“Faced with what his advisers acknowledged was a major test to his candidacy,” Barack Obama seeking to quell the political firestorm that arose last week over his mentor/Pastor’s divisive statements and sermons, has stepped up to the podium today, to deliver a speech on race.
Though he has faced questions about controversial statements by the pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., for more than a year, Mr. Obama is enduring intense new scrutiny now over Mr. Wright’s characterizations of the United States as fundamentally racist and the government as corrupt and murderous. […]
Mr. Obama said Monday that in his speech, to be given at the National Constitution Center, he would “talk a little bit about how some of these issues are perceived from within the black church community, for example, which I think views this very differently.”
After removing Mr. Wright from a religious advisory committee on his campaign on Friday, Mr. Obama concluded over the weekend that he had not sufficiently explained his association with the pastor. He told several aides he was worried that if voters did not hear directly from him — in the setting of a major speech — doubts and questions about him might grow.
Indeed, some Obama associates had advised him against giving the speech:
“Race is now officially on the table. It’s not going away after this,” a senior aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, recalled one adviser saying.
As Susie Madrak notes on the advise from Obama associates against giving the speech:
Yep. In most voters’ minds, he is now officially the Black Candidate. And that’s why throwing racism allegations at the Clinton campaign was such a bad tactic in the first place, because in addition to poisoning Clinton for the general election, it took him off his positive, post-racial message. A large part of his appeal to independents and moderates was the hope that Americans could transcend race, and instead, it’s now front and center.
The Obama camp as noted here so many times was quick to cry wolf frequently over statements made by Clinton surrogates and claim them as “racist.” By contrast some have seen through the Obama camp’s claims and noted that in fact it has been the Obama camp playing the race card. Bill Clinton addressed the media spin on “racist” charges yesterday in interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Taylor Marsh notes:
Senator Obama gave a speech today that is larger than politics, but it in no way ends his political challenges. The national wound of race Barack didn’t want to touch is now reopened nationally and in the spotlight again. While his campaign wants to move on, the country will not, because everyone will be talking about race, through the invitation of Obama’s speech today. A powerful political candidate has now become what he’s been trying to avoid, a civil rights symbol, however reluctantly he takes on the role.