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God-O-Meter

wright24.jpgFormer Bill Clinton political advisor Dick Morris says today that the Wright crisis gives Obama a major opportunity to define himself against the archetypal Angry Black Man:

But if Wright has come to be the poster child for what America fears in a black public figure, he gives Obama an opportunity to be the opposite. By playing off Wright, by attacking his views in depth and detail, Obama can define himself as the un-Wright, reassuring Americans and carving out his identity in opposition to the reverend’s rantings. Obama has always implicitly defined himself as the opposite of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. He runs not as a black man seeking the presidency, but as a post-racial political leader who happens to have a dark complexion.

There are already signs that Obama is adopting this strategy. Look at today’s Obama endorsement from Indiana Congressman Baron Hill. Here’s what Hill said in his endorsement statement:

“Some have advised me to be cautious, to wait and see which way the electoral winds may blow. I confess that I have listened to those voices and been tempted by their reasoning. But, the stakes are just too high. We cannot continue to pursue the same politics of personal destruction we have engaged in for a generation, some never-ending “groundhog day” endlessly playing out the cultural wars of forty years ago.
….I am pleased that Senator Obama clearly and unequivocally denounced Reverend Wright’s remarks. Hoosiers don’t feel that way about our country, I don’t feel that way about our country and Senator Obama made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t feel that way either.
His comments regarding statements made by Reverend Wright showed me another aspect of Senator Obama’s leadership – a strength of character and commitment to our nation that transcends the personal. One of the tests of a true leader is his ability and willingness to come to a new conclusion based on new events. Senator Obama did just that yesterday.

Who better to testify to Obama’s defining himself as the anti-Wright that a culturally conservative white Democrat like Hill? But the Obama messaging team will have to work overtime and then some to get that word out. And Obama himself doesn’t want to talk about Wright one minute more, so surrogates and the press team will have to do the heavy lifting. Watch for them to echo that line through the remainder of the week.


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