March 25th, 2008
08:03 PM ET
3 years ago

Clinton: Wright would not have been my pastor

ALT TEXT

Clinton criticized Obama's pastor Tuesday, her first direct comments on the matter. (AP Photos)

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton would have long disassociated herself from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright if she was a member of his church, the Democratic presidential candidate said Tuesday - the first time she or her campaign has commented directly on the issue that has swirled around rival Barack Obama's campaign in recent weeks.

"I think given all we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor," Clinton said in a press conference in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The comments came hours after the New York senator made similar comments to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in an editorial board interview. (Watch Clinton's comments)

"You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend," she told the paper. Clinton also repeated those remarks in the press conference.

An Obama campaign spokesman said Clinton's comments were part of a "transparent effort to distract attention away from the story she made up about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia."

“The truth is, Barack Obama has already spoken out against his pastor’s offensive comments and addressed the issue of race in America with a deeply personal and uncommonly honest speech," Obama Campaign Press Secretary Bill Burton said. "The American people deserve better than tired political games that do nothing to solve the larger challenges facing this country."

– CNN's Alexander Mooney and Peter Hamby

soundoff (248 Responses)
  1. Susan

    I no longer am shocked or surprised at how far HRC will go to win the nomination. From William Shakespeare, "Horrible, most horrible!"

    March 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. roy CA

    you would throw your own momma under the bus for a vote

    March 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. WArt

    She chose to stay with Bill all those years after all the affairs he had with various women, even while President.

    March 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. david

    I don't think anyone with any sense would choose him as a pastor.

    March 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  5. Renee

    This is why we are going to lose in 2008 and 2012. She will never be elected after running this type of campaign. I am a white woman in her demographic and she turns my stomach. She obviously is trying to do anything to win and could care less about the party.

    March 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. E. loz Miami

    Ooooh NO SHE DITDN'T!!!!!!

    March 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Brian

    Clintons are so yesterday Jack. First she says she won't touch this subject and cries foul to the Obama team for her own mistakes then she is touching on the pastor thing and all the while accusing the Obama team of playing dirty tricks. The Clintons know of no other way to compete. Bill & Hillary need to read "Things I learned in kindergarden" and then maybe, just maybe this race can get back to the issues because their old style political moves are well known and transparent besides the fact that you can't believe anytihng she says.

    March 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. John, Miss

    Anything to distract us from the "sniper fire" lies, even digging up last week's news.

    March 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Diane

    The television reporting in all media have not lived up to finding the truth out about all the candidates for voters to make a honest decision. No matter what the media has tried in the course of this campaign. Hillary has continued to remain Presidential.

    Obama has gotten a free ride in the media. He has even now trying to pull out the sympathy card for his bad judgment call to align himself with a Reverend that is full of bias hate and anger.

    Americans need to take a closer look at Obama, as President. He does not appear to be strong enough to lead and really bring Americans together.

    Do Americans really want a leader who really could split the country apart?

    March 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Pete311

    So what if she would leave the church? So what if he stayed? Neither one believes in the things Wright said, so it's all irrelevant. Trouble is, she's behaving a lot more like Wright than Obama is. I think even Hillary supporters are getting a little nauseated by this transparent political calculation. Bad story making its rounds about the Bosnia trip? OK, let's go ahead and say some more stuff about the pastor thing. Sad.

    Sad. Sad. Sad.

    March 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. informed voter

    I used to think that Hillary Clinton was a smart, tough politician, a great example to young girls that they could be anything that they wanted. Now I just think that she is a sad, pathetic loser.

    March 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. bill in nyc

    here we go...keep throwing the mud hillary...you clearly have good judgement...how did that iraq thing work out for you, or marrying bill? you clearly have the judgement to lead...she picks the right pastor the first time!!! whatever happened to those "issues" you talked about...you seemed interested in shifting the campaign towards those...at least before you have continued to spew the same divisive bs out of your mouth...

    March 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. Mike, Travis AFB, CA

    This is getting really sad. Since when are we responsible for the words of other people?!! Obama had a connection to this man that spanned for years on a religious basis, not a political one!! Why is this even an issue? The Rev Wright story doesnt feed my kids, lower gas prices, or fix this crumbling housing market! This is an non-issue that will be made into a issue by the bird-brained Americans (and yes there are some out there) who have the attention spans of 3 year olds! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

    DEMOCTAS '08!

    March 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. Dave

    I'm sure he wouldn't be you pastor. Her and her husband appear to enjoy a pastor who encourages adultery, I guess we now know where Bill took his cues.

    Look it up, Clinton's minister MacDonald.

    March 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. MAC

    Please....who does this bimbo think she is? And CNN why don't you report on why Obama would not salute the flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance? What kind of a President would not do that? A vote for Obama pushes us closer to the bottom.

    March 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Cory

    She's simply trying to keep the controversy going. Shocker.

    March 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. George

    She did not innitiate this conversation so Obama fans relax. However, I'm glad she did respond because I would hope anyone who heard those comments while sitting in a church pew would remove themselves immediately from that hate monger. Anyone who screams out those hateful words should not be a paster for any public official. And I'm glad Senator Clinton voiced her opinion of the type of pastor she would choose. Finally someone has distinguished the difference between a family member and a pastor. You don't choose your family....thank you Senator Clinton for making that difference! I can just imagine some people will now judge her for staying with her husband but all I have to say is that she gets more credit for sticking to her marriage vows....for better or for worse.

    March 25, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    You cannot be pastored by anyone, you are evil. You clearly know that you cannot clinch the dem nomination yet you want to destroy the dem party before you leave so that if you are not the nominee then the next president should be a republican, giving you an opportunity to come back in 2012. You are too selfish no pastor will want you in their church. Rev. Wright may says some thing that are not agreeable to some people but atleast Obama turned out right sitting under his pastorship, he is NOT wicked but you are.

    March 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. Mike, Travis AFB, CA

    ** This is getting really sad. Since when are we responsible for the words of other people?!! Obama had a connection to this man that spanned for years on a religious basis, not a political one!! Why is this even an issue? The Rev Wright story doesnt feed my kids, lower gas prices, or fix this crumbling housing market! This is an non-issue that will be made into a issue by the bird-brained Americans (and yes there are some out there) who have the attention spans of 3 year olds! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

    DEMOCRATS '08!

    March 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Alina

    Yeap, Hillary, and you think, after the lies about how a first lady gets sent to zones to dangerous for a president (see the video on youtube – her visit in Bosnia, Tuzla), do you really have a right to play the judge? So many lies, and you are in title to judge everybody else... anyway, one thing is sure: Obama's curch may not be perfect, but it surely taught him more tolerance than yours!

    March 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Daniel

    Hilary please stop with all the negativity. Release all your tax records instead.

    To all other Dems, Please let's stop fighting and saying unforgivable things about each other and the candidates. We need someone who will unite the party and lead us to victory in November, not someone who will do ANYTHING to win the nomination.

    Hillary is destroying the Democratic party and this continuous fighting will lead to Dems left polarized from the other candidate. Hillary has polarized the Dems so badly I can imagine what she will do to the rest of the country. This is so demoralizing.

    March 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Red Dog from ND but now in Floida

    Give it up. You are a lier and you will never win. You are nothing more than a has been who does not bring anything new to the yard.

    March 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Arden

    If HRC were the only candidate running for office I still wouldn't vote for her. At the start of the exlection campaigns I really considered voting for HRC. But she and Bill Clinton are the most disgusting politcians I have ever witnessed. If anyone will destroy the Democratic party she and her husband will. None of them can call themselves Christian and say the awful things they do especially James Carville. If Al Gore were thrown into the mix in order to safe the Democratic party and Obama was offered the VP I would vote in a heart beat. I pray for the Obama's everyday. They certainly have more forgiveness in them than I do. I still hope that Barack Obama is our next President. (The Al Gore situation I mentioned is the alternative).

    March 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. julia

    Right on the money.
    I am glad Hillary finally spoke out on Wright issue.
    At the beginning she took the high rode but i think she just lost her patience with Obama because of his arrogance.
    After Wright flap he is still acting like he is superior to her on judgment and racial issues. UNBELIVEABLE...

    March 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Barry

    Thank you Mrs. Clinton for speaking out on this matter. This is not just a matter of race but it is hatred being preached in the Church. What sort of Church preaches hatred?

    March 25, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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