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Obama: Addressing Wright on Easter

The Washington Times looks at a fact that has been largely overlooked the last six weeks: the amount of outside special interest money that has benefited Obama, particularly unions like SEIU. 
 
Obama gave an interview with Philly radio talk show host Michael Smerconish that airs today. Obama, asked if he ever spoke with Rev. Wright about some of his controversial views, said, "I'll be honest with you, I didn't have that many conversations with him over the last year just because I've been so busy. I haven't been going to church. I wasn't hearing a lot of these comments. In fact, the ones that are most offensive are ones that I just never knew about until they were reported on.
 
"I had conversations with him in the past -- in fact from the day that I first met him -- about some of his views. But understand this, something else that I think has not gotten reported on enough, is despite these very offensive views, this guy has built one of the finest churches in Chicago. It's not some crackpot church. I mean, witness the fact that Bill Clinton invited him to the White House when he was having his personal crises.
 
"This is a pillar of the community and if you go there this Easter Sunday and you sat down in the pew, you'd think, 'Well this is just like any other church.' You got kids and little girls with bows in their hair and people dressed in their Sunday finest. They're talking about Jesus and the Resurrection.
 
"So I don't want to suggest that somehow this was...the loop that you've been seeing typified services all the time. But that's the danger of the YouTube era. It doesn't excuse what he said, but it is to just give it some perspective so people understand."
 
The New York Post reports on how Rev. Jeremiah Wright's replacement took the controversy. "The Rev. Otis Moss III, used the opportunity of his Easter sermon yesterday to lash out at the scrutiny his retiring predecessor has received. Fox News reported yesterday that Moss called the negative media attention focused on Wright 'a public lynching,' and he made clear that he thought the church owed no apologies.
 
" 'If I was Ice Cube, I'd say it a little differently: 'You picked the wrong folk to mess with,' " Moss said."
 
The New York Daily News reports that the Rev. Calvin Butts, the leader of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church, weighed in on the controversy surrounding Wright in his Easter homily. "Jeremiah Wright said some uncharacteristically ugly things because this nation has been uncharacteristically ugly towards black people," Butts said. "Being critical of America, that is nothing to condemn someone about. There have been black and white preachers who have been critical of America." But, he said, "What [Wright] said about America, that was a little strong coming from the pulpit. ... You can't just cuss like that from the pulpit." 
 
And Richardson as "Judas"? After James Carville was quoted as calling Richardson Judas for backing Obama, Richardson said, "You know, that's typical of many of the people around Sen. Clinton. They think they have a sense of entitlement to the presidency."
 
The Chicago Sun-Times' Sweet has the scoop from the Obama campaign on the full release of its national finance committee. How long before the Clinton campaign or others have dossiers on some of these folks? These are folks are bigger than just the bundlers they regularly release the names of. "Members of Obama's NFC have been invited to special briefings with Obama and his advisors, were given priority in getting into Oprah Winfrey's fund-raiser at her home near Santa Barbara, Calif. and have been encouraged to travel to primary and caucus states to volunteer knocking on doors and at phonebanks."
 
Some names are very familiar, including ex-CA GOV candidate Steve Westly; former Commerce Sec. Bill Daley; big time Boston fundraiser Alan Solomont; movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg; and one-time Obama senate rival Dan Hynes. 
 
The L.A. Times does some early adulthood profiling of Obama. 
 
AP: "Prominent supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama yesterday both faulted Obama's campaign for allowing a retired general and backer of the Illinois senator to equate comments by Clinton's husband - which appeared to question Obama's patriotism -- to McCarthyism." 
 
The AP on Sunday wrapped Obama's "tough" and "turbulent" last couple of weeks. "Obama refers to the past couple of weeks as a tough, turbulent stretch. And why not? His foreign policy adviser quit for calling Democratic presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton a 'monster.' Then he had to distance himself from his longtime pastor's fiery statements, a controversy that threatened his image as a uniter. He trails in polls in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary. Obama also watched his lead wither in national opinion surveys." But it "could have been worse," the AP writes.
 
"Obama received generally favorable reviews for his somber speech on the nation's racial divide, though it didn't completely silence the criticism over his former pastor's rhetoric. Then Florida and Michigan indicated they would not hold new primaries to replace the contests that favored Clinton but violated party rules. Campaign finance reports showed him far ahead in the money race. And finally, he picked up the much sought-after endorsement of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson -- one Clinton also had coveted."