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. aaron mccann

    This is just a photo op for the pastor with then president Bill Clinton. Is the article trying to imply that the Clintons attended 20 years of service and sermons of Jeremiah Wright's and believed in and got ingrained in his teachings?

    Its Barack who believes in his pastor's teachings and sat on the pews for twenty years listening to the Wright lambast America.

    It is really the dishonesty of hope for Obama.

    March 21, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. kg

    OK, fine. Can we move on now? I'm tired of this Wright "controversy". Not sure what the rev said was that controversial to begin with. Let's move on.

    March 21, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  3. vincentjohn

    It figures Clinton would fit into this equation..... another liar and cheat...

    March 21, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. sw

    And what? I bet Clinton did not hear all his sermons, and ask him baptize her daughter.

    March 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. Look byond

    We are a nation of different background.
    Black, white, red, blue, pink, yellow and many more.
    The point I want to make is that we should be careful as to what we say or do, We should be ready by now to unite as one and bring this country back on track, so that we can foster a booming economy, A Secure Nation and healthcare for all.

    This is what our mission should be, but not the mission of tearing presidential candidates, snooping into file records and the like.

    March 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Typical White Person

    It not only raises questions about his judgement- it's raises questions about his ideology.

    March 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. Paul from Kissimmee

    Did he go there for 20 years? Did Chelsea get baptised there? Did he and Hillary get married there? No story here.

    March 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  8. Gregory

    Will this be added to the loop of news about Rev. Wright? Why was he invited to the White House if he was soooooo bad. Didn't they know who he was?

    March 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. rhoda

    now guys tell us if Bill Clinton should comes out and denounce the Pastor!! And by the way hillary should denounce and reject bill clinton by making comments that was racial! have we forgotten that?

    March 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  10. endi umege

    I dont think that it is necessary telling us who and who dinned with Rev Wright. The Rev was bareing his mind and no one should take responsibility or be punished for that. The fact remains that the Rev should repent from his racial and wicked ways. We are now talking of togetherness.

    March 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  11. Beka

    Isnt that what Bush said about Abramoff?

    March 21, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  12. Jennifer

    I'm not the least bit surprised. Perhaps THIS will shut up all of the ignorant posters crucifying Obama over something his pastor said. It's quite apparent that Mr. Clinton must have some sort of respect for Wright, in order to be invited to a highly honored prayer breakfast at the White House.

    OBAMA 08

    March 21, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  13. jon

    Obama, you are getting desparate. This photo shows that Wright attended a prayer meeting and it was held for Clinton. Cliinton doesn't do the invites to the parties/breakfast/dinners, etc. He probably has a photo of him driving the white suv with OJ in it as well. Get a life... Public figures takes thousands of photos with people. It doesn't mean they were friends or that they actually knew each other.

    March 21, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. mercyline

    wow!! they guy was all people pastor! come on people lets go over it and move on!!!

    March 21, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. HillBilly

    I knew Bill Clinton had something to do with it!

    March 21, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. Ronald

    This really isn't news. So what if President Clinton met with Reverend Wright. He is a powerful, influential pastor and Clinton was president. Nothing big here. Just two guys having breakfast and prayer together.

    March 21, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  17. Megan

    It only shows more of how disgusting this preacher is! He would say one thing toward Bill and say another toward his church members.

    March 21, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  18. Theresa

    DUH!!! How many more pictures were taken at this event... CNN is stretching now....If President Clinton was pictures in Wrights Church...maybe then this would be news....stick to what you know CNN and stop looking for trouble where there is none.

    March 21, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. Dood

    Wow. Bill Clinton shook some guy's hand at an event one day long ago. Obama wants to compare that to 20 YEARS of following by Obama?

    Obama is increasingly desperate, and he has handled this situation the in worst way possible.

    March 21, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. changed mind

    He did not sit in the pews for twenty years!!

    March 21, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. MD

    If only about 100 ministers were invited, What made Bill Clinton place him on the list? Obviously, he (Bill Clinton) must have found pastor Wright a unique and discerning pastor. I wonder if Billy Graham was there?

    March 21, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. lynn many billions of photos did you have to sift through
    to did this one up.......and your point is????? Did Bill Clinton
    sit on a pew for 20 years in Wright's congregation?????
    Surrounded by hate.......

    Shame on you CNN

    March 21, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  23. Tracy

    This is simply ridiculous and now who looks desperate Obama or Hillary?-clearly Obama. The fact that Rev. Wright was at a group breakfast at the White House is meaningless. How does that compare to Obama being a member of church with a leader who spews anti-american and racist remarks?

    March 21, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  24. Dan, PA

    Geez, the things you folks dig up, it's amazing. The guy obviously wants to hang out with political figures. Still, he did not in any way expose Bill Clinton to his views for 20 years. Unlike Obama who had embraced this man as his part of his family.

    That's far far more dangerous.

    March 21, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  25. No Hate

    I guess this proves that he does not hate white people.

    March 21, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
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