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

Clinton: Wright would not have been my pastor


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. democrattotheend

    You may not choose your parents, but you do choose your spouse. Hillary made the decision to stay with Bill after he cheated on her, and I respect that decision and it's her business and not the public's. But I don't understand how she has the moral authority to say that Obama should have left his church and thrown someone who had become like family to him under the bus when he has never questioned her decision to stay with Bill despite the poor role model he provided for their daughter.

    March 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Norm

    Obama attended because he wanted to seen as a typical black man. He has accomplished is goal. Now he needs to been seen as a typical white man also. Must be real tough not knowing who you are!

    March 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. shirley

    Yes, I believe Hillary would throw her Mother to the wolves if she thought it would further her political career. However, Pastor Wright was invited to the White House when Bill was in trouble. Hillary must have known about his church as someone mailed him an invitation. I suspect her campaign is behind this nasty reporting on church instead of issues. Her campaign has used race and religion to garner votes based on emotion in the hope we would not notice her fraudulent statements regarding her 'experience' and lack of disclosure of her 2006 tax return. These are REAL issues not being address by Hillary.

    March 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Calvin

    This is stupid...but they spelled Pittsburgh without and h.

    March 25, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. PA

    She is trying to change the subject – SHE WAS CAUGHT LYING TODAY ABOUT HER EXPERIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. keith

    She said she was asked what she sould do. She could have taken the high road and stated that it is in the past, Barack Obama answered this issue, and I don't want to rehash that issue, period subject closed! Asked by CNN if her speaking openly about Wright meant the issue was now on the table with superdelegates, Clinton answered: "I was asked what I would do, and I answered the question." IS IT and will she bring it up to the superdelegates to make a point that she is down but let's look at Rev. Wright to kick Obama in the face.

    March 25, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. Aimee

    Very interesting. Last week, Hillary Clinton's campaign said they would not comment on the story about Reverend Wright. This week, now that she's been hit hard on her repeated (4 times by the latest count) lies about her trip to Bosnia, NOW she'll go there.

    Oh, and she'll denounce Don Imus. She'll demand that Obama reject Louis Farrakhan. But where is her denunciation and rejection of Rush Limbaugh and the Republicans who are switching party affiliation to vote for her?


    A few months ago I had some respect for Hillary Clinton. Not any more. Desperation is ugly.

    March 25, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Mark

    How do we know that HRC? All you have done is tell lies so far. Plus, did he not minister to Bill after his betrayal? Thought I saw a photo here at CNN?

    March 25, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Nancy

    This woman is screwloose.
    No, she wouldn't have Wright as a pastor – but she is willing to stand by her philandering husband just to keep hold of her blind ambition.

    March 25, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Peter

    What a looser!

    March 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Independant

    I would not have voted for the war.

    March 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Dee in AZ

    Ho Hum.

    March 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. john josph

    It's time for all democrats to ask:
    Ans stop this non sense- this madness.

    if it was Obama less point than Hiliary the news will ask Obama to leave the race long time ago = I wonder why?

    we wanted democrats for hiliary clintons to leave the race and stop this madness HILIARY MUST GO = GO = GO AND RETIRED

    To give Obama chance to regroup to defeat John Mccain MC 100
    unless she wanted to be Mc Cain 100 her vice President Mc HILIARY 100

    March 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. CHELSEA from PA

    Gosh, when I hear "Hillary misspeak" say anything now, I see it for what it is: just pure trash. The liar telling Obama what she would do concerning his pastor and church is totally a hoot!

    She lies and Bill both lies and cheats. There are many moral and religious women and men around the country who do not support or stomach her laxness with the truth or her acceptance of marital infidelity. I used to just feel sorry for her. Maybe, what Bill did is justified due to her "Hillaryness".

    March 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. Tim

    Maybe she is lying about that too.

    March 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Sure

    She is changing the subject!!!

    Why arent we talking about her LYING about the Bosnia "sniper fire"?!

    March 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. Independent Voter

    Hillary did not leave Bill with all his cheating? Did she? Liar!

    March 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. james, NY

    leave it to hillary to nake this political, wait till they find out who your pastor is, I DESPISE YOU

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

    Obama’s choices have been very wrong one after another.
    And the fact that he is still defending Wright and trying to justify
    what was said, shows that he shares the same sentiment.
    He just doesn’t have the guts to admit to it.
    CNN post my comment.

    March 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Greg - New Jersey

    Hmm...Pittsburgh Tribune-Review = Richard Mellon Scaiffe = Arkansas Project = "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy". Seems Hillary's now taken to bedding down with the enemy as part of her strategy to win. I better get used to saying the words "President McCain".

    March 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. B. Gorman, New Orleans, LA

    I admire Senator Obama's loyalty to his church. He easily could have picked a "politically neutral" church, but he stayed with the people that brought him to God. It seems Senator Clinton is grasping at straws, trying to open wounds that wish to heal. It is disturbing that she wants to win so bad that she would make faith so trivial in the face of power.

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

    No one cares nor has asked about your feelings on pastoral relationships, Hillary. It is a personal decision, as you say, and clearly doesn't warrant your comment.

    However, what does warrant your comment and a truthful explanation is the following 1). why have you exaggerated so terribly your role in the White House? Surely your memory can't be that bad! ie: Bosnia trip ...and 2).why you won't release your 2006 Tax Returns. What is so magic about they're not being available until the very moment of the Pennsylvania primary ? Coul it be you don't want folks to see something perhaps like, tax shelters for the $20M Bill received as a payout??????

    Let's hear some commentary/explanation on these matters please.

    March 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Ifeanyi Azubike Houston Texas

    I no longer know what to believe with Clinton. If she really means what she is saying she should have shown that type of judgement with Ferraro. I am absolutely sure that Hillary will be in Wright's church this Sunday if that will help her overtake Barack. I hope you see through her game plan. She dug herself into a hole with the Bosnia lie so, she is throwing her kitchen sink again to see what sticks and so resurrect her ailing campaign. She needs to borrow a leaf from Obama by confronting her travails presidentially, instead of deflecting them. I wonder how many kitchens she has and when she will run out of sinks.

    March 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. common sense

    Nice try, Hillary, but people can't be that easily distracted from your bald-faced lies by a topic that has been addressed and fully disclosed. I'll take Obama's loyalty to a long-time friend, conditioned by a willingness to stand up to that friend and criticize his views, over flat-out lies to the American people any day.

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

    Save America by resisting the Hillary campaign's gutter politics!

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