Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree told the Herald he was just kidding when he suggested that a decades-old clip of a young Barack Obama praising and embracing controversial Professor Derrick Bell was kept hidden from voters during the 2008 campaign.
‚ÄúIt was a big joke,‚ÄĚ Ogletree said. ‚ÄúIf you watch the tape, the audience is laughing when I‚Äôm laughing.‚ÄĚ
Conservative website Breitbart.com, a week after the death of its founder Andrew Breitbart, posted the video online yesterday, offering it as proof of Obama‚Äôs radicalism, arguing Bell had close ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Breitbart.com also claimed Obama taught Bell‚Äôs writings at the University of Chicago. Breitbart.com called it ‚Äúthe latest in a pattern of Barack Obama‚Äôs associations with individuals who promoted a racially divisive America.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs much to do about nothing,‚ÄĚ said Ogletree, who insisted the clip has been public for years. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not the breaking story that some who want to criticize the president claim it is.‚ÄĚ
In the video, Ogletree shows a crowd a clip of Obama in 1991 ‚ÄĒ then the editor of the Harvard Law Review ‚ÄĒ urging fellow students to ‚Äúopen up your minds and your hearts to the words of Professor Derrick Bell‚ÄĚ amid a protest demanding tenure for a black woman professor.