Opinion: Donna Brazile offers Hillary Clinton a reminder about Rev. Wright


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Donna Brazile -- an uncommitted superdelegate of the Democratic National Convention and one of television’s few black, female political pundits -- interjected an intriguing observation this afternoon into a discussion on CNN about Hillary Clinton‘s stiff-arming of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

In short, Brazile provided a pointed reminder that some voters (African Americans, in particular, we would think) might recall that Wright did not turn on Clinton’s husband during an hour of need for him.

Clinton, for the first time since the fury over Barack Obama‘s tart-tongued former minister erupted more than a week ago, today rebuked her rival in the Democratic presidential race for his link to the pastor. Responding to question during a sit-down with a Pittsburgh newspaper -- and then later reiterating her position to other reporters in Pennsylvania -- Clinton said she would not have been a member of a church headed by someone, like Wright, who indulged in racially tinged invective.


Her comments assured another burst of attention on the Obama-Wright connection -- something her campaign didn’t have to do during the white-hot heat of the controversy. And it took part of the media spotlight away from her faulty memory (or, less kindly, utter fabrication) about her visit to Bosnia when she was first lady.

Clinton could have contented herself with decrying Wright’s messages without saying, in essence, that no way would she tolerate an association with the likes of him.

That’s what Brazile picked up on, making a reference to Wright’s willingness to join dozens of other religious figures in attending an annual White House prayer breakfast just as the Starr report on Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky -- in all its lurid detail -- was about to come out. No doubt ...

... those at the event -- at least the vast majority of them -- highly disapproved of Clinton’s behavior. But they were not willing to shun him.

Brazile’s none-too-subtle point: There’s a potential downside to turning away, with nary a forgiving nod, from those who once stood by you.

Wright, by the way, remains out of the public eye. He had been invited to preach tonight, Wednesday and Thursday at a church in Tampa, but his appearance was canceled because of security concerns.

-- Don Frederick