Lawmakers struggle with moral choice on health care

WASHINGTON -- As President Obama mounts a full-court press to push his health care bill through Congress, his latest target is a Louisiana Republican whose Catholic faith finds him torn between restricting abortion and expanding access to health care.

Obama asked Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao -- the only Republican to vote for the health care bill in either the House or Senate -- to take a fresh look at the bill March 17.

Analysis: Wright imbroglio exposes fissures among black voters

WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, until now, has benefited from a strong undercurrent of black nationalism among African-American voters, a racial pride and solidarity that have swelled support and muffled criticism.

But his repudiation this week of his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., may unleash a more open debate in the black community, where even some who back Obama worry that he is vague or evasive in his approach to race matters.

“In some ways it’s a cathartic moment for African-Americans whose voices had been silenced,” said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University.

There is no reason to think Obama won’t continue to roll up huge margins among blacks in the remaining Democratic primary contests -- beginning with Tuesday’s (May 6) primaries in North Carolina and Indiana. And most attention to the renewed Wright imbroglio will focus on its impact among whites. But this time, the controversy plainly exposes fissures that the black community had papered over with the common purpose of Obama’s historic candidacy.