The Origin of Obama's Pastor Problem

The candidate's own critical, questioning road to faith also led him straight to a controversial mentor

Alex Brandon / AP

In Philadelphia Obama called for blacks and whites to move beyond the "racial stalemate"

Long before the sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright became instant hits on YouTube and talk-show fodder for the cable news channels, Barack Obama knew he had a preacher problem. On the eve of launching his campaign for the White House in February 2007, Obama abruptly withdrew an invitation to Wright to deliver the invocation at his announcement speech in Springfield, Ill. Wright had been Obama's pastor for nearly 20 years. He had brought Obama into the church, helped him find his faith in God, officiated at Obama's wedding and baptized both his children. But Wright had also said...

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