Mr. Wright, who has acted as Mr. Obama’s spiritual mentor and retired in February as pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, said that he has never heard Mr. Obama repeat any of his controversial statements.
“Absolutely not,” Mr. Wright said. “I don’t talk to him about politics. And so he had a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God.”
Mr. Obama publicly denounced Mr. Wright’s remarks, a reaction Mr. Wright said “went down very simply.”
“He’s a politician, I’m a pastor,” he said. “We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. But they’re two different worlds.”
He added, “I do what I do. He does what politicians do. So that what happened in Philadelphia where he had to respond to the sound bytes, he responded as a politician.”
He may simply be trying to communicate that they come at these issues from different angles and have honest differences of opinion. The idea of a politician saying “what he has to say” makes it sound like an accusation of pandering, but it needn’t be: He refers to himself saying “what he has to say” as a pastor, too. That is, he may be pointing to their differing professions and audiences as proof of their philosophical differences, one set of beliefs leading down one career path and another leading down another one (“two different worlds”). If that’s not what he meant — if he’s actually accusing Obama of lying through his teeth during The Speech That Saved The World — then Team Barry really should have huddled with him before this interview.
It’s hard for me to believe he’d sandbag him like that, but oh well. Too late now, as eyebrows are already arching. Exit question: How do we read the Moyers exchange in light of this golden quote from last year? “You can get kind of rough in the sermons, so what we’ve decided is that it’s best for you not to be out there in public.”
Update: Here’s a snippet.