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. heather

    oh that;s right. but you would repeatedly lie to American voters or "misspoke" as you put it
    What a joke she is trying to distract people from the fact she is A LIAR
    POLITCALLY MOTIVATED just becaue the press is starting to ask you questions about your LIES about Bosnia
    Step down your time is up

    March 25, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. Stephen

    “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."

    I agree with the Obama campaign, that speech was one of the times Obama was uncommonly honest.

    March 25, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. NY

    People give it a rest. She was asked a Direct Question and she answered it. Obama would have just attacked her (as he has in the past) without even being asked a question.

    March 25, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. hazel in london

    yeah yeah yeah , sure, whatever Hillary. Get real.

    The Clintons will say whatever they think you want to hear – if it helps Hillary win. I'm afraid Hillary is away with the fairies – she should drop out of the race now and face up to the facts. She can't win.

    It's Obama all the way.

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

    Oh how I wish that Hilary would have commented last week. It seems like she holds these things in for future ammunition. That is not the behavor of a Commander In Chief. She should have addressed that issue a week ago and move on. Her remarks today should have referenced her response last week. This is such a politiclal game. God I am so tired of this.

    Alright already, she did not dodge fire in Bosna....Ok she lied . Alright already Barak's has a spiritual leader that is Crazy.


    March 25, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Catholic in Ohio

    Hey fellow Catholics – how many of your parish priests have molested little boys? Mine have but I still go to that church and I don't think anyone thinks less of me.

    Give this story a break Clintons and America for that matter. What Rev. Wright said was the truth and THAT'S why it makes everyone so uncomfortable.

    A white older female in Ohio (also Catholic)

    March 25, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. nick

    Is she going to leave Bill and find her a true First Man if she gets into the White House.
    I heard the WHOLE SERMON and I know that FOX spun it and cut it up to change the meaning. How sad for her to go that low.

    March 25, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Zan

    The blood is really starting to flow now. Obama and Hillary will be zombie skeletons by time the convention starts.

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. v.ananthan


    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. Marie, New Hampshire

    To use sniper fire lies in her campaign with a chuckle to get votes is disrepectful to the men and women who are fighting in the war. They are there trying to keep their heads down and praying that they will make it home alive. It shows there is No bottom to how low she will go.And to bring up Rev. Wright now she is only trying to divert attention from her sniper fire lies that has her in the hot seat. Hillary darling we can see right throught you. Give it up.

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. joanna

    Comparing O. pastor's racist diatribes with Mrs. Clinton's potentially dangerous visit to Bosnia ( a war zone) is like comparing your face with your arse. But of course, O. supporters have not the ability to see the difference. A mild exageration vs. racial hatred preached in front of susceptible children and adults that should have KNOWN better, but did not have the moral courage to tell the "preacher" what he was saying was wrong and divisive. Obama's supporter are fooling themselves in believing he is a uniter. More than anyone else in recent American history, Obama is a force for disunity with his hypocrasy and blatant miscaracterizations of his rival for the democratic nomination....and that is just him, never mind his " highly educated and mature " supporters.

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Sound_Mind

    OK. Would Bill Clinton remain husband of any woman with some dignity for herself, after all the humiliation and cheating and scandals.
    People do choose family . You do choose your husband and wife before you get married. Hillary has chosen Bill because of political ambition and stayed in the failed marriage for LONG time ONLY to support her own political ambition. Obama is a self made man. Hillary drop your last name and see if people consider you as formidable candidate as they think now.

    Wright was over the top at times. But he served this country as an US marine, unlike Bill Clinton. He talked about 9/11 being a result of failed US foreign policy but he was quoting an ex US career diplomat's discussion on a Fox TV program

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Dick Pittenger

    Knowing Clinton, I would be suspicious that she planted or arranged the question to be asked. That's the way she operates. Anything to draw attention away from her obvious lie about her heroice service in Bosnia, dodging under sniper fire that never happened.

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    I seriously can not stand her anymore. I'm not going to bash her, but I just can't stand her anymore and can't pull the truth from her lies.

    The entire rise to power and fame of Bill and Hillary is filled with lies and cover-ups. You can find entire documents and web pages devoted to, and completely filled with, the sketchy history of the two of them.

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Jack Walden

    The super-delegates need to step in and put her out of misery for good.

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Amy, Ohio

    So NOW she decides to comment?? Yep, better do something to distract the attention from her blatant lies (or should I say words that she "misspoke") regarding Bosnia.

    CNN..think you can post this?

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. sos

    Hillary is the last one to comment on that. we love who we love inspite of their weaknesses. If i want to use the same analogy, then women should not vote for Hillary because she stuck to Bill inspite of his repetative cheats on her.
    Fly above the nonsense Hillary, PLEASE.

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Tamara, Virginia

    All I have to say is Google: Hillary Clinton and "The Family" and you will see what type of religious affiliation that she chooses to have; she chooses a group of elitists who feel that they have the power to speak above us lowly, normal ,everyday Americans. Everytime that she opens her mouth, a lie spills out and she opens up a can of worms taht can destroy her.

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Can you honestly believe that this church and pastor do nothing put spout racist statements? What happened to thinking on your own and knowing when your clergy is wrong? That is one of the things we Amercians must be able to do.

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Jesse

    To Concerned Voter,

    Since when have you heard Obama from his own mouth say anything remotely racist? Have you already forgotten that Obama is of mixed race? It would be ridiculous for Obama to prefer one race over another. You let media spin and reverse bigotry sway you from the truth! Its like you have no mind of your own.

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Don

    Why on earth do we need to revote in California?

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Getting Tired

    It's very convenient for Senator Clinton to keep this going. It's unfortunate. If ever we had a chance to have a Democrat back in the White House, it was now. I am afraid that chance is slipping away. And, it's our own undoing. It's a terrible shame. Either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama would be a great President and either would make history. Instead, we'll be back with the same. Who knows when this opportunity will come again?

    March 25, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Onari

    Where is free speech? If Hillary do not talk . she will be criticized, if talks she will be criticized...You Hillary haters you want her to hide because of you.

    She answered a simple question, and she is crucified by perfect men and women like the Pharisees and Sadducee's. This is Ludicrous!

    March 25, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. dee, tx

    Hillary really can't speak to anyone credibility. How can you mis-speak about being under attack. The whole story was just ridiculous. I can see Bill encouraging Hillary to go into danger zone but not his daughter. Hillary should have stayed neutral, she had no credibility

    March 25, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Jane, Dallas

    Obama, his pastor, and his supporters are the ones made me ill and vomit to think of.

    March 25, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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