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Two Questions for Senator Obama

By Lanny Davis

I read Senator Obama's recent speech on race and Rev. Wright in Philadelphia several times and very carefully. It was a great, even brilliant, speech. I appreciate Senator Obama's willingness to tackle a difficult subject and to explain his complex reactions to some of Rev. Wright's sermons.

I personally regarded many of Rev. Wright's sermons as filled with hate words and bigoted generalizations base on race (in this case, all Whites). One could even call them racist. His remarks post-9/11 were nothing short of reckless and unforgiveable.

I am convinced that there isn't a shred in Senator Obama's being that shares these hateful or bigoted feelings. And I respect his strong words denouncing the views of a man for whom he has deep and genuine feelings of affection and loyalty, which I also respect.

But many people, including Obama supporters, may still have two questions that Senator Obama's speech did not sufficiently answer, at least in my opinion. And, for any Democrat whose priority is to win back the White House in 2008, they need to be answered now -- because, if Senator Obama ends up the party's nominee (I am a supporter of Senator Clinton's) -- for sure Senator McCain will insist they be answered in the fall.

These two questions are:

1. If a white minister preached sermons to his congregation and had used the "N" word and used rhetoric and words similar to members of the KKK, would you support a Democratic presidential candidate who decided to continue to be a member of that congregation?

2. Would you support that candidate if, after knowing of or hearing those sermons, he or she still appointed that minister to serve on his or her "Religious Advisory Committee" of his or her presidential campaign?

I hope my message gets to someone in the Obama campaign -- or to a reporter traveling with the Senator -- who can persuade Senator Obama to answer them directly. As I just wrote, he will have to do so -- either now or perhaps in the fall.

Lanny Davis is a lawyer and former Special Counsel to the President for Bill Clinton.

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