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. rayjay

    Here we go again I think there was a song named that and most likley Clintons brainchild.
    What length will you go to Hil. to get your name on a BLDG>
    THis garbage makes me sick and I'm sure meny others who read your dribble.

    March 7, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Lisa, VA

    Hillary really is a decietful liening "monster". I so sick and tired of her dirty politics. Sick! After this election year I will NEVER EVER vote again. NEVER! 😦

    March 7, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Darth Vadik, CA


    I just heard that Hillary's campaign was the one who called the Canadian government and told them that all the NAFTA talk was political campaign rhetoric.




    IS IT 3 AM YET


    March 7, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Elmor

    Yes, this is exactly what I asked myself when I listened to Obama several times saying that he will pull the troops immediately from Iraq. I wondered how is he going to do this, and I wondered more if he really has a realistic plan for that. I waited and waited to hear from him any specific substance about that issue, but nothing new came up until I read this article. Do some people still believe that experience does not matter, do some people still say that he has a better judgment. I would not support someone for doing one thing right and then stands knowing not what to say when it comes to real action. Enough of just change, hope and yes we can. Why cannot you say something to make me really believe you? When the words are too big then one should be able to be up to it.

    March 7, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. anonymous

    It's obvious that Hillary will do anything to slander Obama's name and staffers to win the nomination. While I will concede that this woman should not have called her a "monster" doesn't give Hillary the right to act like one. HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A WOMAN'S SCORN!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Tony

    Obama is a flip-flopper, and he kowns he is lying to his voters.
    shame on you, Obama.

    March 7, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. Dennis

    Another example of the Clinton Campaign cutting and pasting comments to make it look like something else.. Samantha Powers says Barack Obama will not try to fix the Iraq situation by himself in "some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate," and what does the Clinton Campaign do? Try to spin that into saying he doesn't have a plan. Nobodys gonna fall for this one Hill.

    Americans WANT a president who knows he's human, not a president who's so egotistical as to think they can fix a complex situation like Iraq by themselves.

    Obama '08

    March 7, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. Aaron in KS

    Another example of how Hillary can't take the high road out of this. She had a great oportunity to come out of this looking like she was presidential material, but instead she decided to not just comment on this issue, but take it a step further and cite or "examples" of this type of problem that have not been substantiated.

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. CA boomer for CHANGE

    Oh...give me a break!! This woman is just evil!! She cherry-picks statements by people indirectly related to her opponent's campaign.... spins them out of context and uses them to create inuendo. Obviously she preys upon the uninformed. This is the Democratic version of a right-wing shock jock! If she is coming up with this stuff on her own, I think she should apply for a radio job when the campaign is over....Surely, the "you go girl" types can't be proud of this behavior. I am a proud, independent, educated woman....and the more I am finding out about this lady, the more disappointed I become. I know there has to be a better female prospect for the job than this, because "just anyone female" does not , by default, represent the best of us.

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. LENA

    My issue with her campaign is that she constantly circulates negative stories about Obama, making it infinitely harder for him to reach out to her voters, which ultimately, is something he would have to do as the dem. nominee. She has, more or less, no chance of winning the nomination, unless she wins all of the remaining states with an over 20 point difference (60-40). She's only tearing the party apart. Obama could easily send us all mesages of the negative news directed at Hillary, but, unlike her campaign, he hasn't...

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. give us a break

    Hillary is constantly shooting herself in the foot. She reminds me of Willey Coate andRoad runner. She works so hard to destroy Barack and find the mountain falling on her. I concure she is a MONTERRRRR..........................................

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Rightsaid

    She is getting out of hand. To say this raises "disturbing questions" and then turn around and say this is no different from what she or any new president would have to do when taking office is too much. HRC seems to have no shame. It's laughable.

    Obama '08!

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Robin Wagner from ct

    First of all my son is and been in Iraq 3 times over , As much as I want them home . You can not bring them home in 60 day and make it safe , All knows it take at lest a year or more to do this . So this her talk , First a year ago when this all began. She said in many debated a year she will do this , Now in last 3 months is been 60 day . ??????????? hummm i don't no why she flips a lot but she dose . Lie lie lie .

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Reggie

    At some point, doesn't there have to be some backlash from the negative – and often dishonest – campaigning that Sen. Clinton is doing? Everyone has denied the accuracy of the Canadian meeting report and the Obama campaign has distanced itself from Ms. Power. Voters will see through this.

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. California Independent

    I think the Obama supporters are a little upset today.

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Roman, Philadelphia

    Why is she still criticizing Obama over the NAFTA memo if the Canadians government aleady admitted it wasn't accurate? I'm starting to hate this woman.

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Mario

    This is just sillY!!! Hillary, any President with good Judgement can have an agenda prepared but change it upon getter better intelligence. You 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....Aren't your allegations Hypocritical? This is the same type of broken politics Obama Speaks about. Plus if the Canadian government have denied the substance of that report why are you hammering on thin Air??? You are making it worse for the Democratic party by making these silly allegations, You really almost endorsed McCain yesterday. i was once someone who would have voted for you if by all the bad luck in the world Obama didn't get it but I refuse to vote for you if he doesn't win the nomination. You are probably going to be as bad as a republican. You make Bill look very bad.

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Changing times

    Clinton is ridiculous!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. BGIV in NC

    I forgot to mention that the term that I have heard that suits her much better than "monster" is "SNARLY SHREW". I liked her more when I was still a Republican.

    March 7, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. WHAT?


    You have your pack of attack wolves out and about throwing in YOUR WORDS "the kitchen sink" at Senator Obama and you dare to critisize his staff for calling you what you are? A MONSTER

    You have your CHIEF OF STAFF liken Senator Obama to Kenneth Starr? Do you really want America to relive your enabling your husband's sexual escapades and subsiquent lies and perjury and obstruction of justice that lead to his impeachment trial?????

    The American people are smart enough to see you for what you are. You will not be elected Preisdent OR Vice President. If Democrats are too stupid to see that you do not belong on your party's ticket, then we'll have 4 more years of Republican rule.

    As is, I'm starting to lean toward voting for Senetor McCain now. Dems need to clean this mess up and decide what direction they want their party to go in. 4 years ago they couldn't even come up with a candidate to beat a President with a 40% approval rating. Now we're seeing why...


    March 7, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Clay Crain

    This is further evidence of an earlier comment that is becoming a refrain which is that Senator Clinton will use every tool to gain the nomination. After all, we can now see with hindsight that this is the woman who accepted her husband's infidelity so as to be able to one day run for the presidency.

    March 7, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Darth Vadik, CA



    March 7, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Alan J.

    Hillary has to be the nominee for the Democrats. For the vast majority of the jaded and cynical (read unimpressed with nothing more than empty eloquence) Obama is simply not an option. McCain is much more palatable as an alternative. If I can't have Hillary, I'll be happy with McCain, and so will a vast portion of the political middle of the roaders, like me. Obama should go back to the Senat for about ten years, and actually do something.

    March 7, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Rev. J R

    I have to ask what does this have to do with the issues. I would like to hear how the candidates will solve our educational woes occuring at the lowest levels ofour public educational system and how do we really pay for it.

    I don't care if Hillary is called a monster, which her actions cna help one make a determination here. I know she says she has all this expereince but there is nothing in her 35 years describing her dealing with a crisis, or negotiated a treaty. The answer is the same as she is accusing Obama of, she made a speech in China concerning womans rights, which probably led to the inprisonment of many women after she left, but this is not a negotiation.

    CNN seems to ok the actions of Clinton and criticize those of Obama. You seem to ok evil and surpress good. That is you promote the cryer and demote the one doing what is right by the process.

    Why isn't Omaba's name not on the top of the Political page.

    March 7, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. LeAnn

    Billary has some nerve talking about Obama deciving voters!
    She lied to all those pepole who voted for her in Ohio about the NAFTA issue.
    In fact, the Candian press said themselves that the leak wasn't from the Obama camp, but the CLINTON CAMP!!
    So what is she talking about??!!!
    She is so twisted and perverse that it makes me sick!! She choses to hear what she wants!
    I can't wait until this whole thing is over so she can go SIT DOWN!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17