Any questions about links between Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama and the militant anti-Semitism of Louis Farrakhan are off-limits at the White House, the president’s spokeswoman says.
“I’m just not going to comment on 2008 politics,” was spokeswoman Dana Perino’s bottom-line response to a question about the apparent link between the two, through Obama’s membership of a Chicago church that launched a magazine that has honored Farrakhan.
The exchange included these questions from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, and Perino’s responses:
Kinsolving: “As our nation’s elected leader, the president believes he should speak out against any nationally reported expression of racism or anti-Semitism, doesn’t he?”
Perino: “Nice try. What’s the follow-up?”
Kinsolving: “Well, don’t you want to answer that question? He does believe that, doesn’t he?”
Perino: “Go ahead, what’s your second question?”
Kinsolving: “The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen writes that in view of Sen. Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, widely reported and extensive praise of anti-Semitic demagogue Louis Farrakhan, the obligation for candidate Obama to speak out is all the greater. Does the president agree or disagree, or not care about this?”
Perino: “See, that’s why I didn’t answer the first one, because you’re trying to get me to comment on 2008 politics, and I’m not going to do it.”
Kinsolving: “No, no, he certainly does oppose what this man has said, doesn’t he?”
Perino: “I’m just not going to comment on 2008 politics.”
Kinsolving: “No comment – in other words, he doesn’t care?”
Perino: “No, that’s not true.”
Kinsolving: “Thank you.”
Cohen’s commentary in the newspaper noted that Obama is a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, and its pastor is Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982 the church launched a newsmagazine and Wright’s daughters now run it. In 2007, the magazine honored Farrakhan with the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award as a man that “truly epitomized greatness.”
Cohen’s concern was Farrakhan’s “awesome record of offensive statements, even denigrating the Holocaust by falsely attributing it to Jewish cooperation with Hitler – ‘They helped him get the Third Reich on the road.'”
Cohen noted nothing in Obama’s record suggests he holds anti-Semitic views.
But he said for Obama to position himself that it was not his church but a magazine that issued the award is a “distinction without much of a difference.”
“And given who the parishioner is, the obligation to speak out is all the greater. He could be the next American president. Where is his sense of outrage?” Cohen wrote.
He wrote that Farrakhan’s “false insistence” that Jews played an inordinate role in victimizing African Americans is where he “stands history on its head.”
“History tells us that anti-Semitism is not to be trifled with. It is a botulism of the mind,” Cohen said.
“The rap on Obama is that he is a fog of a man. We know little about him, and, for all my admiration of him, I wonder about his mettle. The New York Times recently reported on Obama’s penchant while serving in the Illinois legislature for merely voting ‘present’ when faced with some tough issues. Farrakhan, in a strictly political sense, may be a tough issue for him. This time, though, ‘present’ will not do,” Cohen wrote.
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