Obama Out to Prove Blue Collar Authenticity

Wright, of course, isn't helping, anyway, with a series of media appearances in which he used shocking and provocative language. Obama continued to distance himself from his former pastor today.

"He's obviously free to speak his mind, but I just want to emphasize he is my former pastor," Obama said. "Many of the statements he made, both to trigger this initial controversy, and that he's made over the last couple days are not statements that I heard him make previously. They don't represent my views and they don't represent what this campaign is about. But he's obviously free to make those statements."

While answering questions at the National Press Club today, Wright suggested that Obama was distancing himself from the pastor for political reasons.

"If Obama did not say what he said, he wouldn't get elected," Wright said. "I do what pastors do; he does what politicians do."

Sunlen Miller and Nitya Venkataraman contributed to this report.

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