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Glenn Beck: Obama's odd timing on Wright

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  • Beck says the timing of Obama's move away from Wright is odd
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By Glenn Beck
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Editor's note: "Glenn Beck" is on CNN Headline News nightly at 7 and 9 ET.

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck is surprised by the timing of Barack Obama's move away from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama is moving away from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright so fast he may claim to be an atheist by next weekend. The ongoing sprint from such a polarizing figure is far from a surprise, it's just the timing of it that is so odd.

A New York Times editorial described the recent developments like this:

"In the last few days, in a series of shocking appearances, he [Wright] embraced the Rev. Louis Farrakhan's anti-Semitism. He said the government manufactured the AIDS virus to kill blacks. He suggested that America was guilty of "terrorism" and so had brought the 9/11 attacks on itself."

Shocking? Every one of these opinions of Wright has been part of the public record for months. It's no more shocking than Angelina Jolie coming out in favor of adoption.

Even in the schizophrenic world of politics, it's unclear how to accomplish the mental gymnastics required to make sense of all of this. The media's love affair with Obama makes them ask us to believe that Obama was courageous for defending Wright in his Philadelphia speech on race and also courageous for throwing him under the bus six weeks later for the exact same opinions.

The only plausible realities are that either the speech was na´ve and the press conference realistic, or the speech was pandering and the press conference politically expedient. Neither paints a pretty picture of a politician who is supposed to change Washington.

When the tapes surfaced Obama informed us that much of the controversy had been caused not by Wright's views, but by our lack of understanding about the differences in culture. "Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear."

It wasn't Wright's overbearing volume, hilarious comedy, hand movements, or dance quality that made me think he was a dangerous peddler of conspiracy theories. It was his words that did that. I don't want someone like him with access to the president for twenty minutes, let alone twenty years.

Those who were outraged by Wright's divisive and destructive comments that preyed on hate have been called racists by many. But, when Obama said he was "outraged" by the "divisive and destructive" comments that gave "comfort to those who prey on hate," he's called brave.

For anyone believing this is about race for Wright's critics, think of disgraced professor Ward Churchill. He was fired for research misconduct from University of Colorado at Boulder and made famous for saying many of the same things as Wright.

If any presidential candidate from either side -- white or black -- had been using Churchill as a "sounding board" for the last twenty years, we would rightly dismiss them.

Obama's political excommunication of Wright is not only a sudden and stark departure from his vaunted Philadelphia speech on race -- it also appears to be retroactive. In his press conference he said about Wright: "I know that one thing that he said was true, that he was never my "spiritual adviser." He was never my spiritual mentor. He was my pastor. And to some extent how the press characterized in the past that relationship, I think, was inaccurate."

Indeed, the press had characterized Wright in that role quite often. For example, the Chicago Sun Times described him as "a close confidant" in an article about people Obama "seeks out for spiritual counsel," and the New York Times described Wright as his "spiritual mentor."

Another source even called Wright the man "who helped introduce" Obama to his "Christian faith," who "counsels" him, is "like family," "a friend," "a great leader" and a "sounding board," who was a member of Obama's spiritual advisory committee and who officiated his wedding and baptized his children.

That source? Barack Obama. I wonder where "the press" got all those crazy ideas.

Do I think for a second that Obama believes the government created the AIDS virus to kill African-Americans? No. But at this point it's rational to wonder whether he is either lying or has an awful sense of judgment. He either knew Wright's views and didn't tell the truth about them, or he somehow missed the core beliefs of the man who was spending his Sunday mornings teaching core beliefs.

I'm glad Obama has come to the same conclusion that Wright's critics came to long ago. I just wonder why it took me two minutes and him two decades.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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