Wow, that sure was one hell of a speech Obama delivered yesterday. I honestly don't know how he could have handled the situation better, other than delivering the same speech a bit sooner (although I'm sure it took some time for him to write it). I sincerely hope that people that were worried about his religious beliefs and political beliefs that stemmed from his church's influence are heartened and dissuaded from focusing so intensely on a few rants by his pastor's surmons. Many of us don't agree with everything our pastor/minister says all of the time (and if you do you're probably not thinking hard enough or your pastor/minister isn't trying to be thought-provoking enough).
Some say that it's 'only a speech' but they need to consider that politicians are payed to pass laws (or in the case of presidents, guide policy and give the final OK on laws passed by congress). A huge part of this process is communication, both between other politicians and with the public. Obviously judgement plays a roll and I feel that speeches reflect the judgement of the speaker, as would a book written by the person. Obama has by almost all accounts delivered great speeches, as have famous people of the past (Martin Luther King Jr., Gahndi, etc.). Great speeches by great men/women can strongly influence people and have a tremendous affect on policy and the course of a country. It allows them to organize great numbers of people (as Obama already has done) to press for change which, especially in democracies, has a significant amount of power.