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Raphael Warnock hosted antisemite Jeremiah Wright as guest preacher in 2014: report

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Georgia senatorial candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) hosted the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a guest preacher at his Atlanta church back in 2014, Fox News reported Thursday night. Wright, whom Warnock has defended in the past, was once a pastor for former President Barack Obama and has a history of making antisemitic and other inflammatory statements.

A flyer for the event discovered on Facebook advertised Wright as a guest preacher at Warnock’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the same church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was once a pastor, Fox News reports. The flyer was posted to Facebook on September 8, 2014, and states that Wright was to speak at the church on September 10.

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A flyer for the event posted to Facebook on September 8, 2014.

A spokesman for his election opponent, incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R), slammed Warnock’s recently unearthed action from 2014.

“Not only did Raphael Warnock praise Jeremiah Wright’s ‘God Damn America’ sermon, he thought it was so great that he invited him to Ebenezer Baptist to deliver it,” Loeffler’s communications director, Stephen Lawson, told Fox News Thursday night. “Does Georgia really want a U.S. senator who thinks God should damn America?”

Warnock defended Wright in a 2008 Fox News interview, which came after a resurfaced video of Wright delivering a 2003 sermon titled “Confusing God and Government,” in response to the politically divisive U.S. invasion of Iraq that year.

“Not God bless America; God damn America,” Wright said at the time. “That’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America, for treating her citizens as less than human. God damn America as long as she tries to act like she is God and she is supreme.”

Warnock called it a “disservice” to the country to harp on old soundbites, according to Fox News. This would come years before his own statements would resurface during his Senate campaign, which have especially been used for fodder in Republican advertisements against his candidacy.

“We celebrate Rev. Wright in the same way that we celebrate the truth-telling tradition of the Black church, which when preachers tell the truth, very often it makes people uncomfortable,” he said.

Wright became the center of controversy in 2009 when he blamed Jews for preventing him from talking with then-President Obama. Obama had distanced himself from the preacher over his “divisive” comments.

Warnock, despite his repeated defenses of the controversial preacher, has denounced antisemitism and, notably, was endorsed last week by the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC, a progressive Jewish group.

Currently, there is a set of twin U.S. Senate runoff elections in the Peach State happening on January 5, which will determine which party controls the Senate at the beginning of President-elect Joe Biden’s fast-approaching presidency. For the past couple of weeks, Georgians have been casting absentee ballots and began in-person early voting on Monday.

The state’s other Senate race is between incumbent Sen. David Perdue (R) and Democrat Jon Ossoff. If Democrats sweep both seats, they will control 50 out of the 100 seats in the upper chamber and have Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Pulling off such a hat trick would likely make confirming Biden’s Cabinet picks slightly easier for the Democrats.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Elections

CNN announces controversial presidential debate rules obviously intended to benefit Biden

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CNN announced its several presidential debate rules over the weekend sparking controversy. The rules will govern the upcoming debate between former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden on June 27. A

After Trump publicly stated he would debate the president “any time and any where” the Biden campaign agreed to a total of two debates that would be closely regulated. Not only did the administration demand a ban on audiences, it also approved CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash as its moderators. Breitbart reports Tapper is one of Trump’s sharpest critics.

CNN announced its own additional parameters on Saturday, which likely were done in partnership with the White House:

  • Two commercial breaks (Likely to benefit Biden)
  • Campaign staff will not be able to interact with their candidate during the break
  • No opening statements, two-minute closing statements
  • Two-minute answer shot clock, one minute for rebuttals
  • Mics will be muted “except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak” (Likely to benefit Biden)

CNN reported its rules:

The 90-minute debate will include two commercial breaks, according to the network, and campaign staff may not interact with their candidate during that time. Both candidates agreed to appear at a uniform podium, and their podium positions will be determined by a coin flip.

Microphones will be muted throughout the debate except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak. While no props or pre-written notes will be allowed on the stage, candidates will be given a pen, a pad of paper and a bottle of water.

Some aspects of the debate – including the absence of a studio audience – will be a departure from previous debates. But, as in the past, the moderators “will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion,” according to the network.

Breitbart reports that the President is planning to spend about a week preparing to debate Trump who has also requested Biden receive a drug test before the debates. The White House did not respond in May as to whether Biden intends to use performance-enhancing drugs in preparation for the presidential debates.

Ron Klain, Biden’s former chief of staff who is going on vacation to help Biden prepare for the debates, did not respond to Politico Playbook’s request for comment about “whether any illegal substances are used as part of Klain’s debate prep.”

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