Among the many things Barack Obama said Tuesday was that the millions of people who support him "believe in the ideas of this campaign."
True, but the question is whether those voters can still believe in him.
The message lives, but the messenger is wounded, perhaps fatally. And Obama has only himself to blame.
He practically called out the divorce lawyers Tuesday, but what took him so long? How could he sit and listen to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's wackiness for 20 years and fail to see him for what he so obviously is?
Or is it true, as many suspect, that Obama did see Wright in full, but rationalized his presence in the church and the financial support he gave it as the cost of building a base in Chicago's often-radical black politics?
Either way, the fundamental doubt is not that Obama shares Wright's anti-American views. The doubt is about his judgment in sticking with Wright as the pastor for himself and his young children.
It's a doubt sharpened by the fact that ever since Wright's loopy ideas first became public nearly two months ago, Obama has defended him as a basically good man.
Many of us who saw only the taped excerpts of Wright's sermons, where he damned America and accused the government of creating AIDS to kill blacks, instantly recognized that Wright is so far out of the mainstream that Obama would be penalized by voters.
Even if he were not the first black candidate with a real shot at the presidency, Obama, a young man unknown on the national stage, carried the burden of proving his values to the millions of older voters in America's heartland.
Yet Obama, while denouncing Wright's specific remarks, repeatedly claimed the taped excerpts were taken out of context. It's now clear what a big mistake that was, one that compounds the damage of recent days.
Seeing the Full Monty of Jeremiah Wright only makes it worse for Obama. The more you know about Wright, the more you doubt Obama.
Obama conceded as much by hastily calling his press conference to limit the damage, but his sudden conversion to Wright-basher failed to put the issue to rest. Until he does, Obama will find his former pastor to be the defining issue of his campaign.
His problems with white working-class voters who are the swing voters in swing states will grow as Wright becomes more of a household name. The issue still could cost him the nomination, or the general election.
And as I have written before, it is hard to trust Obama's leadership instincts if he truly admired Jeremiah Wright. Can Obama tell friend from foe? Or is he an appeaser who always looks for accommodation? Amazingly, even Wright suggested the answer to the latter is yes.
Part of Obama's continuing political problem is that he has not been honest about his relationship with Wright.
For example, he knew Wright was trouble, which is why he rescinded an invitation to have Wright speak at his campaign launch on Feb. 10, 2007. Now we learn, according to Wright, that he and Obama prayed secretly in the basement of Illinois' Old State Capitol before Obama went outside to speak to the public that day.
Wright, literally then, was the crazy uncle Obama kept in the basement. And now he has come charging out, spewing nonsense, for all the world to see. And for voters to wonder about the candidate who tried to hide him.