Mayor Michael Nutter would have left his congregation if his pastor made incendiary comments like those made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, considered a mentor by Sen. Barack Obama, D, Ill.
Along with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D, N.Y., Obama is vying for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, and has recently come under fire for attending services in Chicago led by Wright who, in a well-trafficked internet video, damned the United States, largely for its mistreatment of blacks.
“Your choice of pastor is, certainly, a very personal decision,” Nutter told ABC News last week. “Those are not the kind views I could listen to.”
The interview was just part of Philadelphia’s recent place in the national spotlight, playing a central role in the contested and prized Democratic presidential primary in Pennsylvania on April 22.
Nutter has become the most prominent black supporter of Clinton. In doing so, he has rejected the assertion that Nutter has endorsed Clinton as retribution to Obama for his campaigning on behalf of U.S. Congressman Chakah Fattah, a Nutter opponent in last May’s Democratic mayoral primary. Instead, he met with both Senators and chose to support Clinton for her experience, he said.
“They’re not running for high school class president,” Nutter said.
In a rally in McGonigle Hall on Temple’s Main Campus, Nutter and Governor Ed Rendell introduced and threw their collective support behind the Clinton campaign, as reported by The Temple News.
“This is an experience job. [If] you want to run for mayor, for governor or for president, you need experience,” said Nutter March 11.
For his part, one week later Obama defended his relationship with Wright during a well-publicized speech at the National Constitution Center, called “A More Perfect Union,” as reported by The Temple News.
“These people are part of me,” Obama said during the 30-minute address, chastising Wright’s words, but refusing to condemn the man.
Clinton and her supporters, like Nutter, have remained critical of Obama declining to disown Wright. Since the controversy, the Associated Press has reported that Wright has stepped down, though he remains a senior official of the Chicago megachurch.
The Clinton camp, too, has fallen into controversy. A top adviser, Geraldine Ferraro, the 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate, stepped down after suggesting Obama was benefiting in the campaign by being black.
Christopher Wink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also read: “Clinton comes to campus, agrees to second debate,” “Barack Obama in Philadelphia, delivers speech on race at Constitution Center,” and commentary called “Geraldine Ferraro isn’t the racist you think she is.”