Washington Post and Andrew Sullivan on Obama and Rev. Wright

Today, Barack Obama addressed race in a speech at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Opponents try to use Obama's connection to Reverend Wright to derail his candidacy, pundits debate the effects of the excerpts broadcast and how Obama will try to stem the damage.

The Washington Post, instead made available a complete transcript of the speech, along with a video and adds two articles, all available from this link. The first article covers the speech and doesn't add much, other than to provide some specific examples of Wright's comments. The second with reactions from Wright's congregation and from other clergy, both Black and White, lacks any critics, although there have been plenty cited elsewhere. Some will find this speech a piece of great oratory, others an effort at damage control, but at least the Post gives readers the opportunity to draw our own conclusion. Our reactions may reflect more about us than about Obama. I come down on the oratory side, although I'm still discomfited by the statement quoted in the second story that Obama would have left the Church, except for the fact that Reverend Wright has retired.

In the speech, though, after first condemning the inflammatory nature of some of Wright's statements in sermons, Obama now takes the time to give a more nuanced reaction:

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...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 sets and YouTube, 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....
I won't quote more, as the library is closing and the who speech bears reading. Also interesting are Andrew Sullivan's multiple posts on the whole fracas and on the speech. For right now, you can scroll through and I'll try to put up an index later. Of especial interest is his verbatim transcript of Wright's "Audacity of Hope" sermon, which is nothing like the picture painted by the current sound bites.