At The Caucus, the NY Times’ political blog, there’s the following this morning. [excerpts]:
During one of the most difficult periods in the presidency of Bill Clinton, he addressed a group of clerics at an annual prayer breakfast in September 1998 just as the Starr report outlining his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky was about to be published.The Times goes on to quote a Clinton spokesperson who says President Clinton met each year with tens of thousands of people at thousands of events.
Among those in attendance, was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., who is seen shaking hands with Mr. Clinton in a photograph provided today by the Obama campaign. ( You can view it here and return to this post when you’re ready and if your willing. JinC )
In providing the photograph to The New York Times, the Obama campaign appeared to be trying to divert some attention to the Clintons after a week in which Mr. Obama’s relationship with Mr. Wright has left him facing one of the biggest challenges of his campaign.
There is nothing in the picture or the note that addresses whether Mr. Clinton had met Mr. Wright prior to the White House meeting or whether he or Mrs. Clinton knew anything about Mr. Wright’s views. …
I don’t see much significance to Clinton’s White House prayer breakfast invite to Rev. Wright.
I only call the Times story to your attention because it reproduces part of the Times' story of the 1998 prayer breakfast. That's worth reading, especially by those of you who have dimming memories of just how masterfully Bill Clinton in his prime could play an audience. From the 1998 story by former Times reporter James Bennet:
With tears in his eyes, President Clinton told a roomful of clerics this morning that he had sinned, speaking just hours before the world was presented a painstaking account by prosecutors of when, where and how.I wonder why he thought Monica needed forgiveness.
Addressing an annual prayer breakfast at the White House, Mr. Clinton drew on the New Testament, the Yom Kippur liturgy and Ernest Hemingway as he made his most abject confession yet of personal failure, while declaring that he would defend and redeem his Presidency.
‘’I don’t think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned,'’ he admitted softly, saying that after resisting expressions of contrition he had reached ‘’the rock-bottom truth of where I am.'’
For the first time, Mr. Clinton also asked for forgiveness from Monica S. Lewinsky, on the day that the details of their intimate relationship — details that he had denied and struggled to suppress — poured out through the Internet, whose wonders as a tool of communication he has so often extolled. …
Did she forget to order extra cheese on the pizza she delivered to the Oval Office?
Here’s the Times’ article in full.