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Obama's Speech on Race: Did it win you over?


Okay, I'll admit it: the Reverend Wright scandal may have raised some doubts in my mind about Obama. It wasn't his character that I began to question but his judgment. Why would a politician have so close an association with someone who made such strong remarks? And why would his campaign not be prepared with a prompt and strong response to this controversy?And then came his speech in Philadelphia. Rather than trying to bury the issue, Obama took race head on and delved into the roots of his pastor's remark. He broke down some truths on the history of minorities in this country and made it relevant to issues like immigration and health care. To me the most powerful part was when he said he could not disown the reverend any more than he could his white grandmother for some of her remarks. Being Italian and Mexican (sure, that one's by marriage, but it amounts to the same anyway), I certainly have my share of "grandmothers." I listened to this speech right before I saw the second episode of HBO's John Adams series and I was struck by the import role that oral and written statements play in history. Whether or not Obama gets the candidacy may still be up in the air, but I think this work stands on its own as a comment on race in America today. I only wish it came earlier.


Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 2 months ago

That was the best speech on race in America since King's "I Have a Dream" speech. To paraphrase an editorial, whether or not Obama becomes our next president (and I pray that he does for our sake), never let it be said that this man did not serve his country.

Daytrader23 10 years, 2 months ago

That was one great speech, at least he can talk about such issues instead of avoiding them like the "other" candidates. Obama has my vote. Besides, he is the best choice between a Beeotch and an old man getting ready to die.

LiberalDude 10 years, 2 months ago

Amazing speech! If he goes on to win the nomination (which I believe he will), I think people will look back at this speech as one of the key factors.

tvc 10 years, 2 months ago

Obama's speech spoke to the heart of many Americans. It's too bad it didn't last very long for Daytrader. Sexism and ageism in one sentence!

booyalab 10 years, 2 months ago

kslw, because white guilt is not guilt of conscience but people stigmatized by with moral crimes- like racism- lack a moral authority and so act guilty whether they feel guilty or not.

In other words, If you don't have principles, you can do anything, as long as you convince other people that it's right. In this culture that means anything that others don't consider prejudiced. Although even they only demonstrate outrage because they don't want to be found out as morally bankrupt. It's the emperor's new clothes effect.

BigPrune 10 years, 2 months ago

I read the speech. I'm trying to figure out where exactly his grandmother built bombers during WWII at Fort Leavenworth, KS. Until I get some comfirming information that Obama's statement is true, I will question his speech as a whole. I don't believe what he said to be true.

Kathy Theis-Getto 10 years, 2 months ago


Between December 1941, and August 1945, over 50,000 employees built 6,608 B-25D bombers in the Fairfax District.

Mitchell also built the P-51 Mustang, my second favorite of all WWII planes, all time favorite - the B26 Martin Marauder.

number1jayhawker 10 years, 2 months ago

Sorry, but his speech was too similar to all of his others. Says a lot, but it really doesn't mean anything or address the issues or questions.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 2 months ago

His speech was substantial. This dude handles pressure with surgical precision.

Scott Drummond 10 years, 2 months ago

Agreed. No way he did not know of the wild views held by this "Rev." That's why he was disinvited from the candidacy kickoff. This whole episode has left Obama looking like a very typical politician and he's lost a lot of luster, if you ask me. My guess is he's peaked too soon. Now up to Hillary to beat him down to VP & get about the business of handing McCain his lunch.

K_Verses_The_World 10 years, 2 months ago

Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?

Mkh 10 years, 2 months ago

I'd rather he talk about the economy...oh wait that's right, he wouldn't know what he was talking about.

alm77 10 years, 2 months ago

So, in 30 years of preaching, we're going to dismiss an otherwise qualified parishioner because of 30 second sermon excerpts he wasn't present during?

cato_the_elder 10 years, 2 months ago

Based on the extensive news clips I have seen, there is no appreciable difference between Wright and Fred Phelps. Senator Obama, you're known by the company you keep. Your speech rings hollow.

BigPrune 10 years, 2 months ago

Obama clearly states his grandmother built bombers during WWII at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Leavenworth is in Leavenworth County, NOT Wyandotte County, and Leavenworth is NOT a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas.

Why didn't he say the right city? Or, did he not know what town she built them in, but Ft. Leavenworth sounds military, so it just sounded better?

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 2 months ago

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

"Obama's Minister Committed Treason But When My Father Did the Same Thing He was a Republican Hero"


outdoor55 10 years, 2 months ago


Any connection to the B-26 for you? Just curious, my grandfather flew 63 missions over Europe in WWII on a B-26.

average 10 years, 2 months ago

After 25 years of televised sermons, less than 5 minutes of objectionable Youtube (so far) seems to be a small amount. I expect more will be posted as time goes on, but there is more to a man than his worst day. There was more to George Allen than "Macaca".

Yes, I can understand that Wright holds some anger. He not only lived in the "back of the bus" era, he was sent to the back of the bus while serving as a US Marine in the early 60s.

And, BigPrune... I can't tell you exactly which Pacific islands my grandfathers served on, so are you telling me I can't say they did? Obama's grandfather was stationed with Fort Leavenworth. I don't know where his grandmother lived at the time, but there were regular bus services between the towns due to wartime gas rationing.

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 2 months ago


Not necessarily...just pointing out the double-standard neocons and their sheeple have when it comes to patriotism.

You see, I don't call a person "UnAmerican" if they disagree with me.

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 2 months ago

So you're not going to vote for him b/c of what another man said? I hope, by that logic, you're not going to vote for McCain either.

yeah_right 10 years, 2 months ago

I loved the speech. I feel as if it explained a lot. Do you disown your friends, family, preacher, teachers, etc.... when you don't agree with something they said. Rev. Wright has been a huge part of Obama's life, officiating his wedding & baptizing his children. How do you disown someone like that for having a different view on a topic? Politicians are often expected to do unreasonable things that you and I wouldn't think of.

To those of you who say that he shouldv'e talked about the economy. This speech is in response to all the nonsense stemming from the video, duh!

Finally, I am more impressed with Obama than before. He hit the nail on the head when he said that lots of people think a certain (racist) way and there are understandable reasons for it. He understands it but doesn't agree with that way of thinking and that is what this campaign is about... change for the better, UNITY for Americans. We've come a long way, but we still have a ways to go and Obama wants to help facilitate. I LOVE IT!

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 2 months ago

I have a feeling Obama will be distancing himself from Wright from here on out.

And I'm not sure why people are comparing Wright to Phelps...Falwell and Robertson with Phelps I can see, but Wright was speaking about Black oppression in America, not that God hates gay people.

Apples and Oranges...talk about spin.

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, and I'm pretty sure George Bush hates gays too based on his record.

I guess I'll start calling him Phelps-Bush from now on.

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and this whole issue is why politics and religion don't mix. That's my only problem with Obama but I'll cut him some slack since you're pretty much required to be a Christian if you want to be an American politician.

Separation of church and state...makes sense to me.

blahblahblah 10 years, 2 months ago

At least all of this preacher mumbo jumbo has distracted all of the idiots from the "He's a secret muslim" line of thinking.

Jcjayhawk1 10 years, 2 months ago

"Obama has my vote. Besides, he is the best choice between a Beeotch and an old man getting ready to die."-Daytrader

One of the most important criteria of a president is foreign policy. Obama has next to zero experience. With foreign policy in dire need of repair experience could come in handy.

Best choice? I am not so sure..... it's a trade off depending on what is most valuable to you be it foreign policy, domestic issues, monetary policy, etc.

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 2 months ago

Wow, bjfisher, could you be anymore out of touch?

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 2 months ago

"an african-american gives a deeply rousing speech about the nature of race realtions in our country, and the hillbillies come out"

this made me laugh so hard...

are there really any hillbillies here? could we get a show of hands?

blahblahblah 10 years, 2 months ago

Hey, bj, I am going to assume from your horribly racist rant that you are in fact a white male who attends some conservative Christian church, goes hunting, shops at Wal-Mart, and drinks Miller High Life. Man, I'm glad you are not voting!!!

KU_cynic 10 years, 2 months ago

Obama could have made this a "little event" by merely repudiating the ideas expressed by the Reverend Wright, but not necessarily the man himself. Instead, I believe that Obama has made a mistake by playing into the media's game of making this into a big event, hence his "big speech" on race. Frankly, the speech amounted to a hill of platitudes that neither conviced nor satisfied.

Nobody seriously believes that BO shares the crazier ideas and racist rantings of the Reverend Wright. The question is rather how does BO himself project, lead, and articulate a vision for the country when he will inevitably be associated with supporters of diverse and sometimes unproductive viewpoints. I admire the "I won't sacrifice long-time friendships for political expediency" stance. But, what is the philosophy, the ideaology, the practicality -- the ANYTHING -- by which Barack Obama separates good advice from bad advice, good policies from bad policies, good values from questionable values? "Hope" is not a plan. "Change" is not an agenda.

He's not running for homecoming king, for goodness sake.

nekansan 10 years, 2 months ago

"Amazing speech! If he goes on to win the nomination (which I believe he will), I think people will look back at this speech as one of the key factors."

Obama largely had the nomination won prior to the speech. What the speech may have accomplished is finally put an end to the argument that he is somehow unprepared to lead in a difficult situation. He made it look effortless and natural.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 2 months ago

Obama is a bit long on platitudes... but I'm not sure that will hurt him... it certainly didn't hurt Reagan... people ate that bolonga up... and begged for more...

antney 10 years, 2 months ago

I thought Obama's speech was brave and insightful and addresses the issue of race dead on, not to mention his great oratory skills (unlike our current President Dubya). He started off sounding like my old political science professor and concluded like a man ready to lead a nation. I liked how he challenged us to engage the race issue rather than brush it asside. It appears this blog accomplished some of that. The discussion must continue and action will follow.

My vote goes to Obama to the the next President of the United States and we will see our nation change for the better.

average 10 years, 2 months ago

"One of the most important criteria of a president is foreign policy. Obama has next to zero experience. With foreign policy in dire need of repair experience could come in handy."

Three years on the Senate foreign relations committee, significant foreign policy legislation, and several trips as a diplomatic representative of the US (meeting Israeli leaders, inspecting nuclear sites in Russia, etc), may be judged as next to zero, but it is undeniably more foreign policy experience than Bush 2000, Clinton 1992, Reagan 1980, or Carter 1976.

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 2 months ago

But average, that's not what Fox news tells me.

Jcjayhawk1 10 years, 2 months ago

Actually he served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on European Affairs, which has convened no policy hearings since he took over as its chairman January 07. The subcommittee's role is ineffectual at best with regard to experience needed to be President.

He did not take the Initiative to address any of the hot topics in the panel's jurisdiction: missile defense, counterterrorism and concern over the waning commitment of European countries to NATO.

He has also co-created the Global poverty bill. Which will REQUIRE the president to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to help eradicate global poverty to the tune of 845 Billion over 13 years to the tax payers expense.

Why don't we take that 845 billion and eradicate poverty here in the US. We are by far the most charitable nation on the earth despite going broke. Lets reserve some charity for ourselves.

Mild experience with little to show and no gusto.

Jcjayhawk1 10 years, 2 months ago

"undeniably more foreign policy experience than Bush 2000, Clinton 1992, Reagan 1980, or Carter 1976."-Average

And I voted for none of the above.

average 10 years, 2 months ago

Jcjayhawk - I have to call you on a lie. Obama is a full member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is also the chairman of the European Affairs subcommittee, and a member of the African Affairs, East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and "International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, and International Environmental Protection" committees, but he is a full member of the main standing committee.

Among other legislation, the Lugar-Obama cooperative threat reduction bill helps to pay for the security of loose and unaccounted post-Soviet conventional weapons.

kathy white 10 years, 2 months ago

Fantastic response to a difficult topic! See u at the polls!

Jcjayhawk1 10 years, 2 months ago

Misinformed? Yes! Lie.....not so much.

Full member, half member, committee, subcommittee whatever .....More importantly he is the chair and still held no policy hearings since he took over as its chairman January 07.

Inaction-no action-no experience. Obama could be on 10 different committies but if you don't do anything especially as chair then nothing gets done.

And yeah I want the 845 Billion to stay right here in America....perhaps to help fund the social health care that he can't promise.

bondmen 10 years, 2 months ago

Obama's Speech By Thomas Sowell http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2008/03/19/obamas_speech

Obama: From Valiant to Victicrat By Larry Elder http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/elder032008.php3

An Elegant Farce Obama's 'conversation' about moral equivalence. by Victor Davis Hanson http://www.victorhanson.com/

kslw 10 years, 2 months ago

Question? Why is it when a black person states they are voting for Obama because he is black, it is ok and even praised. But, when a white person states they are voting for Hillary beacuse she is white, it is racisim? I think the correct statement is "I am voting for .... because they are the most qualified"

I am not voting for either one, just an observation.

Godot 10 years, 2 months ago

I posted on another thread that it appears to me that Obama's devotion to his adopted father-figure, hate-spouting pastor/mentor trumps his desire to be president of the USA. Obama's speech yesterday drew a line in the sand that proves me right.

janeyb 10 years, 2 months ago

Haven't heard the speech. Will try to listen to it somewhere tonight. I did hear it is basically the same speech Romney made on Mormonism, not really anything new or creative. Has anyone heard both speeches?

lunacydetector 10 years, 2 months ago

senator obama thinks it is none of the federal government's business to allow doctors to intentionally starve a person to death, nor is it the law's business to require doctors to attend to the health care of a fully born baby who has survived an abortion. all this from the minister of hope. speaking of minister, why did he disown his pastor recently, because his pastor said the united states created aids to kill off african americans, and then there was the God damn america sermon? planned parenthood doesn't like blacks either. why does obama support planned parenthood? this guy is a contradiction.

Dmitri 10 years, 2 months ago

BigPrune- Just so you know, Ft. Leavenworth is a military base on the north side of the city of Leavenworth, KS.

BigPrune 10 years, 2 months ago

A base does not imply Army, however during WWII the Air Force was part of the Army and was called the Army Air Force. I cannot find any reference to bombers being built in Leavenworth, KS during WWII. Until I find otherwise, my conclusion is Obama's story is disingenuous.

Kstatebacker 10 years, 2 months ago

I like how BO threw his own grandmother out there as a racist and compared her to Wright. I can't believe grandma said God Damn America and those other rhetorics that Wright made. It just goes to show what BO will do to become president even if it means scraficing your own grandmother. If anyone disagrees with BO or this sorry excuse of a preacher that BO is so devoted to is all of a sudden a racist. Wright is just like Jackson and Sharpton and the Grand Dragon of the KKK, they have to use fear and hatred to make them feel important. Besides if black people actually wanted to get rid of seperation they would quit using the term African American. If people would actually look at the name they would see this is a seperational term. That is like saying that since my family is from Germany I should be called a German American or European American.

labmonkey 10 years, 2 months ago

Obama lovers.... look at this question, and answer it honestly. If Obama were 100% caucasian and belonged to a church with a white preacher who made racially derisive statements, would you still defend him? I actually appluad him for not throwing his preacher under the bus, but you don't listen to a preacher for 20 years and not gain some of the same beliefs.

EXks 10 years, 2 months ago

I suspect a lot of people did not even watch the speech in its entirety. Racism is tucked in the corners of your brain beyond your recognition.


Two excellent points! I would wager 99% did not watch Obama's speech, but rather received their sound bites from Fixed News.

Racism is the crazy uncle this country would rather keep locked away in its attic, never talking about it, never acknowledging it.

Obama has opened this door that's been locked for 40+ years and made us come to terms with it. You are correct, Obama IS the most inspirational politician I have seen in my lifetime.

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

It seems that at least 75% of respondents here are pretty much just saying that they used it to confirm their preconceived notions and biases.

I suppose that's no surprise.

Godot 10 years, 2 months ago

No, I did not watch the speech; I was at work; I find it more useful to read transcripts of speeches; removes the halo effect that a great orator like Obama can achieve. As Obama has said, words are important.

ksdivakat 10 years, 2 months ago

Ya know....Im soooo sick of the race card, the fact of the matter is that he aligned himself with people who are racist.....remember that works both ways....the preacher hates white people so thats racism too but i suppose thats ok since its against white people, anyway, hes aligned himself with Louis Ferrkahan, who everyone knows is a radical Islamic who also hates white people, and so its a bunch of hooey! Obama is busted, plain and simple, and I also believe this has cost him the election.....when you lay with dogs you get fleas!

acoupstick 10 years, 2 months ago

Here's what former candidate and conservative darling Huckabee had to say about Wright:

"... One other thing I think we've got to remember: As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say, "That's a terrible statement," I grew up in a very segregated South, and I think that you have to cut some slack. And I'm going to be probably the only conservative in America who's going to say something like this, but I'm just telling you: We've got to cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told, "You have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can't sit out there with everyone else. There's a separate waiting room in the doctor's office. Here's where you sit on the bus." And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would, too. I probably would, too. In fact, I may have had a more, more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me."

I am white. I was raised in an area of this country in which I was a racial and cultural minority, and the members of the majority culture never let me forget it. I suspect that what I experienced pales in comparison to the experiences of blacks in this country. Most whites have an insignificant frame of reference to truly empathize. Explanations don't have to be excuses. They also shouldn't lead to more hateful speech. I read comments every day on this board that are multiple times more insulting and less defensible than anything Wright has said. Anonymity is an explanation for incendiary and divisive language here. Not an excuse.

beawolf 10 years, 2 months ago

"Obama has opened this door that's been locked for 40+ years and made us come to terms with it. You are correct, Obama IS the most inspirational politician I have seen in my lifetime."

You bet and and let's all say it together ...."God Damn America". Maybe his spiritual adviser Rev. ( I use that term loosely) Wright will talk him into using that phrase during his inauguration speech.

I really don't want a black separatist giving the next president spiritual advice.

Roadkill_Rob 10 years, 2 months ago

To all of you who are now going to switch your vote b/c of this, you're officially retarded and should be revoked of your right to vote. I love America but I can't stand Americans sometimes. Geez.

Godot 10 years, 2 months ago

It is ironic that Obama said these things near the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The invasion exposed the festering wound of Islamic fundamentalist hatred of the West, a situation that was ignored and obfuscated despite Al Qaeda's open threats dating back to 1993; Obama's speech has opened the wound of racial tension in the US, making possible an honest dialogue about race relations that "policitcal correctness" has censored for years.

overthemoon 10 years, 2 months ago

Once again, Jon Stewart hit the nail on the head...

"A politician actually speaks to Americans as if they are adults" (rough paraphrase)

I think that would explain why a lot of people had a hard time understanding that speech. It wasn't bits of sound bites and easy to digest ideas in big print.
for those who think its spin, it just your brain is set to the wrong speed for actually thinking about something for more than a Fox News 60 seconds. (which, with adverts, is only about 40 seconds long)

As to the foreign relations experience...After the utter mess Bush has made in the world arena, it will take someone who has the ability to speak with clarity and work from a base of understanding people of many races, cultures, religions and politics. Someone who knows how to listen intelligently. and not just try to manipulate the world for the gain of a few American business interests. Not a politician...a statesman. The president will have advisors for the stuff he doesn't know....I'd much rather have an intelligent President than one that knows stuff but bungles every opportunity to show any ability to act with dignity and honor and insight.

Rationalanimal 10 years, 1 month ago

The reason this sophistry didn't come sooner is because the story hadn't broke. In other words, it's the same scenario of the guilty child who attempts an insincere apology after their guilt is discovered. Senator Obama's affiliation with this church and pastor is an American disgrace. If he refuses to disassociate himself from a man that hates America and is racist, than he stands for those same principles. The distinction to be made is that outside of marriage, and for the less moral among us children by virtue of abortion, you have very little say in who your family members are. However, you choose your church based on identifying with that church's message, or ideology. The distinction is in choice. Jeremiah Wright's ideology, which Senator Obama embraces, is hatred towards America, whites and jews. The pastor Senator Obama chose to sit in front of every Sunday for the past 20 years spews lies and hatred in the name of Jesus Christ. This same man is pals with and commends Louis Farrakhan, an outspoken racist and proponent of segregation.Since this discussion is couched in religion, the New Testament passage "By their fruits ye shall know them" is especially relevant. Where is the "blessed are the meek," "blessed are the peacemakers" to be found in Wright's message. Wright's message, no matter how disguised in sensationalism, is still as hateful as what one would find at any corner Klan rally, Westboro Baptist revival, Black Panther gathering, Jonesville, etc. One is white hate, the other is black hate. The only race issue in America, as has been so aptly and pathetically illustrated by Senator Obama, are those who abide hatred and then attempt to rationalize it when they are exposed. Senator Obama is a politician who tolerates hate speech and refuses to disassociate himself from those who spew it. Were he white, you could expect him to be front row every Sunday at Westboro Baptist in Topeka, Kansas. This exposes Senator Obama's inept judgment and disqualifies him to assume the highest office of our government. John Adams and every founding father would say the same.

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