The Long, Slow Breakup of Wright-Obama

Why the coolly focused candidate fumbled his toughest test
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2008 10:20 AM CDT
Trinity United Church of Christ, the church frequented by Barack Obama, is seen on Wednesday, March 26, 2008, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama has a very long fuse, the New York Times notes, and so his break-up with his pastor and surrogate father has been playing out in slow motion, since even before the day he launched his presidential campaign. It took Jeremiah Wright's direct assault on Obama's credibility in his speech Monday to make the candidate finally snap, Michael Powell observes in a look at why a man so focused and formidable has fumbled in handling the biggest crisis of his campaign. 

Powell describes the "cascade of perceived slights" from Obama that led Wright to go on offense. "He made no secret of whom he blamed: Mr. Obama’s political adviser, David Axelrod, a white Chicago political operative." Even after Obama began to distance himself from Wright's most incendiary statements, the two remained in touch, speaking after Obama's landmark speech on race in Philadelphia. Now, his campaign must worry whether Wright will keep his peace or keep speaking out.