March 7th, 2008
03:49 PM ET
10 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. g

    clinton stop trying to act as if u have never said anything as negative. get off it you hypocrit

    March 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. dee

    Shut Up Hillary...what deceiving have been deceiving everyone..

    March 7, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Kab

    How the hell is she going to withdraw troops in 60 days? that means we are losing war and chaos in IRAQ......

    March 7, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. Lesley, Texas

    My prediction for this evening: Clinton will be regretting her comments.

    Obama 08!

    March 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Greg

    Sounds like a monster to me.

    March 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. MikenMississippi

    Just getting back from meeting Senator Clinton in Hattiesburg, there is no doubt that she is drawing in the crowds and the support. The train depot where she spoke was filled with a very large and enthusiastic crowd. Been to two Hillary speakings in Mississippi over the past two days. There are a lot more Hillary supporters in Mississippi than the media tries to convey. Go Hillary 08! Many Mississippians believe in you!

    March 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. andrew jones

    Tis Billary, to be fair – is a monster. she can twist and turn and spin and lie about just anything to get elected.


    March 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Ratgurl

    Let's see,

    Obama says his plan is to withdraw troops, but should he become our nation's president, he will rely on input from military generals and peolple directly involved with how the war efforts are being waged. To me this sounds like an intelligent use of available resources. War can often be unpredictable, and he wants to make the best descisions for all involved. No wonder I'm voting for him.

    March 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Cathy

    Wow...Obama is really in a mess....Just words, Just words.

    March 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Ken, Austin TX

    What Hillary should be asking is "Why would someone call me a monster?" Instead, she just went along with her monstrous ways, circulating the story to news reporters, just keeping up more mess. Because this lady resigned, Hillary is going to go to bed tonight thinking she won a battle. I wish I knew I her number to call her at 3 a.m., I would really let her know what's on my mind.

    March 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Scott

    Again, Clinton will do anything and twist anything to her liking.

    What she said was the 16 month plan was a best case scenario. If there is some unforeseen happening that of course the 16 month plan may not work. If Clinton were to say that she doesn't agree with that she is lying.

    She is again doing everything she can cheat and lie her way into the nomination.

    March 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. J. Majury

    So Ob ama's adviser apologizes and resigns over calling Hillary Clinton "a monster." Well, Hillary is "a monster." She lies, cheats, secretes, calls herself "a feminist" when she's a proxy for her husband Bill's third term, does more faces than Lon Chaney, and worse. So why apologize for a honest description? Hillary and no one in her camp apologize for their outrageous slurs and behavior. To quote Bill, "Give me a break."

    March 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Sam

    What is up with all of this Clinton spin??? Is CNN afraid that SNL will make another skit of them?

    March 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. MN Woman

    As we say in MN, uffda! With advisers like this Obama doesn't need to worry about Hillary crashing his campaign, it's happening from within.

    So to Obama supporters, if he can't control his own campaign, he should just drop out. That seems to be what you keep saying about Hillary.

    Must be hard to take when this stuff comes up to bite Obama on the butt!

    March 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. mike

    Hillary is unbelievable!! What gall!! The sad thing for me is that I used to like her and Bill. Now the mere thought of them in the White House makes me sick. If she steals this nomination from Obama, you'll find this Democrat voting for McCain.

    March 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Trev

    So he has plans, he just doesn't plan on using them. Sounds like NAFTA. BTW on NAFTA, Andrea Mitchell talked to Obama staff today and they did talk with Canada about NAFTA! I admire Obama, but everything is too abstract with him.

    Hillary 08

    March 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. William

    Actually, Hillary has not consistently said that she would begin a withdrawal in 60 days. She always hedges on that and says things like "depending on conditions" or she will fail to specify that she will withdraw all troops.

    Both Obama and Hillary are deceiving the voting public on how they will handle the Iraq war.

    All you have to do is listen closely to what they say. They always use wiggle words so that they cannot be held to virtually anything they are saying to get elected. Because that is exactly what they are doing – saying whatever it takes to get elected.

    What? You didn't understand what Hillary meant when she said she "finally found her voice"? What else could it mean but that she found what the people wanted to hear?

    March 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Cathi

    It's getting tiresome taking things out of context for your media "shock." Too bad Clinton's trying to kill off the only viable candidate the Democratic party has for this coming election... Shame on you Hillary! Shame on you!

    March 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. No OBAMA

    This lady is so insane!

    But anyhow her resign just means OBAMA and his supporters are desperate and mad now.

    Let us see what's new tomorrow from obama? Any change? Is this kind of change what Obama means?

    2008 Hillary!

    March 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. Stephen

    What the heck is she talking about? Both candidates would adjust their plans according to the best information they have available at the time they would take office and based on advice from the people on the ground. There is no deception here... except Clinton continuing to sling mud whenever possible.

    March 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. Karen, TN

    If Clinton has said consistently that she would begin a withdrawal within 60 days, so has Obama. They both spend lots of time trying to make people believe the withdrawal will be immediate and complete, but if you take time to listen to either of their deeper talking points, they have both indicated that they will not act unilaterally without the advice of aides and experts on the subject. Isn't this what Bush is hated for doing – being a maverick and doing his own thing regardless of the facts? So why would we want Clinton or Obama to act like that? The campaign issue here is the way Clinton keeps throwing stuff at Obama that is so twisted up and often no different than herself, and people KEEP BELIEVING IT!!! When will people WAKE UP!!!

    March 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. vanchava

    Hillary is desperate.. her it is Obama fires an adviser for name calling her and she's still on the attack.

    March 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Sabrina, Las Vegas, NV

    Give me a break!

    SoLet me get this right, Sen. Clinton and her crew, can say whatever, but once someone calls her out, she's a victim?

    Clinton and her campaign team are throwing mud and calling Sen. Obama, anything but his name.

    Also, she has her nerve commenting on anyones campaign. Atleast Obama's camp is not fighting amongst themselves.

    Poorly ran campaign = poor leadership

    March 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. Jay

    This guy is spiraling down at full speed. His other foreign policy advisor yesterday said on MSNBC that neither Hillary OR OBAMA were ready to take that 3 a.m. phone call. He really needs to drop out of the race now. He has just totally given John McCain all the ammunition he needs to win this hands down. He is not a unifer – he is dividing the democratic party.

    March 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. Cj From Seattle

    And her comment was bad how? It makes perfect sense. Obama should rely on Generals to make a detailed plan for withdrawl. Even clinton said she would be advised by military people for the plan.

    And things do change in War clinton, so of course Obama will have to change his plan for withdrawl in the event of a change in Iraq! Clinton you are so stupid sometimes.

    March 7, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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