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Byron York | New allegation from Rev. Wright deserves answer





There’s a difference of opinion among Republicans about the wisdom of introducing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright issue into the presidential campaign. A lot of top GOP strategists think it’s a bad — a very bad — idea. "Frankly, trying to dredge up Jeremiah Wright … was stupid," Karl Rove said Sunday on Fox News, referring to reports a GOP ad man had suggested a Wright ad to a pro-Republican super-PAC. "I thought it was very smart for the Romney campaign to immediately go out and denounce the tactic."
On the other hand, a lot of people in the Republican base still blame John McCain for not using Wright against Barack Obama back in 2008. Now, they would like to see the GOP attack the president over his 20-year relationship with the preacher best known for shouting, "God damn America."
Thinking practically, it’s hard to see how a new attack ad featuring Rev. Wright would work. Back in ’08, when Sen. Obama was still relatively unknown, a skillfully-done ad linking him to Wright’s angry tirades might have been quite damaging. Now, people have watched Obama as president for three and a half years, and it seems far less likely Rev. Wright would have much effect.
But there is one subject concerning Wright that merits scrutiny. In a nearly three-hour recorded interview with Ed Klein, author of the new book "The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House," Wright said that back in 2008, when he was at the center of a raging controversy over his sermons, a close friend of Obama’s offered him money to shut up until after the November election.
In the interview, Wright said Dr. Eric Whitaker, a top official at the University of Chicago Hospitals, sent a note to Wright through an intermediary at Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ. "[Eric] sent it to one of the members, who sent it to me," Wright told Klein. "He sent it to one of the guys close to me, saying, ‘Can you make this offer to Rev?’"
Wright said he has kept notes from his experience and keeps all his documents, including the note from Whitaker, in a cardboard box. According to Klein, the amount Whitaker offered Wright was $150,000.

 

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