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Obama Stumps From the Opera House Stairs

By Shailagh Murray
LEBANON, N.H. -- When Sen. Barack Obama arrived at the opera house in downtown Lebanon this morning, 750 people were waiting inside -- and another 500 had gathered around the entrance, hoping to catch a glimpse.

Obama did them one better, in a scene as vivid as any that Hollywood could produce. "You took us by surprise," Obama exclaimed, in a brief speech from the steps, facing the cheering crowd and the town square beyond. "There is something stirring out there... I am riding this wave. You're the wave. Even though we couldn't get everybody inside, understand we're all in this together." Then he spent 15 minutes shaking hands, as the early birds with the seats waited for Obama's arrival inside.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 7, 2008; 11:22 AM ET
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If the man is not a secret black power fanatic, then he should denounce his church's stance.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama's thoughts on faith can be seen and heard here:

Posted by: kiku | January 7, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jake,

I hope that on things that matter to you, as this understandably does, you're not content to uncritically rely on the "plenty of information available on-line in order to denounce" x or y. Your nearest library must have copies that you could read for free.

I've read Dreams from My Father, though not The Audacity of Hope. It is is in no way a diatribe against white people. Obama is my senator and was my state senator before that. As a white constituent I can say that he has represented my needs and my hopes as well as he has those of my black neighbors.

This man is not a secret black power fanatic, please believe me.

Posted by: book | January 7, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse


I have not read the entire books -- again, that's why I'm asking the questions -- I already donated to Obama once, so I'm not about to buy his books. Thanks for the suggestion though. I got the same criticism when I asked questions about Micheal Moore's movies -- there's plenty of information available on-line in order to denounce the films short of paying money to the person being denounced -- FYI: I don't need to try cocaine before I can denounce crack dealers either. Any more questions?

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse


thanks for the invitation to pose civil questions. Mine is: have you yourself read either of Obama's books? (The correct title btw is Dreams _from_ My Father.)

If so, you would know whether your quotes from them have been jerked from their context and not need to ask others.

May I respectfully suggest that since you are so eager for answers to your questions you ought to do your homework and read them?

Posted by: book | January 7, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse


I understand -- I don't agree with my pastor all the time either and will gladly state so if asked on any individual issue -- I will let Obama "be" on those issues just as soon as he renounces the pastor on it.


You are right -- I don't know about the current state of systemic racism in this country -- that's why I'm asking questions above. If you think I'm taking passages completely out of context, please provide the context. If there's some "history" you think justifies Obama's church racial stance, please let us know. Since when is it "racism" to point out racism? I am not "racist" since I would denounce ANY church that promoted such views, regardless of the race of the congregation. Hopefully, though, any readers who have questions (as I do) will ask me -- I will always be more than happy to answer questions in a civil manner as long as they return the same courtesy.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

It's obvious from your comments that you have little understanding in the current state of systemic racism in this country. You stoop to inflammatory tactics, taking passages completely out of context. You have no historical perspective and are quite out of touch with what is happening in racialized America. Hopefully, readers will see your cleverly-veiled racism and take careful notice.

Posted by: rahaha | January 7, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

For those of you talking about Obama's church doctrine, don't try to make an issue where there is none. I do go to church, but I don't believe everthing my pastor says. I believe Obama himself stated that he is not always in agreement with the teachings of his pastor. So pls, let Obama be. Thanks.


Posted by: theoigilige | January 7, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Sure, bsimon -- Barack Obama is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life -- I still have this funny feeling about him ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, without the context, its difficult to comment on your quotes. They look a bit selective, to say the least. I suspect, with the latter, he's saying that he would try to protect muslims against persecution based on their faith. You know - guaranteeing the freedom of religion that our Constitution promises. With the former, it sounds like he's talking about his feelings as a youth. The word 'found' being past tense, it sounds like a recollection rather than a statement of current emotion.

Posted by: bsimon | January 7, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Fine, GraceMN, can we ask questions of "The One" directly from his own books then?

From "Dreams of My Father":

I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race.

From "Audacity of Hope":

I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why everyone is so interested in Senator Obama's church. First you accuse him of being a Muslim plant, that didn't work and now you are trying to make his church out to be some part of black power takeover. Oprah sometimes attends this church. There is nothing wrong or out of the ordinary for his church. Try going through the kindergarten papers again. Maybe you'll find something there.

Posted by: GraceMN | January 7, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse


I would never vote for Hillary Clinton in a million years -- I'm simply asking honest questions -- so much for "revealing" ourselves though.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

jgerbs711: You misunderstood the point I was trying to make; let me suggest reading my comment again.

I'm familiar with Obama's policies in the area I cover. The problem is that his policies are full of downsides and hidden "features". The only way to get him to answer for those downsides is for the MSM to do their job and ask him real questions. If they asked him real questions I don't think he'd be so very glib.

Here are a couple issues with his policies and past actions:

I urge everyone to go to his public appearances, ask him questions based on those, and then upload his response to Youtube.

We need to do the job the MSM refuses to do.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | January 7, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

well... JakeD, you've certainly revealed to all of us that you're a Clinton person. I hope all readers take note of these desperate last-ditch smears about Obama's church. These will be thhe Clinton's legacy if they're not careful.

Posted by: uhbkeys | January 7, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I personally think it's better that we clarify that with the candidate himself.

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey JakeD, the Guardian did an in-depth article on Obama's church and its influence on both him and his rhetoric. You may find it interesting:,,2235747,00.html

He tends to use the same rhetoric as his pastor, but with "American" substituting for "Black". It's your call whether you think the revised version is his actual beliefs. I personally think so.

Posted by: philgross30 | January 7, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse


Perhaps you missed Clinton's own words (in the thread you also cut and pasted to above)?

"Whatever happens tomorrow, we're going on," Clinton told CBS's Harry Smith Monday morning. "And we're going to keep going until the end of the process on February 5th. But I've always felt that this is going to be a very tough, hard-fought election, and I'm ready for that."

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton has already addressed that point and stated she is in for the long haul -- also on Drudge: 'She did not work this hard to get out after one state! All this talk is nonsense,' said one top adviser . . .

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if this is true, but The Drudge Report is saying that, facing a big loss in NH, Hillary may drop out soon. Hillary's team does love tipping off Drudge. Here's the report...

Posted by: writeava | January 7, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse


Are you sure about "ALL" Americans? How many of the people of New Hampshire do you think have seen Obama's church web site?


Such a speech would go a long ways toward answering the question -- I don't think it's "racist" to point that fact out -- but, for the record, I think any candidate who has "Pledge[d] allegiance to ANY racial leadership who espouse and embrace said racial Value System" has created the issue himself. YMMV (although, if David Duke were running for President again, I doubt it would).

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

And JakeD, we're not talking about Huckabee here. Don't be ridiculous. Does Obama need to make a JFK-esque speech about how he won't be beholden to the doctrines of his church? What his church says on it's website in no way reflects who Obama is or what he would do as President.

Posted by: jgerbs711 | January 7, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama will stand for all Americans. The media is only now catching on to the movement he has inspired. All eyes look to people of New Hampshire who have the opportunity tomorrow to bring us one step closer to turning the page on the Bush-Clinton-Bush dynasty and bring this nation together to address the challenges we face.

Posted by: edhere | January 7, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse


Sen. Obama has spent over a year laying out very detailed policy proposals. If you want to know about his policies, do a google search, or use one of the MANY websites that lay out the specific differences among the candidates. Obama (and his advisors) have rightly decided not to bog down the popular wave of support he's enjoying by rehashing his poilicy proposals. I get so frustrated when people say he has no substance. He's made many, many policy speeches over the last year and a half. Go search for them online (here's one about public service that was particularly inspiring, and unprecedented among other candidates:

If you have just started following this race as it culminates, then it is your responsibility to catch up, and there are many resources out there to help you do so.

Posted by: jgerbs711 | January 7, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

For once, I agree with Lonewacko. The press also needs to ask Obama about his church's doctrine:

Commitment to the BLACK Community

Commitment to the BLACK Family

Adherence to the BLACK Work Ethic

Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the BLACK Community

Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting BLACK Institutions

Pledge allegiance to all BLACK leadership who espouse and embrace the BLACK Value System

Personal commitment to embracement of the BLACK Value System

(Emphasis added)

If you don't believe me, look it up on Obama's church web site: Trinity United Church of Christ

Now, take that doctrine and substitute WHITE for BLACK! If a white church put out that kind of doctrine, how long do you think it would take for Sharpton and Jackson to be out front with 10,000 protesters?

Posted by: JakeD | January 7, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

If he was in fact a rock star this would be acceptable coverage. However, he is not a rock star. He's running for president of the U.S. Thus, not asking him questions about his policies is a public disservice. Can I suggest that the WaPo does their job and does some real reporting for a change?

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | January 7, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

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