early and often

Hillary Clinton Fondly Remembers Reverend Wright


The Wright controversy … those were the days!Photo: AP

At its peak Hillary Clinton wouldn’t go near the Reverend Wright controversy. Yesterday she decided to try to reenergize it. In a meeting with the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (more on that later) Clinton said, “He would not have been my pastor. You don’t choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend.” And at a press conference later in the day, she reiterated the point while defending the choice to bring up Wright again, explaining that she was answering a direct question. It’s not as if what Clinton said was outrageous. But many people are suspicious of her talking about it now, after the conversation on the topic has finally tapered off.

• Vaughn Ververs isn’t surprised that Clinton chose yesterday to finally comment on Wright, because, simply: “Every day spent talking about Rev. Wright, race or any other even slightly controversial subject involving Barack Obama is a good day for Clinton. Every day spent talking about her embellished wartime adventures is a very bad one.” [CBS News]

• Andrew Romano doesn’t see how reigniting the Wright controversy will help Clinton. It may win over a few more white voters, but at a high cost to her image and the possible increased scrutiny of her own associations. [Stumper/Newsweek]

• Greg Saunders agrees that this plays into the “win at any cost” narrative, though it’s probably Clinton’s best option for two reasons: It’s better than the other major story line about her misstatements on Bosnia, and her base will simply see it as a more evidence of necessary toughness. [HuffPo]

• Kate Phillips ties Clinton’s comments in with the tiring negative remarks coming from all sides. [Caucus/NYT]

• Jay Newton-Small wonders whether comparing Reverend Wright to Don Imus was a smart choice for Clinton, since Wright was a beloved preacher sincere in his beliefs and Imus was trying to be funny. [Swampland/Time]

• Mark Ambinder reminds us that the audience Clinton had in mind for her remarks on Wright was the superdelegates. [Atlantic]

• Timothy Noah is flabbergasted not for what Clinton said but whom she said it to — the money-losing fringe publication Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, published by a man who could be considered the head of the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” Richard Mellon Scaife. “Compared with Scaife, Wright is St. Francis of Assisi,” writes Noah. [Chatterbox/Slate]

• Josh Marshall is likewise amazed, noting that Clinton actually spoke directly to Scaife, and that she had to have known he would ask her about Wright. [Talking Points Memo]

• Andrew Sullivan is not amazed, as this is what he’s come to expect from Clinton’s “kitchen sink” strategy. [Atlantic] —Dan Amira

Related: Heilemann: Why Hillary’s Last Stand Will Be North Carolina, Not Pennsylvania

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

Hillary Clinton Fondly Remembers Reverend Wright