In a desperate attempt to get traction for their flailing candidate Mitt Romney, a conservative website resurfaced a five-year-old video of President Barack Obama praising his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Unfortunately for the right, the fact that the video was re-released to the public says more about the mind-set of some conservatives than the dated video could ever say about President Obama.
On Tuesday, the Daily Caller republished a video from 2007 of President Obama speaking to a group of Black clergy at Hampton University. At one point, President Obama gives a “shout-out” to Rev. Wright:
“I’ve got to give a special shout-out to my pastor, the guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He’s a friend and a great leader. Not just in Chicago, but all across the country,” Mr. Obama said on June 5. “Please everybody, give an extraordinary welcome to my pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright Jr.”
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Obama then criticizes the government for not caring about the plight of those affected by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans:
Down in New Orleans, where they still have not rebuilt 20 months later. there’s a law, federal law when you get reconstruction money from the federal money called the ‘Stafford act,” and basically it says when you get federal money, you you’ve got to give a 10 percent match, the local government’s got to come up with 10 percent. Every $10 federal government comes up with, the local government got to give a $1.
Now here’s the thing, when 9/11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford act, said this is too serious a problem, we can’t expect New York City to rebuild on its own, forget that $1 you got to put in. Here’s $10.
That was the right thing to do.
When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said look at this devastation, we don’t expect you to come up with your own money, here, here’s the money to rebuild. We’re not going to wait for you to scratch it together because you’re a part of the American family. What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford act money?
Makes no sense. Tells me that somehow the people down in New Orleans, they don’t care about as much.
Then Obama explains the significance of Rev. Wright in his life and journey:
“And that’s where I met Jeremiah Wright started going to Trinity United Christ of Christ. He Helped me down another journey, introduced me to someone called Jesus Christ, and I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, maybe he could accomplish them for me. And I learned ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things if they trust in him.”
Watch the clip here:
This is the clip being peddled by conservative websites and FOX News. Tuesday night, the infamous Sean Hannity called Obama’s statements the “most-divisive class warfare” and said ominously that the video gave a “glimpse into the mind of the real Barack Obama.”
But for real, though, this pulling-the-Jeremiah-Wright-boogeyman card is so old and tired that, according to the NY Times, even the Mitt Romney camp is yet to claim the video as a part of their arsenal against President Obama.
Obviously, one doesn’t have to be a genius to figure out that some conservatives are using the video to incite those tried-and-true Obama’s-a-closeted-racist fears. As a matter of fact, the Daily Caller went to great pains to prove that Obama’s speech is “racially charged” and “angry” and that it actually “undermines Obama’s carefully crafted image as a leader eager to build bridges between ethnic group.”
Let’s not act as though the handling of Hurricane Katrina is not known as one of many stains on former-President George W. Bush’s legacy. Let’s also not act as though the “angry Black man” stereotype isn’t hackneyed as well.
Soon after the 9/11 attacks, Rev. Wright called the 9/11 attacks “chickens coming home to roost,” in a sermon called “The Day of Jerusalem’s Fall.” Damning America and concluding that “violence begets violence,” Wright’s comments set off a firestorm of criticism for the Obamas because of their close relationship with the pastor.
In 2008, Obama spoke to Rev. Wright’s comments in his “A Perfect Union” speech, effectively distancing himself from the pastor’s comments and turning a potentially election-crippling moment into a decisive win for his campaign against then-presidential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
At the time, many were in awe of the way Obama took the lead in his run for president, refusing to run away from the explosive issue of race in America. The “A Perfect Union” speech helped propel him in front of Clinton, with Obama being crowned the Democratic presidential nominee by June of 2008.
With all of the hurdles President Obama has had to clear since he took office, though, many Republicans remain shocked that Romney hasn’t been able to dislodge his foot from his mouth since he became the GOP nominee. For conservatives to pull this crusty, decrepit skeleton out of the proverbial closet, shows how anxious they already are about losing the highly prized election in November.