A triple play; take your pick. Olbermann isn’t the obsequious troll he might have been but he’s content to let Obama recite his talking points. Garrett’s too interested in playing cross-examiner and reestablishing the extent of Obama’s involvement with Wright, which is already a matter of public record, but he does badger him into saying he’d have quit the church if he had known what was being said from the pulpit (which, of course, he did). That admission may prove useful later on. Cooper doesn’t get quite that far — Obama tells him he “probably” would have said something to Wright — but he does ask two other pertinent questions, which are duly ducked: How can it be that in 20 years of attendance, His Holiness never got wind of Wright’s “nuance” on race? And why does he keep referring to him as an eccentric old uncle when we don’t get to pick our family members but we do get to pick our pastors? It’s like defending your membership in a whites-only country club by saying, “You know how grandpas can be.”

If you only have time to watch one, watch Cooper, as the second half contains the germ of the defense you’ll be hearing from Obama going forward: The black community is “in transition” from the highly racialist old guard embodied by Wright to the healing, post-racial new guard of which the Messiah is the physical incarnation. The baton is being passed. From the creepy caterpillar that is Rev. Jeremiah emerges the beautiful Obaman butterfly. Your exit question, via the Autonomist and Ace: What was butterfly doing, then, nodding along to one of Wright’s sermons about the “United States of White America”? And if you don’t believe the nodding part, why didn’t he at least quit the church after hearing it, like he told Major Garrett he’d do?

Click the image to watch. Or here’s the transcript if you’d rather skim.

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Tags: Barack Obama