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. Jsmith

    HILLARY!!!!! You LIED about being fired on!!!!! That is worse!!!!! You stayed with somebody who committed adultery!!!!!!!!!!! That is even worse!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. vic nashville,Tn

    Well Done Hillary CNN other medias try to cover Obama. My Grand parents watched Larry king live (favorite show) last Thursday after that our votes for you Please don’t drop out

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Jackie Hotchkiss

    "He would not have been my pastor" well Bill Clinton would not have been my Husband, I think the fact that she stayed with a cheating husband shows that she does not have any integrity and does not deserve to be the president. Barak Obama does not live with his pastor but she lives with a man that shamed the office of the presidency, her lies about her trip to Bosnia shows us that if we vote for her we will be getting a lot more "clinton lies"

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. mg

    And I'm sure Barack wouldn't stay married to a cheating, lying spouse for about 30 yrs. Character is not Hillary's strongsuit. Leave it alone.

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. christian

    maya,

    would YOU please just go away. we'd all be better off.

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. B. Clausberg

    . . .Bill Clinton invited Rev. Wright to the white house to pray for him during his impeachment. I guess he's good enough for the Clintons.
    CNN do you still have the photo?

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. tomdavie

    I just find it so hilarious that you Obama guys think its CLINTON who ripped the party in half.

    back up a second. Who was the presumptive nominee? Clinton.

    Who came in with no experience and HYPED everyone to death?

    Why is the party utterly RIPPED in half ? Guess what?

    Its OBAMA who has split the party in two. Things were never like this before OBAMA showed up.

    Obama made his bed with his HYPE platform, and now has been exposed as a LIAR with his 20 relationship with the church.

    He is unelectable folks. This speech by Clinton = the clinton democrats wont support him in the general election.

    Clinton cannot make this speech and still expect us to support Obama . Its over folks.

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Anthony

    She is digging a deeper hole for Obama and trying to climb the ladder to nowhere. What she does not realize is that when Obama becomes the nominee, the Republicans are going to use all her words and that of her husband against him. Is this what she would do to win???

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Serge the DEM

    We need to close the lid on the Clintons. Mathematically, they can't win unless Obama somehow ends up in jail... She needs to get out so we can concentrate on McCain. Lets go Dems! Lets unite under one banner so we can concentrate our efforts on the big prize!

    Obama '08

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. Kris

    And why did you "Stand by your man" inspite of how he insulted you by having sex with an intern right in the White House? Is that because he was the center of power and you knew that you would use his coattails to grab power for yourself?

    Shame on you for exploiting what is a truly tragic situation.

    Then again we have known that you will burn the village, do anything to get elected.

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Kevin, Louisville, Ky

    Hillary has no morale authority in this discussion.....maybe she "mis-spoke"

    Case closed ...Sniper dodging Hillary .......

    March 25, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. jaymzz

    so why did the clintons invite reverend wright 2 the white house??? hillary rotten clinton is just trying 2 deviate the attention from her 'misstatements' about her foreign policy 'experience'...

    March 25, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. CHERYL

    THANK YOU!

    I SO AGREE! ANYONE WHO WOULD CHOOSE TO STAY IN A CHURCH THAT TAUGHT THIS RUBBISH ON A DAILY BASIS MUST BELIEVE IT OR WHY WOULD YOU STAY?

    OBAMA IS KEEPING RACISM ALIVE AND DIVIDING THE COUNTRY!!!!

    THE FACT THAT HE WOULD NOT AGREE TO HAVE MY VOTE AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF OTHER PEOPLES COUNTED IN MI AND FL TELLS ME HE IS NOT DEMOCRATIC!!!!!!

    HIS CHARACTER AND HIS HONESTY ARE EXPOSED FOR THE PEOPLE TO SEE!!!!

    MY VOTE GOES TO SENATOR CLINTON!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. jking

    No offense, LatinoNation, but Catholics of all people have the least right to comment on the Wright situation of anyone!

    Perhaps you never heard your priest say something you disagreed with: but how about your entire church covering up. moving around, and paying off the victimes of an entire generation of priests who molested children?

    Did you "get up and leave" the Catholic church?

    I don't think God appreciates pedophiles, either.

    March 25, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Kathleen

    Desperation is indeed ugly. Shame on you Hillary!

    March 25, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. D (NC)

    Can she get any lower. This is so sad. We are Democrats. I know the the Repeblicans would do this, but to hear this from her. Why are we trying to bring each other down. Why aren't we working together. Ist seems like she wants John Mccain to win.

    March 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. dara

    Unbelieble. Obama attends a church lead by a racist pig of a man and it's OK? This isn't a SMALL issue. This man has told more lies in the last few years than anyone can shake a stick at AND he continually choses to be among anti-white racists pigs. HOW on earth can this man be President???

    When Hillary lies, lets face it, it's about stupid stuff. When Obama lies, it's serious. That man will never be President nor should he be.

    March 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. tom

    The heat is on because she was caught lying. This is just a way to deflect. Maybe she answered a question, but who asked the question. Did it get asked twice? Let's face it, she was feeling heat and wanted to push the heat back to Obama, just like Carville did. It is a very effective, if revolting and shamefule, strategy.

    March 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Dobalina

    Easy to say after the fact Hillary. "he would not have been my pastor". No kidding. You don't live in Chicago, nor do you claim an affinity to provocative thinking and criticism of corrupt policy. You instead claim to take part in policies to which you have made no substantial contribution.

    Here's to making controversy out of something that is irrelevant to policy.

    How about this. "I would never have lied about my role in foreign policy decisions". See, that was actually pretty easy. Here's another: "An impeached president would not have been my husband."
    And let's try one more: "I would not have voted for an illegal war."

    March 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. Concerned Voter

    to Jane....You think Clinton's comments on her Bosnia trip are the same as Obama's pastor. Her record has been under scritiny for years and it speaks for itself. Net, she was in Bosnia....gun fire or no gun fire. There is no comparison.

    Obama is not electable. He is an agent of hate and racism. He had a choice and choose the road of hate. Most politicians would have seen their career end with this sort of thing. Obama should be held to the same standards.

    March 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. Gail

    I certainly hope this doesn't go away. It needs to be out in the open so we can understand what Obama has been doing for the past 20 years.

    Oops. Will stay in moderation CNN. not nice enough?

    March 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  22. Rich in Seattle

    I thought she only worshiped money and power?

    March 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. ledel

    Clinton is now just absolutely pathetic ! She can't even tell the truth about her trip to Bosnia. Her misspeak was an outright lie.How can she say what she would have done if she were in Wright's church ? There are photos of Bill with Pastor Wright . Bill must have thought he was generally an ok guy. I'll never vote for McCain, but I would have to hold my nose to vote for Hillary. Please America don't force that choice on me

    March 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Roz, IL

    way to deflect the attention from yourself hill, you've had 2 weeks to comment on the wright issue but picked today to respond.......hmmm

    to you hillbilly supports that's still harping and yammering on the wright issue, move on or go to fox or msnbc(morning Joe) where your bigotry and ignorance can be appreciated.

    March 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. John

    liar liar billary camps on fire, can't tell the truth, can't wait for the roof to fall in on you.

    March 25, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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