March 7th, 2008
03:49 PM ET
7 years ago

Clinton pounces on Obama adviser’s Iraq comments

Clinton's campaign is hammering Obama over Samantha Power's Iraq comments.
Clinton's campaign is hammering Obama over Samantha Power's Iraq comments.

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton's campaign Friday seized on remarks from Barack Obama’s former adviser Samantha Power, who told a BBC program this week that Obama "will of course not rely upon some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or U.S. senator" to remove U.S. troops from Iraq.

Power resigned from the campaign on Friday after she told a Scottish newspaper that Clinton was behaving like a "monster," a comment she quickly tried to retract, according to the newspaper. The Obama campaign hastily noted that Power, a celebrated academic who joined Obama's senate office in 2005 to work on Darfur issues, was an informal adviser and not a paid staffer.

"You can't make a commitment in, whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008, about what circumstances are going be like in January 2009," Power said on Thursday's edition of the BBC show "Hardtalk," describing Obama's plan to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq in 16 months.

Power agreed with the BBC interviewer's assertion that Obama's plan was a "best case scenario." She argued that upon taking office, Obama "will rely upon an operational plan he pulls together in consultation with people that are on the ground to whom he doesn't have daily access now as a result of not being the president."

The author emphasized in the interview that Obama "will try to get us forces out as quickly and as responsibly as possible and that’s the best case estimate of what it will take."

The Clinton campaign circulated excerpts of the comments to reporters on Friday minutes after Power resigned over the "monster" comment, and Clinton herself took to the mic at a press conference in Mississippi to accuse Obama of deceiving voters.

"While Sen. Obama campaigns on his plan to end the war, his top advisers tell people abroad that he will not rely on his own plan should be become president," Clinton said. "This is the latest example of promising the American people one thing on the campaign trail and telling people in other countries another."

She also referenced the recent controversy surrounding Obama's economic adviser Austan Goolsbee, who reportedly gave assurances to members of the Canadian consulate that Obama’s NAFTA criticisms were little more than campaign rhetoric. Both the Obama campaign and the Canadian government have denied the substance of that report.

Clinton said Friday that Power's Iraq comments raise "disturbing questions about what the real planning and policy positions with inside the Obama campaign happen to be."

"He has attacked me continuously for having no hard exit date," she continued. "And now we have learned that he doesn't have one. In fact, he doesn't have a plan at all according to his top foreign policy adviser."

Despite her charges against Obama, Clinton's own Iraq plan also calls for a high-level meeting with military and intelligence advisers upon entering office to evaluate the situation on the ground and strategize about how best to withdraw troops from the country.

She was asked at today's press conference if her comments about Power and Obama contradict her own plan about how to withdraw troops.

"No, I don't think so," Clinton said. "I am committed to beginning a withdrawal within 60 days. I have said that consistently."

– CNN's Peter Hamby and Mike Roselli


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Iraq
soundoff (416 Responses)
  1. C.G

    For all Obama's supporters, did you all forget how John Kerry lost presidential election four years ago? – Flop Flip

    It is so stupid to ask Clinton's tax return since it is not even April 15. I am more interested in learing:

    What's Obama's tax return with Ruzko's contribution?
    How much did he pay for the land/property bought from Ruzko?
    What is his real Iraq plan?
    What is his real NAFT plan?

    March 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. andrew jones

    DO THE MATHS "UNEDUCATED" BILLARY VOTERS!

    BILLARY CAN TWIST AND SPIN AND LIE AND BE A MONSTER ALL SHE WANTS, BUT THE MATHS IS AGAINST BILLARY!

    EVEN IF BILLARY WINS THE REMAINING 11 CONTEST BY 20% (WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN IN THIS LIFETIME), OBAMA WILL STILL BE LEADING WITH THE MOST PLEDGED DELEGATE AND ONLY NEED 100 SUPERDELEGATE TO CLINCH THE NOMINATION!

    SO THIS GAME IS OVER BILLARY. CUSS AND SPIN ALL YOU WANT; YOU WILL ALWAYS REMAIN A MONSTER!!!!

    VOTE OBAMA – THE RIGHT CHOICE, THE UNITER!!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Fatima

    Chris you are absolutely right about the number of voters in this country that are intellectually lazy. I just had a conversation with a co-worker who expressed her admiration for Sen Obama but is doubtful of supporting him because he is a closet muslim and doesnt even say the pledge of allegiance (with his hand on his heart)!!

    March 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Kits

    Hillary is definitely a hard core, old school Polititian playing dirty and stooping to any level to win. I do hope the rest of America do NOT get carried away with all the negative campaigning that Clinton is stooping too, like the people of Ohio & Texas did! I heard someone saying that "good guys finish last". Please please let me that is NOT true. Obama may not be perfect but he id DEFINITELY a true gentleman and we should give him a chance to try and bring in change in the way politics in handled in the US... I know is it very impolite to call someone "monster" but what do we call a person who is cunning, plays dirty, cheats, using disgusting tactics to win. I believe a person should come up in life by showing his true potential (on merit) or what he / she is capable of and NOT by putting the competitor down.

    March 7, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. NC

    Since I actually paid attention to all the debates that Hillary demanded, I know that he has "always" said he will be just as careful coming out as Bush was "careless" going in. Which means he will "listen" to the millitary people about how to make this happen. I would hate to think that he thought he could do this "without" getting information from the military.

    Maybe this is why the media keeps calling Hillary supporters "uneducated"

    March 7, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. Lamont

    I remember when the press was saying that Hillary had gone to far with her nagative attacks on Obama, and then came super Tuesday 2. Now everone is staying he should attack back. This is why in the end he will win! Taking the hi road is on best from him it will make her look silly.

    March 7, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. Dave

    I still don't understand the whole uproar over Powers' statement which referred to Hillary as a "monster".

    If we look up the definition of monster, here are a couple of definitions:
    1. any creature so ugly or monstrous as to frighten people
    2. a person who excites horror by wickedness, cruelty, etc.
    3. a cruel wicked and inhuman person

    Looks to me like Powers was just calling a spade a spade!

    March 7, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. Independent in PA

    How bout asking HRC to denounce and reject Gov Rendell of PA as he rallied and spoke favorably of Louis Farrakhan at a rally in Philly when he was mayor.
    Billary/McCain
    That's where her tricks are leading to.
    Oh and dude in Austin, I'm with you, I wish I had her number to call her at 3am too....

    March 7, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. Jen

    Federal archivists at the Clinton Presidential Library are blocking the release of hundreds of pages of White House papers on pardons that the former president approved, including clemency for fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich.
    The archivists' decision, based on guidance provided by Bill Clinton that restricts the disclosure of advice he received from aides, prevents public scrutiny of documents that would shed light on how he decided which pardons to approve from among hundreds of requests.

    Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, told reporters in a conference call in which he specifically cited the slow release records from the Clinton library. "If she's not willing to be open with (voters) on these issues now, why would she be open as president?"

    March 7, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Christian, Tampa FL

    Actually, what Power said about Iraq is consistent with what Obama has said, as well as what Hillary Clinton and John Edwards have said, in past debates.

    This is somewhat of a non-issue, considering that Clinton herself has made similar Iraq comments.

    March 7, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Lyn Anson

    Howard Wolfson is running around loose while Barack Obama’s top Adviser resigned due to a misstatement. Wolfson is no better as he accused Senator Barack Obama’s actions as that of Ken Starr’s. Why they wanna go there we don’t know but it looks like it’s a politically motivated attempt to play the victim card as that was Hillary’s role in the Lewinsky-Bill Clinton era. Howard Wolfson should resign! His misstatements about Senator Obama are intolerable. Justice delayed, is justice denied!

    March 7, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. JB

    I agree with what Sharon said... somebody should ask Hillary whether her plan is set in stone... She will say anything to get into office... Why CNN are you allowing Clinton to run your new room?

    March 7, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. dale in indiana

    SOUNDS LIKE SOME OF OBAMAS STAFF ARE LIKE HIM.. INEXPERIENCED TO RUN THIS COUNTRY. HOW COME OBAMA SAYS HE'S AGAINST THE WAR IN IRAQ, BUT VOTES THE SAME AS HILLARY TO FUND T HE TROOPS.. EITHER HE IS FOR THE WAR OR AGAINST IT. SOUNDS LIKE MORE POLITICAL SPIN TO ME...GO HILLARY

    March 7, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. seen it ALL BEFORE

    Shame on you Obama supporters. What happened to the high ground you all claimed was your territory. This blog reads like u have morfed into a bunch of schoolyard name callers yourselves.

    Hillary and her supporters are beginning to look better and better just by behaving like adults rather than tantruming brats. Stop the hatred!

    This is just the kind of nasty tone that pushes independents like me to finnally stand up and vote for Hillary for President!!!

    March 7, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. laurie

    You Tube video: hillary uncensored. Hillary backers get informed, you may actually change your mind!!!

    March 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. Sarah

    Samantha and Obama – Like with Like

    March 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17