Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page defended Rev. Jeremiah Wright, on "The Chris Matthews Show" over the weekend, as he claimed tapes existed that put Barack Obama's former pastor in a better light than those clips of him damning America, to which Matthews requested of Page: "Would you get those tapes out?...Let's get the good tapes out."
The following exchange occurred on the March 23 edition of "The Chris Matthews Show:"
CHRIS MATTHEWS: We put it to The Matthews Meter, 12 of our regulars. If Obama is the nominee, will he be defined by race in the fall election? Well, it looks like Obama can still be the transformative candidate on that front. Ten to two, the meter says no, Obama would not be defined by race in the fall. Norah and Clarence, you're both with the 10. You're upbeat on this. We're gonna see beyond color here.
NORAH O'DONNELL, NBC NEWS: Well, I think that because we now have an economic situation in this country that is the number one concern, we've seen in every single exit poll, Americans are concerned about issues. I think a part of what is driving this momentum behind this new candidate like Barack Obama is this want for some sort of change out there and I think it's because people are really hurting at home.
MATTHEWS: But don't, when people are hurting, they're not the most liberal-minded. We've seen that. If you want liberalism and positive, generous attitudes, look for the good times. Isn't that true?
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: I beg to differ, just in the sense that, that when race is the issue, Democrats tend to lose; when class and economic problems are the issue, Democrats win. And right now the economy is rising as an issue on the horizon with a real vengeance. Plus, you know, Jeremiah Wright, I've seen the man preach, long before I knew he was Barack Obama's minister. And people knew he had been Oprah's minister. There's a side to him that has not been shown on these clips. He is a Marine. He is a guy who's had a tremendous program for, for black families, etc.
MATTHEWS: Okay. Would you get those tapes out?
PAGE: Well, it's gonna happen.
MATTHEWS: Let's get the good tapes out.
PAGE: I don't need to. I don't need to.
MATTHEWS: I think a lot of people would like to see them.
PAGE: I think, you're going to be seeing it over the next few weeks and months.
PAGE: And that's going to help to change his image around and soften the blow to Obama.