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. Pete, Fla.

    Barack left himself wide open by not disowning the reverend. It was a clean and perfect swipe from the Clinton campaign. If the media attacks her for it, then they are down-right hypocrits, since they're the ones who have blown up this scandal.

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

    It's kind of like Obama sying his parents met at a civil rights march that happened four years after he was born.

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

    Lies Lies Lies YEAH! She voted for the Iraq invasion because she knew she was running for president and need it to look ?tuff? SHE stayed with slick willie after Jennifer flowers, paula jones and others because she wanted the senate seat so she could run for president later!! she is that calculating and scheming, she was willing to sacrifice her integrity and her pride for the sake of political power! 35 years of service to the nation my as*!!Billary Has done nothing for anyone besides themselves is all about having power not our great nation!

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Shirley

    After all Hillary's lies have caught up with her, she's trying to change the subject.

    First we had the "resume padding" involving the Irish peace settlement, Then it was the NAFTA lies. Then the Family Leave Act. Now the Bosnia lies. Since when is a lie a "misspeak".

    If I were Hillary (God forbid), I'd be trying to change the subject, too.

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. gary

    ALL you woman ,I should say children should be proud to see a woman president ,instead of slamming her.If HRC dosnt get elected because of jealous woman ,there wont be another chance for a woman to be equal as a Leader.All you Clinton haters,it will backfire on you.What goes around comes around.

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. Redmerski

    Obviously, Fox News is biased and sensational. Why should CNN have to follow suit. What's the big deal about Hillary giving a very measured response to questions from O'Bama's pastor. If the questions weren't asked, there would have been no response from her about the situation. Get back to the solid reporting that CNN should be noted for...the campaign is not about you or trying to produce a sensational controversy.

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. Karen

    Obama supporters are now taking the kool-aid by IV. She was asked about the racist Wright over and over. So-called journalists can't get off the subject, they, just like CNN are obsessed by it. She is asked about him multiple times at every opportunity. If Obama didn't want the creep brought up, he should have left the church, but he agrees with Wright so why would he. Ick.

    By the way, if Obama wanted the race issue to die down, why did he say 'typical white person' and send a picture of Wright to the newspaper. He's not only sleazy, he's a moron.

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. derrick

    CNN I know you will never post this:

    My question to Hilary and her supporters are:

    1) What church has Hilary been attending the past 20 years.

    2) Did she attend church every Sunday, Monthly or Annually?

    3) How much tithes has she paid to her Church?...the bibke says 1/10 th of your earnigs.

    4) Has she heard all sermons her Pastor preached the past 20 years?

    5) Can she quote a verse from the Bible that speaks about truth?

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. P Graber

    You go girl. You're the best.

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  10. Getreal

    We need to get to the issue. Which church people want to go is their option.
    Be smart and get to the point.

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. MotownMusicLvr

    I am sooooooooooo sick of Hillary Clinton. Today she said "Rev. Wright" couldn't have been her pastor. She said you can't pick your family but you can pick your pastor. Well she has her nerve. Bill has cheated on her repeatedly throughout their marriage........and she has stayed. And you "can" pick a husband. and choose to divorce him for disrespecting you and breaking their vows to each other. She gets on my nerves. She is such a hypocrite and a liar.

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Gary in Toronto

    I'm sure equating Rev. Wright with Don Imus is going to come back and bite her on the a@#.

    Really, how much courage did it take to pile onto Don Imus? What Obama did in denouncing the remarks but not the man in his memorable speech – that took courage.

    I was struck by the difference in the remarks that Tuesday with Obama's speech on the one hand and Clinton letting us know that issues of race in America were "complicated" and "important". Sheesh...

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. Phillip

    It's amazing to me that she would even dare bring this up and then they all wonder how people turn against her for playing the race card??

    One thing you all have to know about Hillary: it's only a valid attack if it's proactive; if someone calls her out, like today with these Bosnia lies, it's an attack on her because she's a woman, or it's unfair media coverage. This is the kind of Presidency this woman would bring to the White House. America has to decide if it is ready to go back to the 90s on that one.

    I think it's time for us all to move forward. The Clintons have had their time. It's now time for something new.

    Obama '08

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. Ernie

    Hahaha. C'mon Hillary. Get them straws.

    I suppose it was inevitable. She needs to keep reminding the people of Obama's negative points so as to keep him "unelectable." Never mind that she was caught in a bold-faced lie last night that would make her even more unelectable and is now in full damage control.

    "So I lied. But my Pastor is nicer than his!"

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Dekonti

    Why didn't Hillary leave Bill who is a seriel liar? We don't choose our children but we surely choose our husband or wife.

    Don't we Hillary?

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. R. Sherwood

    Look, you can put all those rosi words to her comments. That want change anything. SHE LIED.

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. Independant

    How many things can you think of that the Clintons have done and you would not do???

    March 25, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Mary in Belltown, WA

    Clinton: Wright "would not have been my pastor."
    Me: "Bill Clinton would not have been my husband."

    March 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. DONALD E. WHEATLEY

    I THINK IT IS TIME TO LET CNN KNOW THAT BARAK OBAMA DID CAMPAIGN IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA. IT CAME OUT ON CABLE TV AND WAS SEEN BY THOUSANDS. SINE IT WAS HE(OBAMA) THAT DID THE CAMPAIGNING, IT SEEMS HE IS TAKING THE COWARDS WAY OUT BY NOT WANTING THE VOTES TO COUNT. HIS NAME WAS ON T HE TICKET, BUT FLORIDA DID NOT WANT HIM.. HE SAYS THAT THE VOTES SHOULD COUNT BUT KNOWING THQT THEY DID NOT WANT HIM, HE HAS CHANGED HIS MIND ABOUT GETTING THE VOTES COUNTED. ONE OTHR THING HOW DID HE GET 55 MILLION DOLLARS IN FEB? WHO WAS HIS DONORS. I KNOW FOR A FACT THATTHE YOUNG PEOPLE DID NOT GIVE HIM THE MONEY EVERY DAY, SO HOW MUCH OF HIS 5 MILLION CAME FROM HIS BACKER OPREY. OR DO YOU HAVE THE GUTS TO CHECK INTO THIS ????

    March 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Jack

    How is that a swipe? She was asked the question and gave her answer. What's wrong with that? I'm sure if it was her pastor who made those outragious comments the media and Obama would not have stopped talking about it. And another thing to all those who keep saying she stayed with her husband after he cheated on her I have one question...don't you all believe in your marriage vows? For better and for worse? Through sickness and in health? What happened to the sanctity of marriage? It proves she's committal to what she believes in and will fight for what she believes in and that was her marriage. Don't see anything wrong with that!

    March 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Crazy??

    Anyone bring up the point that rev Wright was right on most of the snippets? I here alot and I mean alot of the opposite point of view. So maybe i'll play the devils advocate. Our involvement in middle eastern affairs in the 80's and 90's grew sour and "those chickens came home".

    Its also entirely true that the wealthy and connected control the actions of the govt. (lobbyists etc.) Even in the simplest of examples we still see pregidous in our daily lives. (clinching purse) The only issue that was extreme was the hiv comments. In my opinion everything he said other than that was on the money.

    We seem to think that we can do no wrong, and the older generation refuses to accept anything other than the vision of America as "innocent champions of freedom". This is not the case.

    I highly doubt my comment gets posted. I'm afraid that my speech will be censored to maintain the attitude mentioned above. I do see alot of spiteful questionable posts so It would be a shame that my harmless comments concerning a such a volitile topic are not posted.

    "Typical white guy" for Obama 08.

    March 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. PhilT

    Google Hillary and the fellowship to learn about the Senator's religious affiliation. She can easily say now "I think given all we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor,"

    Sort of like "If I had known then what I know now".. Hindsight is 20/20.
    It's about all she seems to have as far as judgment goes.

    Phil T.
    NH

    March 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  23. Brian

    Every day she speaks she makes the Democratic party look bad.

    March 25, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. Constance

    Enough already. Everyone wants Obama to speak for his former Pastor, but that's wrong. People are acting like Obama was Wright's mouth! He is not that man's mouth! So stop expecting him to answer for something someone else said. I swear this is so stupid, and it's doing nothing but hurting our party. The Republicans are just sitting back laughing. While we were nearly getting over the last two weeks, Clinton could not resist the urge to add fuel to an almost burned out fire. I'm understanding this "win at any cost" method now Hillary. What a shame. She's not thinking about my future or other people in my generation (Teens, 20's and 30's), she's thinking about herself.

    March 25, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  25. pgb

    Why did no one ask her in the press conference why she and her husband invited the same Rev Wright to a White House meeting along with many other religioius leaders

    March 25, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10