Obama Live Press Conference on Wright: Throws Wright Under the Bus
Update: The live-blog below is of the q and a after the statement, when I first tuned in. I'm watching a replay of his speech and it's even more harsh on Rev. Wright. It was unequivocal. Be sure to watch the replay of his original comments. CNN will replay at 3pm ET.
Barack Obama is on CNN now giving a live press conference on Rev. Wright. I'll live blog.
He's throwing Wright under the bus. When he hears conspiracy theories about AIDS or that Farrakhan is a great person, it goes directly contrary to what he believes.
The person he saw yesterday was not the person he has come to know over 20 years. He understands Wright felt villified and attacked and wanted to defend himself. But the insensitivity and outrageousness of his statements and performance during q and a period shocked and suprised him.
He thinks ultimately American people believe in the ideas of his campaign.
He felt there was a complete disregard for what the American people are going through.
He keeps repeating Wright's statements were a "performance." What mattered to Wright was "commanding center stage."
He wants to use this conference to say that whatever relationship he had with Wright has changed. He didn't show regard for Obama or American people.
He hasn't spoken to Wright about this.
Obama says he reaction today has more to do with who he is and what this campaign is about rather than the political aspects. What Rev. Wright said yesterday directly contradicts what he's done over his life and what he believes. From how he was raised, to his decision to go into public service, what he said in his books and in his 2004 speech and in his presidential announcement.
There was nothing constructive out of yesterday. It was a bunch of rants that aren't grounded in truth. He can't construct something positive out of that.
Wright disrespected him and insulted what his campaign has been trying to do. Michelle was similarly angered.
On Black Liberation Theology: Says he's not a theologian. He went to church and listened to sermons. In those that he heard, and it's true in many black churches, there's an emphasis on the importance of social struggle, a social gospel.
What we saw yesterday was that when you overly focus on the plight of the oppressed, it doesn't bring people together.
He didn't view the initial round of soundbites as an attack on the black church but a caricature of who Wright was. The Moyers interview at least gave some sense of rounding out the edges. Yesterday he caricatured himself. That made Obama angry and also sad.
He tried unsuccessfully to reach Wright before PA speech. Did speak to him after, and told him he found what was in the snippets being aired offensive and inexcusable.
There's been great damage. It may have been unintentional on his part, but he does not see the relationship being the same after this.
Says Wright said one thing that was true: He was never Obama's mentor or spiritual advisor. "He was my pastor, married Michelle and I, baptized my children, prayed with us when we announced this race, so I'm disappointed."
End of press conference.
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