When ABC News aired a story about incendiary remarks by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s longtime pastor, during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, the media freaked out. Many political analysts thought it was sure to set back, or even destroy, Obama’s chances of winning the nomination. Then, five days after the ABC News story aired, Obama gave one of the most important speeches on race in American history, and his support in the polls barely budged.
So, did Obama’s speech save his campaign? The story is more complicated than that, and it presaged a lot about how the media, voters and Obama addressed race during Obama’s presidency. “A More Perfect Union,” a short documentary from FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films by Emmy-award winning director Eric Drath, re-examines a seminal moment from the 2008 campaign and goes behind-the-scenes with the Obama campaign as they responded to the Rev. Wright controversy.
Check back later this week for a special FiveThirtyEight elections podcast on the Wright controversy.