Cleveland Plain Dealer
THE AD: “He Never Complained Once,” 30-second TV ad.
PRODUCER: National Republican Trust PAC.
WHERE TO SEE IT: Local TV and above.
RATING: 2 on a scale from 0 (misleading) to 10 (truthful)
John McCain has frustrated and puzzled some strategists and supporters by not making an issue of the relationship between Obama and Wright, a former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago known for giving fiery sermons and dabbling in radical politics.
Stepping in is the National Republican Trust Political Action Committee — a month-old anti-Obama group that has no official tie to the Republican National Committee and says it is spending $2.5 million to air this ad in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
Wright, once described by Obama as his spiritual adviser, officiated at Obama’s wedding and baptized his two daughters. Obama credited a Wright sermon, “The Audacity of Hope,” for drawing him to Christianity.
But extensive reporting showed Wright and his church playing no significant role, if any, in Obama’s rising political career, and Obama said they have disagreed since the 1980s about the importance of race as opposed to class in divisions. Obama began to distance himself from Wright before his presidential campaign.
The pastor’s more-inflammatory remarks led Obama to deliver a major speech on race last March in which he rejected the remarks as “not only wrong but divisive.” After Wright’s subsequent comments and dismissal of the speech, Obama angrily denounced him personally and cut all ties, saying: “When I say I find these comments appalling, I mean it. It contradicts everything that I am about and who I am, and anybody who has worked with me, who knows my life, who has read my books, who has seen what this campaign’s about, I think, will understand that it is completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country.”