Archive: March, 2008
Catherine LuceyLots of reactions to Sen. Barack Obama's big speech on race yesterday. Here are takes from Jill Porter, Elmer Smith and Jenice Armstrong.
Meanwhile Sen. Hillary Clinton spoke on Iraq in City Hall.
And in local politics, State Rep. Thomas Blackwell has been knocked off the Democratic primary ballot for faulty signatures.
U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, in remarks today at City Hall, said she was glad that U.S. Sen. Barack Obama had spoken out earlier in the day about controversial remarks on race made in sermons by his church pastor. But Clinton was not eager to discuss the situation. Asked if Obama has done enough to renounce the sermons, Clinton said: "I think that's a question for him."
Clinton spread the blame on problems of race and gender in the campaign when asked about her supporters bringing up race. She said both candidates were dealing with it. "We've spoken out," Clinton said. "We've had private discussions. We've admonished our staffs and supporters. And we will continue to do that."
Finally, Clinton was asked if she'd give her own speech on race and gender in the campaign. "That's a good question," she said. "I don't know."
Catherine LuceyClinton has concluded her brief remarks.
She again repeated the mantra that she is the commander ready to start on "day one," pledging to start bringing home troops in her first 60 days as president.
"The fact is, there is no military solution to ’s civil war," she said. "A well planned withdrawal is the one and only path to a political solution, the only way to spur the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future and to spur other countries to do their part to help secure that future."
Clinton said she had "done her homework" and knew how to get the job done, referring to her time on the Armed Services Committee. She also took a dig at Obama's oratorical prowess.
"I believe that what matters in this campaign is not just the promises we make to end the war.What matters is what we've done when it came time to match words with action. In the end the test is not the speeches a president delivers, it’s whether the president delivers on the speeches."
Clinton is now taking questions from reporters.
Catherine LuceyClinton's speech is underway. At the start, she said she had not listened to or read Obama's speech on race. But she praised him for taking on the topic.
"It’s an important topic. Issues of race and gender have been complicated throughout our history. We should remember that this is a historic moment for our party and our country. We will be nominating the first African American or woman for the president of the United States and that is something that America can and should celebrate."
Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson just introduced
“The war has damaged American credibility,” Plame said.
She said of
Catherine LuceyHere are a couple comments from some of the folks watching Obama's speech today. The crowd of 200 plus was a mix of elected officials, clergy and supporters.
Horace Morris, 79,
“I thought it was a great speech. He had to engage the issues raised by Rev. Wright. I think he said it’s everybody’s problem and we have to work to resolve it.”
Jay Leberman, of
“From what I know of Sen. Obama, having read his two books, it reaffirmed what I know of the man. I feel that had he come out and unequivocally disassociated himself from Wright, it would have shown a falsehood.”
Councilman Bill Green, who has endorsed Obama:
Catherine LuceySen. Hillary Clinton is scheduled to hit the Philly stage at 1:30 today. Chris Brennan is already in the Mayor's Reception Room at City Hall where Clinton will deliver remarks about the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war.
Chris reports that former Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame -- whose identity as a classified CIA agent was disclosed amid controversy several years ago -- are already in the crowd.
Wilson called Clinton "one of the smartest people" he's ever met and said he's with her all the way.
"I endorsed her early on. I'm delighted to have a chance to stand up with her, especially on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war," he said.
Wilson said the war needs a political solution in Iraq.
"It takes presidential leadership. That is what is sorely lacking," he said.
Obama uses the end of his speech to look forward: "For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division and conflicts and cynicism. We can tackle race only as a spectacle, as we did in the OJ trial, or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina, or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Rev. Wright's sermons on every channel every day and talk about them from now until the election and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card or we can speculate on whether white men will flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies. We can do that. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change."
The crowd warms up as Obama speaks of segregation: "For men and woman of Rev. Wright's generation, the memories of the doubt and humiliation and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and bitterness of those years."
The crowd applauds loudly at this: "The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Rev. Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning."
Some key quotes: "At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either too black or not black enough. We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of black and white but in terms for black and brown as well."
On his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright: "For some, the nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with some of his political views? Absolutely, just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed."
In defense of Wright: "The man I met more than 20 years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another, to care for the sick and lift up the poor. I could no more disown him than I can disown the black community."