Obama’s version of the “iced tea” defense in response to the Rev. Wright controversy (a mini-fisking) UPDATE: WRIGHT LEAVES OBAMA CAMPAIGN
I’m sure we all remember the various Clinton/Gore fundraising scandals, including the one where Al Gore was suspected of making campaign fundraising calls from the WH. I’ll never forget one of the defenses he tried to use when questioned by the FBI about it:
August 1998 Gore again meets with FBI investigators about the 1995 fundraising meeting. When presented with documents that appear to contradict his earlier assertion that he was not a part of any fundraising discussions at that meeting, Gore offers what comes to be known as the “iced tea defense”: “The Vice President also observed that he drank a lot of iced tea during the meetings, which could have necessitated a restroom break,” which would have caused him to miss the discussions about fundraising, according to the FBI report.
The statement is as laughable now as it was then … and one Barack Obama used in a similar line of defense today in a statement he issued about the growing controversy over his racist reverend’s more, um, colorful remarks. Let’s go over some of his assertions:
The pastor of my church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently preached his last sermon and is in the process of retiring, has touched off a firestorm over the last few days. He’s drawn attention as the result of some inflammatory and appalling remarks he made about our country, our politics, and my political opponents.
Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.
But not enough to ask Wright to step down from his role in his campaign’s African American Religious Leadership Committee. What’s good enough for Geraldine Ferrraro is apparently not good enough for Rev. Wright, it would appear. Remember the First Commandment of the Cult of Barack Obama Bible:
Which You Hold Others, And If Thou Doest,
Thou Shalt Be Considered A Racist.
(Note – 8:52 PM: This Commandment has officially been violated. See Update 1 for details.)
More, from Obama’s statement:
Because these particular statements by Rev. Wright are so contrary to my own life and beliefs, a number of people have legitimately raised questions about the nature of my relationship with Rev. Wright and my membership in the church. Let me therefore provide some context.
As I have written about in my books, I first joined Trinity United Church of Christ nearly twenty years ago. I knew Rev. Wright as someone who served this nation with honor as a United States Marine, as a respected biblical scholar, and as someone who taught or lectured at seminaries across the country, from Union Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago. He also led a diverse congregation that was and still is a pillar of the South Side and the entire city of Chicago. It’s a congregation that does not merely preach social justice but acts it out each day, through ministries ranging from housing the homeless to reaching out to those with HIV/AIDS.
Most importantly, Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life. In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he’s been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.
First, as Captain Ed correctly points out in an update to AP’s post, Rev. Wright has indeed advised BO on political matters, so BO is not being truthful here.
Second, what “justice” is he talking about? I think he should be questioned on that a little more, because if what we’ve hard the Rev. preach about is all about “justice,” we have to wonder what kind of justice BO is talking about, because Rev. Wright’s brand of “justice” reminds me of something I’d hear from a member of the Black Panthers.
The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation.
That’s BO’s version of the iced tea defense. We’re supposed to believe in his 20 year friendship/mentorship with Rev. Wright, not once, not ever, did Barack Obama ever hear anything remotely close to what’s been quoted as being said by Wright in the news. Keep in mind that one of the hallmarks of Wright’s “social gospel” philosophy – in fact his entire being – is an emphasis on “black power” – again, which sounds something you’d hear from the Black Panthers. Yet not once did Wright ever utter anything of the sort in front of Barack Obama. Either Wright figures BO has virgin ears, or BO is feeding us a load. I vote for the latter option.
He also implies here that had he witnessed any such comments coming from Wright, he would have questioned them. Anyone who believes this would have happened, would you be interested in some beachfront property in Oklahama? Would be more than happy to “sell” it to you.
When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.
In other words, had Wright not been on the verge of retirement, Obama implies that he would have left the church. Which doesn’t answer the question of why he still put him on his African American Religious Leadership Committee. Again, beachfront in OK, anyone?
With Rev. Wright’s retirement and the ascension of my new pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, III, Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good.
Translation: I can safely and credibly stay as a member of my church because a new pastor is replacing my black nationalist spiritual mentor.
And while Rev. Wright’s statements have pained and angered me,
He should have added, “but not enough to keep from appointing him to my African American Religious Leadership Committee.”
believe that Americans will judge me not on the basis of what someone else said, but on the basis of who I am and what I believe in; on my values, judgment and experience to be President of the United States.
That’s just the problem, though. We know his wife thinks this country is just “downright mean” and that only recently has she been, for the first time in her adult life, “really proud” of this country, we know that Barack Obama can only seem to focus primarily on what’s “wrong” with America and how only he can fix and “heal” it, and what we know about his Socialistic tendencies are cause for serious alarm.
In light of, among other things, NAFTAgate nudge nudge wink wink his senior economic advisor gave to the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago, and former foreign policy advisor Samantha Power’s claim that, regarding Iraq, BO as president would “not rely on some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator,” his false claim that he had never been in favor of a single payer healthcare system, many people are rightly concerned as to whether or not BO is being truthful with people when he claims to “repudiate” all of Wright’s hateful remarks. Not only that, but there is an even bigger concern as to what role Rev. Wright could/would potentially play in a BO administration.
The bottom line is that we’re not sure if some of what he says in public on many issues is the truth or “just words.” The believable stuff about his policy proposals (like universal healthcare, for example) is just as scary as wondering whether or not he’s being completely upfront with his comments repudiating some of Rev. Wright’s “social gospel.”
FYI, johnny dollar posted in the comment section at HA that Fox’s Major Garrett is going to be interviewing BO tonight and portions of it will appear on Hannity and Colmes and Greta Van Sustern. Should be interesting.
Update 1: (Via Memeo) Ben Smith is reporting that Wright is “no longer serving on the African American Religious Leadership Committee.”
A ha! A violation of Commandment 1. Will his faithful followers take issue?
Related: Obama is finally getting around to answering questions about his association with Tony Rezko.
Update 2 – 9:41 PM: Just watched the interview he did with Major Garrett on Fox. Talk about a spinmeister! BO is definitely a master of choosing his words carefully. BO was also on Olby’s show earlier. Waiting to find video on that.