From Wall Street Journal Political Diary
June 3, 2008
by John Fund
"The Rev. Michael Pfleger was a busy preacher on Sunday, May 25. In addition to his mocking criticism of Hillary Clinton in a sermon at Trinity United Church of Christ – which yesterday Barack Obama severed his ties with – he gave another sermon at his own church in which he issued the following healing statement: "Racism is still America's greatest addiction. I also believe that America is the greatest sin against God."
Mr. Pfleger had earlier apologized for his Clinton comments. It's unclear how he will react now that his second sermon has been made public. While the 59-year-old radical preacher is no longer affiliated with the Obama campaign, many are bound to ask why he was involved at all. Mr. Obama had frequently appeared at public events with Mr. Pfleger over the years and counted him as an adviser. Team Obama brought Mr. Pfleger to Iowa last year to host several interfaith forums on behalf of the campaign. As an Illinois state senator, Mr. Obama steered over $225,000 in taxpayer funding to Mr. Pfleger's church.
Now Team Obama is responding to the latest Pfleger outburst by once again saying the candidate is "deeply disappointed" in what was said.
The problem here is that voters may begin to detect a pattern in Mr. Obama's increasingly odd set of advisers and allies. Jeremiah Wright. William Ayers. Michael Pfleger. As the political blogger Jerry Fuhrman notes: "Traveling in this circle, is it any wonder that Obama's wife Michelle never found a reason to be proud of her country?"
Indeed, rumors are swirling on the campaign trail that a new video will soon surface featuring Mrs. Obama appearing on a panel with radical speakers during which she makes more controversial statements.
Mr. Obama has performed brilliantly in all but wrapping up the Democratic nomination. But he clearly has lost control of the storyline surrounding his Chicago advisers. If he doesn't move to address these problems more forthrightly, they will continue to haunt his campaign.