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Is The Clinton Campaign Trying To Resurrect The Rev. Wright Story ?

by @ 9:36 am on April 9, 2008. Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Politics

Lanny Davis, a former adviser to Bill Clinton, and frequent surrogate for the Hillary Clinton Campaign on talk shows like Hardball, brings up what he calls unanswered questions about Barack Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright:

I have tried to get over my unease surrounding Barack Obama’s response to the sermons and writings of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. But the unanswered questions remain.


My concerns were retriggered when I read for the first time three excerpts from Rev. Wright’s sermons published several weeks ago in a national news magazine:

– “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. 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.”
— Sept. 16, 2001 (the first Sunday after 9/11)

– “The government . . . 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.”
— 2003

– “The United States of White America.”
— July 22, 2007

As I read and reread these words, I keep thinking: If my rabbi ever uttered such hateful words from the pulpit about America and declared all Palestinians to be terrorists, I have no doubt I would have withdrawn immediately from his congregation.

There are a few things about this opening part of Davis’s article that quite simply strain credulity.

First of all, are we supposed to believe that, notwithstanding the fact that the video clips that he refers to have been available since at least March 13th, and were played continuously on all three 24 hour news channels repeatedly both before and after Obama’s Philadelphia speech, that Davis only read about these statements for the first time recently ?

Second, there’s been no evidence produced that Obama was present when the remarks in question were made.

And, finally, Obama has repudiated Jeremiah Wright and removed him from his campaign. What more does Davis want ?

Davis goes on:

Mr. Obama made a choice to join the church and to ask Rev. Wright to marry him and his bride. He said for the first time a few weeks ago that had Rev. Wright not recently resigned as pastor of the church, he would have withdrawn. But that only reraised the same questions: Why didn’t he act before the resignation?

If he did not want to withdraw from the church – and I truly try to understand his personal difficulty doing so – then why not at least speak out publicly and say, in the famous phrase of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: “No – this is unacceptable.”

Furthermore, after knowing about some of these sermons and having serious problems with some of their messages, why did Mr. Obama still decide to appoint Rev. Wright to his official presidential campaign religious advisory committee?

Some have suggested that any Clinton supporters who continue to raise this issue are “playing the race card” or taking the “low” road.

When I said on CNN recently that concerns about the Wright-Obama issue were “appropriate” to continue to be discussed, my friend Joe Klein of Time Magazine said, “Lanny, Lanny, you’re spreading the poison right now” and that an “honorable person” would “stay away from this stuff.”

Attacking the motives of those who feel this discomfort about Senator Obama’s response or nonresponse to Reverend Wright’s comments is not just unfair and wrong. It also misses the important electoral point about winning the general election in November: This issue is not going away. If many loyal, progressive Democrats remain troubled by this issue, then there must be even more unease among key swing voters – soft “Reagan Democrats,” independents and moderate Republicans – who will decide the 2008 election.

In other words, Davis is making the argument that Obama’s association with Jeremiah Wright is really an issue of electability, which is really the only argument that Hillary has left at this point, especially when it comes to the superdelegates.

Davis admits that he is “a strong supporter of and a substantial fundraiser for Hillary Clinton for president,” and says that he “still believe[s] she should and will be the Democratic nominee.” But, he claims to be acting entirely on his own.

Believable ? You be the judge, but it reminds me of what I said yesterday about the narrative going in to the last two weeks before Pennsylvania votes:

The real question, I think, is what we’ll be talking about during the last two weeks leading up to the primary. Since TexOhio, we’ve gone through two separate cycles. First, it was all about Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Obama gave his Philadelphia speech and that seemed to be the end of it. Outside of the right-wing talk show realm, there hasn’t been much talk about Wright for weeks now and it’s hard to believe that it will have any more of an impact than it has already had; which, according to the polls, has been relatively minimal.

Then, it was all about Hillary and her three instances of lying.

When Rev. Wright was the story, the Clinton campaign benefited, both nationally and in Pennsylvania specifically. If the Wright issue were to come up again and help Clinton get the big win in the Keystone State that she needs to maintain a credible case to stay in the race, don’t you think they’d be helping it along if they could ?

I’m just sayin’.

One Response to “Is The Clinton Campaign Trying To Resurrect The Rev. Wright Story ?”

  1. Pug says:

    I’d still like an explanation from Lanny Davis about why he went on television for over a year and lied through his teeth to all of us about Bill Clinton and his blow jobs.

    Barack sure as hell isn’t the only one who’s got some ‘splaining to do.

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