Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Wright risks giving Obama critics more fodder. O'Reilly "flabbergasted" Wright did PBS interview.


WASHINGTON--The controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- Sen. Barack Obama's pastor -- is speaking Monday at the National Press Club as part of a divinity conference of black church leaders. Wright's decision to headline an event at the Press Club -- open to all media -- risks giving Obama's critics more fodder, as if they don't have enough already.

Meanwhile, PBS is touting an interview with Wright to be broadcast Friday on "Bill Moyers' Journal." Fresh material from Wright -- no matter how well-intended -- is not what Obama needs.

Wright's Press Club talk is supposed to be about offering perspective on black churches -- theology, history and politics, and the torrent of coverage stemming from Obama's presidential bid.

Wright's relationship with Obama triggered an uproar when video of Wright's inflammatory sermons surfaced. Faced with a crisis, Obama delivered a highly regarded speech in March about race and why he would not "disown" Wright, the senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side.

But the speech, good as it was, did not push Wright out of the picture.

Wright looms as a serious problem for Obama in his fight to be the Democratic presidential nominee over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and, if he wins, as a general election candidate against Sen. John McCain. Look no further than an ad the North Carolina Republican Party released Wednesday featuring a clip from Wright's "God Damn America" sermon and calling Obama an "extremist."

Fox News has been all over Wright -- helicopter shots of his Tinley Park mansion under construction -- and host Bill O'Reilly has been pounding Obama over Wright regularly on his show.

The backfire potential of Wright having any sort of a public profile at this point seems obvious.

I asked the church about the prospects of Wright further wounding Obama's candidacy, and I was e-mailed material about the divinity conference.

When the uproar over Wright started, Obama chief strategist David Axelrod asked his friends at Jasculca Terman -- a public affairs firm -- to advise Trinity on how to handle the crush of media coverage, and they did, pro bono. Jim Terman, the president of the firm, said, "We were not asked to provide our advice about the reported speech of Rev. Wright in Washington" and did not know about it until it was scheduled.

McCain denounced the North Carolina GOP party ad. "It's not the message of my campaign," he said. He wrote a letter to the state party chairman imploring them to pull the spot. The ad "degrades our civics," McCain said. The Republican National Committee also told the North Carolina party the ad was not "appropriate or helpful."

Obama, in Indiana, said he assumes if McCain "thinks that it's an inappropriate ad, that he can get them to pull it down since he's their nominee and standard bearer." The spot as I write this has not been pulled.

O'Reilly, chatting with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. on his show Wednesday night, said he was "flabbergasted" that Wright just does not "take a vacation." When O'Reilly is right, he's right.


Last night Fox News showed this North Carolina spot and it is a fair spot. It mentioned how kids were killed in Chicago by gangbangers, and how Obama, as a state senator, voted against the death penalty for these cold blooded killers. In fact, part of the reason there were 37 shootings here last weekend is because of politicians who are weak on crime, like Obama is. This is just another example, like after the ABC debate, that if anyone questions Obama they are considered racists. Obama and his people are going to great lengths to protect him from being challenged because they know, like at the ABC debate, he will fold like a cheap suit if he is challenged.

There is a question on race relations in the US that no one wants to talk about. Not Reverend Wright, not Obama,

and not Oreilly. Let's put it this way.
There is a black woman on the south side of Chicago, unmarried and having her second welfare baby. Is that because

of her own bad choices, or is it due to the hidden, lingering, subtle, or overt effects of white racism? Reverend

Wright says, "God Damn America. " Its white people done it to her. So where does Oreilly and Obama stand here?

Fill in the blanks.
Or put the question this way. Around Baltimore and Washington D.C. 80 percent of black males are in some process of

the criminal justice system. Tyrone gets up after noon, and sells some crack. He is busted again. Is that his

fault, due to a lifetime of bad choices, dodgeing responsibility, education, and gainful work, or is it white

peoples fault for not nurturing his self esteem and gently inducing him to get a Harvard education, like Obama?
Perhaps Tyrone is smoking Reverend Wright's intellectual crack, and believes it is never his responsibily, God Damn

America will never give him a chance.
Now go into a dark room where no one can even see your lips moving, and answer these questions for yourself. If you

are honest, you will not want to talk about the results.

The Two-headed Giant that Barack is battling — the Clintons, a Political Couple which has a hard time being truthful and her Surrogates, and the Republican Spin Machine, which also includes Cable Television, are very good, I would say excellent at re-labelling a person and re-characterizing them by use of the Media, brought and paid for by the Republican Party, mostly to shape, mold, distort, lie, carricaturize a person so the very thing they are, is not seen and that which they are not,is seen all in the hopes of continuing their Power and Domination over the American people!

Barack's achievement in Pennsylvania -- to close the enormous gap between him and Clintons was a monumental success and not given any credit by the Republican talking-points media. Instead they ask, "do we really know who Barack is?" -- They slyly ask, "why can't he close the deal?" This after showing him bowling over and over again and stating how he cannot relate to blue-collar workers with such a low bowling score or showing skits from Saturday Night Light which casts him a poor light, along with continuing whipping of Rev. Wrght and now his self-inflicted wound, bitter. They do not report the news anymore, they do not inform us of Iraq and other pertinent news but rather pass on Gossip, fit for the Enquirer Magazine or Entertainment Tonight, so far we have fallen!

Then there is the fact that the Clintons, a dynasty in their own right, have an army of political hacks all over the country that owe them, and they call in their favors one by one, which skewes the odds in favor of the Clintons. Barack does not have that long coattail to depend on. But, what he does have are political people who are tired of the spin and dishonesty and loyalty to the corporations and who want change, so they forge alliances with Obama whom they know incorporates the best hope for unity, and inspiration which can bring about real change and a break from the past of corporate greed and domination. Obama does not have to tear down his opponents or speak with a Loud Voice for the masses to hear him, although he is up against a Mighty Giant in the Clintons and the Republicans: Joe Scarborough, Pat Buchanan, Wolf Blitzer, and Fox News TV which berate, distort and belittle Barack and his accomplishments on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, and yet he is still standing and still getting endorsements, although bloodied and bruised, as Rush Limbaugh asked his loyalists to do.

Ironically, the very Republicans that are helping Hillary today, will turn on her like a mighty sword come Fall if she becomes the nominee! It seems they know things they are holding back on because they are trying their darnedest to get her to become the Democratic nominee. For years they had planned this and it is obvious that she is the one they really want to run against, and so for now she has a stalwart ally in the Republicans, again for now.

As Michael Moore so ably pointed out in his recent endorsement of Barack, Hillary Clinton ridicules Barack for his Pastor, Rev. Wright, yet who did they turn to when Bill was facing Impeachment due to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, who did they call -- yes, the very Rev. Wright himself, such hypocrisy! And, Remember, according to the Clintons, this was all supposed to be over by Super Tuesday!

However, despite the enormous odds and challenges, and brain washing, we, the people, do have a say in this process of ours, although that too can be suspect with some of the "voting machines" still in process. We can reclaim our Power! We can chose to turn off those so-called television news shows which are used as hack jobs instead of truly informing the news. Yet in spite of the odds, Barack continues to battle on for the peoples' true independence and for the people to have a true democratic say in this process of ours (that includes blue-collar working-class white people also, though some of the media like to brain wash us otherwise, because the more they try to departmentalize us as to who has who, they are dividing us). There is a Light at the end of this Tunnel!

And yes, the reason Rev. Wright is a problem for Obama is because reporters like Ms. Sweet continue to make it a problem and bring him up when he is not running to be President, Barack is and as he explained Rev. Wright's views are not his own!

How is Obama being weak for being against the death penalty? Why is asking about flag pins in a presidential debate important? The ABC123 debates lost credibility because of that one question. Also, until you the situation with a person and why they make certain choices, you have room to judge. Neither of the arguments make any sense.

Re: James Johnson
Rev. Wright spoke the truth. Hillary has never been called the N-Word and "God Damn America" doesn't mean "damned the people" of this country. It is a condemnation of the policies that existed and currently linger within American society that denied even the basic of human rights to Black people. Making racist remarks about pregnant single women and "brothers sellin' crack" does not begin to solve this social ill.

Now, you go in a dark room and ask yourself who's to blame for many of the social problems that exist in the Black community. While we share blame in our own social standing, the root of the blame for this problem fall squarely in the lap of America. America has not lived up to it's promise of equality.
As I stated earlier, Rev. Wright told the truth.

Now ask yourself, if Senator Barack Obama win the White House, what will you call him? Will it be President Obama or the "N-Word" in the White House?

Reminds me of an old saying in the Black Community. What do you call a Black man who graduated from Harvard? You call him a Nigger.

Sadly, that the way I think your mind works.

Why are reporters like you continuing to harp on the Issue of Reverend Wright in association to Senator Obama? If you want to talk about shady media practices, you have no further to go but to look into the mirror.

Rod Serling surely must be standing off stage talking about this presidential election. With Sen. Obama's longtime benefactor Rezko on trail for influence peddling (which of course is irrelevant to the campaign), those "mangled" (albeit rather specific) remarks concerning the working class, and the ever insightful ( or is it inciting) pastor of twenty years, it's amazing this candidate is still on his feet. Also suspicious. Why is the Democractic Party establishment still going to bat for Sen. Obama? And he doesn't seem to ever have to break into a sweat, what with those editorial writers at the New York Times scribbling their hearts out, and now Bill Moyers, who hasn't said one word on his program about Tony Rezko and his rich Iraqi friend in London. For all his rhetoric, Moyers turns out to be as gullible as the next starry-eyed progressive. Can't wait to see the "roosters coming home to roost..." In the meantime, for more on how these primaries are being manipulated, see the article I've posted at (or click on my screen name).



The death penalty has been proven time and again to have no effect on crime, even murder, whatsoever.

How is it "fair" to blame Obama for something happening in Chicago when he is a Senator in DC? That's like saying he's responsible for flooding on the Fox River after quick snow melt and heavy rains.

You and your conservative comrades are grasping at straws with this weak and hollow attack ad.

Moreover, this consistent and concerted effort on the part of those opposed to Obama to try and associate him with memes about radicalism and violence is becoming tiresome. Why not just put paper doll clothes on him and get all the lies out there all at once -- paint a turban on his head, black liberation theology vestments around his shoulders, an AK-47 in one hand and a manifesto/q'ran/list of evil things in the other...

That conservative-funded YouTube ad done by the same guy who did the Willie Horton attacks back in the day fits right into those propaganda efforts to try and tie the words "violence" and "radical" to him.

Too bad for you (and good for patriotic Americans everywhere) that most voters are seeing right through this ad hominem vitriol.

The question is why does Wright have to be in the public eye at all? What is he accomplishing? The people who have seen his videos have made up their minds. Wright is voluntarily speaking to the media, which leaves open the opportunity for his sermon sound bites to be replayed and seen by people who haven't seen them. People who perhaps are already wondering why Obama can't close the deal. The GOP has already aired an ad in NC using Wright's sound bites. Why is Wright surfacing now? What is he accomplishing? Obama has the black vote squarely (~95%) behind him. Poeple who have seen the tape and found it to be of no consequence are/have already voted for Obama. What is Wright hoping to achieve? It makes absolutely no sense.

I agree with you Lynn Sweet. Rev. Wright should just lay low until after Obama wins the Presidency (which he will do). All those haters out there (republican conservatives) will just try to use any explanation to his words Rev. Wright trys to offer up. There's no beating those idiots at the SPIN GAME. The conservatives are the masters of the lie and spin.

Wendall, makebe James Johnson was a little too blunt, but that 71% born-out-of-wedlock birthrate had better be lowered. Otherwise, sorry, but your communities future will be bleak. And something else, did it occur to you maybe 'whites' are tired of being blamed for everything. Being called 'slavemasters', 'crackers', 'white mother f--kers', 'the h-word', 'interlopers', 'hymies', and everything else. Just turn on some of those WVON talk-shows, its disgusting. Oh yeah, for everybodies information, ONLY FOUR PERCENT (4%---4/100---4 out of a hundred) whites in America had ancestors who had anything to do with slavery or the slave trade. My ancestors came to America around 1900 (both sides of family) as did mostly all eastern europeans. So I'm no slavemaster. And I want you to answer something: Why do the muslims and also the Ashanti tribesmen in what is now Ghana all get a free pass? They are THE ONES who made the slave trade possible. There the ones who hunted down and kidnapped the people inorder to sell to the europeans. Yet, you call them your brothers. I don't get it. Explain to me?

Rob, You Tube is NOT conservatives. Those are your yuppie pals, actually friends of the MTV crowd. And about 'Willie Horton', why doesn't anybody ever bring up it was AL GORE who did the commercial originally? In the '88 Dem Primaries. Then the Bush folks used it afterwards.

I think I'd be pissed off at America, too, if things like the Tuskeegee experiments were made to happen to my people, most of them sharecroppers who had just emerged from the shadow of slavery, still working the cotton plantations for a pittance.

Or if things like government and state-sponsored sterilization (often forced, often even without knowledge of the patients) was performed on the women of my tribe. I think I'd be pissed off.

The irony is that Jeremiah Wright served honorably as a Marine, then re-enliste and served honorably as a Navy corpsman and got a commendation from a President. He then studied theology and pastored for over 30 years. So what if he said some inflammatory things? Did you know his church also includes Whites? Sounds like a complex man, isn't he?

Don't we all have friends and family members whom we love but do not share the same politics of? Does remaining a friend mean we are somehow tainted by their political leanings? We might as well go back to Alabama, where the first question they ask you is, "What church do you go to?" and that's how they determine how to treat you from that day henceforth.

The nerve of this guys supporters in saying that their was somekind of distortion. Let me ask you one question, Did those words come from his month? Better yet let's put together a Senate inquiry.

If it walks and talks like aduck then it is a duck. Good night Rev Wright. Take it like a man and walk away.

I think the many in the news media, political pundits,some talk show hosts, and some of the American people owe Rev. Wright an apology. The media in their attempts to drum up controversy, lost sight of what they are to do; Tell the truth and give the real facts, not facts from your own opinions, in reporting information to the public.

Bill Moyers did a great job of letting someone who was unduly perscuted by the media and public to let us see for ourselve that he, Rev. Wright is a man and nothing to fear. It's kinda strange and odd that this same type of scrunity was not bestowed to the good Rev. Hagee. Go figure.

Anyway, as Rev. Wright said in his interview with Mr. Moyers, "What man meant for evil, God meant for good." I'm sure the press will never admit their misjudgement of this man,and try to shame Senator Obama through association but, rather try to justify it further. It's take great men and women to admit their errors, and apology for them. I won't hold my breathe waiting for someone to say that maybe, just maybe, a mistake was made. Bill O'Reilly being one of them.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on April 24, 2008 9:52 AM.

Obama picks up Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry superdelegate vote; Clinton had won state. was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama picks up Oregon superdelegate David Wu. Plouffe led superdelegate strategy session on Wednesday. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.