The Washington Times - March 18, 2008, 12:12PM
Sen. Barack Obama
Sen. Barack Obama this morning said the incendiary remarks his pastor has made about the country provide an opportunity to have a national discussion about racism, though still believes they express “a profoundly distorted view” of the United States.\ \ “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community,” he said from Philadelphia’s Constitution Center during a speech his campaign billed as a major address about racial unity.\ \ The speech, dubbed “A More Perfect Union,” came after days of criticism of his longtime pastor, the now-retired Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for remarks some considered inflammatory about the United States and racism.\ \ Rev. Wright “contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.”\ \ “I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe,” said Mr. Obama of Illinois. “These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.”

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Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter, The Washington Times