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. Annie

    You want more? The election for the President of the United States cannot be dragged down to the level of reporting that is used for sensationalism. Such as in reporting on rock stars and unfortunate movie stars. That should be left up to the Rags. And those who are interested can pay for it. But keep us serious voters out of it. There is so much to be said about positive. Than give us all a reprieve, please....

    March 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. carlo

    Does this woman EVER quit? When is CNN going to get tough with her and not allow her to hog the spotlight with this foolishness? I guess Powers resigning isn't enough? She is pure unadulterated evil. Can the antichrist be a woman?

    March 7, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. John T

    NOT consulting advisers upon entering office would be the mistake.

    People – dumb comments made by campaigners, often sound bites of a larger conversation and bracketed for maximum impact – whether paid, such as Wolfson, or unpaid, such as Power, aren't news. They're trolls.

    Let the candidates speak for themselves. That said, isn't it a bit hypocritical of Senator Clinton to suggest that her course of action – virtually identical to Senator Obama's – is correct and his disturbing?

    March 7, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. Miguel G

    *sigh* Both plan to start withdrawing as soon as possible, but neither can pin-point an exact date or timeline. How could they? They're not able to see the future. Things happen. To suggest that Senator Obama is not as commited to withdrawing the troops as she is boggles the mind. They have the same position! That spin at the end of the article was so obvious, too. Of course it contradicts her own plan. It's basically the same plan!

    March 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. LaKecia McCaleb

    When Hillary and Sen.Obama first started this campaign. I was for her but she (Hillary) and her husband has made me like Sen.Obama more and more everyday. I voted for him. Not just for those pervious reasons. But for the fact that when he goes into office, we have a better chance with him than her. She is a very ugly person and the tatices she is using are not of a LADY.
    I have a young child and I want my child to have a furture.
    I real would hate to see her go into office.
    Thank you for your time
    LaKecia McCaleb

    March 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  6. Ito, Yokosuka Japan

    If it walks like a monster, talks like a monster, and acts like a monster...well...then it must be a monster.

    Obama is certainly showing some signs of inexperience when it comes to campaigning...while Clinton shows signs of her experience of relying on the ugly, the nasty, lies and half-truths, fear mongering, and finger-pointing.

    As for all the experience she claims to have...she never really cites it. She only says that she has it. When you actually look at her experience, it amounts to little more than a hill of beans. If that's all you can muster after 35 years, then you haven't really accomplished much. Remember, she would never be where she is today if it were not for her husband. She was the first lady of Arkansas (couldn't do that without Bill) and she was the first lady of the America (couldn't do that without Bill either).

    The Big question, would anybody even know HRC if it weren't for BC?

    The Answer: No.

    March 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Jay in Kansas

    Well, once again, Clinton is right on foreign policy.

    Obama is relying on his aides to speak on policy issues for him. Let's not elect someone just because he's a nice guy but on what they say and how they run a campaign.

    Clinton has been gracious win or lose and hasn't resorted to calling Obama names. I don't believe her campaign is responsible for the Muslim perception and i think that on the issues, she is the most qualified candidate in the race.

    She's well rounded on EVERY issue. That's what is most important.

    March 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. Allen

    Couldn't have said it better myself Bewitched.... Where is the Obama hotlink... Even when you read an artical about the two canidates there is always a hotlink on billarys name..... I agree with Bewitched... Why are you guys so biased?.....

    March 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |

    Clinton will win this kind of fight. Obama should stick to his message of hope and change, because he does stand a better chance that way. Declaring war on Hillary Clinton will not benefit his campaign, especially because he will be forced to fight with one hand behind his back. His people are going to be told to shut up. I wish he had that power of all of you Obama Drama Bloggers. It is obvious that Obama is making these mistakes because he is not prepared for this kind of battle, imagine how he could mess up wars and conflicts around the world. We don't need on the job training

    March 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. C.G

    Obama – seems an empty suit. It really shows how flop flip he can be.... I am really questioning his integrity during this compaign

    March 7, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. tim

    Mr. Obama will potentially suffer more from the slum lord trial than
    all the shots back and forth during the campaign.
    That trial may determine the nominee.

    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |


    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. Barb

    I am Black, if HIllary Clinton becomes the front runner, I will not vote for her!. I know I am only one person, but many "Back People" feel the same way!

    Hillary is not someone I feel can run this country. She is the kind I do not want as a President. She is not caring, she is known for lieing, and she is a woman caught up in a dishonest marriage.

    I have a gut feeling that she would stop at nothing. Its all about her, not the people. Once she gets into office, she will forget about all the folks that helped her. Look at the Black voters, we put her husband into office back in the ninety. Now she has kicked up to the side and chose to only express herself to the Mexican Population. Obama speaks to all people.

    At first, I was excited about this election, now I can't say I am.
    Hillary is not one who is liked in this country and in other countries.

    I Pray that God helps us if she is elected. Because, she is not easy to live with or work around.

    I am changing to Obama! I love the way Obama, is a caring person and he is HONEST.

    I believe Obama is chosen by GOD! to bring this nation together as ONE!

    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  14. Pete

    Pay attention to what Clinton actually said. She said she was committed to a withdrawl within 60 days, but didn't indicate how long the full withdrawl would take either. My guess is that she won't actually withdraw all of the troops when all is said and done.

    It takes some serious stones to blast the Obama campaign over the Canada/NAFTA issue when it's been definitively proven that HER adviser had the wink and a nod meeting with the Canadian officials.

    The fact that some of you still support her despite her history of lies and betrayal within her own party astonishes me.

    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. A from VA

    More of the same from Clinton.... twist his words and misrepresent what he says. Keep fighting Barack... no matter what the "Monster" says you will have a solid delegate lead in the end...

    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. Moshe

    Once again the world can see that Obama is a pathological liar!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Angela

    It seems like the Obama campaign is stumbling....

    Hmmm, guess that comes from inexperience....

    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. Brian

    HERE GOES HILLARY AGAIN with the negative attacks and smear campaign. Power was an ADVISER... not a PAID STAFFER.

    Her comments should be regarded as coming from someone with minor insider knowledge of the campaign or influence on it.

    The fact that this was a Scottish BBC interview should tell you how important she was.


    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    I don't understand why people think that anything these politicians are saying now is actually going to be exactly what they will do once in office. As we all know they have to get approval from others for most of what they want to happen anyway. They don't have the inside scoop that President Bush has right now either so I'm a little concerned that they already have a "plan of action" for the war in Iraq considering they don't have full details on everything going on over there.

    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Another half truth.

    Hillary's talk is beging to sound like, if she cannot have the Presidental seat as a Democrat then let me make my opponent leak horrible against Mccain with all her half truths. This would give her some hope that she could possibly run in 4 years. She has won only 14 out of 41 states. If this shoe was on the other foot, we all would hope that Barack would end his campaign. Someone needs to tell her to stop dividing the democratic party....Plain and simple.

    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Patricia Mejia

    Obama is a fake. He is trying to say that this woman was now an informal adviser! Baloney...If she wasn't central to his campaign policy, why would she even comment on his wishy washy stance about removing troops from Iraq. She herself said that he can't commit to anything. Everything about his is just rhetoric. He got caught on the NAFTA lies he was spreading about Hillary when the Canadians leaked the discussion with his adviser. They tried to back peddle and say that they weren't sure who it was, and even blame Hillary. It was only because CTV investigated the report and DETERMINED THAT IT IN FACT WAS OBAMA'S ADVISER WHO CALLED HIS POSTURE JUST CAMPAIGN RHETORIC AND THEY NEED NOT WORRY!

    Open up your eyes people! Obama and his motley crew are the worst of the worst politicians....ala Chicago style.

    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. somebody

    Obama lied to the left about his position on NAFTA, and now we find out he is lying about his position on Iraq. McCain is going to tear him to shreds.

    March 7, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. irishboy

    Just another example of the Clinton campaign using double talk to attempt to divert any news away from her. What about her alleged advisors talking to the Canadian government about NAFTA? What about her not releasing tax information about the earned income of her and her husband, nor who has contributed to his foundation? Where did the $5 million come from? What about the comments made about the people of Mississippi? The fact that she compares Obama to Carl Rove is a joke. Who used the politics of fear in the days leading up to Ohio and Texas to scare people into voting for her. She talks about changing the way that politics work in Washington, but continues to use the same old tactices of the current administration and that of her husband. The three greatest lies are always told after the marriage, during the hunt, and in politics. Give me a break.

    March 7, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. foreigner in US

    What is wrong with these people????/// Can't anyone read English any more???????? What is wrong with what the adviser said in total??? These people will soon over play there hand, just watch

    March 7, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. sr

    why is her campaign's connection to Canadian officials not being displayed, or the story regarding the huge stock windfall attached to her husband's presidental library, or the many other scandals attached to her "experience". has the media been so manipulated by her recent whinning that you now avoid any story or bit of relevant news?

    March 7, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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