Senator Obama image damaged by connection of pastor controversy but lifted by Hispanic Man Bill Richardson.
They're calling it the pastor disaster. Once again this week, drama inside the Democratic party dominated the attention of US voters.
A black clergyman who isn't running for anything. Reverend Jeremiah Wright is a fiery and influential churchman who used to lead the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Obama and his family worship.
The Rev. Wright performed the senator's wedding and the baptism of both of his children. He served as a spiritual adviser to the Obama campaign. Then excerpts of Wright's videotaped sermons found their way onto TV.
They displayed deep anger about the long history of racism against African-Americans and the role the US plays in the world. Wright urged his followers to abandon the familiar phrase "God Bless America" and say "God Damn America" instead.
Just days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he blamed the US. "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."
But today his image was lifted by the endorsement of the N.M. gov, Bill Richardson.
Declaring that Sen. Barack Obama is an "extraordinary American," Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico endorsed Obama for the Democratic nominee for president on Friday.
Barack Obama will make a great and historic president," Richardson said, Obama standing at his side. "[It] is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our nation and you are a once-in-a-lifetime leader."
"He's done the kind of work that you want from your public servants, somebody who's driven not just by raw ambition, not just by an interest in personal aggrandizement," Obama added. "He's been somebody who's been motivated by the desire to make the lives of his constituents and working people a little bit better.
As a Hispanic-American, I was particularly touched by his words," Richardson said, putting his arm around Obama and declaring in Spanish that he is "a man who understands us."