Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another Log On Barry's Fire

Obama's Encounters in the 2002 Congressional Black Caucus Conference

One of the oddest stories I have come across about Obama, found on page 160 of David Mendell's Obama: From Promise to Power:

But what truly struck [Jeremiah] Wright from that [September 2002] meeting was Obama's astonishment over the [Congressional] black caucus event in Washington. It opened Wright's eyes once again to just how innocent and idealistic Obama could be about the world of politics. The conference was nothing like what Obama had envisoned, but it was exactly the way Wright, a former adviser to Chicago's only black mayor, Harold Washington, recalled it.

"He had gone down there to get support and find out who would support him and found it was just a meat market," the pastor said in an interview, breaking into a laugh. "He had people say, 'if you want to count on me, come on to my room. I don't care if you're married. I'm not asking you to leave your wife - just come on.' All the women hitting on him. He was, like, in shock. He's there on a serious agenda, talking about running for the United States Senate. They're talking about giving [him] some [a p-word I'm pretty sure I can't print on NRO, but you get the idea that it is a synonym for cat]. And I was like, 'Barack, c'mon, man. Come on! Name me one significant thing that has come out of black congressional caucus weekend. It's homecoming. It's just a nonstop party, all the booze you want, all the booty you want. That's all it is.' And here he is with this altruistic agenda, trying to get some support. He comes back shattered. I thought to myself, 'Does he have a rude awakening coming his way.'"

Now, let's consider the source... Jeremiah Wright. So perhaps Wright is exaggerating or making up details about Obama's trip. Or perhaps Obama stretched the truth, or made up parts of his account of the trip that he told Wright.

On the other hand, this book probably had to go through lawyers employed by the publisher HarperCollins, and they probably wouldn't want to expose themselves to a libel suit if any Congressional Black Caucus members felt the description offered in the book constituted actual malice, or if printing Wright's version of the tale without any denials could be characterized as "reckless disregard" for the facts.. (There are only so many women who attended that conference whose endorsement Obama would seek.)

Jim Geraghty

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