Archive for the ‘pastor’ Category

Republicans feel good about Obama match-up

April 3, 2008
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hillary Clinton may be the Democrat who Republicans love to hate, but some Republican strategists say they have no fear of a match-up with her rival Barack Obama in November’s presidential election.
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Many Republicans have long believed Clinton, the polarizing New York senator and former first lady with the high negative ratings, would make an easier White House foe by energizing conservatives and alienating independents.

But Republicans say the relentless Democratic nominating battle has given them new hope for November and exposed weaknesses in Obama that will play a central role in any general election campaign against the Illinois senator.

“I believe he has a glass jaw — and he is going to get hit hard,” said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.

Obama’s voting record in the U.S. Senate — one magazine ranked him the most liberal senator in 2007 — and during his years in the Illinois state Senate will get a more thorough examination in a campaign against Republican John McCain than it has so far, he said.

“He portrays himself as a centrist and a moderate, but if you look at his votes it’s tough to see anything but a liberal. He is more liberal than Hillary Clinton,” Fabrizio said.

The questions raised by Clinton about Obama’s lack of experience and suitability as commander in chief will be revitalized, Republicans say, as will the controversy about inflammatory comments by Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Coupling that with Obama’s weakness among blue-collar Democrats and Hispanics, and the possibility of a prolonged nominating fight that turns off Clinton backers and independents, Republicans are gaining confidence about a November race against Obama.

Many Republicans have long believed Clinton, the polarizing New York senator and former first lady with the high negative ratings, would make an easier White House foe by energizing conservatives and alienating independents.

But Republicans say the relentless Democratic nominating battle has given them new hope for November and exposed weaknesses in Obama that will play a central role in any general election campaign against the Illinois senator.

“I believe he has a glass jaw — and he is going to get hit hard,” said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.

Obama’s voting record in the U.S. Senate — one magazine ranked him the most liberal senator in 2007 — and during his years in the Illinois state Senate will get a more thorough examination in a campaign against Republican John McCain than it has so far, he said.

“He portrays himself as a centrist and a moderate, but if you look at his votes it’s tough to see anything but a liberal. He is more liberal than Hillary Clinton,” Fabrizio said.

The questions raised by Clinton about Obama’s lack of experience and suitability as commander in chief will be revitalized, Republicans say, as will the controversy about inflammatory comments by Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Coupling that with Obama’s weakness among blue-collar Democrats and Hispanics, and the possibility of a prolonged nominating fight that turns off Clinton backers and independents, Republicans are gaining confidence about a November race against Obama.

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Blacks Split on Obama’s Reverend Wright

March 30, 2008

By Andrea Billups
The Washington Times
March 30, 2008

The reaction to Sen. Barack Obama’s March 18 speech in Philadelphia on his firebrand pastor and race in America showsa generation gap within the black community, according to scholars and analysts.
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)
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Despite criticism that he didn’t fully address the angry comments by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Mr. Obama’s youth and powerful skills as an orator continue to offer hope to many that he can bridge what he defined in his speech as a national “stalemate” — a civil rights era perception of race as an always-present threat to blacks versus the more unifying view of a younger generation that increasingly sees the world and politics as colorblind.
 

Charles Ellison, a senior fellow at the Center for African-American Policy and chief editor of blackpolicy.org, describes a tension among blacks and a “growing generation gap between new school versus old school.”
 

“The new hip-hop generation, there is a focus on economic, political and social empowerment. They look at a lot of major black elected officials who are young — D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty; in Newark, Cory Booker; and in Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, who are all about the empowerment paradigm. We’ve got close to 650 black state elected officials and 43 black members of Congress, so they are used to this notion already in popular media.”

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080330/NATION/412979176/1001
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 role on an Obama for President campaign committee. (Photo by E. Jason Wambsgans — Chicago Tribune)

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/
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The Origin of Obama’s Pastor Problem

March 20, 2008

By JAMES CARNEY AND AMY SULLIVAN
TIME Magazine
March 20, 2008

The speech he delivered at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia was an artfully reasoned treatise on race and rancor in America, the most memorable speech delivered by any candidate in this campaign and one that has earned Obama comparisons to Lincoln, Kennedy and King. But that doesn’t mean it will succeed in its more prosaic mission of appealing to voters who have their doubts about Obama and his preacher. It left unanswered a crucial question: What attracted Obama to Wright in the first place?

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http://news.yahoo.com:80/s/time/20080320/us_
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Sometimes, friends are a politician’s worst enemy

March 19, 2008

By Andrea Billups
The Washington Times
March 19, 2008

In the wake of the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s, President Harding remarked: “I have no trouble with my enemies … [it’s] my … friends … that keep me walking the floors at night.”

Warren G. Harding

Warren G. Harding, President of the United States 1921-1923.
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Today’s presidential candidates likely feel the same way at times, facing a certain guilt by association, as their personal connections dovetail with their political ambitions. The media are watching — beware your past.
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Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois faced down his own relationship with his controversial Chicago pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., in a speech yesterday that sought to distance himself from Mr. Wright’s anti-American and seemingly anti-white teachings and to bridge a gap on racial understanding, particularly his own views.
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Although Mr. Obama’s speech generated much attention….

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080319/NATION/62946736/1001

A Speech That Fell Short

March 19, 2008

By Michael Gerson
The Washingon Post 
Wednesday, March 19, 2008; Page A15
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Barack Obama has run a campaign based on a simple premise: that words of unity and hope matter to America. Now he has been forced by his charismatic, angry pastor to argue that words of hatred and division don’t really matter as much as we thought.
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Obama’s speech in Philadelphia yesterday made this argument as well as it could be made. He condemned the Rev. Jeremiah Wright‘s views in strong language — and embraced Wright as a wayward member of the family. He made Wright and his congregation a symbol of both the nobility and “shocking ignorance” of the African American experience — and presented himself as a leader who transcends that conflicted legacy. The speech recognized the historical reasons for black anger — and argued that the best response to those grievances is the adoption of Obama’s own social and economic agenda.
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It was one of the finest political performances under pressure since John F. Kennedy at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960. It also fell short in significant ways.
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The problem with Obama’s argument is that Wright is not a symbol of the strengths and weaknesses of African Americans. He is a political extremist, holding views that are shocking to many Americans who wonder how any presidential candidate could be so closely associated with an adviser who refers to the “U.S. of KKK-A” and urges God to “damn” our country. .
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Obama’s excellent and important speech on race in America did little to address his strange tolerance for the anti-Americanism of his spiritual mentor.
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Take an issue that Obama did not specifically confront yesterday. In a 2003 sermon, Wright claimed, “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.”
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This accusation does not make Wright, as Obama would have it, an “occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy.” It makes Wright a dangerous man. He has casually accused America of one of the most monstrous crimes in history, perpetrated by a conspiracy of medical Mengeles. .
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If Wright believes what he said, he should urge the overthrow of the U.S. government, which he views as guilty of unspeakable evil.
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If I believed Wright were correct, I would join him in that cause.
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But Wright’s accusation is batty, reflecting a sputtering, incoherent hatred for America. And his pastoral teaching may put lives at risk because the virus that causes AIDS spreads more readily in an atmosphere of denial, quack science and conspiracy theories.
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Obama’s speech implied that these toxic views are somehow parallel to the stereotyping of black men by Obama’s grandmother, which Obama said made him “cringe” — both are the foibles of family. But while Grandma may have had some issues to work through, Wright is accusing the American government of trying to kill every member of a race. There is a difference.
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Yet didn’t George Bush and other Republican politicians accept the support of Jerry Falwell, who spouted hate of his own? Yes, but they didn’t financially support his ministry and sit directly under his teaching for decades.
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The better analogy is this: What if a Republican presidential candidate spent years in the pew of a theonomist church — a fanatical fragment of Protestantism that teaches the modern political validity of ancient Hebrew law? What if the church’s pastor attacked the U.S. government as illegitimate and accepted the stoning of homosexuals and recalcitrant children as appropriate legal penalties (which some theonomists see as biblical requirements)? Surely we would conclude, at the very least, that the candidate attending this church lacked judgment and that his donations were subsidizing hatred. And we would be right.
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In Philadelphia, Obama attempted to explain Wright’s anger as typical of the civil rights generation, with its “memories of humiliation and doubt and fear.” But Wright has the opposite problem: He ignored the message of Martin Luther King Jr. and introduced a new generation to the politics of hatred.
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King drew a different lesson from the oppression he experienced: “I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate myself; hate is too great a burden to bear. I’ve seen it on the faces of too many sheriffs of the South. . . . Hate distorts the personality. . . . The man who hates can’t think straight; the man who hates can’t reason right; the man who hates can’t see right; the man who hates can’t walk right.”
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Barack Obama is not a man who hates — but he chose to walk with a man who does.

Obama confronts racial division in US, Talks About Rev. Wright

March 18, 2008
By NEDRA PICKLER and MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writers

PHILADELPHIA – Democratic Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to stem damage from divisive comments delivered by his pastor, while bluntly addressing anger between blacks and whites in the most racially pointed speech yet of his presidential campaign.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., speaks ...
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., speaks about race during an address in Philadelphia, Tuesday, March 18, 2008.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) 

Obama confronted America’s legacy of racial division head on, tackling black grievance, white resentment and the uproar over his former pastor’s incendiary statements. Drawing on his half-black, half-white roots as no other presidential hopeful could, Obama asserted: “This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected.”

Obama expressed understanding of the passions on both sides in what he called “a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years.”

Related:
The Right Stuff or The Wright Stuff

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Congregation Defends Obama’s Ex-Pastor

March 18, 2008

 By Eli Saslow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 18, 2008; Page A01

CHICAGO — The Rev. Jeremiah Wright spent 36 years teaching this congregation how to recognize injustice, and his parishioners sense it all around them now. On Sunday, more than 3,000 of them filled Trinity United Church of Christ on the city’s South Side to pray for their former pastor. They read a handout that described Wright’s newfound infamy as a “modern-day lynching.” They scrawled his name in tribute on the inside of their service programs and applauded as Wright’s protege, the Rev. Otis Moss III, stepped to the pulpit.
Supporters say that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is misunderstood.

Supporters say that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is misunderstood. (Brian Jackson – AP)

“No matter what they want,” Moss said, “we will not shut up.”

A simmering controversy over Wright’s provocative rhetoric and his connection to Sen. Barack Obama ignited last week after some of his old sermons were aired, prompting the Democratic presidential candidate to condemn them and severing Wright’s connection to the campaign. But inside this mega-church that Wright built up from financial ruin, his most loyal listeners offered a different interpretation: It is Wright, and black theology in its entirety, that is misunderstood.

To his supporters, the message Wright wove through more than 4,000 sermons is now disseminated in a handful of grainy, two-minute video clips that tell only part of his story. Yes, they acknowledge, he was sometimes overcome at the pulpit by a righteous rage about racism and social injustice. But he was a radical who also inspired women to preach, gays to marry and predominantly white youth groups to visit his services. Until he retired last month, Wright, 66, implored all comers at Trinity to “get happy” — to shout, to sing, to dance in the aisles while he preached the gospel.

“The world is only seeing this tiny piece of him,” Moss said. “Right now, we are all being vilified. ….

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 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/17/AR2008031702796.html?hpid=topnews

On Defensive, Obama Plans Talk on Race

March 18, 2008
Faced with what his advisers acknowledged was a major test to his candidacy, Senator Barack Obama sought on Monday to contain the damage from incendiary comments made by his pastor and prepared to address the issue of race more directly than at any other moment of his presidential campaign.

People hold signs about Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. ...
People hold signs about Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., association with Bishop Wright, Monday, March 17, 2008, outside of a MTV roundtable at Whistles Pub in Scranton, Pa.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Though he has faced questions about controversial statements by the pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., for more than a year, Mr. Obama is enduring intense new scrutiny now over Mr. Wright’s characterizations of the United States as fundamentally racist and the government as corrupt and murderous.

Mr. Obama, in a speech Tuesday in Philadelphia, will repeat his earlier denunciations of the minister’s words, aides said. But they said he would also use the opportunity to open a broader discussion of race, which his campaign has said throughout the contest that it wants to transcend. He will bluntly address racial divisions, one aide said, talking about the way they play out in church, in the campaign, and beyond.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/18/us/politics/18wright.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1205824279-fyW1AP6icLZhRooNv/cXMQ 

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.

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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