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Is Jeremiah Wright planning an October Obama surprise?

August 19, 2008 | 12:44 am

It had all the elements of a perfect political mystery during the heat of a surprisingly close presidential election campaign -- there at the end of a recent New York magazine story headlined "The Color-Coded Campaign," was an unattributed paragraph reporting that:

The highly controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright, he of the anti-American and black nationalist rantings within and without the pulpit of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ where Democratic nominee Barack Obama attended for 20 years apparently oblivious to such statements, was planning an October book publication.

Illinois senator and Democratic presidential nominee to be Barack Obama with his mentor and pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright before distancing himself from the preacher's more controversial statements

And a national book promotion tour.

What would Obama's onetime spiritual mentor and family minister be saying just days before the Nov. 4 presidential election involving the parishioner who was forced to denounce him last spring shortly after saying in a major speech on race that he could never denounce him?

Was the book this election cycle's October surprise?

What a story! And it was quickly picked up in recent days by several blogs, no doubt drooling at the thought of some more religious controversy mixed with politics.

According to Wright's daughter, Jeri, however, she reached her father in Ghana, which is about as far from Chicago's South Side and U.S. TV cameras as anyone can get. There, she said, he has poor e-mail access but denied nonetheless the existence of such a book.

Jeri Wright told Essence.com, "I asked him if he was writing and he said, 'Nope. I'm not publishing anything. I'm not going on any book tours.'" New York magazine even published an online correction.

She said she and her father are doing a book on the history of his former Trinity church, from where he just retired. Which should be really exciting.

Good thing we all found out now, 'cause once both candidates pick their VP's here in the next 10 days or so, we'll still have two whole months to speculate about some other October surprise.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Trinity United Church of Christ

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