Barack Obama spoke about Rev. Wright at the ABC debate on Wednesday night:
OBAMA: ... And, you know, the notion that somehow that the American people are going to be distracted once again by comments not made by me, but somebody who is associated with me that I have disowned, I think doesn't give the American people enough credit.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You've disowned him?
OBAMA: The comments, comments that I've disowned.
[I have changed this quoted exchange to conform to the ABC transcript, linked by Bill Dyer in the comments below. This transcript did not appear in a Google search for the transcript before my original post, but now that it is available, it's best to go with a more accurate and complete text.]
Obama in his March 18, 2008 speech explained why he couldn't disown Rev. Wright:
Obama: “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother . . . ."
It is odd that Obama would use the metaphorical word "disown" to assert the opposite of what he said less than a month ago, not correcting his misstatement until challenged by George Stephanopoulous. [Now that I have a fuller transcript, I see that Obama may well have been referring to disowning the remarks, rather than the person, all along. The transcript is ambiguous on this point.]
I don't envy politicians; they run the risk of being attacked every time they open their mouths.