The Campaign Spot

Jeremiah Wright, the Sister Souljah of 2008

If she needs it — and remember she’s already way ahead in Pennsylvania — Hillary Clinton can go after Barack Obama, and turn Jeremiah Wright into this year’s version of Sister Souljah. And the only folks who will complain will be the people who complained about Bill Clinton criticizing Sister Souljah – people who are not numerous enough to influence the election.

Millions upon millions of Americans have a pastor, priest, rabbi or minister who they like, but may not always agree with in every sermon. But those Americans’ religious leaders probably have never called the country “the U.S. of KKK A.” It’s unlikely they’ve ever heard, “God d*** America” from their pulpit, and I suspect many Americans would walk out upon hearing that. They’ve probably never heard that figure tell them that their own government invented the AIDS virus.
Wright’s church sells his sermons on video. You can get them on the web. It is tough to believe that the Clinton campaign doesn’t have every video of every sermon they could get their hands on. It’s also hard to believe that there isn’t a single video with regular church member Barack Obama visible in the audience. (The excerpts I have seen have quite a few reaction shots from the flock.)
What are the odds that the Clinton team can find a video with Obama in the background, with Wright saying something controversial?
And what are the odds that if that video exists, it gets dropped on the press in the closing days before Pennsylvania?
(One Republican strategist told me this afternoon he cannot imagine that the Clinton camp doesn’t already have something in this vein. This strategist is speculating, but he’s been around the block a few times.)
If Hillary can’t beat Obama with this kind of material to work with, she would never beat John McCain.
And one other note about Obama’s denial, where he emphasizes that Wright is his pastor, not his political adviser. “God d*** America” does not appear to be political advice; if it’s anything, it’s a religious statement. It’s not like Congress is debating the Bipartisan Invoking God’s Damnation and Wrath Upon Our Own Country Act of 2008. 

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