Obama on Jeremiah Wright:
Part of what I hope to do in this campaign and as president is to get us beyond these divisions that distract us from our common challenges and our common opportunities and move the country forward.
On going to war in Iraq:
What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income - to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.
Obama on attacks by Hillary:
We knew that the closer we got to the change we seek, the more we'd see of the politics we're trying to end -- the attacks and distortions that try to distract us from the issues that matter to people's lives, the stunts and the tactics that ask us to fear instead of hope.
On gay marriage:
The heightened focus on marriage is a distraction from other, attainable measures to prevent discrimination and gays and lesbians.
Obama on race, gay marriage, abortion, and illegal immigration:
We get distracted from solving problems such as health care, employment or the environment because of these divisions. It happens in every election, and it's not just race. It's immigration, gay people or abortion. There's always one of these issues that crops up and prevents us from focusing on vital issues that this country's long-term well-being depends on us solving.
It's not all that original to note that much of Obama's rhetoric is pretty vague -- often vapid. But I've begun to notice how many things Obama regards as distractions. When he labels a given issue a 'distraction,' he's saying that someone is whipping up a an issue from whole cloth simply for political gain.
So who does he think is being insincere: gays who want to marry, or people of faith who think marriage is for a man and a woman? How about in the competition between border enforcement advocates and those who want amnesty for illegal aliens? Or between those who favor abortion on demand, and those who believe life begins at conception?
All of these are important public policy questions, with divisions among Americans that prevent easy solutions. Obama shouldn't denigrate broad swaths of the population just because it would be difficult to address their concerns.