- Ed Klein says Wright was "very quiet, very polite, very measured" during their interview
- Of the Obamas, Wright said, "Church is not their thing. It was never their thing."
- Wright claims Clinton campaign may have been paying black pastors to disparage him
- He says his words have been "misused and taken out of context"
- Reverend alleges that Obama changed dramatically once he became president
Edward Klein's new book, "The Amateur," an unauthorized biography of President Barack Obama, makes some startling and intriguing claims. From former President Bill Clinton calling Obama an "amateur" to Rev. Jeremiah Wright alleging that he was offered hush money, the book is full of political surprises. Earlier this week, Klein gave Fox News' Sean Hannity the three-hour recording of his discussion with Wright. The Blaze also obtained some copies of the recordings. We are currently working to obtain the raw, three-hour interview audio. The audio clips appear to showcase a man -- despite his intense rhetoric -- who seems genuinely saddened by his deteriorated relationship with Obama. Wright, contrary to past videos and speeches, seems calm and collected as he recounts his personal experiences over the past few years. (Related: Beck offers $150K to Wright for contents of Wright's secret box on Obama) "It wasn’t what I expected to tell you the truth because the guy who I met did not look like the guy on the videotapes," Klein told Hannity of his time with Wright. "He was very quiet, very polite, very measured, and talked about his academic credentials, very proud of the fact that he had a Ph.D., and answered all my questions…there was no sense that this guy could go off the deep end." (Related: Hannity Confronts Obama Book Author Over Calling Him, Beck & O‘Reilly ’Right Wing Crazies’ in Audio Interview With Rev. Wright) Throughout his time with the author, Wright can be heard offering Klein his assessment on a variety of issues relating to the president and his 2008 campaign. The Blaze already told you aboutWright's claim that he was offered $150,000 by a close Obama associate in exchange for his refusal to preach until after the 2008 election. In a separate portion of the discussion, Wright talked about a cardboard box that holds some intriguing contents. In it, there are numerous articles and elements related to the Obama campaign and the drama that accompanied it. One example Wright shared is an article in which David Axelrod, a key figure in the Obama camp, is quoted. The article apparently discusses how Axelrod interacted with the Rev. Otis Moss, another pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ. The topic of conversation? Figuring out how the Obamas could stay at the house of worship, while trying to distance the church from Wright. Listen to the preacher explain the article -- and the cardboard box he keeps it in -- below:
Wright also made some intriguing claims about the Obama family and its purported lack of interest in attending church. Since assuming office, the president has consistently faced criticism over his infrequent church attendance. According to Wright, this is par for the course.
"Church is not their thing. It was never their thing," Wright says of Barack and Michelle Obama. "She was not the kind of black woman whose momma made her go to church, made her go to Sunday school...so the church was not an integral part of their lives before they got married -- after they got married."
After Wright made these comments, Klein said, "But the church was an integral part of his politics...because he needed that base." Wright agreed with this statement, at one point saying "correct."
Listen to this portion of the interview, below:
Among his many other claims, Wright told Klein that a fellow faith leader approached him in 2010 to allege that it wasn't just Republicans who were working to exploit his fiery image. The controversial pastor claimed that another preacher told him that the Hillary Clinton campaign was paying African American reverends to openly attack Wright.
With politics being a relatively dirty game, these allegations are noteworthy. Considering the fallout from Wright's rhetoric, it is entirely possible that the Clinton camp was looking to capitalize:
In this vein, Wright and Klein discussed some of the videos that created the greatest stir among Americans -- clips showing the preacher delivering some harsh words about America. There was, of course, the famed "God damn America" video that made its rounds on media and blogs, alike. In his interview with Klein, Wright claims that his words were "misused and taken out of context."
While he made this claim -- that his clips were used in a disingenuous manner -- the reverend seemed to double down on his past statements. He maintained that he was used "as a weapon of mass destruction" to disparage Obama.
"That was 2001, but they picked that one 'chicken coming home to roost." [In] 2005, I was talking about how you confuse God and government," he said. "Many of us have confused our government, made government God, but governments change...governments lie....God doesn't lie."
He then apparently told Klein he has no regrets and that he actually wishes he had said more on the subject of compassion and helping one's fellow man (the purported issues at the heart of his well-known controversial speeches).
"God does not bless everything we do as human beings...when you oppress the widows, when you have no compassion for the poor God condemns that," Wright proclaimed. "Why are you going to be taken back? I wish I had said more, so I had more not to take back."
Listen to these explanations, below:
Considering the negative attention that Wright's sermons brought Obama as well as the pastor's comments following the 2008 campaign (that the president him "under the bus") the reverend made a thought-provoking claim during his discussion with Klein. "I'm on record, a year before [Obama] ran, saying that he'd have to distance himself from me," Wright told the author. "I knew as a politician, if he's going to play the political game, he's going to have to distance himself from me. If you want to get elected, if you want these votes, I'm toxic." Interestingly, this isn't the first timeWright has called himself toxic. Furthermore, while he may feel as though Obama disparaged and abandoned him, the fact that he's claimed that he knew there would be a separation a year before the election is noteworthy.
Now that Wright is distant from his former congregant, it's intriguing to hear how he views Obama's leadership.
"We keep forgetting that Barack Obama was selected before he was elected. You didn't select him. He's accountable to the ones who selected him and who paid for him to be the president," Wright said. "Why do you think Wall Street got a break? They selected him Why do you think the Big 3 got a buy-out? They selected him. Why do you think he stands up and says 'I am a Zionist?'"
After his selection -- and subsequent election -- Wright charged that Obama experienced some negative changes. Once his electoral prospects seemed to rise, Wright said that the president-to-be viewed him as a "deterrent." During the discussion, Wright told Klein that Obama said, "You know what your problem is. You have to tell the truth." The faith leader maintained that this isn't a bad problem to have and that Obama, being a politician, has transformed into an individual who is not necessarily rooted in truth. "Politicians don't have to tell the truth. Truth is what we say it is. Well, I somehow can't live with that," Wright told Klein. "That's why I could never be a politician. I think that the transformed Barack has become a politician." When the author asked when, exactly, Obama made this so-called evolution, Wright said he believes it happened when he assumed the presidency:
Among other subjects, Wright's views on Obama's ability to help the African American community are also less-than-positive. Hannity explored these issues on his radio show on Wednesday:
These clips, of course, are only portions of the three-hour discussion that Klein had with one of America's most controversial preachers. The highlights, while they represent only one perspective, provide intriguing issues to ponder -- particularly when it comes to better understanding some of the elements that surround Obama's worldview.
On Wednesday evening, Hannity brought Klein on his television show to further expound upon "The Amateur" and to better frame some of the audio clips that are now emerging.
Here's part one of Hannity's discussion with the author:And here's part two:
There's no way of knowing whether Wright's perspective on these issues is accurate, but years after the fiery preacher arrived on the scene, it is certainly fascinating to hear his thoughts first-hand.
The Blaze left a voicemail for Rev. Wright's assistant earlier today to speak further about this story. Tonight, Sean Hannity will be delving deeper into the audio interview on Fox News at 9 p.m. ET.
This story has been updated for clarity.