Source: Wright's taking revenge on Obama for betraying their friendship; Update: Pfleger mediating

The Gingrich hypothesis vindicated? We’ll know at Wright’s next public speech, when Obama becomes Peter denying “Jesus” three times before the media cocks crowed.

“After 20 years of loving Barack like he was a member of his own family, for Jeremiah to see Barack saying over and over that he didn’t know about Jeremiah’s views during those years, that he wasn’t familiar with what Jeremiah had said, that he may have missed church on this day or that and didn’t hear what Jeremiah said, this is seen by Jeremiah as nonsense and betrayal,” said the source, who has deep roots in Wright’s Chicago community and is familiar with his thinking on the matter…

The source noted that the roots of Wright’s disillusionment with Obama began last year after the Illinois senator unexpectedly yanked him from participating in the public announcement of his presidential campaign.

“That’s why Jeremiah revealed … that he had actually been at the [announcement] hotel and prayed privately with the Obama family before the official declaration,” the source told The Post…

The source added, “After 20 years of loving Barack like he is one of their own, after he was embraced by this congregation as a brother in Christ, after his pastor was a father figure to him and gave him credibility in a city he had not grown up in and in a black community that was suspect of someone from Hawaii and Harvard, he thanks him by not allowing him to speak publicly at his announcement last year?

“A lot of people in the church believe they were there for this man when no one else was, and a lot of people don’t believe it any more when Obama claims he loves the man who did so much for him,” the source added.

Any reason to believe this? Yeah. The NYT’s two pieces on Obama and Wright from March and April of last year, respectively, both mention Wright’s hurt feelings at being disinvited from Obama’s campaign launch. From the former: “Mr. Wright expressed disappointment but no surprise that Mr. Obama might try to play down their connection.” From the latter: “In March, Mr. Wright said in an interview that his family and some close associates were angry about the canceled address, for which they blamed Obama campaign advisers but that the situation was ‘not irreparable’…” Not irreparable yet, anyway. There’s a discrepancy as to which of them suggested to the other that some “distancing” may be in order — the very end of the April piece makes it sound like Wright proposed the idea — but that’s not inconsistent with a grudge metastasizing over time, especially after Obama’s anti-Wright media tour last month.

Exit question: Chris Matthews’s leg told him yesterday that being on Wright’s bad side only makes Obama that much more sympathetic, but it all depends on how Wright plays it, doesn’t it? If he follows the Matthews template and starts taking potshots then, yeah, Obama gets to be the wounded Bambi. But what if Wright goes on Charlie Rose or wherever and speaks softly about how hurt he is by the fact that one of his “children,” who never had an unkind word to say about his ministry before, would sell him out for political advantage? Maybe with a requisite tear or two? There’s no more exalted status in an Oprahfied America than victimization. Own it, rev.

Update: Who’s the man to put the pieces back together? Why, Michael “Snuff you like a rat” Pfleger, of course.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports Obama felt betrayed and Wright felt sand-bagged. Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church said he has been speaking to both men as the events of the past 24 hours unfolded.

He counseled Obama Tuesday morning, and while CBS 2 talked to him Tuesday evening, Rev. Wright called his cell phone.

“I don’t think he had any intention to hurt Barack. He loves Barack,” Pfleger said. “I think the pain and the moment took over.”