Hillary Clinton has weighed in on Democratic foe Barack Obama's latest bid to end a row over his former pastor, branding Reverend Jeremiah Wright's comments "outrageous" and "offensive."
Clinton was gearing up for her next White House nominating clashes with Obama in Indiana and North Carolina on Tuesday, and made her most expansive comments yet on the affair, which erupted again this week.
"Well, I take offense," Clinton said when asked about Wright's comments in her first interview with Fox News Channel's host Bill O'Reilly, who has been a fierce critic of Democrats.
"I think it's offensive and outrageous. I'm going to express my opinion, others can express theirs," Clinton said in excerpts of the interview published on the Fox website.
"It is part of just, you know, an atmosphere we're in today," Clinton said, in the interview taped on Thursday in Indiana.
Clinton has previously said she would not have remained as a member of Wright's church in Chicago, had she heard such incendiary statements.
In a surprise press conference on Thursday, Obama said that he was outraged by Wright's comments, and cast loose his friend of 20 years in a bid to mend damage to his White House hopes at a key moment of the campaign.
Among his fiery sermons, Wright once claimed AIDS was a racist government plot and suggested after the September 11 attacks that blacks sing "God Damn America".