW gets that?

Sadly, I once was a supporter. But now, I understand that the campaign of "Hope" is really a campaign of Hate. Just look at the comments section of the blog at his campaign website.

A man that inspires so much hatred (condoned because it is directed at his opponent) is a dangerous role model.

Obama it turns out is a gullible educated idiot.

Can we PLEASE let this Reverend Wright thing go? The media has shredded it to death. Now we're going to compare Oprah and Obama? Why?

Recent polling indicates that the public is sick of this issue, regardless of the candidate they support.

We've lost more American lives in Iraq this month than back in 2007, and this issue dominates the news? Let's please have respect for our families and the issues that are affecting their lives of their children, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Thank you.

For all the meandering of words from Obama, the only plausible reason that he could give, to the discrepancy between his statement that he "cannot disown" Wright, much as he "cannot disown his white grandmother", was that, if he is not running for office, EVEN IF those Wright sermons were offensive, he implicitly endorses them (or at least would NOT have denounced them). But now that he's talking to non-black mainstream, he SUDDENLY finds Wright's comments and posturing offensive, cuz Wright hurts Obama's own position.

That can only tell me one thing: That Obama cares less about the truth (comments that are truly offensive/devisive), than about HE himself. He truly demonstrates his full ability to be a politician, so I'd tell Obama: STOP PRETENDING TO BE ANOTHER OTHER THAN THAT YOU'RE JUST ANOTHER DIRTY POLITICIAN.

Enough already. Oprah leaves after she makes her money and doesn't want to associate with black people anymore since it may hurt her financially. I'm more concerned over the tone Hillary has on Iran. She seems a little unbalanced and pandering for me, Obama is more rational and less a cowboy.

Why isn’t the media exposing the inconsistencies of HRC on major issues in the same manner as it is done with Obama and Rev. Wright? The more Hillary speaks, the more what others said about her resonates true. This morning, I heard HRC take the opposite position on the issue of nuclear use in direct contrast with statement of the past.
"There's been no discussion of using nuclear weapons, and that's not a hypothetical that I'm going to discuss," Obama said. When asked whether his answer also applied to the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons, he said it did….By the afternoon, Clinton (N.Y.) had responded with an implicit rebuke. "Presidents should be careful at all times in discussing the use and nonuse of nuclear weapons," she said, adding that she would not answer hypothetical questions about the use of nuclear force.
"You can think big but remember you shouldn't always say everything you think when you're running for president because it could have consequences across the world and we don't need that right now," said Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
Do the Clintons think people have short memories? Or is it the reporters that they underestimate.
The materials are there but reporters will not expand.
More related links to show HRC inconsistencies:
I am not surprised now why Safire called her once a congenital liar and Geffen: “Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”
She is very lucky now because the media is focusing on trivial issues and the Republicans currently love, defend and promote her...just until primaries are over. What will Republicans do if HRC comes out as the D party nominee? In my opinion, two words: credibility and honesty. And on this front, John McCain will look much better with all his faults.

I do not have a problem with a pastor having strong political views. That is fine if it deals with injustice or racism. In some ways Pastor Wright is correct. The United States of America is an imperfect nation. It was founded by imperfect human beings who were sadly often products of their times and culture. These men had an idea of freedom and equality but they did not yet understand that humanity was far more diverse then their own backyard. Our Constitution is a remarkable work given the attitudes and mindsets of these founders. It build it checks and balances to try to make a more free and equatiable society. What bothers me about Pastor Wright, Reveand Sharpton and others is that they do not see the achievement this was and perhaps still is. Across the world nations struggle to find the basic freedoms that we enjoy. Then men and women who are often the most trusted and respected in their communities rant and rave against the same document and nation that gave birth to that idea of freedom. There is an assumtion that only Africian Americans have ever suffered injustice. That is not true by a long shot. My people once ruled this land but now we share it with those who came here. Whites, blacks, hispanics, Asian, and others. Is it fair to starve in your own lands to have a 50 percent unemployment rate? NO, But the thing is our leaders do not rant from the pulpit and then our political leaders do not deny sitting and listening to said rant. I am willing to concede that it is highly likely that Senator Obama did not hear all the sermons. But admit he heard some and I have greater respect for him. Admit that maybe Pastor Wiright has a valid point or two but perhaps does not express his frustration and anger in a productive way. I not always pleased with my country. Often times I love to shake TPTB and hope some common sense comes out. But, I would never use a holy place to give that rant nor if I was a political leader deny hearing such a thing if I had. My fear is that I can not trust what the Senator says because his stepping back sounds like he is trying to buy points and popularity. My Government teacher in High School said that if you want to run for office in a new place or town go to the biggest church and join there. You get the best free press and meet lots of people who can help you out. Of course you will also get the side benifit of the service but that often is the secondary goal to politions. A part of me wonders if maybe this is not what the Senator did. He reached out to the biggest church and the most connected and then got his foot in the door. Until now it been a good symbionic relationship but ,now he finds he is with a shark who might just eat him. I not certain I like his judgement here. I think I would respect him more if he stayed in his church and perhaps encouraged his paster to seek counseling for the rage he feels. Mistake in our country have happened this is never going to change. We were founded on the innocent blood of millions. The only thing we can now do is make sure that blood buys us a better way. We can learn from their pain and sacrifice and accept that we can stop seeing color. I do not think as this event has clearly shown that we are quite mature enough to see it yet. However perhaps we are at least heading in the correct direction. I think we will eventually grow up. We finally begun to learn to play well with others at least for the most part. In time maybe Dr. King's vision will come completely true and we will be able to see only the content of character in a person and be able to look past religion and color and gender and every other reason we hate each other. Then we can accept the angry words without feeling the need to punish the messanger or his allies.

Respectfully .


I'm an independent, and I'm satisfied with Obama's responses to Wright. Whether or not I decide to support him will be based on his stated positions on the issues I regard as most important.

Why is this supposed to be such a big deal anyway? I'm a white Catholic retiree who was a union warehouseman, and I wish our good Pope Benedict had not allowed Bush to make a spectacle of him, without speaking out clearly against Bush's unjust and illegal Iraq War, which he rightfully condemned, but that won't make me quit the Church.

And who hasn't heard off the wall stuff from the pulpit. We would all be changing churches (synagogues, mosques, whatever) nearly every week if we reacted to stuff like that.

And why isn't the press going after John McCain over his association with the bigoted “Rev.” John Hagee who calls the Catholic Church something I won't even write here? Or Bush, who said his “God” told him to invade Iraq?

Let's get back to real issues, e.g. ending the Iraq War and the mess the Republicans have made of the economy. Who addresses them best? Barack Obama!

Would you actually care if they did "assuage my concerns" or would you continue to spin on it anyway? You so-called journalists are so lazy, you don't even research issues that actually help enlighten the american people, on the contrary it seems all you do is help encourage the divisions, paranoia and dumbing-down of America. Maybe you should go spend a few days in Iraq to help you get some perspective on the bigger picture here. Of course, I know the LA TImes hasn't been the most credible paper of late.

The comments of Reverend Wright do not bother me, I am not bothered that Barack sat in his church. I would be more bothered if he didn't. I understand what it means to sit between races and wonder where you belong. If you have ever straddled the fence between two dispirit groups, two races, rich and poor, healthy and sick, good looking or homely you have a sense of what it means.

You can read my full post on this here:



............yawn !

... so, I never planned to vote for the pastor!

I'm voting for the best of the three: Barack Obama

Obama's rationale is the opposite of many Catholics like myself. We may disagree with some of the rules of the church as put forth by the Pope and the Vatican in Rome, (no birth control, no divorce), but we have confidence in our local parishes. It is the relationship to our faith on a local level that gives it strength and meaning. Our family, unlike the Obamas, chose our church by the tenor and content of the sermons and services.

What changed is not Wright. Now that Obama has sufficiently used Wright to make powerful Black contacts and secure the Black vote, Obama does not need him anymore, and he figures it's better to appear to "agree" with public opinion, particularly those offended by the racism, who Obama is not catering too.

If you read Obama's books and listen to Rev. Wright the same bitterness is evident in both men. Obama is bitter and hateful himself and loved Wrights extremism. Now he feels it's politically correct to denounce him, in order to pander to voters.

Seems Wright helped prop up Obama's career and now that he does not need him anymore, Obama is throwing him under the bus. Obama's not a sincere and loyal person. i'm not impressed with his character -- to say the least.

I hope Hillary can pull off a win. Obama could be worse than Bush. He's a wild card, and does not handle crisis well and seems an opportunist without much moral fiber. I like Wright better than Obama, at least he's passionate. Obama seems to have no soul and his entire platform feels like an acting job, and not real or sincere.

You guys should just change the title of this blog to "The Obama-Wright Blog" because that's all you two seem capable of talking about, long after the rest of America has moved on (see new NYTimes/CBS poll). But, like the Clinton-McCain camp, you're going to ram this down our throats. Talk about out of touch.

A white man in Montana, I had very little concern for the views and belief's of Senator Obama's pastor at the time I heard the comments, and then again when Wright reemerged.

Following Senator Obama in dealing with the public uproar, I have even less concerns with Wright than I did before. If anything, it has probably strengthened my view that Senator Obama is a leader with the right temperament and level-headed thinking that this nation needs in a time of global peril.

What changed is not Wright. Now that Obama has sufficiently used Wright to make powerful Black contacts and secure the Black vote, Obama does not need him anymore, and he figures it's better to appear to "agree" with public opinion, particularly those offended by the racism, who Obama is not catering too.

If you read Obama's books and listen to Rev. Wright the same bitterness is evident in both men. Obama is bitter and hateful himself and loved Wrights extremism. Now he feels it's politically correct to denounce him, in order to pander to voters.

Seems Wright helped prop up Obama's career and now that he does not need him anymore, Obama is throwing him under the bus. Obama's not a sincere and loyal person. i'm not impressed with his character -- to say the least.

I hope Hillary can pull off a win. Obama could be worse than Bush. He's a wild card, and does not handle crisis well and seems an opportunist without much moral fiber. I like Wright better than Obama, at least he's passionate. Obama seems to have no soul and his entire platform feels like an acting job, and not real or sincere.

I have taken a break from reading the papers, and looking at much television. So after a week of beeing away I come back and where still talking about Mr. Wright, I am wondering if the news paper industry is really in such bad shape ? I am still trying to figure out who I am voting for, and this is not news worthy, I could careless.


Give it a rest...........

I'm heartened by Mr. Obama's very-late-in-the-day realization that the Rev. Wright preached divisive, racist, humbug. Barrack now says, "evidently I didn't know him as well as I'd thought."
It will take time for the American people to decide whether we know Mr. Obama as well as we'd thought. He's an inspiring speaker. But, he sat in the pew for 20 years listening to the Rev. Wright.
Is his move to distance himself now, a true realization that associating with and failing to denounce hate mongers - whether or not they are part of his political support system and whether or not they are Black - is wrong? Or, is this just an election year move to be politically acceptable to blue-collar whites, as the Reverend, himself postulated?
In time we will know ... four years or eight. But not yet. Until he's better tested, Obama shouldn't be elected as the leader of our nation.

I always thought Obama was a pretty sharp person. Maybe like he said earlier I didn't know him like I thought I did. He sat in church for 20 years and, apparently, he didn't have a clue what Wright was talking about. Or if he did get the "message" he agreed with it. He certainly didn't distance himself from the good reverend for twenty years, Rev Wright was right there when Obama was married, and even baptized his children. I think it is a little too late to put Rev. Wright on the back burner. You are already guilty by association

I am just wondering why you have not covered that Senator Clinton's pastor supports Rev. Wright.

Obama's explanation is right on. The news media has found 3 or 4 inflammatory sermons from Wright, which means he went a little too crazy on four separate occasions. It's completely believable that Obama missed those four sermons, hell he probably missed dozens or hundreds of sermons.

I'm sure Wright got "rough" in his sermons just by showing his anger over past segregation, and playing up the old school angry black preacher act. When Wright went to the Press Club and refused to apologize for some of his dumb comments, Obama had no choice but to cut ties with him. Wright should have apologized, but he didn't, so Obama had to let him go.

I think Obama showed a lot of class trying to give Wright a second chance, and Wright blew it.

Obama has presented himself since his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech as a leader who can unite America across the political and racial divides. Obama's long association with minister Wright contradicts this assertion.

While invoking God and Black Theology in the pulpit, Wright says the federal government manufactured the AIDS virus to kill black people, celebrates Louis Farrakhan as a great man, and likens American soldiers to terrorists. While Obama has admonished Wright for these comments he definitely tolerated them for a long time.

This suggests if not proves Obama is a divider and not a uniter. Obama’s association with Wright has unintentionally but effectively employed the "race card". Why? Ninety eight percent (98%) of blacks in Pennsylvania voted for Obama, a statistic that is believed to be repeated nation-wide! This is an exemplification of racial politics that along with Black Theology is expressively anti-white!

Does Obama admonish blacks to be objective in their voting? Has he specifically admonished Wright for his politically motivated anti-white diatribes.? Absolutely not. Obama relishes the dedicated black vote. Are Democrats serious that this man should be their nominee for president? Obama has probably ruined Hillary's once certain election to be the next Democratic president. Way to go, Obama!

pastors are not political experts they are spiritual leaders who submit like their congretion to the authority of the bible and it is mischeivous for anyone in modern day America that we admire so much to judge a man's political inclinations by that of his pastor and even more ridiculous to Assume that the next president of america should be a perfect clone of a Pastor.

Why is Hillary's 15-year membership in the Family rarely mentioned? An expose will be published on May 20 (see last link), but the MSM doesn't seem interested.

I have no concerns prior but I would like a full expose on the last time Hillary and McCain went to church and what the pastor talked about. It is my understanding that they go only for photo opportunities, and is McCain a Catholic, because the catholic vote is definitely going to know longer be in Hillary's sails anymore. I am only half-heartedly kidding. I think we should judge the man's politics by his actual political work and his church experience with his knowledge of the gospel and good works which in my opinion has been excellent. But I guess talking about the economy or Iraq is boring so keep up the spice!

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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.
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