The Campaign Spot

Obama Does Damage Control on Wright

“At a certain point, if what somebody says such things, then he questions or not whether you believe it, in front of the National Press Club, then that’s enough… That’s a show of disrespect for me.

As described to me, “Obama isn’t just throwing Wright under the bus… He’s getting a tractor trailer and running him over a few times.”
He says Michelle was “similarly angered.”
Obama describes Wright’s comments from yesterday as “a bunch of rants.”
UPDATE: More Obama: “When you start focusing so much on the plight of the historically oppressed, that you lose sight of what we have in common, that it overrides everything else, that we lose sight of the struggle of others… It doesn’t address what I believe is the power of faith to bring people together.”
“When this controversy started, I didn’t see this as an attack on the black church, I saw it as a simplification, a caricature of who he was… The only aspect that had to do some people were surprised when he was shouting. That’s just a black church tradition.”
“Yesterday, I think he caricatured himself. That made me angry, and it also made me sad.”
Obama said he had tried to reach him before the Philadelphia speech, and couldn’t reach him because he was on a cruise. He says they talked after the speech, but said that he didn’t want to discuss their private conversations. He said he told him that he found certain statements unacceptable.
“It may have been unintentional on his part, but I do not see our relationship as the same.”
“He was never my quote unquote, spiritual adviser, my quote unquote spiritual mentor, he was my pastor.”
More Obama: Wright is “an embarrassment to his campaign” and “not what my campaign is about.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: The early reaction from CNN: “This was exactly what Barack Obama needed to do.”
Roland Martin: “Barack Obama did everything he could to avoid denouncing Wright, but he had no choice because it was indeed offensive.” Martin says people close to Wright pleaded with him not to appear at the National Press Club.
From what  I saw able to see – I joined the press conference in progress — Obama’s criticism of Wright that we heard moments ago was more or less what I wanted to hear in the Philadelphia speech. I’m glad that Obama no longer feels that Americans are unfairly misjudging Wright on “snippets”, and that the scales have fallen from his eyes. It’s frustrating that Wright had to become a catastrophe for Obama’s presidential ambitions before he could see him for what he is, and to offer the full-throated, no ifs, ands or buts, disavowal that he explicitly rejected in his earlier speech.
Obama emphasizes “the man I saw yesterday was not the man I knew for 20 years.” I guess the question is, will the voters buy that? 

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