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Monday, April 28, 2008

Obama Opens The Door and McCain Walks Through

Recently John McCain was criticized by members of the far right for publicly expressing distaste for an ad that the NCGOP was to run which associated Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. McCain went as far as to ask the NCGOP to not run the ad.

Jeremiah Wright, for those unaware, has been Obama's pastor for almost 20 years and his sermons which are available to the public, created a firestorm in the media and blogosphere, with speeches where he said "God Damn America" and declared 9/11 was the chickens coming home to roost, along with a number of other controversial statements that have been labeled as racist by many. (You can see some of those statements at the article I wrote at the time where I provided video)

McCain has tried to stick to legitimate political issues in his campaign and although he annoyed members of the conservative base with his request about that ad, centrists, moderates and Independents applauded his stance.

Then Barack Obama literally opened the door for John McCain to address the Wright issue, by telling Fox News, in an interview with Chris Wallace, that the topic of Jeremiah Wright was a "legitimate political issue".

WALLACE: Question: Do you think that Reverend Wright is just the victim here?

OBAMA: No. I think that people were legitimately offended by some of the comments that he had made in the past. The fact he's my former pastor I think makes it a legitimate political issue. So I understand that.

When a politician opens the door, widely, for another politician to walk through, they should not be surprised when it happens.

Although McCain still does not appreciate the NCGOP's advertisement associating Obama with Wright, realizing that Obama has just admitted his associations are legitimate political issues, McCain finally starts to address them as such.

In Florida, John McCain had some things to say about the issue saying that Wright's comparison with the Romans at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion to the Marines, was "beyond belief."

But Mr. McCain took a different approach at a news conference here when he criticized Mr. Wright for, as the senator paraphrased him, “comparing the United States Marine Corps with Roman legionnaires who were responsible for the death of our Savior, I mean being involved in that” and for “saying that Al Qaeda and the American flag were the same flags.”

“So I can understand, I can understand why people are upset about this,” said Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president. “I can understand why Americans, when viewing these kinds of comments, are angry and upset.”

An Obama spokesperson, Hari Sevugan, criticizes McCain for addressing a topic that Obama himself had just admitted was a "legitimate political issue", by saying, "By sinking to a level that he specifically said he’d avoid. John McCain has broken his word to the American people and rendered hollow his promise of a respectful campaign.”

Once Obama let that genie out of the bottle, there is no putting it back in and the topic of Jeremiah Wright is not the only topic John McCain is addressing in regards to Barack Obama's associations.

But in recent days, Mr. McCain has stepped up his attacks on Mr. Obama on other fronts. He questioned Mr. Obama’s association with William Ayers, a former member of the radical group Weather Underground. And he also said of a supportive statement that a member of Hamas had made about Mr. Obama: “It’s clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States.”

That comment about Hama's refers to an interview on WABC radio a couple of weeks ago, with a top Hamas political adviser, Ahmed Yousef, where he stated that Hamas hopes Obama wins the presidential election.

“We don’t mind–actually we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will (win) the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance,” Yousef said in response to a question about the group’s willingness to meet with either of the Democratic presidential candidates.

Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by Canada, Israel, Japan, and the United States, and is banned in Jordan.

On a conference call with bloggers on Friday, John McCain addressed the Hamas issue by saying, "I think it is very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States. I think that the people should understand that I will be Hamas’ worst nightmare."

“I never expect for the leader of Hamas . . . to say that he wants me as president of the United States,” McCain said. “I think it is very clear . . . why they would not want me to be president of the United States. So if Sen. Obama is favored by Hamas, I think people can make judgments accordingly.”

Obama's questionable associations, terror groups publicly stating they wish him to become president, his pastor's insistence on continuing to stay in the spotlight with public speeches that further highlight racial divisions at a time when Obama is trying to "convince party leaders he can appeal to white, blue-collar voters critical to capturing the White House", are all legitimate political issues as well as shining a spotlight on the theology and guidance that Barack Obama has sought and practiced for almost 20 years.

These issues may or may not impact Obama in the Democratic contest for the nomination for presidency with Hillary Clinton, but as Clinton is undoubtedly arguing to the superdelegates which will determine who is nominated for the Democratic party, these definitely will be major issues in the general election where one of the two Democratic contenders will be up against John McCain.