Barack Obama Press Conference
by Todd Beeton, Tue Apr 29, 2008 at 10:35:56 AM EDT
I caught some of Barack Obama's press conference to address Jeremiah Wright's recent antics. Obama is finally starting to show some measure of justified anger at what his former pastor has done to him. "What Rev. Wright said yesterday directly contradicts everything I've done during my life. It contradicts how I was raised and the setting in which I was raised, it contradicts the issues that I've worked on, it contradicts what I've written in my books...it contradicts everything I've been saying on this campaign trail." He's still remarkably measured in both tone and rhetoric. While according to Mark Halperin, he finally has come out and said of Wright's words: "They offend me. They rightly offend all Americans and they should be denounced. And that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally today," he still refuses to entirely throw Wright under the bus. Not sure why he continues to insist on defending Wright: "I continue to believe Rev. Wright has been a leader in the South side, the church he has built is outstanding, I think that he has preached in the past some wonderful sermons..." I'm glad to finally see him get exercised: "That's enough. That's a show of disrespect to me. It's also, I think, an insult to what we've been trying to do in this campaign."
There are a couple problems that this press conference aren't likely to assuage. First is Obama's statement that he guesses he didn't know Wright as well as he thought he did. "The person that I saw yesterday was not the person that I had come to know over 20 years." That's a big problem for someone running on judgment. Secondly, yesterday Obama pointed to Wright's off-message press tour as proof that the his campaign was not managing or coordinating with Wright, I suppose to distance himself from Wright prove to people that he is indeed Obama's former pastor. What is does for me is call into question his fitness to run a general.
Update [2008-4-29 14:50:48 by Todd Beeton]:Fox News's take: "This could be a turning point in the campaign for the Democratic nomination for the presidency."
Update [2008-4-29 14:58:39 by Todd Beeton]:Of course it also gives FoxNews the license to replay much of Wright's weekend press tour. Interestingly, CNN appears to just be replaying Obama's press conference, perhaps in repentance for devoting literally hours of coverage to Wright last night.