Another highlight of Reverend Wright’s talk at the National Press Club today occurred when Wright discussed Obama’s announcement of his presidential candidacy:
MS. LEINWAND: Senator Obama has been in your congregation for 20 years. Yet you were not invited to his announcement of his presidential candidacy in Illinois. And in the most recent presidential debate in Pennsylvania, he said he had denounced you.
Are you disappointed that Senator Obama has chosen to walk away from you?
REV. WRIGHT: Whoever wrote that question doesn’t read or watch the news. He did not denounce me. He distanced himself from some of my remarks, like most of you, never having heard the sermon, all right?
What was the rest of your question? I got confused in that the person who wrote it hadn’t —
MS. LEINWAND: Were you disappointed that he distanced himself?
REV. WRIGHT: He didn’t distance himself. He had to distance himself, because he’s a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American.
He said I didn’t offer any words of hope. How would he know? He never heard the rest of the sermon. You never heard it.
I offered words of hope. I offered reconciliation. I offered restoration in that sermon. But nobody heard the sermon. They just heard this little soundbite of a sermon.
That was not the whole question. There was something else, in the first part of the question, that I wanted to address.
MS. LEINWAND: You weren’t invited.
REV. WRIGHT: Oh, all right.
I was not invited, because that was a political event. Let me say again, I’m his pastor.
At a political event, who started it off? Senator Dick Durbin. I started it off downstairs with him, his wife and children in prayer. That’s what pastors do.
So I started it off in prayer. When he went out into the public, that wasn’t about prayer; that wasn’t about pastor-member. Pastor- member took place downstairs. What took place upstairs was political.
So that’s how I feel about that. He did, as I said, what politicians do. This was a political event. He wasn’t announcing, “I’m saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost.” He was announcing, “I’m running for president of the United States.”
Reverend Wright introduces an intriguing “upstairs downstairs” element to his relationship with Obama. And in this respect he shows himself to be a somewhat more reliable guide to Obama than such left-wing pundits as Garry Wills (“Jeremiah Wright was Obama’s John Brown…”).