Democratic Candidate Distances Himself From The Rev. Michael Pfleger Over Racially-Charged Remarks
CHICAGO, May 29, 2008
Barack Obama again distanced himself Thursday from a controversial sermon given at his Chicago church, saying he was “deeply disappointed” to hear a priest mock Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tears just before the New Hampshire primary.
Obama supporter the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Chicago activist, also apologized Thursday for the sermon given last Sunday, during which he said Clinton cried in January because she felt “entitled” to the Democratic nomination and that a “black man is stealing my show.”
In a video circulating on the Internet, Pfleger said the former first lady expected to win the nomination before Obama’s sudden popularity.
“She just always thought that, ‘This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white.’ … And then, out of nowhere, came ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama.” And she said, ‘Oh damn, where did you come from? I’m white. I’m entitled. There’s a black man stealing my show,”‘ Pfleger said at Trinity United Church of Christ.
He then went on to parody Clinton, sobbing and wiping his face with a handkerchief.
“She wasn’t the only one crying,” he said. “There was a whole lot of white people crying.”
Obama won the Iowa caucuses, the opening contest of the nominating season, in January. Days later, Clinton’s eyes brimmed with tears and her voice broke as she talked with voters in New Hampshire on the eve of the primary, which she won.
In his statement, Obama said he was “deeply disappointed” by Pfleger’s comments.
“As I have traveled this country, I’ve been impressed not by what divides us, but by all that that unites us,” he said. “That is why I am deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger’s divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn’t reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause.”
Clinton’s campaign denounced Pfleger’s sermon Thursday night.
“Divisive and hateful language like that is totally counterproductive in our efforts to bring our party together and have no place at the pulpit or in our politics,” the campaign said in a statement. “We are disappointed that Senator Obama didn’t specifically reject Father’s Pfleger’s despicable comments about Senator Clinton, and assume he will do so.”
Pfleger, the white pastor of the predominantly black Saint Sabina Roman Catholic Church on the city’s Southwest side, said Thursday he regretted his choice of words.
“These words are inconsistent with Senator Obama’s life and message and I am deeply sorry if they offended Senator Clinton or anyone else who saw them,” Pfleger said.
Pfleger’s statements were met with rounds of applause and in some cases standing ovations from the congregation.
In March, Pfleger invited Obama’s embattled former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, to speak at an event at Saint Sabina, embracing Wright in the church.
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REV. PFLEGER’S SPEECH: http://youtube.com/watch?v=_H11x6bMu4Y&feature=related (“WHY HILLARY CLINTON CRIED”)
REV. PFLEGER’S SERMON: http://youtube.com/watch?v=EfWnY5PC0CQ&feature=related (“AMERICA WILL PAY FOR RAPING BLACKS”)