Sen. Barack Obama spent the entire hour this morning with Tim Russert on Meet the Press. The interview focused on the 2008 presidential race just days ahead of the Indiana and North Carolina primaries. I though it was a pretty good interview with Russert asking about the recent events and going into detail on many other issues.
Barack Obama said Sunday he never sought Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s counsel on political issues and would “absolutely not” seek his advice on policy if he gets to the White House.
The Democratic presidential candidate said his retiring pastor built a wonderful church that “lived out the social gospel,” but ultimately Wright’s comments about the United States over the last several months and over the last several years are contrary to what I stand for and who I am.
Obama has faced weeks of scrutiny over his relationship to his pastor of 20 years, and last month delivered a speech on race relations in the U.S. that grew out of demands that he define that relationship. At the time, Obama said he could no more divorce himself from the chief pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago than he could his white grandmother.
But after Wright appeared last week at the National Press Club and reaffirmed many of the anti-American positions he espoused from the pulpit, including blasting the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism and blaming the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on U.S. foreign policy, Obama denounced his former pastor.
“I did what I thought was right, which was denounce the words, not denounce the man,” Obama said of his earlier speech. “I think what really changed was he was going to double down on the statements he made before.”
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Obama repeated that he had not heard many of those positions while a congregant at the church, but he thought that Wright’s using the national platform that was given to him showed that “he didn’t have much regard for the moment that we’re in right now in the United States.”
Sound off below, how did he do?
Update – 2017
For information on the mythical September 7, 2008, Meet the Press broadcast, see this post.