That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.
The Obama’s campaign’s Embrace the Change tour went off as planned on Sunday in South Carolina, drawing some 2,500 supporters and a peaceful vigil from a gay rights group protesting the appearance of Grammy-winning Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. Gay rights orgs like Human Rights Campaign called on Obama to remove him from the show for what it called anti-gay rhetoric. Obama was not there, but perhaps it was just as well. McClurkin made it through almost the entire show before commenting on the controversy, telling the crowd that he has been “vilified” and that “God delivered me from homosexuality.” He said that his previous statements had been “twisted.”
“They accuse me of being anti-gay and a bigot,” McClurkin said, according to CNN. “We don’t believe in discrimination. We don’t believe in hatred, and if you do you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s the whole premise of God. That’s the whole premise of Christ is love, love, love. But there is a side of Christ that deals in judgment, and all sin is against God.”
Obama, meanwhile, told The Advocate that the campaign had perhaps not vetted McClurkin like a surrogate would have been, given that he was among a group of performers at the event. He denied that his refusal to drop McClurkin from the tour represented picking on constituency over another.
“This is not a situation where I have backed off my positions one iota. You’re talking to somebody who talked about gay Americans in his convention speech in 2004, who talked about them in his announcement speech for the president of the United States, who talks about gay Americans almost constantly in his stump speeches. If there’s somebody out there who’s been more consistent in including LGBT Americans in his or her vision of what America should be, then I would be interested in knowing who that person is.”
Andrew Sullivan, who is backing Obama, told Bill Maher on Friday that he thought that Obama was “pandering” to get the conservative black vote but writes on his blog that the issue has been overblown. “I think it’s been blown up, but I have to say it’s good to see gay voters finally demanding real accountability from politicians they support. Now let’s see if they can keep that vigilance up with Clinton, whose substantive record on gays and lesbian rights – from DOMA to the military ban – is far worse than Obama’s.”
Obama appears today in the latest MTV/My Space political forum.
Music Matters: At the Huffington Post, Howie Klein calls out another recording artist, Big & Rich, who are signed to Warner Bros. Records., for homophobic comments. The duo’s John Rich is a big Fred Thompson supporter.
Sightings: Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign was dining in West Hollywood over the weekend at Murano and was a bit surprised to see the woman at the next table: Ann Coulter. He writes on the Huffington Post, “There she was, burbling like a fountain about her interview on Donny Deutsch’s show in which she says Jews should be Christians, completely at ease in the heart of the gayest city on the planet. She was a natural with the gay men who surrounded her. She enjoyed the fawning attention by her two not so masculine male escorts, clearly in her milieu.”
Libyan Cinema: Moammar Gadhafi is bankrolling a new pic called “Years of Torment,” about the Italkian occupation of Libya, reports Variety’s Ali Jafaar.
Oprah’s Apology: Oprah Winfrey asked parents to forgive her for alleged abuse at her South African school.
Colbert Campaigns: Vowing to “crush the state of Georgia” if elected, Stephen Colbert launched his campaign on Sunday with an appearance at the University of South Carolina.