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. John Colson

    It is what it is now let's move on. Many more issues to address than this crap. Obama stays with his church, Hillary stays with Bill. What about my dwindling money accounts, my dropping retirement funds, the costly war, fraud in government, unregulated greed, incompetent officials and hey, what about the borders, man!?

    March 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Alonzo - AZ

    Kim, KY:
    Actually it is FL & MI. Why would he? She agreed to the same thing he did 18 months ago. Why now, after she needs the votes/delegates does this issue see the light of day. If she was so concerned about "disenfranchising" the voters she should have spoken up when the issue was addressed 18 months ago by the DNC. How convenient that she now levies accusations at Obama. I'm an independent and I look at these "issues" through those eyes. I'm not hear anything substantive about the real issues that are facing this country from any of the candidates. Let's move on.

    March 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. rl

    DERRICK you are getting a little too personal. Which person should be the first to throw a stone???????Mirrors are made to take a good long look at yourself, your lives and if you need to compare your life with anyone then I want to know where in the bible it states that when Jesus dies HE LEFT YOU IN CHARGE???????????Like it is said your tongue is your greatest downfall. Point at people with one finger but take a look at your hand three fingers point straight back to YOU! THIS IS SOMETHING I LEARNED FROM MY PASTOR. THANK GOD HE DOES NOT POINT HIS FINGER BUNCH OF FOOLS!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. N.C.

    Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party's equivalent of the bubonic plague. When will it end??? Oh, the humanity...

    March 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Electioncenter

    Oh Hillary, do you really want to start to talk about morals now, its a slippery slope.

    March 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Obama/Richardson 08

    Do anything to keep your head above water right Clinton? Fact is your poll numbers are tumbling. Obama has a 24 point lead in NC now...and your PA lead is down to 10. Drop out now you have no chance!

    March 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Bob Purdy

    Philandering Bill would not have been my choice for a husband either, if I were a woman.

    March 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. susan faber

    voet 100000000 clintons

    susan faber

    March 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. piecrust

    Hillary Lied? what about Obama? He's a blatant liar!!!!

    March 25, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Debby58

    Obviously Hillary Clinton is trying to divert attention from her 'mistatement, i.e, lie' and her lack of transparency on her tax returns. Until this election season, I never knew Clintons could resort to such opportunistic tactics to win the nomination! This is disgusting and there is no way for me to support her ever for presidency.

    March 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Chris

    Bill and Hillary= Dysfunction Junction.

    March 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. chrarles

    I don't see any difference between the Clinton campaign and that of the Radical Republican Right (e.g., George W Bush) in the incessant attack-dogging. If Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, as an independent who usually votes Democratic, I don't see any reason to vote Democratic. Maybe McCain will be a better vote, depending on how he runs his campaign.

    March 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    It's amazing how many people don't pay attention to what they read and interpet it the way they want.
    She was asked a question and she anwered it. Whoopdedo!
    All the Obama fans keep screeching for Hillary to step down.
    Why should she?
    Obama has won more states and more caucus's blah blah, but yet he still hasn't 'put away' Hillary. She has just as much chance to win it as he does.
    And to continue on with out having Mi and Fl count is unjustice to this election. They should do away with these silly caucus's and hold a one day vote country wide. Like on election day.

    The fact that supporters from both sides are getting down right nasty and vicious is sickening. Is this all the democrat voters have to show for themselves? We make the Republicans look like angels with all this venomous diatribe towards one another.
    You may not like the other candidate but can we please keep it civil.

    March 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. ann webb

    Of course he wouldn't be her pastor, I doubt she has one

    March 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Cathy

    Obama threw his grandmother to the wolves,the one that raised him what does that say about his judgement?And she was asked the question,she did not bring it out of the blue.GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. harold

    Jack this is to cheer you up some... Hilliary isn't all bad, Obama isn't all good,. but what gives with this rev Wright, trying to mess obama up in his quest ffor president? The rev says the white governemnt or people gave aids to the black people...despite the fact that lots of white people have aids.. does this make any reverant sense?

    no wonder I heard obama yelling to rev wright all the way from the virgin islands, I could hear him telling rev wright shut up and stop the stupid satements you are messing my carrer up.

    now Rev wright you should be happy to live in a country where your church holds a member running to be president. Any praise the :Lords and amens on that?

    March 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. Nuvi

    Hillary, stick to the real issues and stop inflating your resume.I am afraid you are a good candidate for a diagnosis of Munchausen syndrome.As a democrat I am tired of the half truths and misinformation of your campaign. I am afraid that at the end of this campaign your reputation is going to be severely damaged.
    You are hurting our party in a reckless and unconscionable way.

    March 25, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Where's the Unity

    Now wasn't it just yesterday Hillary wanted the party to unite..that may have been even this memory is fading with all these swings in her moods.

    I understand Hillary and "The Family" have some pretty radical religious beliefs too. I learned a group they support believes in just the "elite mattering", where "the quest of power" is the most important thing to strive for. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

    I think we will be learning more about Hillary's radical religious view soon. I personally don't care what she believes, but what is good for the goose has to be good for the gander.

    March 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Mike Sk

    Talk about desperate. Time to quit Hillary you took over a week to respond to the Rev. Wright issue and now that you got caught in a lie you bring up the Rev. Wright issue to change the subject . You deserve at pat on the back and your pals at Fox News would be proud. Hey Hillary you would of left the church but you stuck by your husband when he kept cheating on you. Isn't that bad behavior that should not be tolerated???? You are the postcard for hyprocrisy Please go away!

    March 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Keith

    You don't choose your family, but your husband does choose to issue criminal pardons to put a few hundred thousand in payoff cash in your brothers' pockets

    March 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. jennyM

    Well you do choose who you marry and she stayed married to someone who has cheated on her for her whole life. So clearly lying doesn't bother her a bit.

    Her whole life is a lie, not just Bosnia ... remember when she was giving testimony for whitewater? She couldn't remember, she could remember , she couldn't remember .....................on and on .... now she has forgotten Bosnia and it's a huge shocker to everyone .

    March 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Hillary Clinton is the leader we need in this unstable world we live today! Obama does not have the experience needed in these hard times! Even if we left experience at both senators time in their seats in the senate that would put Obama with three years and Hillary with seven years. I don't know about you but if my car broke down i would take it to the person with 7 years experience way before someone with 3 years! Just something to think about! Hillary Clinton 08!

    March 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. AlisonB

    Funny how she can seem to try to take the attention from herself by focusing on Obama. What does she feel it will accomplish the wright story is old news and no one is talking about it but they are certainly talking about her.

    And Hilary where are your taxes!! Obama's is available for all to see when are you going to show yours?

    March 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. Jonelle4Obama

    We are past this issue!! Move on Hillary! Move on CNN!!

    Can we please talk about the economy, loss of jobs, and the cost of gas! Enough is enough!

    March 25, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. OZ in Kansas

    That's right Hill!! Pastor Wright ain't good enough for you but he's good enough for your husband? Whatever.........

    March 25, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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