Obama, Giuliani, Religion and Politics...

Behind The News
April 28, 2008 12:57:03 PM PDT
Clearly, what our parents used to say about keeping the peace by not talking politics or religion has gone by the wayside. Personally, I love talking religion and politics. But what a weird mixture of it today - and its implications for Presidential politics is far reaching.

We'll start with Barack Obama, who today was described in the Washington Post thusly:

"Should it become necessary in the months from now to identify the moment that doomed Obama's presidential aspirations, attention is likely to focus on the hour between nine and ten this morning at the National Press Club."

The speaker there today: Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former preacher at Obama's church.

He did nothing less than, according to the Post, reignite "a controversy about race from which Obama had only recently recovered - and added lighter fuel."

There are Obama supporters tonight who are pleading, among themselves and to others, for Rev. Wright to just keep quiet. They say Wright is clearly doing Obama wrong. Obama supporters say there's no good reason for Wright to do this -- other than pure ego.

Also not helping Obama: reports that the people doing security for Rev. Wright were from the Nation of Islam.

So how will this preacher affect the political campaign of his one-time congregant? We'll have the latest on the race for the White House, tonight at 11.

The other religion - politics coagulation we're covering is the out-of-nowhere condemnation of Rudy Giuliani by Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop of New York.

We know that Giuliani's taking of communion during the Pope's visit caused quite a stir, what with his twice-divorced status. And that's a Catholic Church no-no. But it's not the former Mayor's three marriages that Egan protested. It was Giuliani's stance about abortion.

The Mayor, who is pro-choice, apparently had, according to Egan, "an understanding" that he would not receive communion. "I deeply regret that Mr. Giuliani received the Eucharist during the Papal visit here in New York, and I will be seeking a meeting with him to insist that he abide by our understanding."

Giuliani, who is trying now to revive his business and who is sometimes mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate to John McCain, says through a spokeswoman that he is "certainly willing" to meet with the Cardinal, but that his "faith is a deeply personal matter and should remain confidential."

In other words, no comment.

Can you imagine this controversy if he were still running for President?

Religion and politics. Maybe it was verboten to speak of them once upon a time, but it makes for some great news stories. We'll have the latest in the Mayor vs. The Cardinal, at 11.

Also at 11, a remembrance tonight up in Mt. Kisco for Rene Perez, the homeless immigrant found dead on a country road -- after he was allegedly dumped there by a police officer.

The now former cop, George Bubaris, goes to trial next month on charges of manslaughter. Jeff Pegues is in Westchester County for us tonight on the story.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast (wet enough for you today?) and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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