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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama "Outraged" by Wright's Remarks

Exactly what he needed to say.

From CNN:

(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama said he is "outraged" by comments his former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, made Monday at the National Press Club and "saddened by the spectacle."

"I have been a member of Trinity Church since 1992. I have known Rev. Wright for almost 20 years," he said at a news conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "The person I saw yesterday is not the person I met 20 years ago."

Obama said he is outraged by Wright's remarks that seemed to suggest the U.S. government might be responsible for the spread of AIDS in the black community, and his equation of some American wartime efforts with terrorism.

"What particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing," said Obama, who added that Wright had shown "little regard for me" and seemed more concerned with "taking center stage."

Earlier this year, some of Wright's outspoken sermons, circulated and widely discussed on the Internet and on television, became an issue in the Democratic presidential race because of the former pastor's ties to Obama.

In one sermon, Wright said America had brought the September 11, 2001, attacks upon itself. In another, he said Sen. Hillary Clinton had an advantage over Obama because she is white.

Obama gave a speech on race relations during the height of the controversy with Wright and said he rejected Wright's racially charged comments but could not repudiate the man himself.

"I cannot prevent him from making these remarks," but "when I say I find these comments appalling I mean it. It contradicts what I'm about and who I am ... It is completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country."

In a break with previous comments, Obama focused his criticism on Wright the man, and not simply his remarks.

Obama said he gave Wright "the benefit of the doubt" before his speech on race relations.

"What we saw yesterday from Rev. Wright was a resurfacing and, I believe, an exploitation of these old divisions," Obama said.

He said he had not spoken with Wright since the minister's Monday speech, though he would not rule out a conversation with him in the future.

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