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Old 03-23-2008, 06:29 PM   #136
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Old 03-23-2008, 06:42 PM   #137
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:25 AM   #138
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April 25, 2008

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Barack Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, said in excerpts from an interview released on Thursday that people airing snippets of his fiery sermons were trying to paint him as "some sort of fanatic."

Wright, who has kept a low profile since repeated televised airings last month of segments of his sermons, is semi-retired from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, a church the Democratic presidential candidate joined 20 years ago.

In grainy video of sermons he delivered years ago, Wright is seen calling the September 11 attacks retribution for U.S. policies and condemning America's failings on race.

At one point he shouts to his congregation, "God Bless America? No, God damn America."

"The persons who have heard the entire sermon understand the communication perfectly," he told PBS' Bill Moyers in the interview to be broadcast on Friday.

Those who are airing the snippets "are communicating exactly what they want to do, which is to paint me as some sort of fanatic."

The clips have been available on the Internet for months, but sparked controversy when cable television news shows began airing them last month.

Initially, Obama, who would be the first black president, dismissed Wright's rhetoric as that of an elderly uncle who sometimes says things one doesn't agree with.

But when the televised snippets drew criticism and questions about whether Obama approved of them, he distanced himself from Wright and denounced some of his views.


In a speech in Philadelphia, Obama described America's struggles with race and the anger felt by many blacks that had been expressed by Wright.

Wright, 66, was unapologetic in the interview, saying that he was unsettled by being portrayed as a symbol of black anger and that he felt he had been used for political purposes. He did not say by whom.

"I think they wanted to communicate that I am unpatriotic, that I am un-American, that I am filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ. And, by the way, guess who goes to his church, hint, hint, hint?" he said, referring to Obama.

"I felt it was unfair. I felt it was unjust. I felt it was untrue. I felt for those who were doing that, were doing it for some very devious reasons," Wright said.

On Thursday, the campaign of presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain said it had been assured that North Carolina Republicans would withdraw an advertisement critical of Obama's links to Wright. McCain said he wanted to run a respectful campaign.

But the North Carolina Republican Party served notice later it still planned to air the ad.

Asked about Obama's criticisms of him, Wright said it was understandable given that Obama was a politician with a different audience.

"He says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. But they're two different worlds," he said, adding he and Obama did not discuss politics.
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Old 04-26-2008, 06:57 AM   #139
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If anyone wants to watch him on Bill Moyers it's here- the transcript is too.

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Old 04-28-2008, 09:35 PM   #140
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from Salon.com

Monday April 28, 2008 17:42 EDT

I was wrong about Wright
-- Joan Walsh

I've now watched Rev. Jeremiah Wright's speech to the Detroit NAACP and his National Press Club appearance this morning. I've also read all 632 (and counting) letters in reply to my Sunday post about Wright's conversation with PBS's Bill Moyers. And in response, I'd like to retract something I wrote on Sunday. Here's the section I regret:

"One thing about my reaction surprised me. I had seen short clips and I was prepared to argue that Wright is a stone-cold narcissist, unprepared to let Obama surpass him, uninterested in whether he's wrong. But Moyers' interview made me see how hurt Wright is. He's genuinely wounded, and I felt sorry for him."

I regret that I hedged my observation about Wright's narcissism. He may be wounded, but this is a man of enormous self-regard, and he's clearly trying to hurt Barack Obama. His national rehabilitation tour started fairly sympathetically with the Moyers conversation, but it's devolved into self-pity and self-glorification ever since. His Sunday night talk to the NAACP was mostly silly, from the questionable science behind his insistence that black children are right-brained (creative) while white children are left-brained (logical and analytical) to his mocking the way white people talk, dance, clap, worship and sing. I understand and agree with Wright's notion that "different is not deficient," but mocking white people, including JFK and LBJ, doesn't seem like the best way to get his point across (yes, he was talking to the NAACP, but he knew -- and relished -- that he had a national audience). At his Monday speech he insisted attacks on him were really an attack on the black church, a typically Wright-centric view of the world, while his security was reportedly provided by the Nation of Islam.

Let me say that I don't believe Barack Obama believes any of the offensive things Wright said or reiterated on his revenge tour: that the government gave black people AIDS, that the black and white children are different in the way Wright says, that 9/11 was an example of Jesus' teaching "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." But questions will dog Obama about how someone with his expansive view of racial justice sat in a pew listening to Wright for 20 years.

Unfortunately, Obama's best defense is probably a politically unpalatable truth: He didn't pay that much attention. I think the truth is that Obama was and is a fairly secular guy who (according to "Dreams From my Father") was trying to organize black churches in the 1980s and heard from more than one black preacher that he needed to find himself a church to have credibility. He looked around and found Wright's, which was the fastest-growing black church in the area. He liked its social gospel, it helped his standing in the community, and so he joined. We may never know how often he attended, but he stayed for 20 years.

Clearly it was bad judgment to stay with the church, given Wright's divisive views, once Obama knew he had national political ambitions. But what, if anything, can Obama say now to limit the political damage? We've asked some smart political and cultural analysts what they think Obama should do, and we'll be bringing that to you asap.

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