Louis Farrakhan heaps praise on Barack Obama
Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan says Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is the "hope of the entire world."
Associated Press reports that Farrakhan, addressing some 20,000 people Sunday at the annual "Saviours' Day" celebration in Chicago, never explicitly endorsed Obama but spent most of a nearly two-hour speech praising the Illinois senator. AP says Farrakhan compared Obama to Nation of Islam founder Fard Muhammad, who also had a white mother and black father. He suggested that Obama "could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall."
According to the Chicago Tribune, Farrakhan spoke about the war in Iraq, the nation's economic problems, and the increase in natural disasters, saying the world was in a perilous state and Obama could help it recover. "This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be a better place," he said.
The Tribune reports that Obama's people moved quickly yesterday to try to downplay the praises of Farrakhan, who has a history of controversial remarks -- particularly regarding the Jewish people. The newspaper quotes Obama spokesman, Bill Burton, who said that "Senator Obama has been clear in his objections to Minister Farrakhan's past pronouncements and has not solicited the minister's support."