Denouncement of Rev. Wright, Redux (Plus: Disowning the Black Community)

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Apr 29, 2008 2:00 PM

He's going all-out this time. Really should have thrown him under the bus the first time, Barry.

If you'd Sister Souljah-ed him instead of your grandma, maybe you wouldn't be here now. A few quotes I grabbed:
"What we saw yesterday out of Rev. Wright is a resurfacing and an exploitation of those old division...It is antithetical to what I'm about...I want to be very clear that moving forward, Rev. Wright does not speak for me. He does not speak for my campaign...I cannot keep him from making these outrageous remarks...When I say I find these remarks appalling, it contradicts who I am and what I'm about...It's completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country..."
A little bit of the "distraction" argument:
"People want some help in stabilizing their lives and securing a better future from themselves and their children and that's what we should be talking about. The fact that Rev. Wright thinks it was appropriate to command the stage for three or four days during this very important debate is something that makes me angry but also makes me saddened."
So, what changed? Why make the new denouncement?

Obama says things changed when it became clear that Wright was doing more than defending himself. He felt he couldn't let stand his original statements in the "race speech" and needed to make clearer that the thoughts Wright communicated yesterday are ones that make him ill. Of course, Wright's words of yesterday were certainly no more "outrageous" than those he's communicated in the past.

Obama goes on to say that he was upset by Wright's characterization of him as a politician saying what he had to say, as a politician. He didn't take kindly to the image of himself as a political posturer.

He also claims he hadn't heard such statements while attending Wright's church, but hasn't he already admitted hearing controversial statements from Wright in the past? He excuses his association with Wright by saying, "I did not vet my pastor."

He should have, and the idea that he didn't know this was the kind of man Wright is, is ridiculous.

He mentions several times that Wright wants to be "center stage" and is taking up the spotlight. He complains that Wright didn't "show much concern for me," in his media blitz. He's couching this well, but he needs to be careful not to sound so self-centered.

During his first speech, Obama said, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community." Is he now effectively disowning the black community and will he lose some of the black vote in North Carolina over this? Many won't take kindly to his repudiation of Wright or his unkind words about Farrakhan.

Update:
He brushes off the "black liberation theology" question, saying he's "not a theologian." That's a cop out, if I've ever heard one.

Update: "Yesterday, I think he caricatured himself."

Update:
"It may have been unintentional on his part, but I don't see that relationship being the same after this."

Update: Chris Matthews makes the good point that Wright is not going to shut up after this. He'll view this news conference as disrespect of him and likely strike back. Obama aligned himself with a politically dangerous megalomaniac who will insist on striking back, thus making the story last longer.

Matthews, ludicrously, argues that this will be good for Obama because, after giving this speech, people will be reminded by Wright's ravings that Obama is on their side, not Wright's. Fat chance. If Wright doesn't shut up but quick, Obama's sunk, no matter how much he rejects and denounces Wright.

Update: Video will be available, here.