Sunday, June 01, 2008

Analysis: Too little too late?

Obama quits church after long controversy
Candidate seeks to distance himself from Wright

ABERDEEN, S.D. - Barack Obama said Saturday he has resigned his 20-year membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago "with some sadness" in the aftermath of inflammatory remarks by his longtime pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and more recent fiery remarks at the church by another minister.

"This is not a decision I come to lightly ... and it is one I make with some sadness," he said at a news conference after campaign officials released a letter of resignation sent to the church on Friday. "I'm not denouncing the church and I'm not interested in people who want me to denounce the church," he said, adding that the new pastor at Trinity and "the church have been suffering from the attention my campaign has focused on them."

Obama said he and his wife have been discussing the issue since Wright's appearance at the National Press Club in Washington last month that reignited furor over remarks he had made in various sermons at the church. "I suspect we'll find another church home for our family," Obama said. "It's clear that now that I'm a candidate for president, every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, inlcuding guest pastors, the remarks will imputed to me even if they totally conflict with my longheld views, statements and principles," he said.

Obama said he had "no idea" how the resignation would "impact my presidential campaign, but I know its the right thing to do for the church and our family."

‘A pretty personal decision’"This was a pretty personal decision and I was not trying to make political theater out of it," he said.



MorganJ said...

Too little, too late: yes, no.
I think Obama's separation from Rev. Wright's church is a very small issue. This controversy has been dragging on for way too long. So, in a sense, I think this is a little step in Obama's campaign.

As for the decision being made too late, I don't think so. Throughout his campaign, Obama has been addressing this issue and his opinions have changed as the comments of Rev. Wright have escalated and been shown by the media. I think the democrats and independents who decided to hold the reverends comment against Obama would have still voted for him anyway, but now, they have a sense of security that their religion will not be compromised...does this make sense, it makes sense to me, but I don't think I'm saying it the best way I could.

Overall, I don't think this decision will impact Obama's campaign, however, it will create amens for those offended by the reverends comments.

joannaz said...

I guess so. The way I see it, Obama is protecting himself down the road. If Rev. Wright decides to get in the limelight again, Obama will seem more separated from it all. I think this was a very difficult decision for him to make, but if he wants to run a strong campaign in the fall, it seems this is what he has to do to prevent McCain from turning it into a larger issue. Maybe now people will spend less time scrutinizing the people Obama associates with and more time looking at his policies... but I doubt it.

Vlad said...

I think it was a litte too late. I think Obama suffered from Trinity in recent primaries and he should have distanced himself from it earlier. As Joanna said, he's just distancing him from any other official who's going to say something offensive in the future. But what's more interesting this week was the inclusion of Michigan and Florida delegates. Obama is still in the lead and Clinton should pull out. I was one of the people who supported Clinton's continuance in the race for the Democratic nomineee when people began saying she should pull out, and I think it's just ridiculous that she is still in it.

Great interview in the newspaper Morgan!

amandak said...

In my opinion, this is something Obama should have done long ago. For a guy who has built his campaign on unifying the country, he should have done more to distance himself from Rev. Wright's divisive comments.

Johnny B said...

I guess I would say that this is too late. My reasoning behind that is because, although it shouldn't be an issue, it is.

The one thing I dislike about politics, is that people get too caught up in a certain Rev. Wright, a certain flag lapel pin, and so forth. When they should really care more about the issues that the candidates believe in.

I don't know if Wright has actually hurt Obama's numbers, but it was the right choice even if it was a little later than it should have been.

Tom B. said...

20 years Obama was a member of the church. Even though he does this now it still won't change people's opinions that he has beliefs similar to Wright's. I mean if he didnt like what this guy was saying then why didnt he leave 10 years ago. Overall i dont think this matters because the damage to his reputation has already been done.

ericag said...

In the terms of Sentor Obama's campaign, I don't think it was too late. The Rev. would have still spoke out and it would not have changed the outcome.

As in the church memebers, I think it was too late. They were being punished by having "bad' press cover the Rev. They were directly affected by the actions of the Rev. and Obama's campaign

Erica C said...

I'm not convinced Obama's decision to leave his church of 20 years is entirely to benefit his campaign, but keep in mind that I'm a pretty idealistic person.

Let's say for a second that Obama is leaving his church because he values his church community. Let's say for one second that he is separating from his church of 20 years at least in part to keep his campaign from destroying his religious community and not the other way around.

I think that's pretty noble.

So yes, Obama's split from his church will probably benefit his campaign. Those who feel as though one cannot belong to a church without sharing every belief of the reverend/priest/minister can sleep better at night knowing they can now vote for Barack Obama.

Personally, if Obama's sole reason for leaving Trinity was to gain votes, I'm going to have a tougher time supporting him.

JamieW said...

I don't think it really matters. I think any damage that may have been done already has. Obama's separation from the church will have no bearing over people's opinions at this point.

Alex D said...

Too little, Way too late

Obama failed to "throw Rev. Wright under the bus" right away and it has become free publicity for the republicans. There is no need for McCain to run negative advertising, MSNBC runs enough of it on their website.

I do not think McCain has made this an issue... I think Rev. Wright and the network news corporations made this into an issue. Do you guys have to blame the republicans for EVERYTHING!? ;)

I think for Obama he should have spoke out and done this immediately after he herd what his pastor was saying, especially to the news. I also find it hard to believe that after 20+ years that this was the first time Obama herd about this, couldn't he have found another church, of the same religion to attend. But I will try keep my political views out of this.

As one caller said on Rush, "I refuse to vote for a man of such low character, this whole Rev. Wright thing was the last straw. And I am a lifetime democrat." Should this be an issue in a campaign, that is debatable however I think that it has.

And finally blame it on the republican in me but seriously Erica? I would have an EXTREMELY hard time believing that Obama left the church to protect the community rather than to gain votes. In fact I don't think I can get my mind around the concept at all. Obama is in fact, at the end of the day, a politician, and leaving his church was what people have been calling for since the beginning. He and his campain knew it was making him look bad and just denouncing his pastor was not enough for the public to distance himself from his Rev. Wright. Wright was a giant stain on his campaign, Obama was just finally smart enough to get out the Tide pen and get it off.

cmorgan said...

Meh i guess this was a positive decision for Obama. This will seperate him from anymore controversy among the rev. and church. It might have been a little late but it can't hurt to have done it. His decision will most likely appease some of his voters.

cmorgan said...

Meh i guess this was a positive decision for Obama. This will seperate him from anymore controversy among the rev. and church. It might have been a little late but it can't hurt to have done it. His decision will most likely appease some of his voters.

Mr. Bretzmann said...

"I do not think McCain has made this an issue"...

You Decide:

"I have said I do not believe Sen. Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views,'' McCain said this week. "But let me also be clear, Rev. Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today."

(The Ten Commandments is on TV right now...not an endorsement, just an announcement.)

(Is it ironic or Freudian that someone said that Obama was making "amens" for something and someone else said Obama "herd" something about the group of people at his church?)

Erica C said...

Alex... Yes, I think that bettering his campaign was part of Obama's decision to leave Trinity. I would only make the argument that it was not his ONLY reason.

He is a politician, but he is also human.

And Bretzmann, Def Freudian. Good catch.

katiekso said...

I feel that Rev. Wright isn't that big of a deal with all the other challenges and obastacles Obama and his campaign may face in the future. To me, I felt this was blown a little out of proportion and over-covered my the media.

Christina S said...

Yes, maybe this move should've been made sooner but it's not going to have a negative effect on Obama's campaign. I don't think it's going to have a huge effect on the campaign. I agree with Katie, I believe this issue was blown out of proportion.

mente said...

I really don't think that Reverend Wright should be an issue at all for the Obama campaign. Wright is not a member of the Obama campaign and it's just overblown media coverage that made him an issue in the first place. The timing in Obama's departure from the church is odd I guess. Most people have made up their minds. The people who believe that Wright's views and Obama's views are one in the same are the same people who think he's a muslim terrorist and aren't going to be voting for him anyway. It's funny how the people who have an issue with Obama's reverend also think he's muslim. Ah, people. But anyways, I don't think the whole situation really makes much of a difference anymore.

Anonymous said...

I don't really think this issue will hurt Obama's campaign too much. He's still ahead and the majority of democrats seem to still support him. Hypothetically speaking, (in case people haven't heard,) just because one belongs to a church, it doesn't mean he/she believes every single thing that the church does. I belong to a church and I don't believe I am actually eating Jesus' body when I eat the bread. I think Obama was right in saying it will help the church's community because the church won't be under so much speculation. I say it's a good decision on his part because it benefits everyone, even though it may cause some personal strife at first.

aly mac said...

Obama's decision was a little too late. The media has been all over this issue for quite some time and people have been listening. I think that it would have definitely been to his benefit to distance himself from his church much earlier in his campaign. It's unfortunate for him that people have had time to form their opinions based off of what they’ve seen and heard. However, his decision now may help him later on.

CassieH said...

I don't think it matters.

It's a small issue brought up awhile back.

I think the people are past the point.

Maybe he is looking out for himself down the road.

KellyH said...

According to CNN, as of 5:05 pm, Obama needs only 12 delegates, and MSNBC is claiming 14.

Clinton has now for the first time given an almost answer as to the vice-presidency question.

I don't know about the vice-presidency part, but as for Obama's delegate count, I personally want to party.
Maybe I'd even hug Joanna or Leta.

Johnny B said...

Obama has clinched the nomination.

arletap said...

Ahh, I get home from work, hear the good news, and here I am, on the blog.

Gimme a hug, Kel-Kel.