Video obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller shows Illinois Senator Barack Obama, then campaigning for Democrats before the 2006 midterm elections, praising Reverend Jeremiah Wright and telling an audience that he “stole” the title of his book “The Audacity of Hope” from Wright’s sermon of the same name, which he “loved.” Obama also referred to Wright as “my pastor.”
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“I’m not plugging the book, but the title of it, ‘The Audacity of Hope.’ Some people have noticed that I actually used that line in the speech that I gave at the 2004 Democratic Convention,” Obama said on November 4, 2006 in Bristol, Pa., at a rally in support of Patrick Murphy, who went on to serve two terms in Congress. “But I tell you what: I’m confessing to all of you here today — it’s a big crowd, 2,000 people — I’m confessing in front of the TV cameras: I actually stole this line from my pastor, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.”
When he graduated from college, Obama said, he “looked for jobs, and finally there were a group of churches on the far side of the South Side of Chicago — they were trying to figure out how to deal with the devastation of the steel plants that had closed all throughout that region.”
In the video, Obama also says he “hadn’t been a regular church-goer” but he went to Trinity United Church of Christ “one Sunday” when Jeremiah Wright was speaking — and the title of the sermon was “The Audacity of Hope.”
“His premise was simple,” Obama said. “He said, look, the easiest thing in the world to do is to feel cynical, easiest thing in the world is to find refuge in cynicism because there’s so much good reason as you look around to feel dispirited. You open up the newspapers, you watch the news, there’s war, there’s poverty, there’s ignorance, there’s conflict, there’s famine, there’s strife, and so it’s natural for many of us to at some point say to ourselves, you know what, not much is going to change,” Obama said.
“The world is what it is and it doesn’t make much sense to try to make it different, the best thing we can do is just look after ourselves, and protect our own little circle and make sure that we’re making as much money as we can and pursuing our own private individual dreams but not really have a lot of confidence, a lot of faith in the possibility of collectively transforming the world.”
Obama continued, “And he said the hard thing to do, the thing that requires risk, the thing that requires a sense of boldness, audacity, is to hope, to recognize that somehow the world as it is is not the world as it has to be; that it’s possible for us to recognize a stake in each other and to have mutual responsibility for each other and maybe not make a perfect world but to make it better for the next generation. And I loved that idea. I loved that idea in my own life because I thought that’s a philosophy I believe.”
Some of Wright’s more controversial sermons surfaced during Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, leading then-candidate Obama to distance himself from the pastor.
“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people,” Wright said in one 2003 sermon. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme.”
In April 2008, Obama said of Wright, “When he states and then amplifies such ridiculous propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS; when he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century; when he equates the United States’s wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They offend me, they rightly offend all Americans, and they should be denounced. And that’s what I’m doing very clearly and unequivocally here today.”