Rev. Jeremiah Wright said members of Barack Obama’s team tried to buy his silence until after the 2008 election, according to a new book.
“The Amateur,” author Edward Klein’s unauthorized biography of Obama, has been making waves with explosive claims that former President Bill Clinton called Obama an “amateur” and encouraged Hillary Clinton to quit her secretary of state post and run against him in 2012.
The New York Post on Sunday published a conversation between Wright and Klein, the latest tidbit to come from the book. In it, Wright said once his fiery sermons surfaced during the 2008 campaign, he received an email asking him not to preach until after November:
“Who sent the e-mail?” I asked Wright.
“It was from one of Barack’s closest friends.”
“He offered you money?”
“Not directly,” Wright said. “He sent the offer to one of the members of the church, who sent it to me.”
“How much money did he offer you?”
“One hundred and fifty thousand dollars,” Wright said.
Wright said he was also visited by then-Senator Obama himself, who wanted to meet in secret.
“And one of the first things Barack said was, ‘I really wish you wouldn’t do any more public speaking until after the November election.’ He knew I had some speaking engagements lined up, and he said, ‘I wish you wouldn’t speak. It’s gonna hurt the campaign if you do that.’
“And what did you say?” I asked. “I said, ‘I don’t see it that way. And anyway, how am I supposed to support my family?’ And he said, ‘Well, I wish you wouldn’t speak in public. The press is gonna eat you alive.’
“Barack said, ‘I’m sorry you don’t see it the way I do. Do you know what your problem is?’ And I said, ‘No, what’s my problem?’ And he said, ‘You have to tell the truth.’ I said, ‘That’s a good problem to have. That’s a good problem for all preachers to have. That’s why I could never be a politician.’
“And he said, ‘It’s going to get worse if you go out there and speak. It’s really going to get worse.’
The White House has already pushed back against Klein’s claims about Obama and the Clintons. White House spokesman Eric Schultz accused Klein of making up facts to sell more copies, while a spokesman for Bill Clinton called excerpts from the book “totally and completely false” and said Klein was “a known liar.”
Klein has said the facts in his book are sound.