On Sunday night, reports circulated that President Barack Obama is, once again, speaking with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor, about electoral outreach to the African American community. In a San Francisco Chronicle article on Saturday, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown claimed that the president recently held a conference call with black clergy, including Wright, to discuss some get-out-the-vote measures. Now, the campaign is flatly denying that the conversation with Wright took place.
“If Obama looks as if he’s going black, he could turn off white people. So he’s largely been lying low on the race issues — visibly pushing for the Latino vote, the gay vote, the women’s vote, but not the black vote,” Brown wrote. “But last weekend, he held a conference call with a collection of black preachers that included his old pastor, Jeremiah Wright. He wanted to talk to them about getting out the vote.”
According to BuzzFeed, the Obama campaign is dismissing the claim presented in Brown’s article — that Wright was involved with the aforementioned call. Spokeswoman Lis Smith told the outlet that the “report is false.” In an e-mail exchange with The Daily Caller, Smith doubled down, saying, “It is not true” and that Wright has not participated in any campaign activity over the past few months.
While Brown didn’t share any details about the conference call in his article, the mention of Wright as a participant, especially considering the furor that surrounded the fiery preacher in 2008, is somewhat odd. Taking Wright out of the equation, though, it would not be out of the question for Obama to be speaking with black pastors.
In fact, there has been some evidence that the president’s stance on gay marriage has negatively impacted him among African Americans, particularly those in the faith community (here’s one pastor’s stance against the president, as captured through a controversial video proclamation). Obama’s gay marriage endorsement even spawned a coalition of black preachers to come out against him.
In an election cycle in which every vote counts, it’s likely that Obama is, indeed, courting these faith leaders. Whether Wright was truly on a conference call with the president — well, that’s clearly a contested point at this juncture.
Read TheBlaze’s full biographical report on Wright.