Rev. Jeremiah Wright appeared at the National Press Club on Monday morning, speaking out in what he called a defense of the traditional black church, and charging that he will "come after" Barack Obama if he is elected president, since Obama would represent a government whose policies harm the poor.
"How long do you let someone say something about your faith tradition before you speak up and say something?" he told a packed crowd of journalists and supporters, many of whom stood and cheered throughout his remarks and Q&A session.
In the clip below, Wright addresses questions about his patriotism, his thoughts on Louis Farrakhan, and his relationship with Obama.
Some excerpts from his appearance today:
_ "I stand before you to open up this two-day symposium with the hope that this most recent attack on the black church is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright; it is an attack on the black church. ... The most recent attack on the black church, it is our hope that this just might mean that the reality of the African-American church will no longer be invisible."
_ On Obama's denunciation of some of his past remarks:
"Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls, Huffington, whoever's doing the polls. Preachers say what they say because they're pastors. They have a different person to whom they're accountable. As I said, whether he gets elected or not, I'm still going to have to be answerable to God November 5 and January 21. That's what I mean. I do what pastors do. He does what politicians do. I am not running for office. I am hoping to be vice president. ...
"He didn't distance himself. He had to distance himself because he's a politician. From what the media was saying I had said, which was anti-American. He said I didn't offer any words of hope. How would he know? He never heard the rest of the sermon. You never heard it. I offered words of hope. I offered reconciliation, I offered restoration in that sermon, but nobody heard the sermon. They just heard this little sound bite of a sermon."
_ On whether he should apologize for shouting in a sermon "God damn America" for its treatment of minorities:
"God doesn't bless everything. God condemns some things. And dem, D-E-M, is where we get the word damn. God damns some practices and there's no excuse for the things that the government, not the American people, have done. That doesn't make me not like America or unpatriotic."
_ On anyone who says he's unpatriotic:
"I feel that those citizens who say that have never heard my sermons, nor do they know me. They are unfair accusations taken from sound bites and that which is looped over and over on certain channels. I served six years in the military. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?"