(CNN) - Barack Obama had to walk a very fine line. He had to reassure the American public that he was strongly condemning the harsh words of his long-time minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. At the same time, he had to reassure many of his African-American supporters that he wasn’t simply ready to abandon Wright. It was not an easy assignment.
Obama said that Wright “expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America.”
He also said this of his minister: “As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children.”
Obama had no choice. He had to deliver this speech as much as he has wanted to avoid the entire subject. The brief clips of Wright’s angry remarks about the United States could not be ignored. Even some of Obama’s most ardent and passionate supporters going back to the start of his campaign were deeply worried. They feared that those clips (and, potentially, many more that have not yet aired) could derail his presidential ambition unless Obama addressed the subject head-on. He needed to take pre-emptive action. He did.
Now, we wait for the reaction and the fallout.
– Wolf Blitzer