What Obama needs not to do is to resort to the kind of Clintonian fudging that animated his interview with Keith Olbermann. By saying “I wasn't there” and “I didn't know” and “I didn't hear him say it,” he will invite contempt and derision. If he were to continue in that vein, he would buy himself a controversy akin to that which drowned John Kerry in the facts and allegations of his service in Vietnam. People will surface to say, “I sat next to him, and Wright said such and such,” and Obama will be hostage to everybody's subjective memory.
But if he handles the situation with subtlety and lets what he cannot say — that it was opportunism that led him to stay in that church — sink in among the electorate, he can and will survive this battle.
And let's remember one other thing: The Democrats will increasingly realize that he will be their nominee and, in continuing this battle, they are eating their own.