Scroll down for press conference blogging…Allah’s got vid clips here
What, pray tell, could Barack Obama possibly say now to undo the damage of his two decades of bad judgment about Jeremiah Wright?
Will he weigh in on black liberation theology? Wright’s phrenological discourse? How about Wright’s defense of his comparison between the Roman soldiers who killed Jesus and the US Marine Corps?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Maybe we’ll find out:
Obama was asked about Rev. Jeremiah Wright just now by a woman in Winston-Salem who tells the audience to watch his PBS interview, which will quell their concerns.
“I’m going to be having a big press conference afterward to talk about this,” he responded, then referred back to a story the woman told about a mother having to borrow month to get to work.
“This is diverting attention from the first story that you told,” Obama said.
So, he’s advising supporters to watch the Bill Moyers interview. What about the NAACP and National Press Club diatribes?
2:00pm Eastern. Here we go. Barack press conference is on:
“I’m outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle. The person that I saw yesterday was not the person I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate. I believe they do not accurately portray the perspective of the black church. They certainly don’t portray mine. If he considers this political posturing, then he doesn’t know me very well. And I don’t know him well either.”
AIDS conspiracy: “Ridiculous proposition.”
Farrakhan support and analogy of Marines/terrorism: “They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. They should be denounced. And that’s what I’m doing clearly and unequivocally here today.”
It’s antithetical to our campaign. It’s antithetical to what I’m about. It’s not what America stands for. Rev. Wright does not speak for me. He doesn’t speak for our campaign. I can’t prevent him from making these outrageous remarks…When I say I find these statements appalling, I mean it…Makes me angry and saddens me.”
1) Why the change in tone between now and yesterday? Obama: “I hadn’t seen it…He wasn’t just defending himself. He was presenting a worldview…What particularly angered me was the suggestion that my previous remarks were political posturing…”
Ok. Let’s be clear then: It wasn’t the fact that Wright has been spewing this same recycled crap for years that finally got Obama mad. It was that he finally realized it was hurting his campaign. And he was personally miffed by Wright’s insults against him.
2) What does this say about your judgment to superdelegates? “The person I saw was not the person that I’d come to know over 20 years…Shocked me, surprised me.”
Anyone with eyes yesterday saw that Wright’s was a finely-honed, time-tested act.
2:11pm Eastern. “Now is the time to pull together.” Refers to dire economic situation. “That didn’t matter to Rev. Wright. What mattered to him was commanding center stage.”
“I don’t think he showed much concern for me…or for what we’re trying to do in this campaign.”
3) Question: Have you spoken with Wright? “No.”
BO: “This has obviously put strains on the relationship” between Obama and Trinity Church.
“I want people to understand who I am. In some ways, the things Wright said yesterday directly contradict my life, issues, service, what I’ve said in my books, in my convention speech, announcement for president, everything I’ve said on the campaign trail. What I tried to do in Philadelphia was provide a context and lift up some of the contradictions and complexities in America and try to make something constructive out of it. There wasn’t anything constructive out of yesterday. All it was was a bunch of rants that aren’t grounded in truth…It was a show of disprespect to me.”
5) Question: What did Michelle Obama think? BO: “She was similarly angered.”
6) Question: Do you agree with Wright that attacks on him are attacks on black church? How important is black liberation theology?
BO: “I’m not a theologian.”
But he’s the Obamessiah!
BO: “I went to church and listened to sermons. What I heard, there’s an emphasis on importance of social struggle, striving for equality, justice, fairness, a social gospel. Rather than fancy word like black liberation theology, he uses social gospel.” Didn’t view attacks as attacks on black church.
2:23pm Eastern. There have been unfair caricatures, but “yesterday, he caricatured himself.”
Obama says he tried contacting Wright before his Philadelphia speech. He was on a cruise. When he returned, they did speak. But Obama will not elaborate. “But what I can say is that I told him I found the snippets of past sermons inexcusable.”
“There’s been great damage” to relationship with Wright. “Won’t be the same.” Denies that Wright was his spiritual mentor. But he married Michelle and I, baptized my children, prayed with us, etc. etc.
Update: Operation Chaos suspended!
Update: Rick Moran reflects on a “defining moment.”