(WGN-AM)- Same brashness. Same spontaneity. Same lightning-rod remarks.
If you were thinking Rev. Jeremiah Wright had been tempered by a national backlash that nearly derailed Barack Obama's trip to the White House, guess again.
In an exclusive interview at the 95th annual Hampton University Ministers' Conference, Wright told Tribune Newspapers that he has not spoken to his former parishioner since Obama became president, and he implied that the White House won't allow Obama to talk to him.
"Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me," Wright said. "I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck or in eight years when he's out of office. ...
"Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing [by] the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don't want Barack talking like that because that's anti-Israel," Wright said.
Wright's comments regarding Jews and Israel lit up Internet message boards and political blogs around the nation Wednesday and sparked national TV requests for a recording of the interview.
In the interview after a nighttime sermon Tuesday at the ministers conference, Wright said he has no regrets over the controversy that resulted in a severed relationship with Obama, a former member of Trinity United Church of Christ, the Chicago church where Wright long served as pastor.
"Regret for what ... that the media went back five, seven, 10 years and spent $4,000 buying 20 years worth of sermons to hear what I've been preaching for 20 years?
"Regret for preaching like I've been preaching for 50 years? Absolutely none."
Wright said that when he went to the polls, he held no grudge against Obama.
"Of course I voted for him -- he's my son. I'm proud of him," Wright said. "I've got five biological kids. They all make mistakes and bad choices. I haven't stopped loving any of them.
"He made mistakes. He made bad choices. I've got kids who listen to their friends. He listened to those around him. I did not disown him."
The son of a pastor, Wright has attended the Hampton University Ministers' Conference since he was a child -- though he was not spotted at the conference in 2008 during the heat of the campaign debate over comments he made that many branded racially divisive.
Rev. William Curtis, president of the conference, said the Wright controversy is a "personal matter" for the Chicago pastor. Wright "is a part of the church and he is a friend of the church and his views are personal," Curtis said. "And they don't represent the statements and views of the entire African-American pulpit."
(The Chicago Tribune contributed to this story)
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