My readers who have read the transcript are unimpressed.
I think the speech is wildly uneven; but I suspect that it will be praised far and wide in over-the-top terms. I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a commentator on the left who will criticize it.
On Wright, parts range from understandable — we all have those we love and admire but disagree with — to the outright implausible, such as Obama’s claim that he never “heard [Wright] talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect.”
I think many on the left will love the the closing refrain, where he suggests that Americans can “accept a politics that breeds division,” or they can declare “not this time” and demand the election be about education, and not about “distractions” that he clearly thinks the Wright brouhaha is… but that’s almost suggesting that asking about Wright wasn’t/isn’t a legitimate line of inquiry. When your mentor gets up in a house of worship and calls on God to d*** America, it’s news, and it’s worth asking about.
Obama’s lamenting the “endless loop” of “snippets” of his sermons is whining. CNN, Fox and NBC aren’t going to show dozens of sermons in their entirety.
Finally, I doubt anyone on the right will overlook the line “Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.” (It just got significant applause.) A man unwilling to denounce Wright as a demagogue is perfectly willing to tip conservative commentators in worse terms.
Obama will probably get a pass on this from the press, but he won’t deserve it.
The real million-dollar question… will this speech be enough Obama get working-class whites to vote for him?