Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama Denounces Wright

Barack Obama just finished an extraordinary and much needed press conference, in which he denounced Jeremiah Wright's insulting performance at yesterday's National Press Club - insulting to the American people, the political process, as well as Barack Obama.

Obama said he found Wright's statement that AIDS was introduced into the African-American community by the US government "ridiculous," and Obama took exception to Wright's praise of Louis Farrakhan. But most significant was Obama's denunciation of Wright's mocking of the political process in which all Americans are now engaged.

Obama distinguished between Wright in the Bill Moyers interview and Wright at the National Press Club in Washington yesterday. I found the Moyers interview helpful - as I wrote here on Sunday - as did Obama. I also found Wright's talk to the NAACP in Detroit on Sunday to be informative and entertaining.

But Wright's performance at the National Press Club yesterday was appalling. Far from putting the sound bites that ignited this controversy in context - as Wright did in the Moyers' interview - Wright in Washington yesterday stepped up his insults and contempt for the American people. Obama was completely right to describe these as "ravings".

Obama needed to do this. It could not have been easy. But he stepped up to the camera, denounced and divorced Wright, and answered every question.

His hope is that the remaining primary campaign can now return to a focus on issues that need resolving - the economy and the Iraq war. Wright will no doubt not go quietly. But Barack Obama has shown he has the steel to do what was needed in this crisis.
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