Political Chunks From The Junkie

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

NPR political editor and our favorite Political Junkie Ken Rudin joins us for the the latest on the presidential race and other political news. The biggest topic on everyone's lips is Senator Obama's decision to cut ties with his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, for a spate of new remarks he made at the National Press Club in Washington. In other news, Senate candidate Al Franken has to pay about $70,000 in back income taxes; Hillary Clinton will appear on The O'Riley Factor tonight; and in six days, voters in North Carolina and Indiana go to the polls.

Congressman Mel Watt, an Obama supporter, and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Clinton supporter, join us to give their input on the ongoing race. And political analyst Ron Walters joins us to talk about the effect of Wright's comments on white, black and Hispanic voters. If you have questions for our Political Junkie, leave them here.

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Aside from alienating the black faction of the democratic coalition and larger that of America, how will this effect the obama campaign in the general election, assuming he wins.

Sent by Topsey Krets Phd. | 2:12 PM | 4-30-2008

My thought on Obama is that he made an initial strategic mistake about Wright.
He should have stood up for Wrights right to free speach and opionion and that he will fight for that right forever. Then, he should have said he does not agree with certain opinions of Jeremiah Wright.
He then would have covered American patriotic freedom of speech and still distanced himself.
A major mistake to not stand up for Wrights freedom to speak his opinions!

Sent by Andre Ryland | 2:16 PM | 4-30-2008

Please tell me why Reverend Wright is important at all. When Americans consistently, in polls. say the Iraq war, the economy and health care are their most important concerns, why do you feel Reverend Wright, or Reverend Hagee for that matter, are topics of concern?

And why fall for the most basic trick in the world and play the NC Republican's ad using Reverend Wright? You give one party's ad exposure to those who never hear it. You've been manipulated into giving free media to an extreme view.

Sent by John Whisler | 2:23 PM | 4-30-2008

Re: Rev. Wright....does this mean that Sen. Obama is now ready to disown ihs grandmother?

Sent by Anon | 2:25 PM | 4-30-2008

Perhaps now is the time to point out the dubious association all Christians have with their Bible. Most embrace it as the true word of God, many believing it to be inerrant and infallible. However much of what it endorses is clearly, to anyone with a normally functioning moral sense, immoral - sanctioning slavery, murder and rape, for example.

Sent by David | 2:25 PM | 4-30-2008

i will vote for mr. obama, the media has made this into a circus not looking at mr. obama for the man he is and looking at mr. wright for the man he is ... and i think rev. wright is being vengful.

Sent by lynn | 2:25 PM | 4-30-2008

When are you going to spend some Political Junkie airtime on examining actual issues, instead of the same old rehash? I would hope that NPR could actually do what the other networks do not--address in detail the issues that Americans are really concerned about: health care, the economy, the wars, poverty, and more. What a disappointment. We all know you could do better. Why aren't you?

Sent by Mark Wilson | 2:27 PM | 4-30-2008

ok, how many times can we beat a dead horse before it gets old, but seriously, how does this affect the obama campaign now? despite removing the divisive force of wright from obamas campaign doesnt change the fact that its part of his past that will assuredly come back to haunt him in the general election. lets get to the real stuff like how often did obama bake cookies with his grandmother?

Sent by Nick | 2:28 PM | 4-30-2008

I became an Obama supporter yesterday. This is issue related not Rev. Wright related. The suspension of the gas tax is pandering and poor policy! We need jobs and these are created by improving our infrastructure. We cannot rob the highway trust fund. Sorry, Hillary, how could you align yourself with McCain's inane plan? Disappointed in Kansas City

Sent by Mary in Kansas City | 2:28 PM | 4-30-2008

If all politicians were tainted by the words/actions of their ministers as Senator Obama has been, there would never be another Roman Catholic elected.

Sent by Kurt Franke | 2:29 PM | 4-30-2008

Isn't it healthy for Obama to get fully vetted during the primary process including who those folks who have been the advisers forming his past judgment?

Sent by Javier Reynaldos, CPA | 2:29 PM | 4-30-2008

I'm wondering if there's been any feedback from Rev. Wright's congregation about Senator Obama's remarks yesterday.

It seems that not only did Senator Obama repudiate Rev. Wright but also those longtime parishioners who remained in this church.

Sent by Cathy Ubaldino | 2:31 PM | 4-30-2008

Rev. Wright is not the first pastor to make degratory/controversay statements, why haven't we insited that others leave their church, e.g., Billy Graham, Pope(s), and many more.

Sent by Gloria | 2:33 PM | 4-30-2008

Honestly, I'm disappointed that NPR is stooping to the low of the main stream media and even covering this story. I still can't figure out how what someone he was associated with said is relevant to Obama's holding political office. I know plenty of people who have said awful things, but that doesn't reflect on me. It reflects on them. If we were electing Wright himself, it may be a different issue, then the comments would be relevant. Let's listen to what Obama has to say, not people who are associated with him.

Sent by Scott Cyr | 2:34 PM | 4-30-2008

Can we get to the issues? Hasn't everyone out there had or seen a clergyman who wanted to be an entertainer? Rev. Wright got his 15 min. of fame by doing his schtick on National TV. It is to me just obvious that he wants the spotlight and doesn't care about anyone but his own ego. So the best way to respond is to ignore him!

Sent by Eileen Courtney | 2:36 PM | 4-30-2008

Higher standard? Is Hillary Clinton being held to this same standard?

Sent by Jeanette Hamje | 2:37 PM | 4-30-2008

Right at this time, before Tuesday, there should be some questions about Senator Cliniton's statement that she would use nuclear weapons on Iran when we are saying that nuclear weapons should be limited. Also, connected with the price of oil; Hillary is responsible for part of these prices by voting for the war and voting against Senator Levin's proposal to slow down and look into it further before going forward. There were two votes she made not just one.

Why aren't we talking about some of the more divisive comments she's making? How come there has been little, virtually NO, uproar with Senator McCain and the Rev Hagee??? How more inflammatory a person can there be than this character???

Sent by Wendy Dart | 2:37 PM | 4-30-2008

Are there really no comments or are you just afraid to post the comments you get? This show's focus is simply milking a racist, engineered controversy that avoids the very real issues that the US faces.

Sent by John P. | 2:37 PM | 4-30-2008

Is Rev Wright being outspoken so as to subterfuge the Obama candidacy for some perverse reason?

Sent by Sharon Prange | 2:38 PM | 4-30-2008

Jeremiah Wright no doubt does not sound today like he sounded 40 years ago or 30 years ago or even 10 years ago. Imagine that your grandfather's forty year career of service was being savaged and trashed with a thirty second sound bite being played on national TV over and over. How would you expect that he might react? What might he say? Don't you think he might stand up and try to defend himself, even if his corner was telling him that it was time to throw in the towel? Jeremiah Wright is retired and tired and he has been attacked and cornered. Show a little empathy.

Sent by Roger Buffett | 2:38 PM | 4-30-2008

Why should Barack Obama be held to a higher standard than any other candidate. He is a man running for office. Bringing up the subject of him being black demonstrates that there is a dual standard in the US.

Sent by John Jadwin | 2:39 PM | 4-30-2008

I often wonder how unintelligent the politicians think we are. Doesn't it appear that the Rev. simply threw himself on the sword, So that Mr. Obama could totally distance himself and appear outraged.

Sent by Ruby | 2:41 PM | 4-30-2008

Most politicians and other public officials use tax accountants to file and pay their taxes, if what Franken says is true, that this turned out to be an accounting error can it really still have a bad affect on the campaign?

Sent by Dane Ryan | 2:41 PM | 4-30-2008

Barack Obama must be held to a higher standard? So Rudin believes we must unquestioningly accept a racist like Rev. Hagge supporting McCain, because McCain is just an old white guy.

Sent by Tad Bornhoft | 2:42 PM | 4-30-2008

Obama and His Pastor. We have many leaders in our lives. Take the President for example. He has done some things that we do some do not agree with. Those that do disagree have many choices.

Mine. Disagree but stay involved with my leaders. Hold them accountable, call them on their errors, and support them as our leaders. If they can not lead. Find another better leader. We need many good ones and NOW. Pastors, Teachers, HealthCare Workers and providers,Business Professionals, and yes a President who will LEAD US OUT OF THIS MESS. Thanks

Sent by Lynn | 2:42 PM | 4-30-2008

Rev. Wright's latest eruption seems to be either intended to damage Senator Obama, or so dedicated to comforting the Reverend's bruised ego that he's oblivious to the damage he's causing. Either way, every minute of free publicity that the press provides to Dr. Wright at this point compounds the damage to an innocent and deserving man.

Sent by Al | 2:43 PM | 4-30-2008

I think that both the press and others are being disingenuous not to think that Barack Obama's preacher for twenty years has not had an influence on his values. Indeed Obama has said as much when he credits Rev Wright with teaching him what it means to be a Christian.

As to whether Obama should be held to a higher standard, of course he should. Every one who wants to be president of this country should be held to a higher standard. The idea that the standards be lowered for Obama smacks of the soft side of racism, to wit, he is not able to meet the higher standard.

Sent by Jack Carnes | 2:44 PM | 4-30-2008

I lean toward Hillary Clinton in this race, although I think Obama is also a good candidate. It seems clear to me that Rev. Wright is using and abusing his association with Obama to be in the media spotlight. It is reprehensible and is not the kind of behavior one would expect from a friend. It is obvious that Obama had no choice given the circumstances. It is unfortunate that Rev Wright is even being given any attention at all.

Sent by V Mertlich | 2:45 PM | 4-30-2008

The American public, especially the media want to quantify candidates in a simplistic way. He is for this, she is for that. Obama is a complicated thoughtful person who considers various aspect of situations. He does not have a simple "on-off" switch that enables him to make impulsive decisions. For 8 years we have experienced the outcome of simplistic thinking. Don't we want a President who can truly process information and not just make knee jerk decisions? Initially with Rev. Wright, Obama considered his own personal history and spiritual growth, not just the sound bites. Now that Wright has gone off out of the pulpit, Obama has had to cut the cord. I see a considered thought process --just what I want in the Oval office.

Sent by Vivian Kramer | 2:45 PM | 4-30-2008

What has Rev Wright said recently that was new? What have we not heard before? Is it possible that the American people have heard more truths from Rev Wright then Obama has in the last 20 years? Lastly, if it took 20 years for Obama to realize the political beliefs of his spiritual adviser, his father figure that has been said in his own sermons, how fast would he be able to realize any issues and how to fix them as POTUS?

Sent by josh | 2:46 PM | 4-30-2008

Just a note regarding senator Obama's willingness to repudiate questionable conduct on the part of the Rev. Wright: no one ever brings up Senator Clinton's questionable judgment in staying with a man who was repeatedly unfaithful to her. As a woman who divorced my husband because of his infidelities, I have little respect for Clinton, and have always viewed her willingness to remain in the marriage as a political decision, and I cannot support her candicacy (but will vote for her if she is the nominee).

Sent by Gail A. Williams | 2:48 PM | 4-30-2008

I believe that Reverend Wright has become a distraction to the campaign. He has catapulted himself into the limelight, and the media is allowing it to overshadow the real issues facing this campaign. I have not changed my opinion of Sen. Obama (although I remain undecided) and feel like he is now having to explain away statements that are taking away from his campaign. If the media would ignore Wright, I think we could back to the issues at hand...like the economy, gasoline prices, Iraq, etc.

Sent by Marcia E. Bean | 2:49 PM | 4-30-2008

I think it is a shame that Obama has to separate from Rev. Wright so publicly. Obama never aligned himself closely with Wright and his statements. It is the media and public that has made Wright's words Obama's responsibility.

Sent by Susie | 2:49 PM | 4-30-2008

I'm really tired of hearing about Jeremiah Wright and making Barack Obama responsible for what the man does and says. Have we forgotten who Hillary is married to and the embarrassment Bill brought to this Country through his actions with women like Monica Lewisnky. Jermiah will not be living in the White House and privy to everything that involves running our country, but Bill will be. Maybe it's time to pressure Hillary about her husband in the same way Barack is being pressured about Jerimiah Wright. I think she has more to answer to than Barack.

Sent by Ellen Moyer | 2:51 PM | 4-30-2008

With the discussion of Obama's pastor, I think it is fair to ask the Clintons about their own denomination and whether they agree with everything their church stands for. Southern Baptists do not support choice, gay/lesbian civil rights, and a host of other issues that Hillary does--why isn't this discussion taking place?

Sent by Alice | 2:51 PM | 4-30-2008

Rev. Wright has a right to criticize this government. He seeks to inspire his community - a community that has experienced the realities of racism. Barak Obama obviously listens to all perspectives and thinks for himself - something I respect in him.

Sent by Sally Day | 2:52 PM | 4-30-2008

Could we please talk about the inevitable ad about the Clintons, should Hillary be the nominee?
Someone will ask if the good people of America really want the liars back in the White House and show Hillary and her Sniper fire disaster and Bill saying "I did not have sex with this woman".
I am not looking forward to this - Hillary has not been vetted enough.

Sent by Petra | 2:52 PM | 4-30-2008

As a supporter of Obama for a long time I find the Rev Wright issues has made some who were supporting or leaning to Obama are backing away for reasons that are more complicated than naked racism. It has made some questions whether Obama really can represent all Americans or whether he is secretly (or will be pressured by the black community) to favor the black "interest group" over others. Others seem to fear that Rev Wright has been preaching "hate whitey" messages for 20 years and that by not leaving or at least confronting the Rev Wright, Obama may somehow secretly "hate whitey" or bring those who do in to his administration. Supporters who have read Obama's books or feel they know Obama well for via others means, trust Obama to understand and represent both his white family and his black family and bring us together, as well as understand and bring other minority groups together. I listen to KCFR in Denver, Co

Sent by Margie Stroock | 2:54 PM | 4-30-2008

Isn't this how racism works? Doesn't it keep the focus on color for everyone, including Rev. Wright, rather than what is really important? Obama and Rev. Wright are both contributing to our need to have this extremely painful but necessary conversation. It doesn't really matter WHEN Obama denounces Wright. That he has given it great thought rather than given a knee-jerk or solely political reaction is most important to me and shows that he has what we have been lacking in a president.

Sent by Cynthia Coates | 2:55 PM | 4-30-2008

I'd like to comment on the comments about why Sen. Obama didn't leave Trinity Church 20 years ago. I'd like to provide a little context. Reverend Wright preached three sermons each Sunday. I attended Trinity 4 or 5 times while I lived in Chicago and none of those sermons had that type of language. It is unfair to suggest that all Rev. Wright spoke about was the US government in his sermons.

Also, Obama is NOT the first African American to run for president. Shirley Chisholm and Jesse Jackson also ran.

Sent by Anna | 2:56 PM | 4-30-2008

It seems rather disingenuous for Senators McCain and Clinton to lead people to believe that a relaxation of the gas tax would make it to the gas pump. Especially when oil companies know they are going to be taxed to pay for loss of tax revenues. What would force the lowering of the process at the pump? There are no guarantees that this political stunt would only result in higher profits for the oil companies.

The biggest problem with the Rev. Wright issue is that Sen. Obama cannot respond and expose the pandering as usual tactics.

Sent by D. Wegner | 2:57 PM | 4-30-2008

We're simply tap-dancing around the real issue here. The Reverend Wright's comments are still an issue because there is a fundamental question that has been raised by the association with Reverend Wright. That is simply, how does Barack Obama really feel about White America? Does he hold White Americans in the same kind of contempt that Reverend Wright and many other African Americans do? Until he answers this question to the satisfaction of the public, this issue will continue to arise.

Sent by Todd | 2:58 PM | 4-30-2008

I am surprised that the question of candidates' religious affiliation has taken the center stage in the presidential race this year. My surprise comes from the fact that in situations involving youngesters, who need religion much more for their formation than adults, ACLU and their likes are quick to go the courts to enforce the separation of state and church. Doesn't the way the Obama-Wright controversy has been handle go at length to re-enforce if not entrench the union between church and state?

Sent by Cephas Tushima | 2:58 PM | 4-30-2008

Congresswoman Lee is not being honest about Clinton's PA campaign. It was not about issues. It was all smear. Her ratings went down the more we got to see her. Obama's went up the more we got to see him.
This whole Wright problem is of Clinton's making. She keeps stirring the pot and diverting attention to him. The press keeps taking the bait.
This is guilt by association. How is this not McCarthyism revisited?

Sent by Cranford Joseph Coulter | 2:58 PM | 4-30-2008

Is it possible that Rev. Wright did this so the American Public has to take a good at Obama and the fact that he is black and tell us "God damn us" for seeing that he is black first and then a candidate? Where as we look at CLinton and McCain as candidates first and then a female and male.

Sent by nik Gribb | 2:59 PM | 4-30-2008

The most amazing thing about Rev. Wright is that no one has mentioned the fact that Bill Clinton counted him as a friend when he (Clinton) was trapped in his Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Sent by Rafi Kushmir | 3:02 PM | 4-30-2008

I was listening to the program today and was quite disappointed with Mr. Conan's treatment of the gentleman that called in and said Wright should move out of the country if he doesn't like it here. Conan said that Wright is/was trying to make this country better (amazing that anyone could believe that his acid rhetoric could ever be considered constructive), implying that the caller did not have the best interests of this country in mind. Conan's defense of Wright certainly isn't the fair and unbiased journalism, and it shows not only a slant to the left, but a slant towards Wright's type of vicious, destructive thinking. I expected better. Shame on you Conan.

Sent by Mike Blount | 3:05 PM | 4-30-2008

I have to say I have yet to hear in the speeches of Reverend Wright related by the broadcast media that I find offensive and needing repudiation. This includes your most recently aired clip of his statements about Louis Farrakhan. The issue is being artificially stoked by media, including NPR, and framed within the unspoken context that says right-wing, extremist, my-country-right-or-wrong views are the only appropriate standard viewpoints for candidate to hold.

Neil, you just had to confront the reality (in the form of the caller whos wondered why Reverend Wright just didn't move to a different country if he hated America so much) of the naked bigotry that underlies the media acceptance and portrayal of this guilt-by-association, character assassination, and it didn't sound as though you felt it was a pleasant experience. Why continue to feed the ignorance and prejudice by treating this issue as anything other than what it is?

A previous caller mentioned that a discussion of issues and the understanding of voters as to what the candidates intend to do to confront and solve the problems that face our nation. We do not need to know how Senator Clinton will triangulate her response to the chum in the water.

Sent by Jim Reuss (pronounced Reese) | 3:08 PM | 4-30-2008

I was previously ready to support either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama. But Senator Obama has, as far as I've seen, continually been the only one to meet the highest standards. His gentlemanly and brilliant speech in response to the original Rev. Wright controversy was the best possible response at that time. Now, watching Rev. Wright on Bill Moyers, I immediately thought,"This is incredible, why is Rev. Wright pushing his own views at this time in this unfriendly way to a man who has treated him with such loyalty and grace, and who can be the first African American president?" Then I saw Senator Obama's new, more distancing statements; once again Obama gave the appropriate, natural, most intelligent response to the new situation. Barack Obama has lived out the part of a man of unification, compassion and peace-making, manifesting the opposite of the minister's methods. Please judge Obama for what he himself has said and done, and if anyone doesn't know what that is, they should do the research, since the mainstream media mostly just gives "spin."

Sent by Shirley Lutzky | 3:12 PM | 4-30-2008

I am a young, white, Southern woman and am a little baffled at the reaction to Rev. Wright's comments--they are not shocking, though they might be a little strong. Last I checked, this was America and a person has a right to air his or her opinion. My pastor and I do not always agree, but there is quite a distance between he and I, and between my relationship with him and the rest of my church community. I'm sure that holds doubly true for Sen. Obama's church, which I understand is quite large. Why should we expect Sen. Obama to share his pastor's views or, if he does not, to CONDEMN those views as if he was somehow involved? I doubt the government created AIDs to get rid of minorities, but I have my own conspiracy theories and they do not necessarily reflect the views of my friends, family, or students. I'm actually a little disappointed in the Senator for condemning Rev. Wright, rather than just brushing it off as "Those are his views, not mine, and he has a right to express them." We are making mountains out of molehills over this issue when there are real mountains to deal with this election year--like war, the economy, and healthcare.

Sent by Janna | 3:15 PM | 4-30-2008

I'm glad Obama didn't spend his life establishing relationships with a mind to his political aspirations, ever mindful of how things might look. I find it in his favor that he could rise above differences, even controversial ones, to find the common ground and work to the good. In my mind, that ability will serve him well as the president of the United States in today's global climate. I don't want a president who is unable to sit at the table with those who insult New Yorkers or who supports and plans to continue the war path we've followed for 5 years and counting. Pride goeth before the fall.

Sent by Margaret Mfume | 3:16 PM | 4-30-2008

One caller today suggested that if Rev. Wright had so much criticism of America he should go somewhere else, like where he came from. Most black Americans can't "go back" to where they came from because, thanks to European slave traders, we don't know where we "came from." What we do know is that our ancestors survived the inhumane Middle Passage, the lash, the destruction of our families and eventually much of our spirit. We are the only minority group that did not seek out the promise of America among many possible homelands. But we built this country with our blood and labor and I will be God-damned if I'm going "back" anywhere but Georgia.

Sent by J Cunyon Gordon | 3:22 PM | 4-30-2008

I am so disgusted by the "fly's to dung" coverage the media is giving this Reverend Wright nonsense that I am considering withdrawing my support of NPR. I usually trust NPR to cut through the sesationalist stuff and find the important stories that really have an effect on my future. This has nothing to do with the truely important issues facing our country and every minute spent rehashing this bitter old mans opinions is one less you can focus on who the next president should be based on relevent topics. Reverend Wright is not running for any office and he is certainly NOT Senator Obama.

Sent by Steve from Lowell Michigan | 3:27 PM | 4-30-2008

I must say that i am extremely frustrated with the media coverage of Jeremiah Wright. Did any of our media celebrate MLKjr Day this year? If they did, what did they think they were celebrating? Does it not occur to them that MLKjr was attacked by the media with very similar language to that being used against Rev. Wright. (He was tagged as a Communist and someone who created division). Have we not learned anything from our checkered past? Are we citizens no longer aloud to disagree with the policies and politics of our country?
It seems to me that a thoughtful and astute media instead of lowering itself to a theater of the spectacle might take this opportunity to truthfully discuss race, foreign policy and economic policy even if we disagree. Rev. Wright is clearly an intelligent man, who comes from a perspective, the African-American church tradition, that has felt the real pain of oppression from the hands of our government and might be a little more attuned to the ways that we promulgate abroad and domestically. We need to be engaging some of the serious issues that we currently face, i.e. the insane moves lately by the FED to continue to cut interest rates and dump currency into circulation, how we are actually going to get out of this war and what in the world we are going to do with health care. It seems to me that our media no longer has an interest in real politics. I think it's time for Public Radio to take the lead and move toward having true discussions.

Sent by Daniel Rhodes | 3:27 PM | 4-30-2008

MY FELLOW "BITTER", STUPID, WORKING CLASS PEOPLE :-)

If you think like Barack Obama, that WORKING CLASS PEOPLE are just a bunch of "BITTER"!, STUPID, PEASANTS, Cash COWS!, and CANNON FODDER. :-(

You Might Be An Idiot! :-)

If you think Barack Obama with little or no experience would be better than Hillary Clinton with 35 years experience.

You Might Be An Idiot! :-)

If you think that Obama with no experience can fix an economy on the verge of collapse better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) led the greatest economic expansion, and prosperity in American history.

You Might Be An Idiot! :-)

If you think that Obama with no experience fighting for universal health care can get it for you better than Hillary Clinton. Who anticipated this current health care crisis back in 1993, and fought a pitched battle against overwhelming odds to get universal health care for all the American people.

You Might Be An Idiot! :-)

If you think that Obama with no experience can manage, and get us out of two wars better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) went to war only when he was convinced that he absolutely had to. Then completed the mission in record time against a nuclear power. AND DID NOT LOSE THE LIFE OF A SINGLE AMERICAN SOLDIER. NOT ONE!

You Might Be An Idiot! :-)

If you think that Obama with no experience saving the environment is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) left office with the greatest amount of environmental cleanup, and protections in American history.

You Might Be An Idiot! :-)

If you think that Obama with little or no education experience is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose ;-) husband (Bill Clinton) made higher education affordable for every American. And created higher job demand and starting salary's than they had ever been before or since.

You Might Be An Idiot! :-)

If you think that Obama with no experience will be better than Hillary Clinton who spent 8 years at the right hand of President Bill Clinton. Who is already on record as one of the greatest Presidents in American history.

You Might Be An Idiot! :-)

If you think that you can change the way Washington works with pretty speeches from Obama, rather than with the experience, and political expertise of two master politicians ON YOUR SIDE like Hillary and Bill Clinton..

You Might Be An Idiot! :-)

If you think all those Republicans voting for Obama in the Democratic primaries, and caucuses are doing so because they think he is a stronger Democratic candidate than Hillary Clinton. :-)

Best regards

jacksmith... Working Class :-)

p.s. You Might Be An Idiot! :-)

If you don't know that the huge amounts of money funding the Obama campaign to try and defeat Hillary Clinton is coming in from the insurance, and medical industry, that has been ripping you off, and killing you and your children. And denying you, and your loved ones the life saving medical care you needed. All just so they can make more huge immoral profits for them-selves off of your suffering...

You see, back in 1993 Hillary Clinton had the audacity, and nerve to try and get quality, affordable universal health care for everyone to prevent the suffering and needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of you each year. :-)

Approx. 100,000 of you die each year from medical accidents from a rush to profit by the insurance, and medical industry. Another 120,000 of you die each year from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don't die from. And I could go on, and on...

OBAMA AIDE: "WORKING-CLASS VOTERS NOT KEY FOR DEMOCRATS" :o

DEBATE! DEBATE!! DEBATE!!!...

Sent by jacksmith | 3:35 PM | 4-30-2008

I saw Rev. Jeremiah Wright's appearance on Bill Moyer this weekend and was impressed with his intellect, but also his gentleness. He took pains to relate the biblical context surrounding his sermon. But this man's words were lifted out of the context of a sermon and used for political purposes to smear Sen. Obama.

I consider this tactic to be the same one used by the media to smear Howard Dean in the last election cycle: take audio and video out-of-context that makes someone look extreme then repeat it over and over.

Do we expect a candidate to refrain from yelling at his campaign rallies? It would be just as ridiculous to insist that a preacher to remain strictly factual and calm during a sermon.

Let's just quit paying attention to cheap insubstantial smear campaigns.

As for Rev. Wright's comments:
1)Though it is hard to believe the US Gov't invented AIDS, it certainly has done little in 20 years for AIDS victims besides blame their 'lifestyle'
2)Any warm fuzzy feeling we have about our government should be tempered by the CIA/Crack epidemic/Iran-Contra connections established in the 80s, Three Mile Island, and the Love Canal.
3)Whether or not the US brought the events of Sept 11th on itself through foriegn policy blunders, the government certainly did ignore intelligence of the impending attack.

These three ways the government failed its citizens can be explained either by malice or stupidity, neither very flattering for those in government at the time.

Let's give Rev. Wright a break. What someone says in a sermon to whip up a congregation cannot be equated to an academic lecture or political policy speech. If American's don't like the concept of free speech, well: God damn them.

Sent by Ben Osterberg | 3:37 PM | 4-30-2008

I am really disappointed in the continuing conversations concerning the Rev. Maybe someone should explain to me the importance of keeping this issue alive. If the media continues to feed the lion it will never leave. Are we trying to educate or are we trying to stoke the fire?

Sent by Kyan | 3:47 PM | 4-30-2008

(In reference to 4-30-08 TOTN)

Please, isn't it much more important what Barak Obama thinks and what he believes and not what someone else says?! Would you like to be held accountable for what all your colleagues, friends and acquaintances say or believe, or be responsible for everything all the people with whom you've ever served on a committee have ever been associated with? Can you control, can he control, what other people say or believe? We are stuck off-target! It is ridiculous to expect him to answer for someone else's behavior, even if it is a friend or pastor. Shouldn't we be talking about what Obama thinks we should do to improve the economy, provide everyone with health care, help Iraq become an independent nation, what we can do about food and gas prices, oil vs other energy sources, supporting scientific research and education....? Or are those more frivolous issues than what Obama's former-pastor said to the media last weekend?
And by focusing today's show on the continuing soap opera of Reverend Wright and how it impacts Obama's campaign - and inviting a Clinton supporter who basically gave a mini-campaign speech instead of just answering the question put to her - the show's tenor became Obama-negative and Clinton-positive. (by the way, Clinton's surrogate may claim that Clinton took the high road and did not take advantage of Obama's "personal issue" of breaking with Reverend Wright, but her campaign is far from squeaky clean in regard to promulgating inaccurate bits of information and negative campaigning. Yet she was able to profess that on-air without challenge.)
Your show has just contributed to prolonging a National Inquirer-type gawking. We're spinning our wheels - at Obama's expense - and disallowing discussion of much more relevant subjects. It's not like Obama's experiences and beliefs are secret - he has written two books about his life and career. Would people please read them and stop acting as though he's an unknown, a mystery - saying, "We don't know much about him. He's a new-comer. He's unproven."
How can you, as NPR journalists, allow such empty discussions to continue? Please see through the transparent attempts to divert the discussion - and stop contributing to the "drama". There's enough of that on Fox, CNN and MSNBC, in the tabloids and non-public radio drivel all around us. We count on you at NPR to get to the heart of matters, not to be hypnotized by schlock and sensationalism.

Sent by Sue Donerly | 3:50 PM | 4-30-2008

Barack Obama is a decendent of five Presidents and he is very decent, respected and very educated.His attitude is not to get in the mud with any one.It shows that his mom trained him very well to be respectable.He is a direct line of President Madison and he looks like PresidentMadison. He cares very much for the people and he could be the president we all were waiting for.

Sent by Andrew Yankama | 3:53 PM | 4-30-2008

b4 I heard how rev J Wright preaches to his 'flock'I had no reason for concern NOW I AM CONCERNED-yes-(about black churches)or is he the ONLY pastor who 'holds forth' in such a manner? I HAD wondered,however mildly, about imams and what they may be teaching in the mosques in America...who knows? Obama waited far too long to disassociate himself from the rev. too little too late I hear about racism on a daily basis. Racism is unfortunate, and can cut BOTH ways.

Sent by w a t | 3:56 PM | 4-30-2008

Neal Conan said that Rev. Wright "praised" Minister Farrakhan in his remarks, but in his quotes from Rev. Wright there was no praise of Minister Farrakhan. This media "spin" to manufacture false controversy illustrates the echo chamber effect of our media industry, and exhibits a lack of precision and rigor on the part of NPR's journalistic standards. Rev. Wright remarked that Minister Farrakhan was an "important" voice - anyone that can mobilize a million people is certainly important - but never said his was a praiseworthy voice. It is an important difference.

Sent by David P. | 3:57 PM | 4-30-2008

I am sick of hearing about the Wright controversy, and I want to shift the focus back to Barak Obama's politics and policies, not whether or not he was sitting in the congregation when Pastor Wright said such and such remark. Let's talk about things that matter and stop wasting time on this.

Sent by Gloria Brooks | 4:19 PM | 4-30-2008

I think I heard Ken Rudin say "Barack Obama is held to a higher standard, and he should be. Because he's 'the first'".

Did I get that right? Ken must have meant 'the first black.' I'm not sure what else he could have meant.

It's one thing to say that he "will" unfairly be held to a higher standard, but it quite different to say that he "should" be.

Does Ken realize the implications of what this means? If Barack Obama should be held to a higher standard because he's "the first," then logically, John McCain should be held to a lower standard. Why? Because he's a white guy.

Now, I can't believe that's what Ken wanted to imply, but what else could it mean? I've always respected Ken's analysis, because he seems pretty neutral. I hope we won't have to wonder from now on if Ken is giving McCain a pass.

Maybe he realized what he said, because a little later in the conversation, he backed off saying he was neutral whether a higher standard for Obama is a good or bad thing. Sorry, but I don't think that's good enough.

I would ask Ken to go further and say categorically that it is not fair to hold Obama to different standard because of his race. Is this something an analyst needs to be neutral about?

Sent by Tony Mack | 4:25 PM | 4-30-2008

To me, Rev. Wright's most important message is that God is NOT a white, American male (or even Christian for that matter) which is how most of American views God. I wonder how many listeners noticed during the press club talk that Rev. Wright did not attach a gender to God as he talked?? I was not offended by Rev. Wright. I am a white middle-class woman and I am also an Obama supporter, and in fact, over the past few days my belief and support for Barack Obama and his candidacy for president has grown stronger. To me, he represents not only hope and change, but perhaps even the possibility of growth and maturity in this very "young" country!

Sent by Mary L. Murphy | 5:10 PM | 4-30-2008

I urge you to read the entire column of comments on this topic, as I have. Listeners, I urge you to do the same.

There is a large resentment in this country of the style of media coverage that we are given on a daily basis. Could it be that the media as a whole are off base? Or is it that enough people of a new generation are being pulled into issues that now know affect them?

I recommend NPR change their style and start appealing to an audience that is tired of reading the same thing every year.

Sent by Joseph | 6:03 PM | 4-30-2008

This media feeding frenzy, which NPR is buying into by continuing to talk about Jeremiah Wright, is just one early example of the "Stealth Swiftboating" that the republican backed media are already engaged in.

All of the big five -- Fox, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC -- are owned by conservative leaning corporate giants -- Murdoch, Time Warner, GE, Viacom and Disney. They've all gotten rid of investigative journalists and hired "News Barbies" and "Kens" to deliver infotainment to the nonthinking masses.

The Wright controversy is just a conservative attempt to discredit the candidate they fear most.

Why doesn't the media engage in an equal frenzy about McCains hair-trigger temper -- if he's elected, that hair trigger is in charge of the "button" that could annihilate all on earth in an fit of pique.

Clinton is making feminists really upset by her apparent selling out to the male, in-your-face dominated superficial character assassination politics of the far right. Why not a media frenzy about that?

Or why not give equal billing to white privilege in a media frenzy? How are Clinton and McCain benefiting from being white in a country that is rapidly becoming less white from all corners of the spectrum?

I am disappointed that NPR is following the biggies without thinking it through or adding anything of value to the conversation!

I agree with the bloggers who preceded me who have cried out for some attention to the real issues that we are concerned about!!!

Sent by John Adams | 6:44 PM | 4-30-2008

What seemed to most offend Obama about Rev. Wright's performance on Bill Moyers and at the National Press Club is that Wright implied that Obama is a fraud and a fake, that Obama is merely doing what a "politician" does (not the actual content of Wright's statements about other things). It also appeared that Obama fears that Wright will make some more statements that might address the issue of Obama being a fraud, just a politician (not what Obama has packaged and presented himself to be). Wright ought to know best whether or not Obama is a fraud. After all, Obama attached himself to Wright and Wright's Church in order to gain every benefit for his career which he could obtain from that relationship. I do believe that Wright will have more to say. Also, Bill Clinton is right, Obama did play the race card. In SC, Obama used racial code words to appeal to blacks to vote for him because he was black (he repeatedly told black crowds that Clinton was trying to "bamboozle, hoodwink, run a hokey doke" on them with Clinton's statement that Obama's position on Iraq was a "fairy tale". Malcolm X used those same words frequently in addressing blacks about how they had been brainwashed by whites. In a video conference, Obama also stated to a Conference of black ministers that they should consider what it would mean to our children to see him (Obama) with his hand on the Bible being sworn in as President (Obama was telling them to vote for him because he is black for our children). Obama is a fake and a fraud and he wants us to now believe that Wright has changed from the person Obama met 20 years ago. Anyone who knows Jeremiah Wright knows that Wright is the same thing now he has always been. Wright says that, on Nov. 5 and Jan. 21, he will hold Obama accountable for policies. That's Jeremiah Wright. In the meantime, absolutely nobody is holding Obama accountable. Obama promises to bring us all together, he takes it for granted that 90% or more of blacks will vote for him. What policies will Obama put in place to do any of what he is promising to do? Just words; he promises to be a different kind of candidate. Just words. He promises that there are no red states, no blue states, just the United States of America, but he goes to San Francisco and talks about the differences in small town values. Just words. Just words. Obama is a fake and a fraud and he knows that Jeremiah Wright might expose him for the fraud that Obama is. That's why Obama did not denounce Wright in his Philadelphia speech and has taken so long to do so and that's what Obama most fears now from Wright.

Sent by Leodis Strong | 8:15 PM | 4-30-2008

I love NPR and I love Talk of the Nation but I'm slightly annoyed at this topic. One of the guests on the show admitted that we all wish we could get back to dinner-table topics, and avoid pointless ones like this. And so I don't understand why you guys gave this topic 47 minutes. If we all want that, then why do we give topics like this so much attention?

Sent by Joshua Heizer | 9:15 AM | 5-1-2008

I'm from northern Wisconsin, and have a son who is a Obama supporter - only he is only 17 - but he talks to everyone who will listen to him about his belief that Obama is the right man for the job of president. I was so happy to see this campaigning start so positive -sadly it has turned ugly and gone on much to long. My step-mother's comment that she turns off the tv now when the press covers any of the candidates - she is not the only one. She has went from democratic to republican. I have always voted republican, but this year I was impressed with Obama, and in spite of the constant foolish importance put on the absolute idiot concerns such as dwelling on his pastor ( who's paying that man is a question to ask or not ) - I guess Hillary has out right lied ( the snipper fire, as did her husband - lied ) So far Obama has displayed that he is a man of honor.

Sent by susan smith | 9:17 AM | 5-1-2008

Do you think that Rev. Wright is being paid by Sen. Barack's opposition to make these statements? It is just really strange that a person's minister would do this without some type of monetary motivation. I live in Los Angeles and most of the people I've been speaking to think that he is being paid to destroy Barack. What a shame.

Sent by Donna Jones | 10:13 AM | 5-1-2008

The point is this... You are who you associate yourself with. If Mr. Obama was really outraged or even disagreed with Rev. Wright's comments, then he should have distanced himself IMMEDIATELY. And, I don't mean when his opinions became public, I mean when Wright said them. He doesn't have to withdraw himself from the faith, but to sit in a church for years and listen to a man who is divisive and antagonistic, is completely antithetical to his supposed "unity" and "change" campaign.

Sent by Charity | 12:12 PM | 5-1-2008