Barack Obama’s campaign uninvited his controversial former pastor Jeremiah Wright from speaking at his candidacy announcement last year, reports the Los Angeles Times. The campaign didn’t want to "make him the target and a distraction on a day when Senator Obama was going to announce his candidacy," said David Axelrod, the candidate's chief strategist. Obama waited until last week before formally distancing himself from the head of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ.
Axelrod added that the decision was "a painful thing for him because he condemns the things Reverend Wright said, but he also knows him as a person." Online videos of Wright’s inflammatory remarks against US foreign policy and racial discrimination—one of his sermons enjoined blacks to sing "God Damn America" instead of "God Bless America"—have fueled a media frenzy over the pastor, who married the Obamas and baptized their children.