In his book “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House,”, Klein interviewed Wright for three and a half hours. Wright told him of Obama’s secret efforts to keep him quiet during the presidential campaign. But the more significant material spotlights how important Wright was to Obama’s thinking even before the future president began going to Wright’s church in 1988.
“It’s one thing for Obama to sit in the church and listen to the Rev. Wright spew his hatred against whites, Jews, and America,” Klein says. “But in my view, having spoken to the Rev. Wright, that paled by comparison with the personal relationship that Obama had that went way beyond his simply being a member of the church listening to all this stuff.”
Obama began his relationship with Wright, whom he has called a mentor and sounding board, three years before he began attending Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.
“Obama went to the Rev. Wright at every stage of his career whenever things went wrong,” says Klein, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and a former editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine.
“For instance, when he lost the 2000 congressional election for the seat that Bobby Rush, the former Black Panther, holds from the South Side of Chicago,” Klein says. “He was in a state of terrible depression, and he owed a great deal of money, and his marriage was on the rocks. Who did he go to? He went to the Rev. Wright for marriage counselling. He went to the Rev. Wright about what shall I do next, Rev? Every step of his career, every step of his development as a political figure was made in conjunction with conversations that he had with the Rev. Wright personally.”
As revealed in the book “In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect,” just before Wright spoke at the National Press Club, Obama secretly met on April 4, 2008 with Wright at Trinity’s parsonage where Wright then lived.
So that they would not be noticed, agents made a point of driving Obama in a mini-van instead of the usual Suburban. They parked their other vehicles a block away. Obama spent an hour with Wright and then left.
“At this secret meeting with him, Obama practically begged him not to go on and speak any further,” Klein says. “This was after one of Obama’s best friends had sent an email to a member of the church saying that he was prepared to give the Rev. Wright $150,000 if he would shut up. The Rev. Wright told me that he has saved that email.”
In the recorded interview, Wright says he basically could not afford to shut up for $150,000, Klein says.
“Wright explained he had expenses that he had to pay,” Klein says. “He had a child and a couple of grand-kids in college that he was paying for. And so he goes around the United States giving sermons and making speeches, and he gets paid for that.”
Klein says Obama originally sought out Wright to discuss community activism.
“Quickly the conversations turned from picking up garbage on the street and getting streetlights put up on street corners to political matters and religious matters,” Klein says. “And the Rev. Wright turned into really a substitute father figure, who guided Obama in the two major areas of his life.”
The first area was Obama’s identity — just who was he?
“Obama was steeped in Islam, he knew a lot about Islam, but knew nothing about Christianity,” Klein says.
Klein asked, “Do you think he [Obama] ever thought of himself as a Muslim?” To which Wright replied, “Yep, yep, yep, and that was this thing, I’m sure he got some grief, not proselytising grief, but grief from that part of his family, just from, and I say that based on my wide range of Muslim friends.”
Klein asked Wright if he converted Obama from being a Muslim into a Christian. He said, “I don’t know about that, but I can tell you that I made it easy for him to come to an understanding of who Jesus Christ is and not feel that he was turning his back on his Islamic friends and his Islamic traditions and his understanding of Islam,” Wright said.
The second area was Obama’s political philosophy. Wright introduced Obama to Black Liberation theology.
“Black Liberation theology is based essentially on the Marxist belief that there is an oppressor class and an oppressed class,” Klein says. “And in the case of Black Liberation theology, the oppressor class are the whites, and the oppressed are the blacks. And there is a ‘maldistribution’ of wealth in this country, a quote from Black Liberation theology.”
The point is that wealth should be redistributed.
“This is quite close, if not identical, to Marxist beliefs,” Klein says.
Happier times: Rev. Wright was considered as a ‘Second Father’ to Obama.
As noted in the story “Media Blackout on Rev. Wright Started in 2007,” for three months during Obama’s primary campaign, the mainstream media ignored Newsmax stories reporting on Rev. Wright’s hate-filled sermons; his denunciations of America, whites, and Israel; and the fact that he gave an award for lifetime achievement to Louis Farrakhan.
By the time the media picked up the stories, Obama was ahead of Hillary Clinton in the primary elections.
According to a Hillary Clinton aide quoted in David Remnick’s “The Ridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama,” if the media had run the Wright story just two months earlier, Obama’s candidacy “would have been over.”
“Everybody says Obama sat there for 20 years listening to the Rev. Wright spew his anti-white, anti-Jewish, anti-American tirade in church,” Klein says. “The fact of the matter is that his relationship with the Rev. Wright goes back further than his membership in the church and sitting and listening to the Rev. Wright.”
Klein says it was clear from his interview with Wright that he felt abandoned and stabbed in the back by Obama.
“For many, many years, Wright was Obama’s single most important intellectual and spiritual guide, and when things got rough, Obama threw him under the bus,” Klein says. “Wright was still stinging from that experience.”