March 21st, 2008
11:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Photo shows President Clinton, controversial Obama minister


(CNN) - Barack Obama’s former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, attended a 1998 Clinton White House prayer breakfast, and met former President Bill Clinton – a moment which was documented by official photographers in a photo that surfaced Thursday.

Wright was one of roughly 100 religious leaders invited to the breakfast, which was held in the East Room on September 11, 1998, as part of a series of similar events scheduled that year in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The photograph appeared on "The truth about Trinity United Church of Christ," a blog operated by a church member.

During the breakfast, then-President Clinton told the group that "I don't think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned."

An Obama spokesman declined to comment. Clinton spokesman Phil Singer told CNN, “In the course of his two terms in office, Bill Clinton met with, corresponded with and took pictures with literally tens of thousands of people.

According to White House documents released this week, Hillary Clinton was scheduled to attend the event as well.

The Obama campaign has struggled to re-gain its footing following the controversy over racially-charged comments by the Illinois senator’s former minister. Earlier this week, Obama gave a speech in Philadelphia that was meant to clarify his opposition to the substance of Wright’s remarks, as well as his views on racial division in America.

The Clinton campaign has largely steered clear of public criticism of Obama over the incident, though some current and former campaign surrogates have suggested the fact that the senator did not dissociate himself sooner might raise questions about his judgment.

–CNN's Steve Brusk and Rebeca Sinderbrand

soundoff (318 Responses)
  1. Amy, Kazoo

    so that's why they haven't commented.

    March 21, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  2. Adam

    AGAIN..There are Millions of Photos with The Clintons and People. He was in Office for 8 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its not like they went to his church and listened to his HATE every Sunday!

    March 21, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  3. CNN Post my comments

    There is a difference between the Reverend Wright being one of a hundred invited, and attending the church for 20 years, and having said Reverend perform very important life events. It is totally ridiculus to even equate a whitehouse breakfast with 20 years committment.

    March 21, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  4. Adam

    CNN this sad and just stupid.

    What about Obama's Comment yesterday on a Philly Radio Station calling "Typical White People" as racist??

    March 21, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  5. Wayne

    The NYTimes reported that it was the Obama campaign that was pushing this photo from 1998. It just shows how desperate the Obama campaign has become. Bill Clinton shook hands and took pictures with thousands of people while he was president, that's what politicians do. That in NO WAY compares to Obama's twenty years of faithful support to a bigoted hate monger who spews lies from the pulpit.

    If anything, this proves that the Obama campaign's theme of Change and a New Way of politics is just empty rhetoric.

    March 21, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  6. Ryan

    How long are you going to milk this, CNN?


    March 21, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  7. Spirit of America

    Cheap shot Obama. Note that at least Clinton had the guts to say he sinned. Has Wright admitted his sin? Repented? Made amends? Has Obama? No. No. No. Nobama.

    March 21, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  8. Kareem from Hampton VA

    Now aint THAT something!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAAHA

    March 21, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  9. Anonymous


    March 21, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  10. show me

    maybe bell was gettig spiritual advice about monica

    March 21, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  11. Ron

    Its the press who has been making a big deal out of this not Bill or Hillary clinton. Oh by the way do you have any pictures of Bill Clinton attending the Church? or was this picture just made up?

    March 21, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  12. Doug R.

    CNN is certainly infatuated with the Clinton's. Let's open up John McCain's closet and see what's in it.

    March 21, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  13. Jim Kansas

    Wow, this is the same as being a member of the church and listening to this guys sermons, how?

    March 21, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  14. Trev

    So Bill said Hi to him at a prayer breakfast and this is news. Anyone out there who thinks CNN is the Clinton News Network needs to look at this. Clinton was not a member of the church. Clinton did not send his daughter to the church. Clinton did not hear the sermons at the church.

    From my perspective, the Wright controversy is a non issue. I am voting for Hillary because she is better on the issues. However, this flimsy attempt by CNN to bring Bill Clinton in to the controversy is obvious bias.

    March 21, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  15. Carly

    WOW. I bet the Clinton camp is reeeeeeeeeeally happy they've kept mum on the whole "Wright explosion" (laughing really REALLY had)

    March 21, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  16. Carmen Gonzalez

    That's the typical way for Obama to try to get away from the fiasco he created with Rev. Wright. Obama is a cry baby that blames everybody for his mistakes, and that is the man that wants to be President of the United States. I'm sure he has promised Richardson the Vice-President post because otherwise a real latino would never choose a "charlatan" because we latinos are too used to "charlatanes" like Castro, Chavez, Morales, etc. that all they do is talk and talk. Promises but no action. Let's elect a real lider.

    March 21, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  17. Frank Lee

    Wow. Big story. A president meets a minister.

    This is news?

    March 21, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  18. John in Virginia

    And I knew this was coming. It was just a matter of time. I have been saying to myself through this whole thing that there is no way Bill Clinton hasn't either been to Trinity, or met Wright. But as I posted yesterday, lets stick to the issues and not worry about the distractions. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are individuals, and they can think for themselves.

    March 21, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  19. Adam in Indy

    WOW... A photo of Obama’s pastor with his opponents husband…. That’s Horrible!

    March 21, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  20. Mary

    Boy, anything to keep this Wright issue alive!...Way over time to move on with this one...How about something positive for a change.

    March 21, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  21. Manny

    LOL..............Well CNN, how about that photo with the Clintons and Rezko......or perhaps the Clintons with Peter Paul who Hillary claimed she didn't know personally

    March 21, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  22. republican swayed by youtube

    They should impeach Bill Clinton immediately! Oh wait....he was already impeached. But seriously......oh wait...he's not President anymore. Oh wait.....this picture means NOTHING. It will be interesting to see how many people will salivate over this.

    March 21, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  23. Texas Terry

    Come on Obamicans. Bill Clinton shook his hand so I'm sure you can make something of this to try and deflect attention from Senator Obama.

    March 21, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  24. Concerned Canadian

    Reverend Wright...has no conscience.

    March 21, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  25. Lola

    Barack Obama’s former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, ONLY attended a 1998 Clinton White House prayer breakfast, in this time Rev. Jeremiah Wright is Obama's family member and his spiritual LEADER! It is completely two big different issues, which makes very different concerns to chose our next president!

    March 21, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
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