Obama weathers Wright storm as new details emerge

WASHINGTON Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:05pm GMT

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) delivers a speech on the economy at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York, March 27, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) delivers a speech on the economy at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York, March 27, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A controversy over Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's former pastor has not hurt Obama, a new poll found on Thursday, even as more potential trouble surfaced involving his church.

A poll by the Pew Research Center said videos of sermons by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Obama's subsequent speech on race in America last week have attracted more public attention than any events thus far in the 2008 presidential campaign.

The March 19-22 survey of 1,503 American adults found that despite the flap, Illinois Sen. Obama had maintained a 49 percent to 39 percent advantage over New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

While he seemed to have weathered the storm so far, the poll said most voters aware of the sermons were offended by them.

Wright argued from the pulpit that the September 11 attacks were payback for U.S. foreign policy and expressed anger over what he called racist America.

The new survey was released as new information came to light about Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, which Obama attended for two decades.

A Christian publication called Baptist Messenger reported that the church published a pro-Hamas, anti-Israel opinion article in a church bulletin in July.

It said the church republished the article from The Los Angeles Times. In the article, an official from the Palestinian group Hamas defended the group's refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist.

Baptist Messenger said the column was posted on Wright's "Pastor's Page."

In addition, Trumpet Newsmagazine, of which Wright is the chief executive officer, published an article written by Wright in which he described the crucifixion of Jesus as "public lynching Italian style."

"(Jesus') enemies had their opinion about Him," Wright wrote in a eulogy of the late scholar Asa Hilliard in the November/December 2007 issue, according to CNSNews.com. "The Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans."

Obama was asked about the latest information about Wright during a CNBC interview.

"I've, I think, talked thoroughly about, you know, the issue with Rev. Wright. And, you know, everybody, I think, who examines the church that I attend knows that it is a very traditional, conventional church," he said.

He said Wright had made some "troubling statements and some appalling statements that I have condemned."

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