Monday, March 17, 2008

Newsmax responds

Right-wing propaganda outlet Newsmax has responded to the controversy surrounding Bill Kristol's claim that Barack Obama attended services at Trinity on July 22nd by circling the wagons:

Clarification: The Obama campaign has told members of the press that Senator Obama was not in church on the day cited, July 22, because he had a speech he gave in Miami at 1:30 PM. Our writer, Jim Davis, says he attended several services at Senator Obama's church during the month of July, including July 22. The church holds services three times every Sunday at 7:30 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central time. While both the early morning and evening service allowed Sen. Obama to attend the service and still give a speech in Miami, Mr. Davis stands by his story that during one of the services he attended during the month of July, Senator Obama was present and sat through the sermon given by Rev. Wright as described in the story. Mr. Davis said Secret Service were also present in the church during Senator Obama's attendance. Mr. Davis' story was first published on Newsmax on August 9, 2007. Shortly before publication, Mr. Davis contacted the press office of Sen. Obama several times for comment about the Senator's attendance and Rev. Wright's comments during his sermon. The Senator's office declined to comment.

A search at the Travelocity travel web site shows that it's a 3 hour flight from Chicago to Miami. Let us allow that Obama attended the 7:30 service at Trinity and stayed for an hour. OK, now it's 8:30. Now let's allow one half hour for travel time to the airport. It's 9:00. Suppose the plane leaves at exactly 9:00. Three hours later, when the plane arrives in Miami, it's 12:00... in Chicago... in Miami, however, it's 1:00. So Obama has 1/2 hour to get from the airport to the site of the 1:30 speech. How likely is it that a campaign staffer would schedule appeareances with such razor thing margins? Not very likely, I'd say.

So Obama almost certainly could not have both attended the 7:30 service and given a 1:30 speech in Miami, contrary to what Newsmax would have us believe. The 11:00am service is also clearly out. The 6:00 pm service in Chicago is a more likely scenario, but let's be serious here: Newsmax has already fudged the times and dates so much that you wonder if it's even worth it to speculate. And really, is their reporter truly so sloppy that he jots down the words spoken by Rev. Wright and makes a note of Senator Obama's nodding along with a specific passage, but fails to make a note of the date or the time this occurred? Once again... it strains credulity.

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