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FEATURE

Reverend Wright's Wrong Timing





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Cross-posted at The Huffington Post, Reuters

I do not presume to judge anyone else's method of worship. I do know bad timing when I see it and Reverend Jeremiah Wright's pre-primary media blitz seems designed, unintentionally or not, to benefit John McCain, while distracting from the real issues of the campaign (four-dollar gasoline, war, recession, health care, cronyism, the need to reduce in the influence of special interests...).

Barack Obama's response:
He does not speak for me; he does not speak for the campaign. I cannot prevent him from continuing to make these outrageous remarks. But what I do want him to be very clear about, as well as all of you and the American people, is that when that I say that I find these comments appalling, I mean it. It contradicts everything that I'm about and who I am and anybody who has worked with me, who knows my life, who has read my books, who has seen what this campaign's about, I think will understand that it [Wright's position] is completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country. [snip] The fact that Reverend Wright would think that somehow it was appropriate to command the stage for three or four consecutive days in the midst of this major debate, is something that not only makes me angry, it also saddens me.
Senator Obama pointed out which of Wright's comments most angered him, including Wright's conspiracy theories on AIDS and other conspiracy issues, Wright's denigration of the U.S.'s fight against terror, his statement that Obama's denunciation of Wright's remarks was political posturing and Wright's claim that Farrakhan was an "important voice." To which Senator Obama responded that Wright's comments were: appalling, ridiculous, outrageous and offensive. David Axelrod, Obama's chief campaign strategist, was asked by Chris Matthews about the Wright's 'speaking tour':
I must say it wouldn't be my first choice. I think Reverend Wright felt that he had been done a disservice in this process and he decided to go public and he did and, frankly, the news media was very eager to accommodate that. He had three hours on the cable stations last night and the coverage this morning and so he's gotten himself quite a platform.
Matthews replied that it was hard to understand why, after Obama had been so sensitive in the way he distanced himself "and yet in payment for that, the Reverend Wright goes on this book tour basically, to basically put it back in his face."

Axelrod replied that it is not about Senator Obama; that Reverend Wright was speaking for Reverend Wright.


Why is Wright doing it? Is it the Wright book that's coming out? Did he not like Barack Obama's thoughtful speech on race? Is he giving Senator Obama permission to completely disassociate from him? Or was it the way that the Senator disassociated himself from Wright's most outrageous remarks that prompted this response? Is there any doubt now that Reverend Wright, regardless of his positions, falls into that curious corner of American politics of what-to-do-about-those-who-are-in-your-world-but-do-not-speak-for-you.

This is unlike John McCain's unashamed courtship of Pastor John Hagee, despite Hagee's description of Catholicism as "a Godless theology of hate" and his statement that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment wrought upon New Orleans for a gay pride parade, because McCain actively sought Hagee's endorsement...



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