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CNN's Whitfield Hails as 'Courageous' Obama's Notre Dame Speech

Just under an hour before President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame on Sunday afternoon, CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield applauded Obama's anticipated comments, addressing the controversy of the Catholic institution awarding an honorary degree to a politician who does not uphold pro-life policies, as "very courageous." She then fretted over if Obama had "a lot of angst" before the speech given the controversy, specifically "whether there was angst on his part about whether he wanted to make his commencement speech one that would use the words abortion, that would use the words embryonic stem cell research?"

Whitfield's assessment and worry came after Suzanne Malveaux, from Sound Bend, previewed Obama's embargoed speech by reporting the prepared text revealed "he will address this controversy, that he is not going to shy away from it. That he will talk about the need for people to be open minded, to be fair minded in the way that they approach the debate over abortion and stem cell research." To which, an impressed Whitfield, at the anchor desk in Atlanta, enthused:

And it sound like, Suzanne, this is a very courageous move. And I wonder if the President or if the White House in any way conveyed to you whether there was a lot of angst that the President had leading up to this commencement speech knowing about how much had been said leading up to this day and whether there was angst on his part about whether he wanted to make his commencement speech one that would use the words abortion, that would use the words embryonic stem cell research as opposed to focusing primarily on a challenge for the future because so often that's what commencement speeches do?

From CNN, at 2 PM EDT:

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, IN SOUTH BEND: We have gotten an advanced copy, Fred, of the text, the speech. It's obviously embargoed until he delivers it. But broadly speaking, we can say that he will address this controversy, that he is not going to shy away from it. That he will talk about the need for people to be open minded, to be fair minded in the way that they approach the debate over abortion and stem cell research, that he will talk about an example of perhaps a gay activist as well as a priest. Both of them feeling that they want to combat and tackle HIV/AIDS but have a different way of looking at that point of view, whether it's expanding stem cell research or if it is opposing that. He'll also take on the issue of abortion. Talking about - that, in some ways, there's a need to emphasize the commonality of both sides, but that in some ways these two camps are irreconcilable when it comes to ultimately what they think about a woman's right to choose. So this is something, Fred, that he is going to tackle as part of the commencement speech and he'll obviously talk about the challenges that these students have at this preeminent Catholic university.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: And it sound like, Suzanne, this is a very courageous move. And I wonder if the President or if the White House in any way conveyed to you whether there was a lot of angst that the President had leading up to this commencement speech knowing about how much had been said leading up to this day and whether there was angst on his part about whether he wanted to make his commencement speech one that would use the words abortion, that would use the words embryonic stem cell research as opposed to focusing primarily on a challenge for the future because so often that's what commencement speeches do?

MALVEAUX: Sure, well, this was - the President, obviously in a position that he had to address the issue. This has become such a hot button issue, obviously, on this campus the last couple of weeks....