A new, unauthorized biography of President Obama by Edward Klein claims supporters close to then-candidate Barack Obama attempted to pay off firebrand minister Jeremiah Wright during the 2008 campaign.
At the time, Wright's angry, often anti-American sermons were threatening to do serious damage to Obama's candidacy. Obama was ultimately forced to confront it by formally leaving Wright's church and talking about race in a major speech.
Writing in the New York Post
, Klein quotes extensively from an interview in which Wright describes the attempt to buy him off. The deal was to keep Wright from preaching and out of the media spotlight until the election.
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‘Man, the media ate me alive,” Wright told Klein. “After the media went ballistic on me, I received an e-mail offering me money not to preach at all until the November presidential election.”
“Who sent the e-mail?” Klein asked Wright.
“It was from one of Barack’s closest friends.”
“He offered you money?”
“Not directly,” Wright said. “He sent the offer to one of the members of the church, who sent it to me.”
“How much money did he offer you?”
“One hundred and fifty thousand dollars,” Wright said.
“Did Obama himself ever make an effort to see you?”
“Yes,” Wright said. “Barack said he wanted to meet me in secret, in a secure place.
And I said, ‘You’re used to coming to my home, you’ve been here countless times, so what’s wrong with coming to my home?’ So we met in the living room of the parsonage of Trinity United Church of Christ, at South Pleasant Avenue right off 95th Street, just Barack and me. I don’t know if he had a wire on him. His security was outside somewhere.
Klein, a former New York Times Magazine and Newsweek editor, has defended the book as factually sound.
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