Now that Barack Obama has at last denounced the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s outrageous statements, questions about his relationship with his mentor and sounding board for two decades will be between him and the American people, Steve Schmidt, a top adviser to John McCain, tells Newsmax.
“This is not an issue that the McCain campaign is going to run ads on,” Schmidt says. “Senator McCain’s not going to give speeches about it. But Reverend Wright has clearly said a lot of outrageous things that are offensive to tens of millions of Americans.”
At this point, “It’s not about the McCain campaign, it’s about Senator Obama,” Schmidt says. “The American people will make assessments about the candidates, their background, their character, their judgment. They put a lot of information into that mix. And there is no question that this is a very big story that has been covered quite extensively. And it will be up to Senator Obama to address questions that Americans have about this relationship.”
Reacting to Wright’s speech at the National Press Club, Obama yesterday accused the man he consulted before announcing his run for the presidency of exploiting racism and “giving comfort to those who prey on hate.”
Those who read The New York Times for coverage of Wright’s speech would have had no idea what Obama was belatedly outraged about. While the paper ran a Page One story about the speech, it was a commentary that focused on how self-centered Wright came across. The story avoided mentioning any of the offensive remarks, including Wright’s words of praise for Louis Farrakhan and his claim that America introduced the AIDS virus to kill off blacks and that 9/11 was payback for America's terrorist acts.
It was another example of media favoritism toward Obama, illustrated by the press’ refusal to pick up Newsmax stories about Wright and Obama for 2 1/2 months until mid-March, as outlined in the Newsmax story "The Media’s Blackout on Rev. Wright."
Contrary to Wright’s claim at the press club that Farrakhan’s last anti-Semitic statement came 20 years ago, on Nov. 11, 2007, Farrakhan said in a speech, “Do you know some of these satanic Jews have taken over BET [the Black Entertainment Network]?” Farrakhan continued, “Everything that we built, they have. The mind of Satan now is running the record industry, movie industry, and television. And they make us look like we’re the murderers; we look like we’re the gangsters, but we’re punk stuff.”
The following month, Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ gave Farrakhan an award for lifetime achievement, saying he “epitomized greatness.”
After Newsmax broke that story, Obama claimed the award was for Farrakhan’s work with ex-offenders, even though the presentation and article about it in the church magazine said nothing about ex-offenders.
In contrast to its suppression of what Wright said at the press club, the Times ran a 1,397-word story over the weekend insinuating that there was something improper in the fact that the beer distributorship owned by McCain’s wife Cindy has provided his campaign with a jet plane at low cost. The story never answered the question, So what?
Asked about the irony of running that story and not Wright’s offensive remarks, Schmidt responded, “The plane story was another baseless controversy manufactured by the Times, continuing their campaign against McCain.”
If the press is playing favorites, the fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton plays into McCain’s hands.
“We feel very good about where we are in this race,” Schmidt says. “The majority of polls show Senator McCain in hypothetical match-ups against both Democrats to be in roughly an even race. We have a united Republican Party behind Senator McCain, and we feel very good about the chances. We’ve seen great support from Governor [Mitt] Romney, Governor [Mike] Huckabee, Mayor [Rudy] Giuliani, Senator [Fred] Thompson. And if you look at the division that’s taking place in the Democratic Party right now, we’re sitting pretty in the Republican Party, with all of its elements unified.”
In the coming weeks, “You’ll see Senator McCain talking about the biggest issues the country faces, which is winning this war against radical Islamic extremism and protecting the national security of the country,” Schmidt says. “He’ll point out the huge differences between his desire to win this war and the Democratic plans to withdraw troops, creating a situation where we de facto surrender, where al-Qaida claims victory, where there will be chaos and genocide in the region, and where likely we will have to send American troops back to fight a bigger, more costly, bloodier war.”
McCain will also focus on Obama’s and Clinton’s weak positions on protecting the country by conducting timely surveillance of foreign terrorists to uncover clues to plots. In effect, their votes against the Protect America Act would have given Osama bin Laden and other terrorists the same rights as Americans when it comes to intercepting their communications.
“Surveillance of the terrorist enemy is important, and their position on it is frankly ridiculous, and it’s something we’ll point out very aggressively to the American people.,” Schmidt says.
McCain will be talking about his proposal to reform healthcare, a plan that will “make it less costly and more available to American families without the big government intrusion,” he says.
“McCain says if you like the airport lines going through security, you’ll love government-run healthcare,” Schmidt says. “And the fact is that both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton are calling for major government intrusion into the healthcare markets, and it hasn’t worked in other countries where that’s been tried.”
McCain will be talking about giving a boost to the economy and cutting government spending.
“Senator McCain has been very critical of the current administration in terms of the out-of-control federal spending,” his adviser notes. “He means it when he says he’ll veto every one of these pork-laden bills that come before his desk as president. He’s sick of borrowing money from China to pay for wasteful products. Senator Clinton has asked for $2.3 billion in pork-barrel earmark projects. It’s outrageous, and Senator McCain is going to do something about it.”
McCain is “a man who loves his country deeply, who is focused on running a decent and honorable campaign addressing the big issues,” Schmidt says. “He’s somebody who likes to get a lot of viewpoints, likes to create an environment of debate and discussions where no idea is off the table.”
Then, Schmidt says, “He makes the decision, and that decision is grounded in a philosophy that people ought to have more control, the government ought to have less control; that taxes are too high, not too low; that government spends too much, not too little; and that we have to fight and win this fight against radical Islamic extremism.”
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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