Obama Denounces Wright Comments
Barack Obama has unequivocally denounced the recent sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright in a press conference today.
The person that I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago,” he said. “His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.”
“They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs,” he said.
“If Reverend Wright thinks that’s political posturing, as he put it, then he doesn’t know me very well and based on his remarks yesterday, I may not know him as well as I thought either.”
“I gave him the benefit of the doubt in my speech in Philadelphia, explaining that he has done enormous good in the church,” he said. “But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS; when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century; when he equates the U.S. wartime efforts with terrorism — then there are no exuses. They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be denounced, and that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.”
More on this at Politico–read the whole thing. I believe that Obama did what he had to do today–denounce the extreme views of Wright, while still acknowledging the good things that Obama found in Trinity. Other OTB perspectives are welcome.
Update (James Joyner): I’m not sure what more Obama could say, to be honest. He’ll be tarred somewhat for having spent 20 years in Wright’s congregation and touting him so heavily as his mentor. But this should stop the bleeding.
Update (James Joyner): Kevin Drum, reacting to my first update, quips, “You betcha. I’m sure Sean Hannity and John McCain will take this straight to heart.” Heh. I don’t doubt that Obama’s opponents will continue to try to exploit the damage already done. I do, however, think today’s speech will limit the scope of said damage.