Wall Street Journal: New Ads Focus on Obama’s Ties to Jeremiah Wright

Wall Street Journal

New Ads Focus on Obama’s Ties to Jeremiah Wright

Rev. Jeremiah Wright re-entered the campaign conversation this weekend as two new ads — one by a Republican 527 group and the other by the Pennsylvania Republican Party — focused on Barack Obama’s former pastor.

Obama made several efforts to distance himself from his former pastor during the Democratic primary, renouncing his pastor and, later, leaving Trinity United Church of Christ. John McCain insisted that he would not use Wright’s more incendiary comments about race and American foreign policy in negative attacks, and until now, he has succeeded in keeping the Chicago cleric out of the campaign.

“If you think you could ever vote for Barack Obama, consider this: Obama chose as his spiritual leader this man,” a narrator says before a picture of Wright flashes on the screen. The 30-second spot plays a series of controversial remarks by the pastor and describes Obama’s relationship with him.

The ad asks: “Does that sound like someone who should be president?”

In a statement to PolitickerPA.com, which reported the story, state party chair Robert Gleason Jr.defended the ad: “The media has allowed Barack Obama to escape public scrutiny on countless issues and has been silent on Obama’s connection with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright since the Primary Election. When Pennsylvanians vote for a president, they should have a full picture of that candidate’s character, including the people they chose to intimately align themselves with for many years.”

Separately, an independently funded 527 group, the National Republican Trust PAC, said it had put $2.5 million into a Wright-themed ad running in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, all key battleground states that McCain will likely need to win on Tuesday. Like the other spot, the ad serves as a Wright highlight reel, and a voiceover in the ad says, “For 20 years, Obama never complained, until he ran for president.”

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