Obama founded DCP with community organizer Jerry Kellman, who was trained under “Rules for Radicals” author Saul Alinsky.
“Kellman was a veteran protester of the ’60s — he once joked that he majored in protesting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before transferring to the progressive Reed College — and wanted to use the ‘social justice’ teachings of the radical Catholic left to co-opt the Church for his Alinskyite project,” Breitbart.com reported in April.
Despite a working relationship that had, by then, lasted more than two decades, Obama openly denounced Wright during an April 29, 2008, press conference in Winston-Salem, N.C. and said he didn’t properly “vet” the pastor.
“During the course of me attending that church, I had not heard those kinds of statements being made or those kinds of views being promoted,” Obama said, referring to racially charged and anti-American rhetoric. “And I did not vet my pastor before I decided to run for the presidency. I was a member of the church.”
“He was never my ‘spiritual mentor,’” Obama added in that press conference. “He was — he was my pastor.”
“And so to some extent, how, you know, the press characterized in the past that relationship, I think, wasn’t accurate. But he was somebody who was my pastor, and married Michelle and I, and baptized my children, and prayed with us at — when we announced this race. And so, you know, so I’m disappointed.”
In an op-ed published by The Huffington Post, Obama wrote that Wright “has never been my political advisor; he’s been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.”
In March 2008 Obama told then-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann that he and Wright had “a relationship — he’s like an uncle who has talked to me, not about political things and not about social views, as much as about faith and God and family.”
But as Obama’s letters to Mayor Harold Washington’s office show, Obama trusted Wright enough politically to include him in what may have been his earliest social justice coalition-building exercise.
Charles C. Johnson contributed reporting to this story.