A major address on religion and race

wrightobamaWhat a campaign season this has been. It's amazing how much religion has played a part this year -- from Huckabee's surprising win in Iowa to Mitt Romney's big religion in America speech. And now this, as reported by Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic:

Barack Obama plans a major speech tomorrow in Philadelphia on race, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the future.

An adviser said that Obama wants to contain the Wright story. He worries that the 1960s-to-1980s prism of race is what everyone has read into it, and Obama wants to move the discussion forward.

He is expected to recount, in detail, how he came to know Rev. Wright, how he came to admire Rev. Wright, the history and meaning of the Trinity church, and address the controversial remarks attributed to Wright.

He is also worried that Wright and church will get caricatured unfairly.

Let us know if you see any particularly good or bad media previews of the speech. And we'll compare, contrast and analyze how the media portrays the speech tomorrow. Already the media are highlighting that this is a speech about race. I imagine that will be the focus of much of the media coverage, too.

The Washington Post just posted a good preview:

MONACA, Pa -- Sen. Barack Obama will deliver a major speech about race in Philadelphia tomorrow that he said would explore his relationship with Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright and the wave of controversy it has stirred in his presidential bid.

"I am going to be talking about not just Rev. Wright, but just the larger issue of race in this campaign, which has ramped up over the last couple of weeks," Obama told reporters after a town hall meeting here. According to aides, he was up until 3 a.m. Monday working on his remarks.

Wright, who recently retired as pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side, was Obama's spiritual guide when he became a practicing Christian during his 20s. He presided over Obama's marriage to Michelle and baptized both Obama daughters. But Wright, a fiery preacher, has come under heavy media scrutiny for a series of racially charged remarks he has made from the pulpit, and Obama has played defense on the issue since Friday.

"The statements that were the source of controversy from Rev. Wright were wrong and I strongly condemn them," the Illinois senator reiterated today. However, Obama added, "I think the caricature that is being painted of him is not accurate. And so part of what I'll do tomorrow is to talk a little bit about how some of these issues are perceived from within the black church community, for example, which I think views this very differently."

The story doesn't ignore the religious angles to this story. Keep an eye out for others that look at the full picture.

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