Tags: obama | wright | imus

Obama Defends Rev. Wright, Blasts Imus

Wednesday, 19 Mar 2008 08:47 AM

It took Barack Obama more than a year to repudiate his former pastor's racially charged anti-American tirades, but when it came to denouncing Don Imus for his racial slurs against the Rutgers girls basketball team, it took Obama only a week to demand the shock jock be fired, Fox News notes.

In a major speech Tuesday, Obama condemned the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's shocking verbal assaults against the U.S. dating back to 2001.

But in April of last year, Obama was quick to demand Imus' ouster for making a racially insensitive remark.

“There’s nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. And I would hope that NBC ends up having that same attitude,” Obama told ABC News in an April 11 interview demanding Imus' resignation.

Obama told ABC in the interview he would never appear again on Imus’ show after Imus set off a firestorm of outrage when he called members of the women’s basketball team at Rutgers University “nappy-headed hos” on his popular morning talk show.

“He didn’t just cross the line,” Obama raged then. “He fed into some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America.”

Obama has downplayed Wright for Wright's insensitive remarks, saying he has done good work with the poor and AIDS victims. Yet Obama did not afford the same respect to Imus, who has devoted considerable energy to helping children with cancer, wounded war veterans, and others.

Obama's pastor has blamed the government for HIV, cast the country as institutionally racist, and said God should damn the United States.

But Obama, who Fox recalled has had a 20-year relationship with Wright, claimed in his speech Tuesday that he had no idea Wright had ever expressed such incendiary remarks.

When some of Wright’s remarks were publicized last year, Obama rescinded an invitation for Wright to speak at his Feb. 10, 2007, presidential announcement, but had failed to fully address the matter until Tuesday's speech.

When Fox News asked about the different responses to his pastor and to Imus, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor questioned the premise of the comparison and defended Obama’s response in each case. “He spoke out both times, so it’s entirely consistent,” he told Foxnews.com Tuesday. While Obama didn’t condemn Wright’s views outright until last Friday, Vietor said Obama had started putting the issue to rest long before now.

“He denounced specific comments months ago and he gave a thoughtful speech today,” Vietor told Fox News Tuesday.

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