– as it’s being called now – has only started these past few days.

Buried in his eloquent, highly praised speech on
America’s racial divide, Sen. Barack Obama contradicted more than a
year of denials and spin from him and his staff about his knowledge of
Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s controversial sermons.

Similarly, Obama also has only recently given a much fuller
accounting of his relationship with indicted political fixer Antoin
“Tony” Rezko, a longtime friend, who his campaign once described as
just one of “thousands of donors.”

Until yesterday, Obama said the only thing controversial he knew
about Rev. Wright was his stand on issues relating to Africa, abortion
and gay marriage.

“I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial,”
Obama said at a community meeting in Nelsonville, Ohio, earlier this
month.

“He has said some things that are considered controversial because
he’s considered that part of his social gospel; so he was one of the
leaders in calling for divestment from South Africa and some other
issues like that,” Obama said on March 2.

His initial reaction to the initial ABC News broadcast of Rev.
Wright’s sermons denouncing the U.S. was that he had never heard his
pastor of 20 years make any comments that were anti-U.S. until the tape
was played on air.

But yesterday, he told a different story.

And is telling one now about Tony Rezko, after all the denials.

The campaign had initially claimed Rezko-connected
contributions were no more than $60,000, an amount the campaign donated
to charity. Then the figure grew to around $86,000, and there were
additional revelations that put the amount at about $150,000. Obama’s
$250,000 accounting was a substantial jump and clearly contradicted
earlier campaign statements that Rezko was just one of “thousands of
donors.”

It continues the “what’s next?” theme of this year’s elections. The only constant has been surprise.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....