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President Barack Obama delivered a touching eulogy, a rousing political speech and a thoughtful meditation on race in America when he traveled to Charleston, South Carolina on Friday to speak at the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was gunned down last week by a racist terrorist during Bible study.

But the President’s speech will be remembered for a moment at the end when he launched into a solo of “Amazing Grace,” that at first stunned the mourners and then brought them to their feet as they joined him in song.
“As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind,” Obama said. “He’s given us the chance, where we’ve been lost, to find our best selves.”

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — When racial tensions erupted midway through his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama came to Philadelphia to decry the “racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years.” Over time, he said, such wounds, rooted in America’s painful history on race, can be healed.

Six years later, the stalemate suddenly seems more entrenched than ever. As Obama pleads for calm and understanding in Ferguson, Missouri, he’s struggling to determine what role — if any — the nation’s first black president can play in defusing a crisis that has laid bare the profound sense of injustice felt by African-Americans across the country.

As Obama sought to strike the appropriate tone Monday, he appeared to be trapped between the need, as president and commander in chief, to stand up for the government’s right to ensure law and order, and the inclination, as an African-American, to empathize with those whose say the killing of an unarmed black man just goes to show how blacks are treated differently by police.

 

UNITED NATIONS — President Obama on Wednesday charted a muscular new course for the United States in a turbulent world, telling the United Nations General Assembly in a bluntly worded speech that the American military would work with allies to dismantle the Islamic State’s “network of death” and warning Russia that it would pay for its bullying of Ukraine.

Two days after ordering airstrikes on dozens of militant targets in Syria, Mr. Obama issued a fervent call to arms against the Islamic State — the once-reluctant warrior now apparently resolved to waging a twilight struggle against Islamic extremism for the remainder of his presidency.

“Today, I ask the world to join in this effort,” Mr. Obama said, seeking to buttress a global coalition that he said would train and equip troops to fight the group, also known as ISIL, starve it of financial resources, and halt the flow of foreign recruits to its ranks.

Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can,” Mr. Obama said, foreshadowing the blows to come. “For we will not succumb to threats, and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy.” The brutality of the militants, he said, “forces us to look into the heart of darkness.”

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