More than a month after controversy first erupted over incendiary sermons given by his former pastor, Barack Obama made a clean break with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright today, denouncing as "outrageous" and "appalling" comments Wright made Monday at the National Press Club.
Obama said Wright's performance at the press club--which the senator called "a bunch of rants that aren't grounded in truth"--are "antithetical" to his own life's work and his presidential campaign. (Here's a transcript of Obama's entire speech.)
"When I say I find these comments appalling, I mean it. It contradicts everything I am about and who I am," Obama said.
Among other things, Wright defended charges that the U.S. government initiated the AIDS epidemic to wipe out racial minorities and he praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as one of the most important voices of the 20th and 21st centuries.
"What became clear to me is he was presenting a world-view that completely contradicts who I am" Obama said.
"What particularly angered me was his suggestion that my previous denunciation was somehow political posturing," he added.
Obama said Wright's assertion of that the senator's prior denunciation was politically motivated was "a show of disrespect for me."
Asked if his relationship with Wright had been irreparably damaged, Obama responded, "There's been great damage. It may have been unintentional on his part. But I do not see that relationship being the same after this."
Well this time was long in coming wasn't it. Obama did some things that I thought appeased some people out there who were uncomfortable with this association. At this thims meant he had to say how much he disapproved of Wrights statements. Yet he's been a congregant for what, 20-odd years now.
It might be smart politics to make some distance between you and your controversial pastor especially if said person was a mentor. Of course it's another thing to throw your mentor under the bus. Then again there's another angle here.
It has been speculated since Wright hit the airwaves over the past weekend that Wright is only serving to hurt Obama with his recent statements. I don't know whether to believe that or not, but I can say that Wright is probably the type who isn't going to run into a cave when controversy hit him even if it was for someone who he has mentored and has a somewhat close relationship with. Still, if the relationship meant so much to me I'd have to my mentor to chill and lay back a little and if s/he couldn't do that then the relationship has effectively changed if not ended.
I just think it's unfortunate that all this has come out because Obama is running for President and as a result he has to cast aside his mentor because Americans who are uncomfortable with this man's preachings that they make rash judgements as to who he is. In some respects I understand because there are some statements that Wright has made that I believe are erroneous, such as the government created the AIDS virus. To that I could say Rev. Wright, I think I might want you to play peacemaker out in the dangerous streets of Chicago. Forget about the idea that the government created this AIDS virus. Hmm better yet for those blacks who does have AIDS let's help treat them and to help those at risk to change their habits. Hey there are different things one can do instead of making outrageous statements and saying them in outrageous ways.
Oh and one more thing how about some vids. I'll embed a story from WGN about his comments to the Detroit NAACP.
And here's some more vids of Jeremiah Wright on C-Span at the National Press Club here are parts one, two, three, four, five, & six.