Obama Fields Another Farrakhan Question

Apr 9, 2008 7:55pm

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was forced to deal with another question about the racially polarizing Minister Louis Farrakhan out on the stump in Levittown, Pennsylvania, a town with it’s own history of racial tensions.

Obama was asked about his church’s magazine giving Louis Farrakhan an award, saying he "epitomized greatness."

The questioner at the town hall was referencing Trumpet Newmagazine, launched by Obama’s Trinty United chuch in Chicago, which used to be headed by Obama’s controversial former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The newsmagazine was published by Wright’s daughters.

"How can praise for any anti-Semitic demagogue be considered a minor difference between you and the reverend?" the woman asked.

"It wasn’t a minor different, it was a major difference," Obama answered defiantly of the differences between himself and his former pastor Wright.

He then went on to explain the award his church’s magazine gave to Ferrakhan, "This was done by a magazine that was connected to the church. I would have never done it. It was primary focused on the rehabilitation work that they do for ex-offenders in Chicago. That doesn’t excuse it, that just explains it."

He expressed his denunciation of his church’s praise of Farrakhan, "I’ve been very clear about saying that was wrong. And nobody has spoken out more fiercely on the issue of anti- Semitism than I have."

Obama referenced the race speech he gave in Philadelphia last month and said he knows that biases and hurt still exists in some communities. Levittown in the 1950’s was a mass produced housing community that included plans for white residents only.

Later another woman asked how he was going to run against John McCain.

"We got some work to do," Obama answered, countering that the democratic primary was not nearly over, "We’re behind here, we’ve got a lot of work to do."

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