I’m not sure why this is news. He said essentially the same thing to Major Garrett on the night of a thousand interviews after the Wright thing first went nuclear.

GARRETT: So, quick yes or no. If had you heard [the “controversial” sermons] in person you would have quit?

OBAMA: If I had heard them repeated, I would have quit. I mean, obviously, understand that — understand that, you know, this is somebody who is like an uncle. If you have — to me. He’s somebody who helped me find Christ. And somebody who always talked to me in very powerful ways about relationship to God and our obligations to the poor.

If somebody makes a mistake, then obviously, you recognize — I make mistakes. We all make mistakes. If I thought that that was the repeated tenor of the church, then I wouldn’t feel comfortable there.

Note the emphasis on “repeated.” He’s suggesting that he would have stayed if Wright had repented and promised to lay off that rhetoric in the future, which jibes with the money quote from the “View” today that’s being buzzed about. Quote:

“Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn’t have felt comfortable staying at the church,” Obama said Thursday during a taping of the ABC talk show, “The View.”

Tom Maguire thinks Obama’s deceitfully trying to suggest here that Wright has apologized when of course he hasn’t. I don’t read it that way at all. I think he’s speaking purely hypothetically, if inartfully: If Wright was still pastor of the church and if he refused to apologize for the sermons, then Obama would have to quit. Since he’s not still pastor, there’s no need to quit irrespective of whether Wright has apologized or not.

But judge for yourself. Click the image to watch; it’s the second clip from the left at the bottom. Your exit questions: If, as Karl reminds us, Obama could no sooner disown Wright than disown the black community, how come he seems pretty willing to disown him (albeit conditionally) here? If “Middleclassness” is repugnant to the “Black Value System,” what’s Wright doing moving into a 10,000 sq. ft. house? And if Obama’s not okay with racial bomb-throwing from the pulpit, why is he weeping at the beauty of a sermon about “white folks’ greed run[ning] a world in need”?

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Tags: Barack Obama