Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category

Chicago, Academics Defend Bill Ayers; Former FBI Agents Outraged

October 16, 2008

By Steven Gray
Time Magazine
 

In recent months, Chicago has bathed in pride as the place Barack Obama calls home, in spite of the attendant scrutiny on people like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and Tony Rezko. But it is now particularly defensive, if not irate, about the latest local figure to haunt Obama’s presidential candidacy: Bill Ayers.

Ayers, 63, is the University of Illinois at Chicago education professor who, during the Vietnam era, was a leader of radical group the Weather Underground. In recent weeks, Republicans have mounted an increasingly potent assault on Obama’s past dealings with Ayers. Sarah Palin, the GOP vice-presidential candidate, depicted Chicago as a hotbed of radical politics. Earlier this month, she referred to Ayers when she said Obama “sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.” During Wednesday night’s final presidential debate, Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, continued to question Obama’s association with Ayers, insisting that the Democratic nominee launched his political career in Ayers’ living room. Obama very audibly interjected that such criticism was a falsehood.

For a sense of the reaction in Chicago, consider the headline of a recent Chicago Tribune blog post: “Question for Ayers alarmists: Where were you in the 1990s?” That was the period in which Ayers evolved from a bomb-throwing radical into a socially acceptable pioneer in education. At the university in recent days, Ayers’ colleagues have circulated letters expressing support. Similar formal statements may soon come from a group of alumni and the university itself. “Bill has nothing to be ashamed about in his scholarly career – it’s one that any scholar can take pride in,” says Victoria Chou, dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois here, and a friend of Ayers for years. She adds, “I’m just disappointed in those in our country who would try to tear down and destroy his reputation for political purposes. This is about Obama, not really about Bill, but it’s troubling us all.”

Ayers’ Illinois roots run deep. His father was a top executive at Commonwealth Edison, a local utility company. The young Ayers, inspired by the 1960s civil rights movement, later emerged as a leader of the Weather Underground, a group that bombed the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. He and other members of the group soon fled into seclusion, taking on assumed names. He and his wife, fellow radical Bernardine Dohrn, turned themselves in after charges were dropped because of tainted evidence. (Ayers’ famous quote afterward: “Guilty as hell, and free as a bird. It’s a great country.”) By the mid-1980s, Ayers had re-emerged as an education scholar and was on track toward tenured status at the University of Illinois. In the early 1990s, Chicago’s mayor, Richard M. Daley, named him an assistant deputy mayor for education, and by the decade’s end, he’d been named the city’s Citizen of the Year.

He became an influential fixture in Chicago society. In 1995, Ayers and his wife hosted a coffee at their home in the leafy intellectual enclave here known as Hyde Park. The Obama campaign has stopped commenting on it. Based on other reports, the gathering may have been a campaign event for Alice Palmer, the Illinois state senator who was one of Obama’s mentors and, at the time, was plotting a bid for Congress. It may also have been one of several coffees organized at the time to allow Obama to be introduced as Palmer’s heir apparent. Or both. (Palmer and Obama had a falling-out soon after; she supported Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries.) It’s clear that during the coffee, Obama, then a young University of Chicago law professor, met an influential group of Chicagoans who would be crucial for his eventual bid for Palmer’s Illinois senate seat…..

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20081016
/us_time/chicagosaysthereistoomu
chadoaboutbillayers;_ylt=AhIBkMZ0ps1gPa7aLFfmJIGs0NUE

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Former FBI Agents Outraged At Ayers, Obama Ties

By Ronald Kessler
Newsmax
.
Former FBI agents who worked the Weather Underground case are angry about the longtime relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers, a leader of the domestic terrorist group who has admitted widespread bombings.

“It outrages me to think that a person would be seeking the presidency of the United States and was close to an individual like Bill Ayers,” former agent Max Noel told Newsmax.

Ayers said in his book that he participated in the bombing of New York City police headquarters in 1970, the U.S. Capitol in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. In September 2001, the New York Times quoted him as saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs . . . I feel we didn’t do enough.”

Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was sent to prison for failing to cooperate in solving the robbery of a Brink’s armored car in which two police officers were killed.

Charges against Ayers were dropped because the FBI used so-called national security wiretaps that could not be used legally in criminal cases.

 

Obama launched his political career at Ayers’ home in 1995. From 1999 to 2002, he served with Ayers on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago. In response to criticism of their relationship, Obama has said he was 8 when Ayers was bombing buildings.

But the presidential candidate was a grown man when he sought and obtained Ayers’ blessing for his entry into politics.

Former FBI agent Willie Reagan said, “I spent seven years of my life hunting down people who described themselves as revolutionary communists and were involved in bombings.”

Reagan, who infiltrated the Weather Underground in New York, said he witnessed members of the group making bombs.

“At some point, Obama knew of his background and should have repudiated him, not later when he is running for president,” Reagan told Newsmax.

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http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/fbi_obama_
ayers_/2008/10/14/140252.html

Obama Tells Supporters: Stop Measuring White House Drapes! Watch For Joe The Plummer….

October 16, 2008

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama warned his supporters to guard against overconfidence on Thursday as he and underdog Republican rival John McCain opened a 19-day sprint to Election Day.

By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent, Reuters

The two candidates hit the campaign trail — Obama raising money in New York and McCain holding a rally in Pennsylvania — after their third and last presidential debate on Wednesday, a testy face-off that made an Ohio plumber famous.

So far, all the stars seemed to be lining up in Obama’s favor. He leads in national opinion polls and in many of the battleground states where the November 4 race will be won or lost.

Traders betting on future events in the political prediction markets are overwhelmingly predicting an Obama victory, giving the Illinois Democrat a better than 80 percent chance of winning.

But Obama pointed out to deep-pocket contributors at a fund-raising breakfast in Manhattan that he was supposed to win New Hampshire last January in the Democratic primary but lost the state to Sen. Hillary Clinton.

“For those of you who are feeling giddy or cocky or think this is all set, I just have two words for you: New Hampshire,” Obama said.

“I’ve been in these positions before when we were favored and the press starts getting carried away and we end up getting spanked,” he said.

NEW POLITICAL STAR

The new star in U.S. politics — at least for a news cycle or two — is Joe Wurzelbacher, “Joe the plumber,” who told Obama at a campaign stop that he wanted to buy a small plumbing business in Holland, Ohio.

Related:
Obama Measuring White House Drapes? Predicting Landslide, Plans Big Election Night Party

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ylt=AhYmNFaUrWLuJYWMlB8kLeqs0NUE

Obama Measuring White House Drapes? Predicting Landslide, Plans Big Election Night Party

October 16, 2008

It’s not a done deal yet, but all indications are that campaign officials are leaning toward Hutchinson Field on the south end of Grant Park as the site of their election night party.
By Jay Levine
CBS Channel 2, Chicago

The field is home to softball diamonds, the popular summer Lollapalooza music festival and was the site of the mass pope John Paul held in Chicago nearly 30 years ago.

If Grant Park is chosen as the venue, it would not be the first big outdoor event for Obama. He announced his presidential run outside the old state capitol in Springfield on a very cold day last February and gave his nomination acceptance speech at Denver’s Mile High Stadium.

CBS 2 first reported last month that Grant Park was on Obama campaign officials’ shortlist. They tentatively decided on it late last week. The negotiations with the city and park district have begun. Security arrangements are reportedly starting to take shape, and Mayor Richard M. Daley reportedly said it was a great idea.

The record low for Nov. 4 in Chicago is 15 degrees. CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine asked Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Roper what he anticipated for the night.

“Weather’s never a problem Chicago. We know how to handle it,” Roper said. “And there’ll be a lot of warmth that night, if indeed it does take place in Grant Park.”

Roper added that the event would be a “huge economic boost for our city.”
Presidential debate

Above: Senator Obama (L) and Senator McCain at the final presidential debate, October 15, 2008.  Photo from Getty Images

“People have been following Barack Obama around the world, and the world will have their eyes on Chicago that evening,” Roper said. “With the Pope’s visit from 30 years ago, to Lollapalooza, this city knows how to handle big events. … We’re prepared.”

WhiteHouseSouthFacade.JPG

Obama: In Hotly Contested Ohio, What’s in The Leading Newspaper?

October 15, 2008

From: The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Well, here they go again. Like the election-time plethora of political punditry touting one candidate or issue over another, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, is back in the news with the usual stories about fraudulent activities.

It is time to put a stop to ACORN’s (or any other group’s) voter fraud. We need a national law banning solicitation of voter registrations. If a person is ignorant of the registration process or just doesn’t care enough to take the time to register to vote, I don’t want him or her on the list of eligible voters just because some solicitor knocked on his door or stopped her on the street or, worse, copied a name and address out of the phone book and forged the signature.

Even ACORN officials admit they have little control over the process. In a Plain Dealer article Wednesday, “Kris Harsh, ACORN’s head Cleveland organizer, blamed the elections board for not scrutinizing ACORN’s suspicious cards. He said the group can’t be expected to catch everything.”

Since the elections board may miss what ACORN admits it can’t catch, then just prohibit the whole process. Elections are too critical to the well-being of this nation to be polluted by fraud for funds.

William M. Niro, Brunswick Hills
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Here are a few numbers to consider: The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the 2006 Cuyahoga County population count was 1,314,241, a 5.7 percent dropoff from the 2000 census. The census also reports that 30.7 percent of the population is under the age of 18. That leaves about 910,000 voting-age adults. The number of eligible voters is even lower, if you subtract illegal aliens.

But ACORN’s Cleveland spokesman reports collecting 100,000 voter registration cards, according to the New York Post! How?

Are we really to believe that ACORN not only found but registered 100,000 legitimate, previously unregistered Cuyahoga County voters? It’s prima facie fraud.

This is what Barack Obama did as a “community organizer.”

Terrence Martau, Lakewood
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October 13, 2008
Ohio’s Fraternal Order of Police will come out today for Republican presidential candidate John McCain at press conferences in Cleveland and Columbus. The organization represents more than 24,000 police officers and backed President Bush in 2004. While its hardly going to shift the dynamic in the Ohio race, the effort is one of almost daily events planned by the campaign to keep McCain in front of voters.

It’s a safe bet that at today’s events, police officials will attack Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over his loose ties to Bill Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago who belonged to the radical antiwar group, Weather Underground, which advocated violence and placed bombs at police stations and the Capitol.

The McCain’s press release about the FOP hints to it. Law enforcement officials will “discuss Barack Obama’s unwillingness to speak truthfully about some of his troubling associations,” it says.

UPDATE: The FOP endorsed McCain last month with overwhelming support from its members. Brecksville Mayor Jerry Hruby, a former police officer of 19 years, and Ohio FOP president Nick DiMarco, blasted Obama Monday for his positions on everything from drug and pornography to sentencing laws. They did indeed raise Ayers’ ties to Obama and called for Obama to more fully explain the relationship, the same line of attack pushed last week by both McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin.

Hruby also used the event to join the GOP’s attack on Obama for his ties to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which has submitted fraudulent voter registration cards to election boards, including Cuyahoga County’s.

Obama’s High School of the Future: Do We Really Want, Need All Gay Schools?

October 13, 2008

By Andrew Breitbart
The Washington Times

Elected officials in Chicago made international news last week by proposing to create a public high school for gay, lesbian and transgender students.

The Pride Campus of the School for Social Justice is set to open with 600 students in 2010, and its curriculum promises to “teach the history of all people who have been oppressed and the civil rights movements that have led to social justice and queer studies.”

Yet no American journalist covering the presidential race has queried the Chicago-based Sen. Barack Obama about this radical development in education reform: a key issue to which the young senator has committed much of his public life and all of his executive experience.

From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Obama oversaw the Annenberg Challenge, a nearly $100 million Chicago-based education-reform group co-founded by unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.

Nor has any intrepid mainstream-media reporter looked into a greater trend across the United States in segregating public school students by politically correct “victim” class for the explicit purpose of indoctrinating children in “social justice.” This loaded political term has been preached by such Obama allies and mentors as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Rev. Michael Pfleger and Mr. Ayers: committed left-wing agitators all, and all off-limits to the working press.

So what exactly is “social justice”? This past Martin Luther King Day, a group of social-welfare students at the University of California at Berkeley got together and took a stab at defining it:

“Social justice is a process, not an outcome, which (1) seeks fair (re)distribution of resources, opportunities and responsibilities; (2) challenges the roots of oppression and injustice; (3) empowers all people to exercise self-determination and realize their full potential; (4) and builds social solidarity and community capacity for collaborative action.”

Fitting the narrative, the Social Justice High School in Chicago was created in an act of political protest. The first words on its main campus’ Web site at the “About Us” tab make it clear that public funds are intended to develop future Moveon.org and ACORN-style activists: “On May 13th, 2001, fourteen community residents of Little Village neighborhood staged a nineteen-day hunger strike demanding the construction of a new high school.”

The protesters back then chanted: “Construyan la escuela ahora!” (“Build the school now!”), and victory was theirs. It was “Si, Se Puede” in action, the Spanish-language Obama chant, and also, not at all coincidentally, the slogan of self-described “social justice” activist Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union.

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/
2008/oct/13/obama-high-no-child-left-benign/

Obama fundraiser, convicted of fraud, spills beans

October 11, 2008

By MIKE ROBINSON, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO – Jailed political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, the Chicago real estate developer who helped launch Barack Obama on his political career, is whispering secrets to federal prosecutors about corruption in Illinois and the political fallout could be explosive.

In this Wednesday, June 4, 2008 file photo, Antoin 'Tony' Rezko ... 
In this Wednesday, June 4, 2008 file photo, Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko returns to the Federal Courthouse where a jury found him guilty on 16 counts of a 24-count indictment in his corruption trail in Chicago. Federal prosecutors moved Monday, Oct. 6, 2008 to delay indefinitely the sentencing of convicted fundraiser Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko, sending their strongest hint yet that he is ready to spill his political secrets.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose administration faces multiple federal investigations over how it handed out jobs and money with advice from Rezko, is considered the most vulnerable.

Rezko also was friendly with Obama — offering him a job when he finished law school, funding his earliest political campaigns and purchasing a lot next to his house. But based on the known facts, charges so far and testimony at Rezko’s trial, there’s no indication there’ll be an October surprise that could hurt the Democratic presidential nominee — even though Rezko says prosecutors are pressing him for dirt about Obama.

“I think this strikes fear into the Blagojevich administration and the Statehouse Democrats but not into the Obama campaign,” says state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Westmont, a John McCain delegate to the GOP convention but an old friend of Obama.

Rezko, 53, a real estate developer, was convicted in June of scheming to use his clout with the Blagojevich administration to squeeze $7 million in kickbacks out of a contractor and seven money management firms seeking to do business with the state.

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beans;_ylt=AnlZpy1snYvmnsUn1pKz0CWs0NUE

Worsening polls reveal Obama’s pastor problem

March 20, 2008
By Jitendra Joshi

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Democrat Barack Obama suffered in the polls Thursday after a much-acclaimed speech on race that, pundits said, had failed to defuse voters’ anger over rage-filled sermons by his former pastor.

US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) ...
US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks to supporters during a campaign stop at the University of Charleston in Charleston, West Virginia, March 20, 2008.REUTER/John Sommers II (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)

Waging an acrimonious battle against Hillary Clinton for the Democrats’ White House nomination, Obama confessed to being bruised by the controversy surrounding his longtime Chicago preacher, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

“In some ways this controversy has actually shaken me up a little bit and gotten me back into remembering that, you know, the odds of me getting elected have always been lower than some of the other conventional candidates,” the Illinois senator told CNN in an interview that aired late Wednesday.

“As a practical matter, in terms of how this plays out demographically, I can’t tell you. And the speech I gave yesterday (Tuesday) obviously was not crafted to hit a particular demographic,” he said.

Obama, the first African-American with a viable shot at the presidency, used his landmark address on race and politics to try to blunt the Wright controversy but also to elevate the debate to a higher plane.

On endless television replays of his sermons, Wright has been shown assailing US and Israeli “terrorism,” calling on blacks to sing “God damn America,” and alleging that AIDS in Africa was spread by the US government.

Many conservative commentators have fastened on Obama’s refusal to disown Wright….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080320/ts_alt_afp/
usvoteobama_080320160022

Obama Wounded by Association With Fiery Pastor?

March 15, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom 

It now seems that Senator Obama’s bid for the White House has suffered a significant set back due to his association with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

Some of Rev. Wright’s sermons have been called “revolutionary” and “unAmerican.”
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., ... 
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, shown here with his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, March 10, 2005. Obama on Friday March 14, 2008 denounced inflammatory remarks from his pastor, who has railed against the United States and accused the country of bringing on the Sept. 11 attacks by spreading terrorism.(AP Photo/Trinity United Church of Christ)

Rev. Wright, former pastor at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, married the Senator and his wife, baptized his children and preached to him on Sundays for more than 17 years.  Senator Obama told Major Garrett of the Fox News Network that he frequently made donations to the church and hired Rev. Wright to assist as a campaign adviror.  Senator Obama also prayed with Rev. Wright before the Senator announced his run for the presidency.

In a sermon on the Sunday after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Wright suggested the United States brought on the attacks.

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Wright said. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.”

In a 2003 sermon, he said blacks should condemn the United States.

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

He also gave a sermon in December comparing Obama to Jesus, promoting his candidacy and criticizing his rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Barack knows what it means to be a black man to be living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people,” Wright told a cheering congregation. “Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a nigger.”

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. performed Barack Obama's wedding ceremony and held a largely ceremonial role on a campaign committee.
The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. performed Barack Obama’s wedding ceremony and held a largely ceremonial role on a campaign committee. (By E. Jason Wambsgans — Chicago Tribune)

Leaders of the Black American community appeared on several TV talk shows last night and this morning to say that White people don’t understand the Black church or Black culture.

The problem is: people do understand that when one hints or implies that America caused a justifiable 9/11 attack upon the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon the accusation is unfounded an inflamatory.

Senator Obama has denounced the preacher and removed him from his team of advisors.

Senator Obama has said that he was not present in the church during Rev. Wrights most disconcerting sermons — but people are asking how the Senator could have participated in that church for so long and been so close to Rev. Wright without realizing that the preacher’s rhetoric was going to cause him problems down the road someday.

The problem is: the road is here now.  And the video tapes of Rev. Wright’s sermons will likely hurt a steamrolling Obama campaign.

Visit us at:
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Related:
Outspoken Minister Out Of Obama Campaign

Obama denounces pastor’s 9/11 comments

Race issue marring election unnecessarily
http://www.nowpublic.com/culture/race-issue-marring-election-unnecessarily

Trinity United Church of Christ (Chicago):
http://www.tucc.org/home.htm

Outspoken Minister Out Of Obama Campaign

March 15, 2008

By Peter Slevin 
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 15, 2008; Page A01

CHICAGO, March 14 — A campaign spokesman said Friday night that the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., former pastor at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, is no longer affiliated with Sen. Barack Obama‘s presidential race after coming under fresh scrutiny for controversial comments that the Illinois Democrat called “inflammatory and appalling.”
The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. performed Barack Obama's wedding ceremony and held a largely ceremonial role on a campaign committee.
The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. performed Barack Obama’s wedding ceremony and held a largely ceremonial role on a campaign committee. (By E. Jason Wambsgans — Chicago Tribune)

Wright, who presided over Obama’s wedding and supplied the “audacity of hope” line that has become one of the candidate’s signatures, has been a source of controversy for Obama for months because of the inflammatory words and themes of some sermons.

Last month, in a meeting with Jewish leaders in Cleveland, Obama said Wright was “like an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don’t agree with.”

But more examples of Wright’s rhetoric surfaced this week, including a speech Wright delivered in 2006 at Howard University in which he said: “Racism is how this country was founded and how this country was run. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God.” The speech was quoted in an op-ed article in Friday’s Wall Street Journal.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/14/AR2008031404218.html?hpid=topnews

Related:
Obama denounces pastor’s 9/11 comments

Race Issue Marring Election Unnecessarily

Obama’s Pastor Known for “Inflammatory Rhetoric”

Obama’s Pastor Known for “Inflammatory Rhetoric”

March 13, 2008

Obama’s Pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Has a History of What Even Obama’s Campaign Aides Say Is ‘Inflammatory Rhetoric’

ABC News

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor for the last 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s south side, has a long history of what even Obama’s campaign aides concede is “inflammatory rhetoric,” including the assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own “terrorism.”

In a campaign appearance earlier this month, Sen. Obama said, “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial.” He said Rev. Wright “is like an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with,” telling a Jewish group that everyone has someone like that in their family.

Barack Obama, Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Rev. Wright married Obama and his wife Michelle, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

An ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright’s sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” he said in a 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”

In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda’s attacks because of its own terrorism.

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.

“We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost,” he told his congregation.

Sen. Obama told the New York Times he was not at the church on the day of Rev. Wright’s 9/11 sermon. “The violence of 9/11 was inexcusable and without justification,” Obama said in a recent interview. “It sounds like he was trying to be provocative,” Obama told the paper.

Rev. Wright, who announced his retirement last month, has built a large and loyal following at his church with his mesmerizing sermons, mixing traditional spiritual content and his views on contemporary issues.

“I wouldn’t call it radical. I call it being black in America,” said one congregation member outside the church last Sunday.

“He has impacted the life of Barack Obama so much so that he wants to portray that feeling he got from Rev. Wright onto the country because we all need something positive,” said another member of the congregation.

Rev. Wright, who declined to be interviewed by ABC News, is considered one of the country’s 10 most influential black pastors, according to members of the Obama campaign.

Obama has praised at least one aspect of Rev. Wright’s approach, referring to his “social gospel” and his focus on Africa, “and I agree with him on that.”

Sen. Obama declined to comment on Rev. Wright’s denunciations of the United States, but a campaign religious adviser, Shaun Casey, appearing on “Good Morning America” Thursday, said Obama “had repudiated” those comments.

In a statement to ABCNews.com, Obama’s press spokesman Bill Burton said, “Sen. Obama has said repeatedly that personal attacks such as this have no place in this campaign or our politics, whether they’re offered from a platform at a rally or the pulpit of a church.

Sen. Obama does not think of the pastor of his church in political terms. Like a member of his family, there are things he says with which Sen. Obama deeply disagrees. But now that he is retired, that doesn’t detract from Sen. Obama’s affection for Rev. Wright or his appreciation for the good works he has done.”