Just when Obama thought he could chillax with his strong lead in North Carolina and focus on Indiana voters for a few days, his favorite pastor hits all the news outlits with crazy talk about HIV government conspiracies, embracing racist/antisemite Louis Farrakhan and otherwise contradicting everything that Obama has been saying in his campaign about bringing people together.
Today Obama finally came out to denounce Wright’s narcisistic comments in the strongest terms. Besides articulating his “outrage” and disappointment and generally separating himself from the Reverand’s remarks, what struck us here at the PW was perhaps the most emotionally raw part of his response …
“Obviously, whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed,” Obama said. “I don’t think he showed much concern for me, more importantly I don’t think he showed much concern for what we’re trying to do in this campaign.”
“He didn’t show concern for me.” These weren’t the words and emotions of a pol who was disappointed in a former colleague or supporter. This was a son expressing his pain and disappointment in his father. Remember, the young Barry was only 2 when his Dad skipped out of his life to study at Harvard. Wright , a Howard University educated professor of theology, obviously represented an important father figure to him.
Reports from those who were present at the press conference mention the intense sadness of the guy as he was grilled about Wright’s comments. Sure, his campaign is taking a hit. But I think that Obama is truly saddened at having to make an irrevocable break with a guy he truly loved and respected.
God bless him. Although the speech was mostly about holding on to his political viability and doing damage control (something the Clintons can surely appreciate), he managed to show some genuine emotion. This drama would have been more interesting if it were first played out during the general election, with its fascinating mixture of race, family, and religion played against the values held by the opposing party. But, with months to go before the Dems choose a candidate this is going to hurt Obama with super delegates and open up new questions about his judgement, which is fair game.
At least maybe some of those 13% of the country who still think Obama is a Muslim will realize that he had a Christian pastor, even if the guy is a flake.