Philly Mayor Would Quit Obama Church

Clinton ally tells ABC he would have quit church over pastor's comments.

ByABC News
March 29, 2008, 1:00 PM

PHILADELPHIA, March 29, 2008 — -- Sen. Hillary Clinton's most prominent African-American supporter in Pennsylvania says that had he been a member of Sen. Barack Obama's church, he would have left because of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's fiery and controversial sermons.

"I think there's no room for hate, and I could not sit and tolerate that kind of language, and especially over a very long period of time," said Philadelphia's newly elected mayor, Michael Nutter, in an interview with ABC News' David Muir.

"If I were in my own church and heard my pastor saying some of those kinds of things," he added, "we'd have a conversation about what's going on here, what is this all about, and then I would have to make my own personal decision about whether or not to be associated or affiliated."

Asked by Muir if he would he have quit Obama's church, Nutter said, "Absolutely."

Watch a report on Nutter's comments tonight on "World News." Check your local listings for air time.

Wright preached that the U.S brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own "terrorism." He also said the government "wants us to sing 'God Bless America'" but that it should be "God damn America" for the way it has treated minorities.

Obama condemned the comments, but said he could not "disown" Wright. He suggested the incendiary remarks reflected longstanding anger over past injustices against blacks.

Nutter said, "I think there is a big difference between expressing the pain and anger that many African Americans and other people of color may feel versus language that I think now crosses the line and goes into hate."

Clinton needs a decisive victory in Pennsylvania to keep her White House hopes alive. And Nutter, who took office in January, could play a pivotal role if he is able to help Clinton make inroads with African-American voters, a pillar of Obama's political base.

The pressure on some of Clinton's prominent black supporters to abandon her has been intense. An icon of the civil rights movement, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., switched allegiances to Obama, partly because of anger in his home district over his choice for president.