The following exchange was transcribed from the Sean Hannity radio show on which bestselling author Ed Klein, author of The Amateur: Barack Obama in The White House (Regnery), appeared shortly after 4pm eastern time yesterday. Klein spent almost an hour on the air being interviewed by Hannity. During the interview Klein named, for the first time, the person who the Rev. Jeremiah Wright said initiated the attempt to bribe Wright with $150,000 for his silence before the 2008 election.
Klein: Well what happened is that after ABC, Brian Ross, broadcast the videotapes of the Rev. Wright Goddamning America and slamming whites, slamming Jews, and America, he was contacted by one of Obama’s closest personal friends. A guy who travels on Obama’s plane, who plays basketball with him, who goes on vacations with him.
Hannity: And you name this guy for the first time today because you did not name him in the book.
Klein: I didn’t name him in the book but I can tell you who he is. His name is Dr. Eric Whitaker.
Hannity: Dr. Whitaker.
Klein: Dr. Whitaker is the vice president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, and he’s a member of Obama’s very tight inner circle. And he sent an email to a member of the Trinity United Church.
Hannity: By the way is this the same hospital Michelle worked at.
Klein: Exactly the same hospital that she worked at.
Hannity: And this is where she got that big raise after he became Senator.
Klein: She was making, what, 300-some-odd-thousand dollars?
Hannity: But it was a significant jump up, after he became Senator.
Klein: That’s right. And, you know, Chicago politics is one hand feeds the other, as you know. And Eric Whitaker, very close friend of the Obamas, sent an email to a member of the church saying that the Rev. Wright could get $150,000 if he would shut up and not criticize Obama anymore. Then after the Rev. Wright said no thank you, Obama himself paid a personal call on the Rev. Wright.
Hannity: When did this personal meeting take place, this face to face.
Klein: Just to put it in context, if you remember Obama made a big speech.
Hannity: In Pennsylvania, in Philly.
Klein: That’s right, saying, this is his famous race speech which took place on the 18th of March. About ten days later he made this secret meeting with the Rev. Wright, after he had already denounced him, and begged him to not speak any further. Now we know this is true not only because the Rev. Wright told me so, but because the Secret Service logs logged in this meeting. So we have confirmation that it actually took place.
Hannity: So they offered him – and this is all on the tapes that you have with Rev. Wright, Rev. Wright said this. So Rev. Wright, am I reading this correctly, is angry at Obama?
Klein: Rev. Wright is more than angry, he is absolutely fulminating. He feels that he’s been thrown under the bus by a man who he mentored for 23 or 24 years. You know we, all of us, complained about the fact that Obama sat in that church and listened to that hate speech for 20 years. But what we don’t realize is that even before he became a member of the church he was very close to the Rev. Wright who was like a second father to him. And who was his spiritual adviser, his political adviser. And, in fact, the Rev. Wright told me on tape that Obama came to him and said I need some spiritual advice, I don’t know exactly who I am. And the Rev. Wright said, and this is on tape, well we know your Islam background and you have that but what you need now is some coaching on Christianity. And I asked the Rev. Wright, did you convert him from being a Muslim to a Christian. And he said, well I don’t know if I can go that far, but I can tell you that I made it comfortable for him to accept Christianity without having to renounce his Islamic background.
Hannity: And this is all on tape.
Klein: This is all on tape.
Hannity: When can I play these tapes?
Klein: I’d be happy to give them to you.
Hannity: Can I have a copy of the whole 3 and a half hours?
Hannity: I’d love a copy of that and, believe me, we’re going to play them.