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Obama's Philadelphia Speech on Race and the Race

The Obama campaign has released the prepared version of Sen. Barack Obama's speech, "A More Perfect Union," delivered at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. The full text of the speech follows the jump, and video excerpts are below:

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Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: "A More Perfect Union"

"We the people, in order to form a more perfect union."

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution - a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part - through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign - to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together - unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction - towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. 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.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country - a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, 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 - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters....And in that single note - hope! - I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories - of survival, and freedom, and hope - became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about...memories that all people might study and cherish - and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety - the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, 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 bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. 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.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can 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 by her 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.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. 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 fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments - meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods - parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement - all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it - those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations - those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. 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. 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.

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. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze - a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns - this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy - particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction - a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people - that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances - for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives - by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American - and yes, conservative - notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons 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. But what we know -- what we have seen - is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope - the audacity to hope - for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

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. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation - the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today - a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

"I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Posted at 11:04 AM ET on Mar 18, 2008
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Nick 'nmoser', you're not late on comments.
The Philadelphia Adress will be commented on for quite some time I guess. I'm surprised that (according to a CBS poll) it has made an immediate positive impression on public opinion, because I would have thought that kind of stuff would be pretty hard to swallow.

In any case I agree with what you said about the speech and it's really encouraging that a politician can adress
the toughest issues without grossly simplifying and still get understood by the public.

Thanks to Illinois2 for his appreciative comments. I'm discovering a lot of amazing things about the US these days.

Posted by: bruguier | March 22, 2008 5:43 AM

Well, it seems that I'm a bit late on comments about the speech. Personally, as an aspiring writer, I deem the speech as a wonderful exemplar for rhetoric students within the nation and world.

This is what has, for me, finalized my conception of Obama. It is a conception that I will support. He is indeed considering the larger picture, the comprehensive view, reality, more than I have heard from anyone else's gesticulations (and I was a Hilary supporter). I believe that Obama (even though typing his name here seems to resemble the invocation of an idol) has struck a chord with the American people, which is a difficult feat, considering the vast resources of obtuse corporate visionaries [this is meant to be an insult] toward the direction of further suppression of the human spirit and prospect for positive social change.

Those who are doubting Obama still should reconsider Plato (and I am not even insinuating that Obama is a person who personifies human experience or thought), this is just my opinion.

,Nick

Posted by: nmoser | March 20, 2008 8:47 PM

Well, it seems that I'm a bit late on comments about the speech. Personally, as an aspiring writer, I deem the speech as a wonderful exemplar for rhetoric students within the nation and world. This is what has, for me, finalized my conception of Obama. It is a conception that I will support. He is indeed considering the larger picture, the comprehensive view, reality, more than I have heard from anyone else's gesticulations (and I was a Hilary supporter). I believe that Obama (even though typing his name here seems to resemble the invocation of an idol) has struck a chord with the American people, which is a difficult feat, considering the vast resources of obtuse corporate visionaries [this is meant to be an insult], toward the direction of further suppression of the human spirit and prospect for positive social change.

Those who are doubting Obama still should reconsider Plato (and I am not even insinuating that Obama is a person who personifies human experience or thought), rather this is just me opinion.

,Nick

Posted by: nmoser | March 20, 2008 8:43 PM

Fag*ot Chris Matthews of MSNBC compared Obama's speech as better than Abraham Lincoln and MLK's "I Have a dream" speech. MSNBC gays are taking this man crush to a new high...

Posted by: vs_sv | March 18, 2008 8:15 PM

great speech, I am a white female senior. If I had to go back and be responsible for all of the sermons and lectures that I have heard I would probably be in a more difficult place than Senator Obama. Finally, a man who faces his issues honestly and quickly. He has my vote.

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

Folks, please realize the full reality of the situation.

Barack Hussein was born into a Cosmopolitan, Open-Minded environment.

HE then openly joined into a Black Promoting, Black Based, Black Church and Society, only out to promote Blacks.

Now, Substitute White or Hispanic, or Chinese for "Black". What would that sort of an assembly be considered? Out-reaching? Unifying? Open-Minded? Anything beneficial to the Collective Good of the Individuals that comprise this Nation?

Or, RACISTS? :-(

Posted by: rat-the | March 18, 2008 5:50 PM

I remember one morning nineteen years ago, when I was an 18 year old kid going to high school in Sri Lanka, and the air was full of smoke and there was an eerie dread all around. My good friend and I rode along our bicycles witnessing the carnage carried out last night by the sri lankan army. There were dead, de-capacitated bodies of young men in the streets, some of them may have been younger than me at the time.

We were moving through the crowds, trying to identify the bodies, and one sight I witnessed moved me beyond words. On the roadside lay the dead body of a boy, maybe 18 or 19, and a young boy in the crowd identified him as his older brother (ayyah). Before he could really cry, and express his anguish for his loss, people around him quickly hushed him and took him away.

This young man was not allowed to grieve for his loss as that could possibly have brought about his own death by the same men whose hands were already stained with the blood of his brother's.

I can tell you today, that this is one of the experiences that instilled in me the desire to leave sri lanka in order to live and be part of a country that had higher ideals and more humane values. I studied hard, with the help of my parents, got into a good university, and eventually moved to Seattle, where I'm currently working, happily married to my lovely wife who has blessed me with two adorable daughters aged 5 and 7.

Not a day goes by without me experiencing the beauty, courage and resilience of the American people. They accepted me the way I am - me with my funny accent - worked harder to understand my weird voice and mannerisms and still gave me the benefit of the doubt, and helped me become part of this enduring nation.

I became a citizen barely 3 months ago. A friend of mine mentioned Obama, I listened to his recorded speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and many things about America, and its huge potential became startlingly clear to me.

I realized that having achieved an un-precedented level of democracy and human rights victories, America still can do so much more. When we as Americans realize we're more than the sum of our parts, when we realize our enduring values far out-weigh the differences which some try to magnify, we can do so much more.

And how Obama so lucidly tells us this truth we know deep in our hearts - that our humanity does rise above all our differences - speaks volumes to me. Obama, you believe in people, you make us see the best we have to offer, you challenge us to overcome the anger and fear that yet others try to tell us is all there is. You reach beyond the pettiness of political victories to truly see the other side of things, I know you are the leader we are all looking for.

In a landscape so barren of integrity, compassion and courage - you rise above it all - like the lotus that blooms in the darkness, and shrugs off the mud thrown at its petals - your most powerful messages of unity are directly a reply to criticisms and divisive techniques aimed at you. I say Obama - you are the one. You are the one that will take us to the promise land, you have the courage, the character, the unflagging will and our support.

An image of a boy who was denied the right to grieve for the brutal murder of his brother may well have brought me here. Your leadership and the hope you have given me, and the potential in me you have helped me glimpse, once more, will carry me through. Obama - I wish you well.

Posted by: nicetry | March 18, 2008 5:22 PM


This speech makes me so proud.

Wow, a truly beautiful and courageous speech, and history in the making.

I felt like I was listening to Booby Kennedy in Indianapolis in '68.

Remarkable not only in its courage and intelligence, but also in its humanity. He refuses to throw anyone under the bus. People are flawed, America has race issues, and we need to come together.


Senator Obama has so much dignity and intelligence, he makes his attacks and cynics look very small-minded.

In some sense, Obama has in this very speech, already served his country well. This speech is what his campaign is all about -- moving past division, showing leadership, healing and unity and courage.

Bravo, for a beautiful speech that makes me PROUD to be an American!

Thank you for this wonderful speech which America needs to hear.


Obama's mother: Freespirited wanderer
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/14/us/politics/14obama.html?_r=1


The Obama I know (Chigaco Tribune)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-oped0314obamamar14,0,7185898.story

Posted by: info23 | March 18, 2008 4:42 PM

I am a 46 year-old white man that grew up in the south (Florida) in the 60's and 70's- I've lived through segregation and was raised in an environment of discrimination if not outright racism. I've seen and experienced the issue from both sides and what stands out most for me from the replies to Mr. Obama's speech posted here sadly, is that many people seem to be most comfortable in perpetuating the cynical, close-minded attitudes of the past. I could certainly be wrong, but the writing style of many of the responses seems youthful, meaning folks that are younger than me, but speaking as though they have some frame of reference on the subject. I honestly doubt that they do other than what they are fed by the media- It's unfortunate that some chose to get their '15 minutes of fame' by just being 'contrary' in a forum such as this. Of course it is also one of the things that make this country great- opinions of all shapes and sizes, educated and ignorant all together at once.

For me, this speech in fact does 'hit the nail on the head' as has been suggested. Discrimination and Racism is a Human condition that is based in fear and ignorance and which holds no racial or societal allegiances- He points out very real examples of how both Black and White America can have perceptions of inequality that are very real and legitimate. Both are still very real and correct and the only way to deal with these things effectively is by facing them honestly- I believe he did that by suggesting that each 'side' has their reasons, but only through dialogue and honesty can we overcome them. The bottom line he seems to be making that I agree with, is that regardless of race, we are all American's. We all need to be building this country back up and not continuing to tear it down- I'm sure you all realize that dis-unity plays right into the Terrorist's (or anyone else that hates the US) hands and we should be looking inward to our own for strength and unity in these days.

Pastor Wright's Sermons and speeches contain some divisive remarks. As Obama said, some of his remarks "offend White and Black alike" but who among us is prepared for their 'official life's transcript' to be read and quoted? I doubt any of us- But again, that is the inherent genius of our free society- We get to do, think, and say whatever we feel and think here. By the way, some of the things that you do and think and say are going to be pretty dumb from time to time- just a heads up.

Anyone old enough to remember the Reagan years may remember the country was initially embarrassed that we elected an Actor to the White House- However one thing that the Gipper absolutely did was to make us proud to be Americans again. Coming out of Vietnam and the Iranian Hostage crisis, he led in a way that lifted up America and made us proud whether we agreed with everything that happened during those years or not.

John McCain does not have that charisma- Hillary Clinton does not have that quality. Barak Obama will bring this country back from the clinical depression that we have been suffering for 8 years.

Posted by: ckalvarez | March 18, 2008 4:41 PM

============================
That air of superiority that I noticed in Obama during this speech is that same air that you catch in his pastor. In the videos from his church you can see some of the people sitting in the audience with their heads high and noses in the air, too. It's a superiority problem, same thing that put people off about Kerry. I think the intellectual, liberl Democractic party has a real problem with this, black, white or green. Puts regular people off.
=============================

This is the kind of thinking that gave us George W. Bush. I don't want an average president of the most powerful nation on earth, I want someone VASTLY smarter than I am.

You may not understand what a president has to do in their day to day lives, but the man you most wanted to have a beer with has proven that we MUST have someone who has above average intelligence and the ability to reach out to everyone both within America and without.

If I want someone to have a beer with, I will go to the corner tavern.

Posted by: MsJoanne | March 18, 2008 4:35 PM

Obama wants whites, Hispanics and Asians to be post-racial so they'll ignore their longstanding animosity towards blacks and vote for him for president. But it's okay for blacks to still steep themselves in racist, separatist churches that commit themselves to blacks and Africa above all others, because blacks have suffered so much. All the other races are supposed to help everyone regardless of color, but the blacks are supposed to help the blacks first and only. No thanks.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 4:21 PM

hdimig: I don't think he threw his grandmother under the bus. He went out of his way to say how much she had done for him and how much she clearly loves him. I think he was just saying that nobody is perfect, but that there is plenty that is good in all of us. Also, we often hold prejudices against groups of people in the abstract, but set them aside without even much thought in our relationships with individual members of those same groups. If Obama really wanted to cover his a** he would have pushed his minister away with much greater force a long time ago.

Posted by: illinois2 | March 18, 2008 3:05 PM

brugier: I certainly couldn't tell that you've spent so little time in the U.S. Your observations are remarkably astute.

I think if you spent even more time in various places throughout the U.S. you would find that there is a remarkable amount of variety in how Americans understand race, ethnicity, religion, gender, class, etc. I think the vast majority of Americans deeply believe in equality, and that we haven't yet achieved it. Many do not exactly see eye to eye on how we're falling short of our ideal, however.

Some of us think that patriotism means recognizing our flaws so that we can try to correct them. Some of us think that patriotism is speaking up about and appreciating the things we've gotten right. Like every other country, we are fundamentally complicated.

I think you are absolutely correct about the time it takes to heal wounds. I was born after legal segregation ended, but when I think about how divided the country was before I was born, it's just impossible to me to imagine that segregation did not leave a mark on those who experienced it. I think we can be proud of the progress we've made and still recognize that plenty of people who are still alive were deeply scarred by racism. We need to cut them some slack, but keep pushing for full equality.

Posted by: illinois2 | March 18, 2008 2:51 PM

Do you really beleive, honestly believe, that a man, one single human being, can unite us? This is the promise not of a man, but a god.

Posted by: ejgjunk | March 18, 2008 2:15 PM

Folks, it is really just THIS Simple;

STOP PANDERING TO "Minorities"!

This IDIOTIC Nation, based on Baseless Guilt, began an insane "Special Treatment" program, that has LONG outlived it's purpose! :-(

I believe it is ONLY here, that People get a special Consideration, and Kid Gloves, because of their Race.

WAKE-UP CALL-THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF MINORITIES OF ANY TYPE!

STOP letting People make issues about their Skin Color!

Kenyans, like Obasama's Daddy, are coming in, where they CHOSE to come, and are taking advantage of our collective Stupidity!

Then, realize, when the Tables are turned, and Minorities have the Majority, THEY STILL ACT LIKE THEY ARE SOME SORT OF MINORITY!

END ALL RACE-BASED GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS NOW!

Watch "Race" no longer be an issue! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | March 18, 2008 2:15 PM

We are so fortunate to have gotten a person who really cares about us as human beings. The other people running haven't touched me as deep inside. Our country needs a person like Obama who can unite us as one NOT separate us again- we have had enough of them. This is a turning point election and we need to suck up some of our creature comforts and petty criticisms and DO what is right. I believe in this man that he will bring us together and help reshape this country into a stronger and more connected people-do you??

Posted by: jkobrien | March 18, 2008 2:12 PM

"Again, I repeat, if you can't see that, it's because your racisem has blinded you."

Obama-bots talk like this and wonder why people think they are smug and self-righteous. You can read or listen to that speech and come away with different opinions about it and not be a racist. Maybe cynicism would lead you to believe Obama just delivered a CYA speech. Cynicism could also lead you to believe he is trying to channel MLK yet again. Honest analysis could lead you to believe he threw his grandmother under the bus to save his *#!. Are any of those reads racist?

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

My mistake: I meant to say I followed the campaign since BO beat HRC in Iowa, not Ohio!

Posted by: bruguier | March 18, 2008 2:10 PM

I'm a Frenchman. I'm white, by the way. I've followed BO's campaign from a distance since I heard about him on radio because he'd beaten Hillary in Ohio. At first, I thought, wow, I never would have thought a black candidate could endanger Hillary. But surely he can't win.
Then I came across the Obama Girl stuff and thought: those americans are really crazy. (The French have a natural tendency to believe that every single non-french nation is crazy - goes back to Asterix I guess). But, at least, they are crazy in a refreshing way!

Then I began to study the Obama case. I read whatever I could find on him. First surprise for me : he's not really an african-american, as his father is from Kenya. To begin with, black voters leaned strongly towards Hillary. And all the speculation about the latinos never going to vote for a black guy. But he was talking a different language. He seemed to me the embodiment of the melting pot. You know at school we were taught that the US was the melting pot;) To make a long story short, I soon became a supporter. Actually, a 08 democratic nomination addict now...

Sorry for being so long about it but I think I must explain from where I'm talking. I don't know much about the US. I've been to Maine
for a few weeks, the people were very nice, I did not sense any racism but didn't see any black people either, I guess. Still, I felt good
when the Maine primary results came out! I've been to San Francisco and Berkeley too, more recently. So you see my expericence of the US is very limited. Still here's what I perceived, for what it's worth. You know, the French often have that suspicion that Americans are racists. I didn't sense any form of racism whasoever. Still (for there's a still) I noticed that, well, in certain neighbourhoods when you're white you simply do not go. And in the UCBerkeley, I saw all sorts of students from all parts of the world... but hardly an african american. Ah yes, there was the lady who served the coffee. So, what's happening? I don't know, but something must be happening. I don't have an anwer, but I think there's a question.

Now comes this Pastor thing. Here again, I'm not an american. In France, patriotism is not a big issue. I mean hardly anybody owns a flag and you can say the worst things about the French or France, nobody really cares. Doesn't mean that the French are not patriots, if there was a war or a a great peril to the nation I guess people would turn out patriotic just as any other nation on earth. I hope it won't be put to the test too soon though. But I know in the US patriotism is a key issue. Good or bad, it's just like that. So I watched the incendiary words of the pastor, in a sufficiently detached way, I guess. And, what strikes me is not the hatred, no... it's the pain. There is a huge wound there.

I think that you Americans (well, some of you at least) don't like to look that way, you like to think that all this is over, the blacks enjoy equal rights so what's
the problem? The problem is there is still this huge wound which is hard to look at directy because it is still open. I'm not saying that the whites should feel guilty, no, that's not my point at all. I'm sure much has been done to mend that which was wrong.
But the healing takes some time. Forty years is nothing. You don't have to feel guilty, but you don't gain anyting by denying the pain that is still there. If you accept to see the wound, it's probably going to be difficult for you but it will bring relief, too.

I think that in his speech Obama said the right things. You're lucky to have this guy around. Cheers!

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

The first step in overcoming your fear of being labeled "racist" is to not be afraid of being labeled "racist". If you do not overcome this fear, you will inevitably be manipulated by it.

Posted by: ejgjunk | March 18, 2008 2:06 PM

There are some seriously concerning comments here. Obama is right, America has not fully come to terms with race and there are still a lot of open wounds. I am a little shocked that someone could read a speech that seems to try to help us get over these divides and respond with such seriously hateful and divisive comments. I am amazed how comfortable people seem with using the broad categories of race to assign beliefs to groups of people. We are better than this.

Posted by: lisa8 | March 18, 2008 1:59 PM

Obama wants whites, Hispanics and Asians to be post-racial so they'll ignore their longstanding animosity towards blacks and vote for him for president. But it's okay for blacks to still steep themselves in racist, separatist churches that commit themselves to blacks and Africa above all others, because blacks have suffered so much. All the other races are supposed to help everyone regardless of color, but the blacks are supposed to help the blacks first and only. No thanks.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:57 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 1:56 PM

Obama wants whites, Hispanics and Asians to be post-racial so they'll ignore their longstanding animosity towards blacks and vote for him for president. But it's okay for blacks to still steep themselves in racist, separatist churches that commit themselves to blacks and Africa above all others, because blacks have suffered so much. All the other races are supposed to help everyone regardless of color, but the blacks are supposed to help the blacks first and only. No thanks.


Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:55 PM

"He (the reverend Wright) contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years." Yes, the contradictions, the good and the bad, that's what we have the opportunity now to see in Obama, who was once on the level of a savior. Now we can compare him, the contradictions, the good and the bad, to that of the others in the race to be our President--not our savior.

Posted by: ejgjunk | March 18, 2008 1:52 PM

If you think that Obama's support or rejection of his pastor is the point of this speech, you are a racist. This speech may have come about because of all the talk about his pastor but the focus and point was concerning the future of America. Again, I repeat, if you can't see that, it's because your racisem has blinded you.

Posted by: carmille888 | March 18, 2008 1:51 PM

Obama wants whites, Hispanics and Asians to be post-racial so they'll ignore their longstanding animosity towards blacks and vote for him for president. But it's okay for blacks to still steep themselves in racist, separatist churches that commit themselves to blacks and Africa above all others, because blacks have suffered so much. All the other races are supposed to help everyone regardless of color, but the blacks are supposed to help the blacks first and only. No thanks.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:49 PM

Obama compared his white grandmother's words with Pastor Wright's words. I am outraged he compared his pastors comments to his grandmothers fears.

Quote speaking about pasture Wright "I can no more disown him than I can 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," Obama said. "But a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."
Lets look at what Pastor Wright said

Quote" "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," he said in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
In addition to damning America, he told his congregation on the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001 that the United States had brought on al Qaeda's attacks because of its own terrorism.
"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," Rev. Wright said in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001.
"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost," he told his congregation.

To set the facts straight:

We did not start would war two, The Japanese did with the attack on Pearl Harbor and they were bent on exterminating the U.S.

"God ---- America" is not in the bible

The government does not "Give" drugs to African Americans except thru medicare / medicade.

We did not support state terrorism against south African blacks, we led the world in boycotting white south African government to bring an end to apartied.

We also have not supported terrorism against Palestine. We did help broker a peace that resulted in Israel to quit shooting Palestinians that were throwing rocks. We convinced them to shoot rubber bullets instead of lead ones.


Posted by: jeff | March 18, 2008 1:45 PM

Obama wants whites, Hispanics and Asians to be post-racial so they'll ignore their longstanding animosity towards blacks and vote for him for president. But it's okay for blacks to still steep themselves in racist, separatist churches that commit themselves to blacks and Africa above all others, because blacks have suffered so much. All the other races are supposed to help everyone regardless of color, but the blacks are supposed to help the blacks first and only. No thanks.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:44 PM

I think it is really unfair to hold Obama responsible for everything Wright has ever said. I am Catholic and I certainly do not agree with everything that the Pope says -- especially this one. And I have had priests over the years that were as crazy as Wright. Faith is bigger than one minister. I would never leave my church -- even when the priest is a complete idiot -- because it is not about him. My faith is about my relationship with God and with the community of friends -- people I grew up with -- who share that faith. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I disagree with a lot of what my church teaches. But I stay because I still get a lot out of it and there is a lot I do agree with, such as caring for the poor, that makes it worthwhile. I understand completely where Obama is coming from.

Posted by: lisa8 | March 18, 2008 1:44 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: roncraw | March 18, 2008 1:43 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: roncraw | March 18, 2008 1:43 PM

Ebubuk2004,

Enough already! Obama will not get your vote in November. We get it...

Posted by: GenerationYforChange | March 18, 2008 1:38 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 1:38 PM

This man is a black Bush.Lies,lies,lies and more lies.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:35 PM

Sorry no way. My son was raised by me a single parent we lived on $40 a week, no welfare, no food stamps during Reagenomics. We got by because I dug up the yard and a plot of land I rented, dug it by hand and grew gardens of food, year after year. 35 years running now. He didn't get to go to a priviledged school even though he is very smart, he didn't get a free pass. I didn't get a free pass, why? Because we are WHITE and we have to work for what we get in life. I agree 100% with Ferraro and always will. Obama has the audacity to use Wright's name in comparision to her. That is despicable. Wright is a hate monger and should be arrested. And I will never believe anything you say, ever. You offer nothing for me. This speech tells me that your entire political agenda will only benefit the black man not a hard working, white, middle aged , middle class, grandmother. You offer me nothing. You go to a segregated church with a racist agenda. Good bye.

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:33 PM

It's accurate for him to say that he wasn't in the pews for the specific comments that are circulating on the internet. It was also accurate for him to say, as he has, that he has heard Jeremiah Wright speak provocatively and say controversial things before. And it's accurate for him to say that Jeremiah Wright's views are largely reflective of dysfunction in the broader black community, and that there's an awful lot more to Jeremiah Wright than the comments that have been circulating.

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

Rev Wright is not around to defend himself because he has the only copy of the tape showing Obama applauding the Rev during his sermons. Like he said," the chickens have come to rooooooooost"

Posted by: vs_sv | March 18, 2008 1:29 PM

"Sanctimonious" is good word. That's part of the air of superiority that I'm seeing with this speech.

Posted by: ejgjunk | March 18, 2008 1:25 PM

This was one of the best two or three speeches I've ever heard. Obama acknowledged what many of us have sense for a while -- that many good people have ignorant views, and that we need to acknowledge that those ignorant views can legitimately come from real-life experiences. The civil rights movement in the '60s worked because it showed racism as inhuman; Obama basically called for us to humanize it enough that we can actually have a dialogue about the issue, instead of letting every discussion about race degenerate into demonization.

And I felt for the first time in watching the speech the weight of race on his shoulders in his race. His speech had to be, in a sense, an apology or an explanation for ignorant views that are broadly held in urban black communities -- views which fly in the face of Mr. Obama's personal beliefs and experiences.

And i saddens me to know that, in our political environment, many people will try to interpret his speech in the most unflattering way that they can, starting with the assumption that surely he must not be who he says he is and working back from there.

I just hope enough people really listened -- and listened to the whole speech -- to hear what he had to say, and to start re-shaping our society's dialogue about race.

Posted by: davestickler | March 18, 2008 1:25 PM

Now, it is not his fault.
Now, it is not his Pastor Fault.
Its is Slaveery and slave owners fault.


Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:25 PM

Does anyone know where Obama has hidden his crazy uncle Wright ?? :-)

Posted by: vs_sv | March 18, 2008 1:24 PM

He told Major Garrett that "I never sat in the pews when he made these comments", "If I had heard him make such statements I would have quit the church".

Now, he told us, he was there during all those HATE SPEECH

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:22 PM

He told Major Garrett that "I never sat in the pews when he made these comments", "If I had heard him make such statements I would have quit the church".

Now, he told us he was there during all those HATE SPEECH

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:20 PM

"This is the greatest speech of the 21st, century, only one other can compare, that is Martin Luther King, I have a Dream."

Man those Obama-bots really go overboard. Obama may have wanted to sound like MLK, just like in other speeches he has wanted to sound like Malcolm X or Deval Patrick, but my overall impression from reading the speech is that he wants us to forgive Wright this time where we have not forgiven others in the past. By others we mean people like Al Campanis whose careers and reputations were completely destroyed for remarks far more innocent than Wrights. I don't really buy Obama. Sanctimonious is always the word that comes to mind when I see him speak.

Posted by: hdimig | March 18, 2008 1:19 PM

He was there during every speech!!

He was siting there during all that hate speech!!

He is a FRaud

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:18 PM

WAKE UP, SMELL THE OBAMA!! change we can believe in....HE NAILED IT!! YES WE CAN!!!

Posted by: morristravel

____________________________________________

I'm really impressed. So many posters like you are inspired by BS. He proved one thing in this speech. He is a liar. He told Major Garrett that " I never sat in the pews when he made these comments", "If I had heard him make such statements I would have quit the church". To Olberman "this is the first time I have heard these statements, when they appeared on TV". What did he say about this in this speech? You know. He proved he has lied, BS won't cover that. What a bonehead.

Posted by: bnw173 | March 18, 2008 1:18 PM


His speech is an "Air" about him to those that he opened up a can of "you can't hide racism anymore". So instead of you taking the message and searching within yourselves, you see it as an "air about him". No it's not an "air" about him. It's the fact that he spoke to that little white sheeting wearing angry person inside of your hearts" and you are mad because he exposed your hidden racism. That's whats so hillarious about the "air" statement. hahahahaha LMAO

No, freind. The air about the man has nothing to do with color. It's an air of superiority no matter the color.

Posted by: ejgjunk | March 18, 2008 1:16 PM

He will get 90% of Black Vote

HRC get 80% White VOTE

Her supporters are Racist.

His supporters are Smart people, because of slavery

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:14 PM

Don't you know that most of us DON'T want to be preached to about this race thing? We're so sick of being preached to about it. And now, to boot, we have to hear it from a man who's somehow better than us, higher than us, after we saw videos of his church. None of this is going to sit well with most people, except if you are black (not all black) and a certain brand of liberal intellectual.

Posted by: ejgjunk | March 18, 2008 1:14 PM

another lecture by Angry Black man about Slave!!

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:10 PM

He is DONE!!!

He is RACIST!!

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:09 PM

This speech was amazing! This dialogue is overdue. I feel sorry for those who cannot open their minds enough to see the truth of what Obama said. We need to talk about race in this country. We need to finally work our way past race. This is the only country in the world where we can choose to make ourselves better. I (a 52-year-old poor, republican white woman) will proudly vote for Obama on May 6 in Indiana and in the general election in the fall!!!!

Posted by: SueB2 | March 18, 2008 1:08 PM

He is a FRAUD!!!

Posted by: ebubuk2004 | March 18, 2008 1:07 PM

His speech is an "Air" about him to those that he opened up a can of "you can't hide racism anymore". So instead of you taking the message and searching within yourselves, you see it as an "air about him". No it's not an "air" about him. It's the fact that he spoke to that little white sheeting wearing angry person inside of your hearts" and you are mad because he exposed your hidden racism. That's whats so hillarious about the "air" statement. hahahahaha LMAO

Posted by: YesweCan1 | March 18, 2008 1:06 PM

This is the greatest speech of the 21st, century, only one other can compare, that is Martin Luther King, I have a Dream. He answered all his crtics, shamed the media for their ignorance and not fulfilling their duties to educate the masses on the important matters of our society, but to condemn a man with differing views an place him in a negative light that does not exist, we all have our hatreds and we must look in the mirror, Barack has made it crystal clear on his position on this matter, his reason for wanting to be President and his character, so if the fools of society wish to continue on this non-issue go on asses, you'll be eating grass in the field of yonder land in the blink of a eye WAKE UP, SMELL THE OBAMA!! change we can believe in....HE NAILED IT!! YES WE CAN!!!

Posted by: morristravel | March 18, 2008 12:59 PM

That air of superiority that I noticed in Obama during this speech is that same air that you catch in his pastor. In the videos from his church you can see some of the people sitting in the audience with their heads high and noses in the air, too. It's a superiority problem, same thing that put people off about Kerry. I think the intellectual, liberl Democractic party has a real problem with this, black, white or green. Puts regular people off.

Posted by: ejgjunk | March 18, 2008 12:57 PM

Obamabots- Reality Check time!

Obasama's Daddy-The Black Fellow, was FROM KENYA!

HE, was NEVER a Slave!

Probably MOST African Americans at this point, immigrated in, or were from Areas other than the Slave South, and ALSO have no right to even talk about an issue many Irish People actually CAN!

Just like "Slaves" in Texas, they were labeled "Indentured Servants".

Then, please REALIZE, The Blacks who suffered from Segregation, Segregated themselves, and came to realize the errors of their ways!

Man I hate the way History gets rewritten! :-(

Posted by: rat-the | March 18, 2008 12:54 PM

TAH1 | March 18, 2008 12:32 PM Posted:

"Obama is OVER.

Obama is UNELECTABLE.

There is NO defense of his "mentor" "pastor" Jeremiah Wright. Obama made a critical mistake in attempting to defend him."


This is an example of exactly what Obama was speaking about! America would make much more progress by focusing on the common good versus the bad. I guess some people need an excuse for not wanting things to improve!

Posted by: lcannon610 | March 18, 2008 12:54 PM

I agree with Stonecreek.

The Rove and Mark Penn playbook is to divide the electorate while attacking an opponent's strength. That's why we get Hillary mocking Obama's "words", while her surrogates find ways to remind people that Obama is "black" (and we all know what that means.)

Obama has the opposite approach. Remind Americans what brings us together: our common goals and love of country, while also taking a weakness and working to make it a strength.

It is speeches like this that are bringing Republicans into the Obama camp. Millions of us are tired of the divisions in America. We acknowledge there are lots of deeply held resentments, but we want to get them on the table so we move beyond the emotion towards solving our common problems.

The super delegates (and I'm talking to you Al Gore and John Edwards) need to step in and find a way for Hillary to gracefully leave the race. For all of her strengths and experience, Obama out organized and out campaigned her.

We Democrats need to nominate one of the most unifying politicians we've ever seen, not the most divisive.

Posted by: choskasoft | March 18, 2008 12:53 PM

Home run grand slam call it what you want Senator Obama hit it out of the park today. He took on everything head on a straight shooter no bobin and weavin AUTHENTICITY and he exudes CONFIDENCE and UNITY! This is the ONE! Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States of America! ITS TIME!

Posted by: gfsurrette | March 18, 2008 12:53 PM

A speech is a speech, and actions speak louder than words.

Posted by: maricopajoe | March 18, 2008 12:47 PM

Barack reminds me of James Earl Jones in "Conan-The Barbarian".

Just a slick smooth talking Snake. ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | March 18, 2008 12:46 PM

Guess what.
Obama has already lost the white vote in the general election.

Posted by: maricopajoe | March 18, 2008 12:45 PM

Yet another Hillary tactical error: Pushing the Wright story gave Obama the justification he needed to do what he does best, make a stirring speech that casts him as a uniter as contrasted with her (and by extension, Bush and McCain's) divisiveness. Other than die-hard partisans of other candidates, there will be few who are not positively moved by the speech. Likely will be remembered as the big turning point for Obama, and also diffuses race as an issue in November.

Posted by: Stonecreek | March 18, 2008 12:40 PM

So, Obama throws his white grandmother under the bus, painting her as a racist to protect his support of Wright...Using a white grandmother's alleged words is a racial and political move.

If Obama white grandmother made racial remarks it would seem logical her daughter, Obama's mother may have used them too. Did Obama ever hear his white mother used racist words.

************************************

Skinsfan,

You are totally missing the point. Did you listen to the speech at all? The point is that Rev. Wright is not a racist, nor is Barack's grandmother. The point is that there are a lot of hidden fears, resentment, anger, and bitterness between the races, particularly White & Black, that are part of the legacy of this country.

Rev. Wright isn't a racist; he doesn't hate all white people because they are White. Nor is Obama's grandmother a racist who hates all Black men by virtue of their blackness (obviously, as she adores her grandson). People say stupid, insensitive, inflammatory things sometimes. They are not necessarily racists or bad people--they are just ignorant, or speaking on what they think they know.

Obama's point is that we must change America's consciousness on this matter. We can no longer be afraid to confront those ugly skeletons in our closet. With each generation, race relations improve in small degress. Open dialogue will speed up that process.

Posted by: GenerationYforChange | March 18, 2008 12:36 PM

I caught the tail end of the speech. I know very little about Obama before now. I knew he was doing well and I wanted him to beat Hillary. I usually like the underdog, which he was, and I also liked the idea of having a black family in the Oval Office for quite a CHANGE.

I am white. I grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania with blue-collar whites (German and Irish) but we lived next door to a black family whom we loved. They moved in from the south side of center city when Allentown was cleaning up that area. The city actually gave them the money to move. We were the best of friends until we became teenagers. Then we separated into white and black worlds until I was converted to REAL Christianity and rejected the white hatred, and reached out to the black family next door again. Now I live in New Mexico far away from that Allentown, Pennsylvania world.

I don't think this speech is going to do it for Obama and here's why. He has taken the moral high ground here that I don't believe belongs to him. It's a little insulting. You can actually see his nose rise into the air while he turns his head from one side to the other. This man has an air of superiority, intellectual and otherwise. I once wanted him to win but now I want the opposite. He's much too high on himself. He's preaching down to us. Correcting us. Putting us in our places. I definitely do not think he's going to win the Presidency. I now think there's a good chance he can lose the nomination to Hillary.

Posted by: ejgjunk | March 18, 2008 12:34 PM

Obama is OVER.

Obama is UNELECTABLE.

There is NO defense of his "mentor" "pastor" Jeremiah Wright. Obama made a critical mistake in attempting to defend him.

This speech was a joke and did NOTHING to help him in this election.

The only question that remains is how fast can the Dems get this toxic loser out of the race before he completely destroys any chance for a Dem victory in November?

No VP slot either. I doubt Obama is even re-electable to the U.S. Senate after this campaign debacle is over.

Posted by: TAH1 | March 18, 2008 12:32 PM

I thought it was a very important speech. I also think people are hearing what they want to hear because his candidacy has riled up some very deep seeded feelings about seeing a black man be successful.
I have long felt about Obama that either you get it or you dont. People expect politicians to be everything to everybody and nothing to noone. Be different and people are suspicicous of you. Point out the world is different or can be different than you thought you knew, and they will try to tear you apart.

Posted by: nclwtk | March 18, 2008 12:31 PM

obama's grandmother is alive and lives in Hawaii but is too elderly/sickly to travel and stump for him.

Posted by: jkallen001 | March 18, 2008 12:28 PM

Obama says, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community," Obama said, speaking in front of eight American flags. "I can no more disown him than I can 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 by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."

So, Obama throws his white grandmother under the bus, painting her as a racist to protect his support of Wright. Is Obama's grandmother alive to support his claims? If she was alive, would he have attributed racist remarks to her in his speech today? She will never know his words this day and the fact that he dishonors her memory and legacy within her own family is a shame. We will never know if Obama's grandmother really used those words but it tells voters Obama will use anyone for his own ambition. Using a white grandmother's alleged words is a racial and political move. I did not hear Obama take responsibility for anything today.

If Obama white grandmother made racial remarks it would seem logical her daughter, Obama's mother may have used them too. Did Obama ever hear his white mother used racist words.

Posted by: Skinsfan1978 | March 18, 2008 12:24 PM

I have to agree with Mazarin. The news media, especially FOX NEWS, takes small out-of-context snipets out of a few Rev. Wright's sermons to try to define the man. If you reasonably think about it and go to church, you know that pastors usually spend at least an hour giving Sunday sermons. Therefore it is easy to assume that Rev. Wright has given at least 1500 sermons over the last 35 years. This means that the mainstream media is only playing two or three 10-to-15 seconds of controversial sound-bites of sermons in which Rev. Wright has delivered over 1500 hours of sermons.

The amusing thing about this whole race issue is that you have right-wing conservative media hosts, like Sean Hannity listening to Black Church sermons and reading Obama's books whereas he would never have done so. Hopefully some of the good and hope from these media will rub off on Hannity. One can only hope.

Posted by: ajtiger92 | March 18, 2008 12:23 PM

This speech will live on! Obama will become a legacy after winning the Presidency. All of the ignorant and stupid comments posted gives so much credit to the reality that bigotry and racism still lives on in the minds of the ignorant and backward thinking people who are afraid of change and more importantly embracing those that are different. To those ignorant thinkers when are you going to stop blaming and fearing the black man and/or the immigrants? When are you going to develop enough courage to stop being afraid of change and working together? Barak Obama you are on point and you will make inroads with this speech. Those that hate on you, wouldn't have voted for you regardless. They will take their own fears and convictions to their graves. Hopefully the same ignorance that kills them doesn't kill their children and their grandchildren.

Posted by: YesweCan1 | March 18, 2008 12:16 PM

I think that this controversy will unfairly end Obama's broader appeal with white voters. He was an 'ideal' black candidate without civil rights baggage. This controversy links him directly to the anger still prevalent, often rightly, in black community. I don't see how he can get past the race issue. If black were voting 90% percent for him before, they'll vote 101% for him now. One white voter in Ohio already told me that she voted for Hillary coz Obama was getting Black votes.

Once again, no fault of his but as he himself said this is the reality of America. Consider this, so far we have only elected 3 black US senators (incl Obama) and 2 black governors. If Obama loses this race (primary and/or general), I predict that we won't be considering another black candidate for another 200 yrs.

Since we are talking in color/gender, I am brown, male and an Obama supporter.

Posted by: gjay78 | March 18, 2008 12:15 PM

The flaw in Obama's character and approach might be that, despite his immaculate political astuteness, he does not have the the experience, intellect or the emotional sincerity, and I mean inner core emotional sincerity (not public) needed for the job. His denunciation of Farrakhan and Wright was never real and all expedited in order for him to establish the bar "the firstness" if you will. Suffice to read the recent declarations of NY Lieutenant Governor, David Peterson, and his sincere, mind-boggling declaration of extramarital affairs (of both equally he and his wife) to observe in effect an outright sincere, uncompromising future president of the United States. Obama cannot start to fill Mr. Peterson's shoes. There the stuff presidents are made of. Ultimately, here what I consider Mr. Obama irrevocable shortcoming. If he wanted to change this nation why he couldn't change his pastor and church? Why he never confronted his pastor on this issue until it came up in youtube? If this was such an important issue why he did not schedule this speech until the hateful rhetoric of his mentor was exposed? Convenient indeed. Convenient since he first said he never heard Pastor Wright say anything hatefull but once exposed said he had.

Posted by: Kelvin1 | March 18, 2008 12:09 PM

kdingman said: "But it doesn't work when you're intimately tied into what's going wrong in that church; when you've been there for 20 years and you've been listening to the stream of hate without voicing an objection."

That's the problem. You assume the guy has been saying stuff like that every single Sunday. I don't think that's the case. Of over somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 sermons Wright has given in his career, and the fact we only see 3 chopped up fuzzy tapes, means to me that he more than likely doesn't preach a "stream of hate." You're assuming based on very little information. And that's what HC and the Repubs. are banking on you doing.

Posted by: Mazarin | March 18, 2008 12:03 PM

I'm a McCain Republican, and the earnestness of Obama's speech brought tears to my eyes. I don't know if he can win PA, but he'll make inroads.

Posted by: dbog | March 18, 2008 12:02 PM

By largely sympathizing with urban black paranoid notions of eternal victimhood (while dismissing working-class white fears as the work of evil, exploiting demogogues), Obama confirms what is made obvious by a reading of his autobiography.
Raised my a mother and grandfather who eschewed their white race and socialized with non-whites, steeped in his formative years with the writings of black nationalists (the most influential being Malcolm X), growing up in locales where blacks were exotic rarities, Obama has always been obsessively preoccupied with making himself a Legitimate Black Man. The newest parishoners are always the fervent, as they try to prove they belong. Clearly, Obama and his wife identify and agree with the sentiments of their spirtual mentor, though consultant David Axelrod may be dictating a different script.

Posted by: threedy | March 18, 2008 12:00 PM

This speech brought back to me full force why I support Obama. His character, his moral fiber, his intellect, his passion, his patriotism, his love of country and for his fellow Americans are so evident. Most of all, he is an optimist. He believes in the best of all of us, that we can work together to make this country a better place. "Change" isn't just a slogan. I have to believe in the power of common citizens to work together, all races and religions. That's what Barack represents to me.

Posted by: mirinor | March 18, 2008 11:56 AM

1995: Lonely hospital room in Hwawaii

Ann Soetoro has been diagnosed with cancer. It is a painful disease, but if there is one good thing about cancer, it gives you time to see those you want to see at least once for the last time. It gives those who care about you to be by your bedside and spend some valuable time during the last day.

Everybody has come by to visit, but pearl of her eye has not been able to make it yet.

He is busy with voter registration in Illinois. He will probably run from that district in near future. Something she always wanted.

But still a dying mother wants to see her son for the last time. Unfortunately it is not going to happen.

Ann Soetoro will die without having her son beside her bed.

Posted by: SeedofChange | March 18, 2008 11:52 AM

This address will live on well beyond November. But of course what matters now is whether the citizenry of Pennsylvania and other states will join prior voters in taking the first steps toward the change that is vital to the health of our national society.

Posted by: FirstMouse | March 18, 2008 11:51 AM

It's interesting that Obama seems to have totally dropped the claim that he wasn't there/didn't know.

That said, I think Obama's speech would be compelling if he were talking about Reverend Wright from a distance - if the controversy weren't from within his own church. I think it makes a lot of sense to talk about what's going on behind the Reverend's church - to tie the promise of healing that into your central campaign message about hope and unity.

But it doesn't work when you're intimately tied into what's going wrong in that church; when you've been there for 20 years and you've been listening to the stream of hate without voicing an objection.

Posted by: kdingman | March 18, 2008 11:49 AM

Obama: What my pastor said is actually true. I agree with him.

But I have to say I "reject" it like I "rejected" Farah Kahn, to try to win the election.

Once I win the election...... my money has been (Wright's pocket) where my heart was all along.

Posted by: SeedofChange | March 18, 2008 11:49 AM

Watch the Google Trend charts the coming days- till now he has been sliding the last couple weeks vs Clinton;

Pennsylvania Primary- Hillary vs. Barack:
The Google Factor...

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

Posted by: davidmwe | March 18, 2008 11:47 AM

The way America responds to this uplifting, dead-on assessment of our times says more about Americans than Obama.

Posted by: schencks84 | March 18, 2008 11:45 AM

Wow, that was POWERFUL!!! He hit the nail on it's head....I have the utmost respect for this young man. He summed it all up in a matter of 40 minutes at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. This is a Presidential candidate that America may not have another chance to get in another 50-60 years! God Bless you Barak Obama, and God Bless America!!!! Amen!!!

Posted by: YesweCan1 | March 18, 2008 11:45 AM

Wow, that was POWERFUL!!! He hit the nail on it's head....I have the utmost respect for this young man. He summed it all up in a matter of 40 minutes at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. This is a Presidential candidate that America may not have another chance to get in another 50-60 years! God Bless you Barak Obama, and God Bless America!!!! Amen!!!

Posted by: YesweCan1 | March 18, 2008 11:44 AM

Another speech.....*yawn*

Posted by: Georgiapeac21556 | March 18, 2008 11:43 AM

Wow, he nailed it. Anyone saying otherwise either doesn't know politics or wasn't paying attention. Question now, I think, is whether it takes, what parts people latch onto....

Posted by: BABucher | March 18, 2008 11:37 AM

Wow, he nailed it. Anyone saying otherwise either doesn't know politics or wasn't paying attentioned. Question now, I think, is whether it takes, what parts people latch onto....

Posted by: BABucher | March 18, 2008 11:37 AM

Can Presidential candidate Barack Obama overcome the Race controversy his Pastor brought to light?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1893


.

Posted by: jeffboste | March 18, 2008 11:18 AM

I said yesterday that the speech was risky but probably worth the risk. After reading the speech I think he made the right choice and will benefit greatly from the speech.

Might it turn Penn. around?

Posted by: dyork | March 18, 2008 11:08 AM

Is he saying that he was too stupid to realize that Wright was mouthing off anti-American statements? I don't subscribe to that theory, but some folks will point out that his mea culpa on the Pastor seems contrived.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl | March 18, 2008 11:07 AM

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