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Obama Speech Confronts Racial Divisions


Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., speaks about race during a news conference in Philadelphia, Tuesday, March 18, 2008.(AP.)

By Shailagh Murray
PHILADELPHIA -- Sen. Barack Obama sought to quell the political firestorm stirred by his former pastor Jeremiah Wright with a deeply personal speech about black anger, white anger, and the gulf that race continues to represent in U.S. society.

"Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now," Obama asserted. "We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America -- to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality."

The 37-minute speech had consumed Obama in recent days. For the first time in a year, he was faced with a potentially lethal threat to his candidacy that was only partly within his control. Wright's racially charged rhetoric, a throwback the militant 1970s, threatened to sabotage a campaign built around the ideas of unity and change. Obama denounced Wright's comments when they surfaced on Friday, but he knew interviews wouldn't be enough. And so he began crafting today's speech, at once pained and unnerved by the task at hand.

Obama spoke with a serious voice, reading each word carefully from the teleprompter. The audience sat silently until halfway through the text -- an eternity for an Obama event, where casual one-liners are often met with a standing ovation.

"I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas," Obama declared to the hushed auditorium. "And for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible," he said.

In his 20s, after years of struggling with his racial identity, Obama began attending Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side. It provided him with a community and identity that was missing in his itinerant upbringing. And after being raised by his white grandparents, it also brought him deeper into the African American fold.

"As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me," said Obama of Wright. "He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions -- the good and the bad -- of the community that he has served diligently for so many years."

Obama again denounced the inflammatory statements that have dominated cable news and talk radio coverage in recent days. "Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems."

But he added, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother -- a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."

"These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love."

He tackled the rich subculture of the African American church experience. "Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, and clapping, and screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and, yes, the bitterness and biases that make up the black experience in America."

There also is anger. And "that anger is not always productive," said Obama. "But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races."

He added, "In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race."

Wright's mistake, said Obama, "is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country -- a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past."

Posted at 1:17 PM ET on Mar 18, 2008
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Posted by: rmekhgz xlwchjnp | April 16, 2008 9:20 AM

I was extremely disappointed by Senator Obama's speech. It was well-written and nicely delivered but I've heard it before. That's what he does. He gives well-written, nicely delivered speeches that offer us a glimpse of a world that could be.
Then the Senator acts as the person he really is.
After his anti-war speech in 2002, he became the political candidate who waffled on the war because because it was politically expedient to do so.
After his 2004 unity speech he continued to support an anti-American, anti-white extremist pastor.
After declaring that he wasn't going to run as the "black" candidate, he and his staff began to see racial slurs behind every comment or question and used every manufactured slur and the few true ones as nuclear weapons against his opponent.
In his speech yesterday, instead of explaining why he should not be held responsible for his part in spreading anger and hatred as a supporter of Jeremiah Wright's ministry, he declares that it's time to address the issue of race in America.
Senator Obama talks a good game but he plays old cards.

Posted by: susan5096 | March 20, 2008 12:41 PM

I was extremely disappointed by Senator Obama's speech. It was well-written and nicely delivered but I've heard it before. That's what he does. He gives well-written, nicely delivered speeches that offer us a glimpse of a world that could be.
Then the Senator acts as the person he really is.
After his anti-war speech in 2002, he became the political candidate who waffled on the war because because it was politically expedient to do so.
After his 2004 unity speech he continued to support an anti-American, anti-white extremist pastor.
After declaring that he wasn't going to run as the "black" candidate, he and his staff began to see racial slurs behind every comment or question and used every manufactured slur and the few true ones as nuclear weapons against his opponent.
In his speech yesterday, instead of explaining why he should not be held responsible for his part in spreading anger and hatred as a supporter of Jeremiah Wright's ministry, he declares that it's time to address the issue of race in America.
Senator Obama talks a good game but he plays old cards.

Posted by: susan5096 | March 20, 2008 12:41 PM

katie11, people are not bigots because they question Barak Obama's sincerity, and I think that any rational person would see Rev. Wright as a racist demagogue. Wasn't the whole point of Baraks speech yesterday that white and black america need to be able to discuss things without being so thinned skin (no pun intended), so get your helmet and get in the game.

The numbers in Pennsylvania should let us know if he is still viable in November. If the percentage of the white vote he gets there goes down significantly there is no way he can beat McCain. Should be interesting at least.

Posted by: boothe | March 19, 2008 8:04 PM

Barack's speech not only challenged America to learn from the anger in the past and move on an embrace
his vision for perfecting a unified future--but when you read the racist and petty comments here--you see just how insightful and accurate he was.

Sadly, Fox news and the right's typical scheming to drag up issues at any level to further their own political agenda (then feed it by Hillary and Pub dreamers posting here), forced the only sincere presidential candidate we've seen since Bobby Kennedy to enlighten us about the reality of race. This was not a staged campaign strategy.

It was the First honest speech from a presidential candidate-- not only will it be historic in that nature, but certainly a teaching tool that will find its way into schools and universities that future generations will learn from. Just as voters have learned to never vote for Bush ideology (so McCain has no chance)

I'm a boomer, (and my Y-gen kids already get it) But it's apparent from the hatred comments here, that too many people are actually proud of their anger and bigot comments.

News flash: in spite of all the desperate moves the Pubs are trying to derail Obama, (praying for Hillary to be nominee including voting for her in primaries)--it won't be enough! NOT THIS TIME!

Obama will be the next POTUS, DEMS will win by a landslide, dominate the congress and finally get legislation passed to bring our troops home, provide health care (Like all other first world countries do), turn the economy around, restore our respect across the world, and clean up the mess that Bush/Cheney left us with.

So pretend to go to your churches. I myself will go to my white catholic church and ask God to forgive you-- for you know not what you do.

God Bless America and God Bless Barack!

Posted by: justinBoston | March 19, 2008 5:08 PM

Barack's speech not only challenged America to learn from the anger in the past and move on an embrace
his vision for perfecting a unified future--but when you read the racist and petty comments here--you see just how insightful and accurate he was.

Sadly, Fox news and the right's typical scheming to drag up issues at any level to further their own political agenda (then feed it by Hillary and Pub dreamers posting here), forced the only sincere presidential candidate we've seen since Bobby Kennedy to enlighten us about the reality of race. This was not a staged campaign strategy.

It was the First honest speech from a presidential candidate-- not only will it be historic in that nature, but certainly a teaching tool that will find its way into schools and universities that future generations will learn from. Just as voters have learned to never vote for Bush ideology (so McCain has no chance)

I'm a boomer, (and my Y-gen kids already get it) But it's apparent from the hatred comments here, that too many people are actually proud of their anger and bigot comments.

News flash: in spite of all the desperate moves the Pubs are trying to derail Obama, (praying for Hillary to be nominee including voting for her in primaries)--it won't be enough! NOT THIS TIME!

Obama will be the next POTUS, DEMS will win by a landslide, dominate the congress and finally get legislation passed to bring our troops home, provide health care (Like all other first world countries do), turn the economy around, restore our respect across the world, and clean up the mess that Bush/Cheney left us with.

So pretend to go to your churches. I myself will go to my white catholic church and ask God to forgive you-- for you know not what you do.

God Bless America and God Bless Barack!

Posted by: justinBoston | March 19, 2008 5:08 PM

I've got the PERFECT Vice Presidential nominee for Obama. Guaranteed to sweep the "black" vote---Here it is the PERFECT TICKET: Barack Hussein Obama & Orenthal James Simpson --- Barry and OJ all the way!!
http://www.squidoo.com/BarackObamamovies

Posted by: Pollie | March 19, 2008 4:46 PM

This responds to
Posted by: paul20002 | March 18, 2008 02:03 PM
I also live in DC. You say you are well-educated, upper income, white and black people using EBT cards shop where you do?

I can't imagine that! Your other comments have merit.

Posted by: betty1522 | March 19, 2008 4:27 PM

This responds to
Posted by: paul20002 | March 18, 2008 02:03 PM
I also live in DC. You say you are well-educated, upper income, white and people using EBT cards shop where you do?

I can't imagine that! Your other comments have merit.

Posted by: betty1522 | March 19, 2008 4:26 PM

I have to say Obama has lost my vote. I think he should be held accountable, and ask more directly about his stance on these racist remarks. I think he is a liar and not to be trusted. However, some of the comments here are just as bad. As white Americans, we should hold true to our hearts and minds. If an African American speaks out in a hate filled rage, we should not drop to that sad level, and assume that person is speaking for all African Americans. We should have evolved past the point of race and hate at this point. We have white and African American troops dying and fighting for this country has we speak. And we are here throwing hate back and fourth like it is the only way to communicate.

Posted by: fanofuva | March 19, 2008 2:09 PM

I have to say Obama has lost my vote. I think he should be held accountable, and ask more directly about his stance on these racist remarks. I think he is a liar and not to be trusted. However, some of the comments here are just as bad. As white Americans, we should hold true to our hearts and minds. If an African American speaks out in a hate filled rage, we should not drop to that sad level, and assume that person is speaking for all African Americans. We should have evolved past the point of race and hate at this point. We have white and African American troops dying and fighting for this country has we speak. And we are here throwing hate back and fourth like it is the only way to communicate.

Posted by: fanofuva | March 19, 2008 2:09 PM

OBAMA STANDS BEHIND SPIRITAL ADVISOR WRIGHT!
"Wright is like an uncle you love and respect" As imperfect as he may be, he has been family to me for so many years, I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community, said Obama. The man who believes and preaches the U.S. government formulated the HIV AIDS virus to commit genocide against blacks also preaches "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 on 9/11. This is the same man Obama had as advisor on his Presidential staff until this week. Rather than break ties with his demagogic, anti-American pastor, Obama used a speech on the non-back race to excuse his behavior and sweep the controversy under the rug. Passing the buck. Obama supposedly condemning Wright's shocking verbal assaults against the U.S and White Americans, but April last year; Obama was the first and quickest to demand Imus' ouster for making a racially insensitive remarks. His opinions and issues change with the weather, he is too UNSTABLE and proven he cannot make a decision or stay with one. Next we have ALL corrupt campaign financers, business and personal friends as indicted Rezko, former Dallas Mayor Hill, Rep. Rick Renzi and Mr. Auchi, leading supplier of arms to Saddam's regime convicted for corruption in France, the same British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions and millions of dollars to Obama all coming out of the woodwork. ALL this from the half black ex-Muslim who touts change and claims to be a uniter of all people? Proof he is just another in-experienced Washington politician that the media has like CNN has given a free pass at the great risk of our great country! There will soon be allot more video of Rev Wright and Obama coming, all this has proven without doubt if he is the nominee the democrat voters he cannot win the general election, just the black vote will not do it. Its time for Obama to leave this race and take his not so proud of America racist wife, spiritual advisor and anti white church with him..

Posted by: rozz62 | March 19, 2008 1:36 PM

When has any other candidate ever stood up and faced one of the toughest issues in politics... all while under as much scrutiny and controversy as this man? We should be thanking him for weathering out this petty infighting for what will ultimately be OUR benefit.

People claim that he speaks out of both sides of his mouth and throws his grandmother under the bus. If anything, he shows that he's willing to accept the GOOD and BAD in every person and works toward finding the best solutions, regardless of whos idea it was.

People say he's a man of talk and not action, but have you heard him once say anything specific about Hillary's earmarks or contribution sources? Instead, he released his documentation to the press and urged her to do the same.... which she so far has not done.

Posted by: datacus | March 19, 2008 12:48 PM

"I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible" says Obama. I support him, but it's a shame to see him pandering to American's excessive self-regard like this.

Posted by: newageblues | March 19, 2008 8:52 AM

If I would attend my church and hear my pastor preach as Obama's pastor did, I would have left that church. Simply put I would not vote for anyone who remained a member of that church.

Posted by: jim4252 | March 19, 2008 4:18 AM

The only ones who continue to push the kitchen sink strategy for Hillary and all her attacks that come with it, are now down to 3 groups:

1) the really, really hardcore hillary supporters (majority older feminists)

2) the media that whor*s itself for some ratings from a contested election whether it's actually still close or not... as long as people may believe that it is possible to pray for a miracle...
Fox news fits in this category

3) rush limbaugh listening republicans hoping for a "rush effect" that weakens the democratic party through a protracted dirty politics campaign between the remaining democratic candidates. these are the strategic mischive-makers raiding the Democratic polling booths by registering Democratic just to vote for Hillary to make her prayer of a hope believable...
Fox news again fits in this category.


Oh might Clinton, dost thou lie so low?

Posted by: eljefejesus | March 19, 2008 3:57 AM

I've wondered what would happen if Obama answered the phone at 3 am. And I think I saw the answer. Instead of telling us what we'd like to hear and keep us in our respective comfort zones, we'll get the truth. We might not like it, but I'll take an uncomfortable truth over a "feel good" illusion any day. At least I'll know what I'm up against and what needs to be done to fix it. Today I saw one of the best summaries of race relations in America ever; how we got there, and how it's also way past time to park that divisiveness at the door and get on with fixing the problems that affect each and every one us. Although Hillary is a very capable and dedicated woman, I now know that if Obama answers that phone, we'll be OK.

Posted by: clcorwa | March 19, 2008 2:40 AM

To ConcernedCitizens:

Pleae be mindful that the majority of the posts have been encouraged by Mr. Obama's speech. There will always be negatives in the world.

Count your wins. Always. The Negatives will mostly be more voicetrous than the positives. But when the positives sound out they ring true.

Just like the Liberty Bell. Just like the shot heard around the world. Let freedom ring with Mr. Obama's voice. And let it resonate to the majority in us.

Posted by: lcburnell | March 19, 2008 2:30 AM

While I agree it was a magnificent speech posts like that of willowbarcelona make me cringe. Jeez! Hyperbole anyone? All I can picture as I wince through this thick, syrupy praise is her sitting at home clutching a hankie in one hand against her chest while holding a picture of Barack in the other hand with his speech replaying over and over on her computer. Come up for air, lady. Get a grip. The man's great but he hasn't sprouted wings yet.

Posted by: EMforster25 | March 19, 2008 2:05 AM

He rose to the occasion. At the very moment when he was under greatest attack, when the pressure was greatest and the easy way out would have been to either ignore the issue and hope it went away or throw his pastor under the bus, Obama chose instead to confront the issue head on, and use the opportunity to show us the way to form a more perfect union.

I've never been prouder to be an Obama supporter.

Posted by: ched | March 19, 2008 1:36 AM

I'm reminded of Adlai Stevenson, who when told that he had the votes of all thinking people replied "That's not enough... I need a majority." Let's hope that's not Obama's problem too.

It is fascinating that a man can stand up and give a thoughtful speech on race... and the very people he addresses it to are unable to hear his voice (see hate filled comments above.) I think Obama is for real - a world changing figure. I don't worry for a second about his views on Israel, or fear for a moment that he harbors racial prejudice, and I fully understand how you can have relationships with people and communities that you do not fully share values with. God knows the day we don't allow that we are in big trouble in this country. But I'm just a pointed headed 48 year old Jewish liberal, so what do I know? I probably would have voted for Adlai Stevenson, had I been alive.

Posted by: mike777r | March 19, 2008 12:50 AM

I still cant get over the Obama fans on this board who STILL somehow think Obama is some kind of UNITER. How do you STILL support the guy after this scandal is uncovered.

Did you guys know that Colin Powell walked out of one of Wrights anti sematic RANTS? Did you know Oprah Winfrey left the church as well?

I am convinced that if Obama was caught CLUBBING BABY SEALS on the head on tape, you would STILL find some kind of BIZARRE exuse to vote for him.

This is the liberal medias fault. They HYPED the guy to death when nobody knew much about him. Now they are left holding the bag with a guy who is simply unelectable in the general election.

Posted by: tom1966 | March 19, 2008 12:34 AM

I am telling you all for the record that Barack Obama is unelectable. Pelosi, Kerry, Dodd, Kennedy ALL put their careers on the line to continue to support this guy. Their voters wont accept a candidate who voluntarily went to this church, brought his children there, then today threw his GRANNIE under the bus and called her a racist. I bet she is sooooo PLEASED. Wow. What RESPECT.

Posted by: tom1966 | March 19, 2008 12:30 AM

Dear Concerned Citizen 5,

I hate having to sign up to post a comment but after reading yours I just had to respond.

You are not alone. I read the transcripts of Obama's speech and I am moved. Then I read a few comments and I can't fathom the unreasoned logic and feel disgust.

You said, "The vision of one good man is not enough to overcome the bitter cynicism of lesser people."

It IS enough. We who believe, who can see the hope that he speaks of, we ARE the majority and our voice is ONE voice and it will be heard.

To borrow a line from a favorite movie of mine:

"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, because it's gonna put up a fight."

To the undecided voter, please consider:

We've dealt with the Bush administration for eight long years. We are at war on two fronts. We have an economy in crisis and a widening gap between the rich and the poor. We have an addiction to foreign oil and an environmental policy that is the equivalent of burying our heads in the sand. We allow ourselves to hide behind the second amendment while our children, our husbands, our wives, our sisters, and our brothers are killed. These are only a handful of the challenges that face America.

And whatever our particular problems are, I can guarantee you, the Republicans are not the least bit interested in solving it. They are interested in only two things, making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how Republicans win elections.

Not this time.

Serious problems call for serious people. Obama in 08.

(with apologies to Aaron Sorkin)

Posted by: csamarasekera | March 19, 2008 12:24 AM

Until today, I have been unsure about which candidate I support: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. After listening to his speech today, I now know my candidate is Barack.

His speech was intelligent, thoughtful and truthful. He shows he has the leadership qualities I want in my President. I also like the fact that he has been against the War in Iraq from the beginning.

Posted by: dogandbirdlady | March 19, 2008 12:07 AM

I have to say that I was completely moved by Obama's speech today - and I am a white guy from Iowa. I also have to say that I am appalled by some of the posts here tonight. Obviously people like Boothe and others have such blinders on that they are unable to open their minds and understand what Barack was saying. In contrast to what several people have tried to argue, Obama was absolutely not playing the race card in this speech. He is part black and if he is going to give a speech partly from the black point of view how is that playing the race card - it is who he is? He was pointing out that there is still a lot of hatred in this country and it is deep rooted. There is a lot of anger for a multitude of reasons, and that it oftens manifests itself in racial ways because that is a crutch that too many of us have known for too long in this country. I am sure almost everyone posting here tonight has someone in their family who has said degrading things about another race at times when they are angry, confused or maybe just actually ignorant of the facts. Does that mean they are a racist? Not necessarily. Does that mean we should disown them? No. We know them for more than their occasional lapses and we base our love for them on their whole being, not on the few poor comments they have occasionally made. Obama has an intelligence and a view of the heights that America can achieve that I guess, unfortunately, some people just can not understand. I have always voted Democrat and have been very active in the party, but I have never felt so deeply to my core that I had to vote for someone or needed them to be the next President as I have with Barack, it has always been more about not voting for the other guy or we can't let the Republicans win. I do not feel that by supporting Obama that I am doing that this time, I feel like I actually have a LEADER for the first time in my life, not just someone who is going to do the job. I think Hillary is a very strong person and would be great at doing the job, much better than most we have seen recently. But, with where we stand today in this country and in this world, I want someone who is going to lead us to new heights, taking care of America and re-establishing our place in the world. That someone is Barack Obama and if he is not elected as our next President I just feel that we will have missed the most golden opportunity of my lifetime to actually change the world and make it a better place. Isn't that really what this should all be about??

Thank you Barack Obama for trying to make this a better America for all.

Posted by: jbelding80 | March 19, 2008 12:06 AM

Until today, I have been unsure about which candidate I support: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. After listening to his speech today, I now know my candidate is Barack.

His speech was intelligent, thoughtful and truthful. He shows he has the leadership qualities I want in my President.

Posted by: dogandbirdlady | March 19, 2008 12:05 AM

"Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed. ...

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper."

That says it ALL, folks.

http://osi-speaks.blogspot.com/2008/03/heres-obamas-speech-on-race-religion.html#links

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | March 18, 2008 11:51 PM

I had to laugh at 'the-rat's' comment that he was being lectured by an African who had no history of slavery in his past. Where do you think slaves came from? The grocery store?

Posted by: nzinghastewart | March 18, 2008 11:29 PM

Let us hope in this one last chance this SICK nation has been given, that the power of this man's vision and redeeming character, can lift us above what the morbidly obese right has given us. Rise above!

Raised redneck, and blowin the whistle on your 700 pound know-nothing lardbutts!

Posted by: gregrocker | March 18, 2008 11:20 PM

Let us hope in this one last chance this SICK nation has been given, that the power of this man's vision and redeeming character, can lift us above what the morbidly obese right has given us. Rise above.

Raised redneck, and blowin the whistle on your 700 pound know-nothing lardbutts!

Posted by: gregrocker | March 18, 2008 11:19 PM

These sick disgusting rednecks who vomit their black bleeding souls here are the reason this country has such a hideous race wound long after it should have been healed and a healthy people would have moved on. It's time to familiarize our people here with what killed the USA, something the rest of the world is quite aware of but is taboo for discussion here: REDNECKS. These willfully ignorant hippopatomi may well be the majority of the population. Raised on race resentment, with resulting poisonous souls that see mass slaughter as their nation's birthright, grotesque morbid obesity in their person and lifestyle that has appalled the entire civlized world (which had never heard of people eating themselves to death before, something which not even a pig would do), an utter phony religious profession that equates childish gotcha about sex as somehow a moral measure while slaughtering 100,000 innocent women and children is negligible. Then when we finally have a good and decent man, who doesn't even speak their language of hate and vituperation, they take a handful of their morbidly obese feces and smear it across his beautiful handsome, hopeful face.

Posted by: gregrocker | March 18, 2008 11:13 PM

"Maybe we don't deserve a leader of high principles and moral courage. Maybe we deserve all the rotten things we bring down on all our collective rotten heads. We're screwing ourselves." I feel the same way reading thru a ton of posts all over.

Sen. Obama should just go back to the senate, do what he can for the U.S. and the citizens of Illinois. He can raise his daughters in relative peace. We need him a lot more than he needs us.

We will swear in Pres. McCain in 2009 and NOTHING will change in this country. We truly do get what we deserve.

Posted by: mig991 | March 18, 2008 8:32 PM

There is only one candidate who is talking sense to the American people ...

and his name is Barack Obama.

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | March 18, 2008 8:18 PM

Absolutely phenomenal. What an extraordinary man! Brilliant!
I have never wavered in my support of Senator Obama. I have compassion for those supporting Senator Clinton even though I have lost all respect for her. I think overall the campaign has been good for Senator Obama because it will maked him a stronger candidate in the fall against John McCain so we can thank Senator Clinton for that even if it seems her comments may be used against him... he already knows what they were and he can be prepared to deal with them. I am very encouraged about the future of our country knowing that we will have a president like Senator Obama.
OBAMA/EDWARDS '08

Posted by: lbrillante | March 18, 2008 8:08 PM

Obama is by no means "toast." He was refreshlingly forthright and honest, and I think that freaks out many people because they are so used to the calculated canned speeches from their politicians.

Freud and others in the therapeutic community talk about the need to integrate opposing forces and experiences into the self, and I believe that Obama has done it.

Mrs. Clinton, by contrast, does not seem to know who she is and her message changes with the wind.

Posted by: vbalfour | March 18, 2008 7:56 PM

Obama has know Rev Wright for over 20 years. The rest of this country has only heard a small tidbit of what he preached. You don't know him and instead of being ignorant and condemning him maybe you could do a little research on who this man is. Did you know that he has received many awards including the Rockfeller Fellowship award and the Proctor Fellow award and is the recipient of 3 US Presidential Commendations. Obama knows who this man truly is and that is why he is standing by him. The Rev. has also lectured all over the country at universities such as Yale, Cambridge and Oxford. Obama's speech was brilliant and it needed to be said. Now let's put this to rest and get on with the real issues. I believe Obama is the only nominee that can unite this country.

Posted by: sadowns | March 18, 2008 7:55 PM

Dyend is the perfect example of what's wrong with Democrats. For all of Hillary's BS she's still better than McBush. Dyend goes off an calls super delegates to make threats. Way to go you idiot. As angry as I am about the crap Hillary has pulled (when has it EVER happened that a Democrat endorsed a Republican over another Democrat) I'll still vote for her if she manages to steal the election. To all the other sock puppets on this blog who ask if people who have already voted for Obama are feeling like they want their vote back, well let me tell you, I've talked to plenty of people here in California who voted early who REALL, REALLY want their vote back for Hillary after all the crap she's pulled. So there Dyend. Hope you realzie there's more people fed up with Hillary than there are people fed up with Obama. If you were a real Democrat you wouldn't threaten supers and you wouldn't withhold money that could be used to defeat McBush. If he wins, and it's more likely he'd beat Hillary than Obama, then when he appoints the fifth neo-con Supreme Court justice and they overturn Roe v. Wade, the blood of the young women in this country will be on your hands. Do us all a favor and burn your Democratic party registration. You are a traitor to your party!

Posted by: markiebee001 | March 18, 2008 7:53 PM

Obama missed his Sister Souljah moment. Sadly, he is toast.

Posted by: j2winston | March 18, 2008 7:45 PM

It was the most articulate statement ever made on the most important issue in our history.

Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, TR Roosevelt, Wilson, FD Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Reagan... all would have loved this speech.

All these would have agreed with it.

Obama's time is now.

Posted by: JoeM2 | March 18, 2008 7:39 PM

I am a staunch supporter of Hillary and think she could be a great president. However,the extraordinary speech given by Barack Obama today--its frankness, intelligence, eloquence and historical understanding--reveal a man and a leader who is truly exceptional. One can read the entire transcript of the speech on line, and I encourage those who haven't read or heard it to read the whole speech. We Democrats are fortunate to have two great candidates. I don't know if Obama can beat John McCain--and it is so important to beat McCain if we are to have any chance of tackling the monumental problems that this country faces after these disastrous Bush years. I think Hillary can beat him. She is strong, smart and solid, and experience does matter. But Obama's time will come.

Posted by: mhochfield | March 18, 2008 7:26 PM

I am a staunch supporter of Hillary and think she could be a great president. However,the extraordinary speech given by Barack Obama today--its frankness, intelligence, eloquence and historical understanding--reveal a man and a leader who is truly exceptional. One can read the entire transcript of the speech on line, and I encourage those who haven't read or heard it to read the whole speech. We Democrats are fortunate to have two great candidates. I don't know if Obama can beat John McCain--and it is so important to beat McCain if we are to have any chance of tackling the monumental problems that this country faces after these disastrous Bush years. I think Hillary can beat him. She is strong, smart and solid, and experience does matter. But Obama's time will come.

Posted by: mhochfield | March 18, 2008 7:24 PM

Mr. Obama is famous for his slogan of "change". Too bad he did not have the courage to "change" his pastor after hearing his inflamatory statements during these past twenty years. He would be in a much better position to win the democratic nomination if he had. We can't risk having the spiritual advisor to the new president be such an america hater.

Posted by: loco06084 | March 18, 2008 7:22 PM

You know, every time I hear this man speak, I think, "Wow, maybe, just maybe there's hope for the human race to rise above its pettiness for once." Then I read the comments section and that hope plummets again. The vision of one good man is not enough to overcome the bitter cynicism of lesser people.

Maybe we don't deserve a leader of high principles and moral courage. Maybe we deserve all the rotten things we bring down on all our collective rotten heads. We're screwing ourselves.

Posted by: ConcernedCitizen5 | March 18, 2008 7:18 PM

I listened to Mr. Obama's today to assess his character and his judgment. I noticed that, in his initial interviews about Rev. Wright's speech, Mr. Obama said he wasn't in the pew personally to hear those hate-filled comments on our country and outright lies (white invented AIDS to infect blacks). But today he corrected that lie, or parsing. Today he compared Rev Wright to his white grandmother. However, Rev Wright was an affiliation by choice, unlike his grandmother. All of us, as adults, must choose our values and actions. As whites, we must reject, through words and actions, the older generation's hate filled speech and bigotry, in order to change the world. But Mr. Obama, by becoming and remaining for 20 plus years a member of Rev Wright's church, has given his support philosophically and financially to perpetuation of black racism and hate toward America and whites, while he was an elected State Representative, a US Senator and now would-be president. In my view, his character and judgment are now revealed as not of Presidential timber.

Posted by: arizworrell | March 18, 2008 7:10 PM

jlg1:

Astonishing. You cherry pick one post in this thread that is just the tiniest bit mean, nothing compared to the barrage of negativity from, say, "ebubuk2004" and his 1000 post spamming onslaught and suddenly it is Obama supporters who are filled with hate?

By and large Obama supporters have been very restrained when dealing with the mud being thrown at their candidate.

But here's what I'm curious about. Why is it that when Obama supporters are called things like Obamabots, cultists, deluded and naive, it isn't "spiteful and full of hate" but when they take the slightest of negative tones back it is suddenly time to lump them all into one bucket together?

The post in question that you are referencing:

"So wipe the Obamania out of your eyes and use your noggins a little bit people."

is nothing more than a veiled attempt to say, yet again, that all Obama supporters are deluded idiots who need to, as Hillary put it, "get real".

Obama supporters, like supporters of every other candidate left in the race, are a mixed bunch. When there are millions of people supporting a candidate you can expect that some will be good at expressing themselves in a calm, reasoned manner and able to respond to attacks on their preferred candidate in an intellectual way.

Others among the millions won't be so eloquent. I've seen plenty, PLENTY of supporters of both McCain and Hillary who make their candidate look terrible due to a combination of ignorance, intellectual dishonesty, vile rhetoric and other things that their candidate would disown in a second.

By and large as I explore the dozens of blogs that I read, Obama supporters are far more positive than those of other candidates. Hell, read the first few responses to this particular blog. They are all focused on positive, uplifting comments about how great Obama's speech made them feel.

Posted by: jcrozier1 | March 18, 2008 6:54 PM

Fellow Obama supporters, let us promise not to attack or respond negatively to Hillary supporters who still attack Obama. We CANNOT change their minds. I have been trying to understand why people feel as negatively about Obama and positively about Hillary as I do the opposite. I figured maybe it was due to their factual errors or misunderstandings and that rational argument could persuade sincere people. I neglected to consider the emotional investment we sometimes have in holding onto a particular view and that we will not be swayed by others. Nothing you say about Obama and his speech today will convince Obama haters of the magnificence of his speech today or of how great a leader he would be. Nothing. You can only argue with them or be nasty and contribute to their conviction that they are right. What I realize is that were Hillary capable of making such a speech, the situation would be reversed. I, too, would feel justified in being a cynical nit-picker and so would you, my fellow Obama supporters. Now, I know we would be convinced of the rightfulness of our skepticism, but the point is that so are many of HER supporters. I'm not saying that I equate Hillary and Obama. I think she may be a nice person when things are going her way, but she NEEDS and will do just about anything to succeed. (Her father, look into the relationship with her father...) However, her supporters believe the same about Obama (or worse) and they either can't or won't open themselves up to think otherwise. I've always said that the negativity we sometimes express or are goaded into expressing belies the message that Obama is trying to convey. So take let's take his words to heart, not applying them just to race issues, but (ironically) to Hillary supporters. I have recently vacillated over giving my support to Hillary if she should become the nominee. But because of Obama, I think I can manage to support her. So, Hillary supporters should your candidate manage to get the nomination, as heated as the words between us have sometimes been- and as supremely disappointed as we Obamabots will be, I think you can count on our votes. Why? Because even though you doubt his high-mindedness, Obama will make an appeal to his supporters and to all Democrats so unifying that we will have no choice. I don't think Hillary or you, her supporters, will be nearly as noble/gracious in losing (but remember I'm biased).

Posted by: docpooh | March 18, 2008 6:53 PM

This was a calculated speech to save Barack Obama's political career and it did not work.
Where was this "soaring" rhetoric and lecture on race and unity when Barack Obama now admits that he did IN FACT SIT IN THOSE PEWS, YEAR AFTER YEAR IN SILENCE, LISTENING to anti-white, anti-american, anti-israel hatred from his pastor?
How politically and morally dishonest that on this day, March 18, 2008, we hear these words-as Obama's poll numbers tank and as the american people become painfully aware that this man tells us one thing to suit his political ambition and lives a very different kind of life. Americans are not so easily "bamboozled" and "hoodwinked".
I am a life long Democrat and if Obama, somehow steals this nomination from Hillary Clinton through this campaign of deception and despicable use of the race card against Hillary and Bill Clinton, I will do something that I have never, ever done and I will vote for John McCain.

Posted by: corsilaw1 | March 18, 2008 6:53 PM

Obama eschewed his great oratorical ability and even political expediency in this speech. Instead, he gave us a major glimpse into himself and a passionate desire to deal with the truth on the broader subjects of justice and the plight of all American citizens, black, white, or whatever. I am an independent who is generally skeptical of politicians, their motives, and their ability to get anything done for the people of this country. Obama's speech was magnificent. It shows that he is a true leader who not only has a grasp of the real problems, but also has the right ideas on how to tackle them head on. The other candidates for president in this race cannot match this great American's vision for this country.

Posted by: guitrock3 | March 18, 2008 6:48 PM

I am proud to be an Obama supporter and even prouder to cast my vote for him in November. Say hello to the next President of the United States, everyone.

Posted by: cybergal619 | March 18, 2008 6:40 PM

I absolutely agree with every thing the man said about the racial problem in this country. I found it uplifting and accurate.

But those who say he was lying really need to revisit what he said about Rev. Wright before the speech and they will find he wasn't lying.

And at least he addressed the issue. My answer to paul20002 would be that your anger is powerful and real. And if you notice in his speech he did not say that Rev. Wright was correct. And I don't think Mr. Obama would say you were correct. Do both of you have real anger. Yes. But he's talking about finding a path out of the anger.

Posted by: lcburnell | March 18, 2008 6:36 PM

Who among us doesn't have sometimes difficult, sometimes divisive people in our lives? In our own families?

I have many relatives who are from a different era, relatives who are prejudiced against gays, blacks, etc. It's very sad, often upsetting, but it's also true that these same people are also in many very real ways, very good people!

This is what Obama was saying about Rev. Wright. Wright may say some terribly divisive things, but along with the bad is a lot of good. Obama has seen the man helping the poor in his community, helping kids, reaching out to those in prison, etc.

If we cast aside every person in our lives who made a mistake, we would be alone.

Today wasn't about Barack vs. Hillary or Democrat vs. Republican--today was about America looking in the mirror and seeing the greatness of what we could be! This speech transcended the current political race. And it is upsetting and sad to me that many people can't seem to hear these words outside of that framework...

Today was beautiful, if only to glimpse the road map to a more perfect world, where love and forgiveness rule the day.

God bless everyone: white, black, brown, gay, straight, republican, democrat, etc. God bless America.

Posted by: mark | March 18, 2008 6:21 PM

As evidenced by many of the posts here, bigotry is alive and well in the USA.

It's very sad.

Posted by: katie11 | March 18, 2008 6:18 PM

Let's see, someone who hasn't been a slave can't comment on it??

There are those who will not look; there are those who will not listen; there are those who will not care; there are those who bask in their ignorance.

And there are those who see the subtle and not-so-subtle reminders of the racial divide on both sides. They see the problem, and they may not know what to do, but at least they see the problem. We need to take this country to a higher level, and many will not wish to go there. But the question of race, which is really a Red Herring when it comes to judging someone, must be addressed, and it must be addressed in an all-inclusive way. We cannot shut out everyone who feels negative about other skin colors; we need to bring people together to look at things in an honest and direct way, and work together to solve the problem. Not just simply bring your children up with your own set of prejudices generation after generation, always living with your chosen group and never looking beyond them. That is not a country; it is a tribal society.

Posted by: richardb1 | March 18, 2008 6:11 PM

Obama's speech was not stunning - Peggy Noonon wrote some lovely speeches for Rondal Reagan.

Obama's courage, intelligence, and wisdom were stunning. Do not tell me that words are empty. Words define us as a nation, they move us to change, and no one could have written those words without living them.

Posted by: mshervais | March 18, 2008 5:59 PM

This really damages Obama alot, I wish that all of the independents who voted for him in Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and other states like that would have known about this before they voted. The free media ride Obama has gotten up until this point was astonishing.

-------------

It damages Obama that he can speak to the racial divide that still exists in this country. And you think that independents will turn on him for that. I'm sorry, but I'm fairly sure that most independents are not bigots like you are.

Posted by: katie11 | March 18, 2008 5:58 PM

This was a great speech. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Senator Obama.

Posted by: GraceMN | March 18, 2008 5:54 PM

In spite of a lifetime of working to end discrimination, African Americans excoriated the Clintons, made a mockery of him, and punished Hillary for his misdeed. Racism works both ways. Obama will never be able to overcome his pastor's outrageous remarks

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:46 PM

In spite of a lifetime of working to end discrimination, African Americans excoriated the Clintons, made a mockery of him, and punished Hillary for his misdeed. Racism works both ways. Obama will never be able to overcome his pastor's outrageous remarks

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:45 PM

"When Bill Clinton made remarks in SC that some say were racist, he is reviled. We are now asked to consider the full measure of Rev. Wright's career...to listen to all the good things he has done, not to take these hateful tirades out of context; yet no such generosity of spirit was afforded Bill Clinton."

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:43 PM

When Bill Clinton made remarks in SC that some say were racist, he is reviled. We are now asked to consider the full measure of Rev. Wright's career...to listen to all the good things he has done, not to take these hateful tirades out of context; yet no such generosity of spirit was afforded Bill Clinton.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:42 PM

Now, not his fault.
Now, not his Pastor N "uncle" Fault.

This is WHITE people Fault!!!

Clinton's Fault

White people Fault.

This how we black people talk.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:39 PM

Oh so you were in the church when he made these statements....last week you weren't? What is the truth BO?

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:37 PM

Oh so you were in the church when he made these statements....last week you weren't? What is the truth BO?

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:35 PM

Hate speech, by any name is still hate speech. If Obama's association with his racist pastor had not been exposed, he would not be distracted from his attempt to represent our country as president.

A white person running for office, associated with a racist pastor, would be branded a racist. Correspondenly, Obama is also obviously a racist, and should be held responsible for the views of his associates.

Racism, is alive and well in the extremes of the black community, as it is in the extremes of the white community.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:34 PM

Hate speech, by any name is still hate speech. If Obama's association with his racist pastor had not been exposed, he would not be distracted from his attempt to represent our country as president. A white person running for office, associated with a racist pastor, would be branded a racist. Correspondenly, Obama is also obviously a racist, and should be held responsible for the views of his associates. Racism, is alive and well in the extremes of the black community, as it is in the extremes of the white community.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:33 PM

Lets no forget he didn't do this voluntarily,just to keep people undated.he was forced into. Things came out he didn't think would and now he is trying to save his hide. Maybe, Oprah can help him. Next he'll have to answer about all his lies about Rezo

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:32 PM

Lets no forget he didn't do this voluntarily,just to keep people undated.he was forced into .Things came out he didn't think would and now he is trying to save his hide.maybe Oprah can help him.Next he'll have to anwer about all his lies about Rezo

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:31 PM

My questions:
1. What did he hear?
2. How often did he hear?
3. Has he ever raised any concerns before it went to public?

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:30 PM

1995: Lonely hospital room in Hwawaii.
Ann Soetoro, will die without having her son beside her bed NOT ONE DAY!!!!!
Everybody has come by to visit, but pearl of her eye has not been able to make it yet.
But still a dying mother wants to see her son for the last time. Unfortunately it is not going to happen.

Today he defended his Pastor and called his Grandmother Racist.


What guy

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 5:24 PM

Hey 'DCIS' I'm not a baby boomer way way too young.

I don't think you understood my point, so I will rephrase it more clearly.

The dichotomy is that Obama is supposedly the candidate to unite black and white, but he went to a church where the preacher used racial slander. Also his supporters have cried 'race' on numerous occasions to comments that were not racially charged or were taken out of context.

Obama cannot have it both ways either Rev. Wright's comments were taken out of context, and so how people interpreted what Geraldine and Bill said was also taken out of context, or they weren't and so reverend Wright's also weren't.

Trust me if lifelong Dems like me jump ship Obama will lose and lose badly.
Since you ('DCIS') actually took the time to post here, my guess is that this will make you sad, and or give you a 'bummer'.

Posted by: boothe | March 18, 2008 5:03 PM

What a magnificent human being this man is. I have believed in him since 2004. Now I hope this miraculous speech will alert others to Barack Obama and his leadership qualities.

Posted by: marymansour | March 18, 2008 4:22 PM

I can't recall the last time I heard anything of this caliber from a presidential candidate. It tells the truth about what we are, and what we aspire to be. Thank you, Sen. Obama. You are even better than I thought you were.

Posted by: ally | March 18, 2008 3:25 PM

Senator Obama responded today to the hateful speeches of Rev. Wright with a history review tapping into the current HBO series on John Adams. It was an excellent speech. But I'm looking for a candidate who can work in Washington and begin to correct the horrible missteps of the Bush Administration. I believe the next President should add a cabinet position to work towards completing the intent of our constitution that all men/women are created equal. And I believe Senator Obama would do an outstanding job bringing civil rights equality to the twenty-first century.

Posted by: NancyLV57 | March 18, 2008 3:25 PM

What more can I say. If anyone doubts his heart, mind, and vision, that person needs to reassess him or herself. He is unique because, he can address issues that both whites and blacks are afraid to address. And this is PRICELESS.

Posted by: michaelboateng2000 | March 18, 2008 3:19 PM

emily111,

i somewhat agree with you, but understanding the realities of television and the soundbite it would have been political suicide if he just went out and said that he had heard similar things without the nuance a 37 minute speech gives.

Posted by: fox_qajgev | March 18, 2008 3:10 PM

paul20002,

i'm not sure if you missed it, but he never blamed the poor condition of many black communities on the shadow of jim crow. he says that policy has been one of the problems, like you mentioned, and he gives this choice quote squared directly at the black community:

"That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change."

i don't see any rose-colored glasses here.

Posted by: fox_qajgev | March 18, 2008 2:58 PM

The only part of this that actually bothers me is Obama's saying that he was not aware of Wright's comments -- oratorial gymnastics or not -- even he he was not technically there on the occasions of the sermons that were shown in the clips -- Obama was being a bit evasive and less then honest. Perhaps he panicked. At least he came out with a more honest (and plausible) explanation in this speech. But it does bother me that he can be a little slick and deceptive.

Posted by: emily111 | March 18, 2008 2:58 PM

Dyend,

BYE BYE! We don't need people like you in the democratic party. The sooner those like you who are gone, the better the party's vision for America.

Bye they way, Obama said that he has been present during seemingly controversial sermons. He did not say (in response to the questions asked) he was present at the three shown on TV.

Oratorical gymnastics or not, not being there is not being there.

Posted by: dcis1 | March 18, 2008 2:52 PM

I'M SORRY, BUT YOU CAN'T BLAME WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY ON WHITE PEOPLE. IN AMERICA WE GAVE THEM THE TOOLS TO WORK WITH TO GET AHEAD, BUT THEY REFUSE TO USE THOSE TOOLS. THEY HAVE A PREACHER LIKE REV WRIGHT SAYING ITS AMERICA'S FAULT. I'M SORRY, TO TEACH YOUR PEOPLE TO HATE, AND TO BE A PREACHER IS SICK. COULD YOU IMAGINE CHRIST SAYING THESE THINGS. HE TAUGHT LOVE. YES BLACKS HAVE HAD PROBLEMS, BUT THEY SHOULD TRY TO BE THE BEST THAT THEY COULD BE. OBAMA SAID HE COULD UNDERSTAND WHY THE BLACK FEEL LIKE THEY DO, I DON'T. THEY HATE AMERICA AND FEEL AMERICA LET THEM DOWN. THEY DESTROY THE SCHOOLS, THEY DON'T GRADUATE, THEY ARE HEAVY IN NARCOTICS. WHAT ELSE COULD AMERICA DO FOR THEM. THEY DON'T EVEN TRY, THATS WHATS SO UNFORTUNATE.

Posted by: vincie | March 18, 2008 2:50 PM

dyend: I think you're projecting a bit here. Obama stated that he was never there for the speeches that were broadcast publicly. He admitted that he'd seen similar. Perhaps a bit of misdirection, but no lie.

The simple truth is this man gave a very candid, courageous and accurate speech showing the nation much of himself, his background and ourselves. This man truly is a different kind of politician. Whether or not he's a stong enough politician to break through the establishment (both Democratic and Republican), is the real question.

And I agree, it will be interesting, to say the least.

Posted by: BABucher | March 18, 2008 2:40 PM

"Boothe, your post exemplifies the generational divide in this country. We don't need you or any of your other boomers trying to tell us how we should feel.

We are able to think for ourselves. We listened to the speech and will dissect it according to OUR views on race in 2008--not yours steming from the 60's. That is YOUR battle and we want to move foward.

For all the old people right there, that's right, stay in the past. The world will move on without you just fine.

Posted by: dcis1 | March 18, 2008 02:16 PM"

The dismissiveness and underlying "hate" contained in the above post is quite common among Obama supporters. During the DC primary, there were countless reports of Obama supporters spitting on Clinton supporters, I often wondered what could spurn such hatred and then came along Rev. Wright. Senator Obama's speech falls short because it never explains why he didn't walk away from such a hate-filled man. He needs to disown the Rev. Wright completely and then and only then can we move on.

Posted by: jlg1 | March 18, 2008 2:37 PM

I think Senator Obama gets it too, and I think his response is the right one because it's the honest one. There is a racial divide in America, and there is anger and resentment on both sides of the divide. To understand that and to accept it does not mean that he is encouraging it. It is what it is. Denouncing it won't make it go away. Rejecting it won't assuage the pain that lies beneath it. Wright lived through a time (Jim Crow and segregation) that has colored his world in a way that I will probably never fully understand. He sees the world through that particular perspective, and it is probably not a very pretty sight some of the time. So he has some anger issues. He has a right to them. I get it. I hope that America is changing for the better, and that the next generation of African American children won't feel injustice so acutely as to feel this way also. Perhaps, with time, the anger will abate. Sometimes I think that racism will not die until the last of the generations that experienced segregation and Jim Crow, both black and white, die as well.

Posted by: emily111 | March 18, 2008 2:34 PM

To paul20002: While you reject the "legacy of slavery and Jim Crow" as cause for current conditions in many urban Black communities, you suggest no other alternatives. Do you think that Blacks are somehow "incapable" of improving their condition, or that they perhaps enjoy the status quo? Your anger means little unless you qualify its source.

Posted by: converse | March 18, 2008 2:31 PM

A brilliant speech that also flowed from the heart. Barack Obama towers above every other candidate in this electoral season. This speech will be remembered as one of the most important orations in American history. It demonstrates, once again, that Obama amply deserves what is coming to him: the presidency of the United States of America.

Posted by: MikeinMichigan | March 18, 2008 2:24 PM

Did I hear correctly? I believe amongst all that oratorical gymnastics on display this morning by Senator Obama, I also heard him admit that he lied to the American people when he said he NEVER was present when the Rev. Jeremiah Wright delivered one of his hate-filled sermons. They must have found the tapes.

It seems that this religious quagmire will consume Senator Obama'a candidacy because the constant bombardment of Wright's vicious anti- white, anti-American rantings is not going to end.

I have contacted the super delegates who represent my district in New York & stated in no uncertain terms that if Obama becomes the nominee they have lost both my vote & my financial support for the FAll campaign.

It's the least I could do to help prevent this obviously race-based candidate from destroying the Democratic Party, which now has a serious problem on their hands.

Will the super delegates choose to jettison the black voting block or the white voting block? Being politicians I imagine whichever one can do the least damage this November will be their choice.

This is going to be interesting, folks.

Posted by: dyend | March 18, 2008 2:23 PM

A major point is that the divisiveness doesn't solve problems, it just makes them harder to solve.

The idea that he stands behind every word of his pastor is ludicrous. Pick excerpts of sermons by Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and many right-wing evangelicals and then ask every Republican to disavow their racist, anti-semitic, "god is punishing America" statements. Puhlease!

I am so looking forward to having an articulate, rational individual in the White House.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 18, 2008 2:22 PM

We are at the fork in the road, if we continue with the Republican agenda which has clearly not served this nation or its people white, black, brown etc. It is every parents hope and dream their children will have a better life than they did. We need to stand united for our children and grandchildrens. Leave them an American better than when we found it and instill in them a legacy to do the same. Let's be the generation that changes the course of American Politics back to "We the People."

Posted by: gal7764 | March 18, 2008 2:22 PM

The way we as Americans react to Obama's uplifting and dead-on assessment of race in our America will say so much more about us than him.

The only constant is change.
-Heraclitus

Obama08

Posted by: schencks84 | March 18, 2008 2:20 PM

I thought it was a good speech and I'm glad he made it. Hopefully race (or gender) won't come up again.

I am especially glad he picked up on moving forward and not remaining static, because it is true. I had a friend from Guiana that got caught up with Black American baggage, in a time of change 25 years ago. It impaired his perceptions and he hurt himself. He was a great guy and fun to be around. I hope he was able to achieve his potential.

He finally realized that there are simply rules and expectations that come with every job, be you white or black. He spent years taking it personally and each confrontation and dismissal verified his perspective.

He began to have doubts during a stint as a "projects" worker. While trying to effect repairs to make people's lives better, they were trying to kill or injure him by routinely throwing heavy objects from upper floors as he worked outside. He quit after being hit in the head by a flower pot hurled from 17 stories, he had his hard hat on and it split open. If he hadn't been a fit fellow rugby player it would have broken his neck. He developed a low opinion of Black American baggage.

I don't doubt that Mr. Wright is a good man, but sometimes messages can have a perverse effect.

As a son of a son of immigrants, we all know all immigrants face discrimination and obstacles, but you move on, you don't stay static.

My father was so ashamed of his heritage he chose a different name when in public. Ironically, it was the same as my mother's when they met. She asked "one L or two L's". One being the Jewish spelling and the other Scotch-Irish. He didn't have a clue what she was talking about and had to confess his real name.

Posted by: Beacon2 | March 18, 2008 2:20 PM

A fitting follow-on to MLK's ".dream.." speech. Could Obama be '21st century Gandhi in making'? We will be honored to have this unique person as our next President.
Jyoti Prakash, CA

Posted by: jyotip00 | March 18, 2008 2:18 PM

Boothe, your post exemplifies the generational divide in this country. We don't need you or any of your other boomers trying to tell us how we should feel.

We are able to think for ourselves. We listened to the speech and will dissect it according to OUR views on race in 2008--not yours steming from the 60's. That is YOUR battle and we want to move foward.

For all the old people right there, that's right, stay in the past. The world will move on without you just fine.

Posted by: dcis1 | March 18, 2008 2:16 PM

Obama has taken possession of the race discourse. He has not tried to distance himself from it nor put it to rest. He has presented the complexity of emotions related to perceptions and misunderstandings among different races and has highlighted the destructive impact of racism on both white and black people.
- And this makes him a winner. Obama has open up a necessary dialogue which prompts us to see race through the lens of the other racial or cultural identity, not through our own. His speech demonstrated his ability to appeal to the best in people. It gives white and black people agency to make this nation a more perfect union -- not just by transcending race but by addressing health care, joblessness, needless war, home lost, etc. Obama is trying to move the nation forward on racial differences. He not trying to ignore race. He wants us to recognize that the racial struggles are not static and they have change for the better. He cautious us not to merely focus on race as an incendiary spectacle, such as playing the race card or excerpts from Rev. Wright's sermons. Obama's speech on race provides a platform for an extraordinary and important frank discussion of the cancer that has plagued our country. The elephant is in the room, but it doesn't have to destroy house.

Posted by: lydialdurham | March 18, 2008 2:11 PM

For the young people out there, I understand that this is the first time you are really Amped up about politics and that is great. Bill Clinton taking back the white house after 12 years of Rebublican administrations was a similar moment for me.

But I don't get how you can not put this speech into context. Obama saying that he wants to heal doesn't make it so. In fact he knowingly associated with a racist, and never stood up to him for 20 years. Certainly if Hilary Clinton had a 'spiritual advisor' who turned out to be the not so secret head of the KKK, one might question her judgement at least a little bit.

So wipe the Obamania out of your eyes and use your noggins a little bit people.

Posted by: boothe | March 18, 2008 2:07 PM

Senator Obama's remark, "In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race," incorrectly assumes that 1) any anger experienced and felt by whites in the Unted States that is based in the issue of race is felt mostly by those in working- and middle-class; 2) that such anger felt by whites is somehow associated with affirmative action and race-based quotas; and finally 3) that this anger is somehow related to a diminished appreciation of so-called "white privilege."

As a well-educated, upper middle-class white man in DC I confess to be sometimes deeply angered by the condition of the mostly poor, urban black community here and in places like New Orleans, LA, Cleavland, OH, Detroit, MI, South Central Los Angeles, CA, and the like. However, my anger is sourced in my bewildered disgust of the overt behaviors of this particular demographic (poor, urban blacks) that ensure, generation after generation, its own marginalization teetering on the brink of self-destruction. Specifically, off-the-charts teen pregnancy rates that economically cripple this particular demographic; male incarceration rates that have no close rival amongst any other deomgraphic group in the history of the United States (black males make up slightly fewer than 7% of the U.S. population, but account for a staggering 49% of all incarcerated males in the U.S.); illiteracy rates that run greater than 50% amongst the overall black population in DC while it spends more than all but 2 other urban school districts in the United States on a per pupil/per year basis; HIV/AIDS rates that are rivaled only in Africa (estimates by the Fenty Administration assume that nearly a third of black men in DC are infected) despite amzingly easy and plentiful access to HIV/AIDS prevention education and free condoms; black-on-black victimization and violence that defies all reason for the fourth straight decade, resulting in the horrific truth that young black men are more likely to die at the hands of another young black man, than from any other cause; the chilling reality that nearly 80% f all black children in DC and more than 70% nationally are born into and grow up in single-mother-led homes...The list, tragically, goes on and on. And not one item on it is associated with affirmative action or race-based quota systems. Nor is a single statistic mentioned informed by or otherwise attributable to the self-serving and utterly myopic principle of "white privilege." And yet I am agnry about every item mentioned.

My anger derives from my rejection of the fabled and antiquated "legacy of slavery and Jim Crow" excuses that are tossed down like so many race cards whenever a white person mentions that they believe the black community generally and the poor, urban black community specifically, is experiencing more of a cultural and economic crisis than one attributable to racism and prejudice; the retort that usually follows such a "bold" statement is that these symptoms are the result of constructs that are majority-imposed and result in black self-hatred, which defies reason and offends the sensibilities out-of-the-gates. Absurd.

I am persitently angry that I pay exorbitant taxes at every level (DC, Federal, sales, etc.) to fully fund and support a public education system which has been substantially ruined following the adoption of Home Rule, in DC; I am persistently angry that I support a system of entitlements that I witness being severly abused every time I go through a grocery store line and notice that literally almost all black folks I see are using EDT cards to purchase their groceries; I am livid when I or my wife are accosted and, in 2 instances assaulted with deadly weapons by young black men whose parents are inevitable "shocked" that their "babies" would commit such crimes and they we must have provoked them; and I want to scream when I listen to one apologist after another somehow link these disgusting behaviors to slavery and Jim Crow.

Senator Obama, while I applaud and support him, needs to take his rose-colored glasses off and realize that it is not only the working- and middle-class that is angry about affirmative action, etc. when it comes to so-called "white anger" in the race issue. It is folks like me who are angry that 40 years of well-intentioned, yet utterly pathetic, public policy has created much more of a mess of things in the poor, urban black community than any dyes-in-the-wool Klan-lunatic could have ever dreamed up.

Posted by: paul20002 | March 18, 2008 2:03 PM

Once every 50 to 100 years, America is blessed with a great leader, one who transends above the rubble and leads the country to a better place.

That was true with Washington, Lincoln and Kennedy. That is now also true about Barack Obama.

The multi-racial man has risen above the hard nasty political rhetoric and offered a different path of unity,understanding, and fellowship to work together and solve the country's problems.

God Bless Barack Obama.

Posted by: gerry690 | March 18, 2008 2:01 PM

Amen Barack! Once again you have risen to the challenge and surpassed even the highest expectations. Once again your words and ideas make me proud to be an American!

Posted by: JohnY63 | March 18, 2008 1:53 PM

This really damages Obama alot, I wish that all of the independents who voted for him in Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and other states like that would have known about this before they voted. The free media ride Obama has gotten up until this point was astonishing.

Obama probably cannot win a general election now. Every Obama poster who railed against 'the race card' being played by Bill and Hillary Clinton should send them a letter apologizing to them. The message of Rev. Wright is unmistakably racist and ugly in a way that reminds one of what real racisim is like. I.e. Bill Clinton compared Obama to Jesse Jackson, not the 'devil'.

Especially painfull considering that Obama's big plus and Schtik was being a healer.

Also did anyone notice Obama's first instinct was to lie about this, which he blatantly did all last weekend. I have never heard this sort of talk from Rev. Wright before...... Total Lie

Obama isn't electable in the fall anymore, hopefully the super delegates will do the right thing and put in nominee that can win.

Posted by: boothe | March 18, 2008 1:53 PM

Watch his Google and Web hits rise...

Pennsylvania and Nationwide Analysis on the Democratic Candidates Internet Efforts:

http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=57

In the mean time though, Hillary has been closing the gap, as you can see by clicking the charts in that link.

Posted by: davidmwe | March 18, 2008 1:49 PM

This speech was a more honest and courageous confrontation at the racial problems in America than I have ever heard from a major politician. All Americans have cause to be angry at the racial tensions that persist in our country. These tensions have grown far better in the past half-century, but anger still persists.

However, we have to get past these feeling if we are to work together as a nation to confront our most pressing problems at home - healthcare, the economy, climate change - and abroad - terrorism and extremism, adapting to globalization and the rise of emerging economies, and again, climate change.

Posted by: dcbird | March 18, 2008 1:44 PM

Senator Obama has just given the most important speech of my lifetime. I envision reading this speech to my future grandchildren.

Senator Obama is black and he is white: he is America, and he is America's leader for the 21st century.

I am profoundly moved and in awe of how this Harvard Law Review president addressed, and nailed, every point of which he has been the target, and then how he lifted America into a Socratic discussion as he reminded us of our Founding Fathers' roots, their all-too-human decision to put off until the next generation the question of slavery, to today's lingering vestiges of the Civil Rights movement and the failure of welfare reform.

Quoting William Faulkner's "..the past is with us," was brilliant. We are still resolving the Civil War, just as we are still resolving the Vietnam War. Our past is in us, but we CAN and we WILL come to America's side to help form a more perfect union for our children and grandchildren.

All of us who heard and saw his speech today are America's future. We are America.

With profound thanks to the greatest statesman of my lifetime, Senator Obama's speech today is the starting point of America's 21st century glory that builds upon its illustrious and compassionate past and achieves its destiny.

I have never been so moved by America's greatness than I am today, a day which is my late mother's birthday. A day when she too would have been so proud.

I respectfully request that journalists, both in print and on television do not, whether for the best intentions or for ratings or corporate profit, parse this moment into nothingness. It was greatness. Let it be seen for the greatness it is.

Posted by: willowbarcelona | March 18, 2008 1:39 PM

Senator Obama delivered a powerful speech on the roots and state of the Black-White divide in America. If delivered not before the background of the controversial sermon tapes, the speech might have nailed it for him.
But given the situation, I doubt that this speech will erase those tapes. they may not deny him the nomination but they will come to haunt him in the fall campaign, if he is the Democratic Party's nominee.
For more on this, read http://www.reflectivepundit.com/

Posted by: bn1123 | March 18, 2008 1:34 PM

ONCE AGAIN YOU HAVE PROVEN YOU SHOULD BE PRESIDENT08.

TO ALL THE ONES WHO CAN NOT AT LEAST SAY YOU GAVE AN EXCELLENT SPEECH, THAT WE SHOULD COME TOGETHER. THAT THEY TOO WANT TO UNITE.

IF THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND YOUR WORDS. THEY HAVE HATE IN THEIR HEART!!! AND WE NEED TO PRAY FOR THEM.

THIS ELECTION IS NOT WHAT WE LIKE OR DISLIKE ABOUT HILLARY OR OBAMA. THIS ELECTION IS ABOUT OUR PARTY IN THE WHITEHOUSE. LET'S COME TOGETHER!!!

Posted by: sylcal | March 18, 2008 1:31 PM

Oh I LOVE being Lectured about Slavery from the Son of a Kenyan, who NEVER had Slavery in his Past!

And who grew up in Hawaii, which is one of the most LIBERAL States about Race, there is(Everyone is a "Minority").

Then again, NO, I do not like it one friggin BIT! :-(

Posted by: rat-the | March 18, 2008 1:26 PM

Obama gets it. I don't know if he gets it because of his family background, his intelligence, his education, his experience or his friends - but he gets it, and that's the point.

Ready to lead on Day One? Yes.

(And thanks, Shailagh, for picking up his main point that our society is NOT static and we can move forward. And we will.)

Posted by: TomJx | March 18, 2008 1:26 PM

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