Obama handled the early Wright questions overall pretty well. The problem is Russert asked about why he asked why he didn’t make clear his differences with Wright when he asked him to stay away from the campaign kickoff event, and Obama declared that he’s still loyal to the church, not to the pastor.
“I’m the child of a white mother and an African father. It’s in my DNA to believe we can bring this country together,” Obama says. Pleasant words, but again we’re left with this enigma – if the potential for racial reconciliation is such a core value to you, how do you have a relationship with a man like Wright, a man whose first sermon was about “white folks’ greed creating a world in need”? How did Obama not pick up that Wright had attitudes like this, and why did he never challenge Wright on these attitudes?
“It’s fair for people to look at this episode, along with everything else I’ve done for the past 20 years. When you’re running for president, your life is an open book,” he says, and Obama deserves a smidgen of credit for not attempting to play the “this is all a distraction” card.
Obama notes that he never sought Wright’s counsel when it came to politics. (Okay, fine, but is “white folks’ greed creating a world in need” a spiritual assessment of the world, or a political one? If Obama really took spiritual guidance from Wright, how could that shaping of values not ever influence his political views?)
Obama: “When you’re in national politics, it’s always good to pull the band-aid off quick… but life is messy sometimes.”
Calls the Philadelphia speech, “a contribution to the discussion about race in America.”
Calls denouncing his words without denouncing Wright “the right thing to do at the time.”