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. lugina

    OBAMA ...



    March 7, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. James

    Hillary Monster Clinton the poor poor old lady victim of bad men...wait a minute...some fems don't like her too?! I though Shrillary had locked up the vajayjay vote? Looks like the shoulder-pad feminists are a dying breed. Hilliary will be the last of them.

    By the way, Power is 100% right.

    March 7, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Jen







    March 7, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Maddog, Charlotte NC

    No Senator Clinton, this is another example of trying to score cheap political points!

    No Senator Clinton, this is another example of politics as usual!

    No Senator Clinton, this is another example of why you are offering false hopes of change!

    No Senator Clinton, this is another example of rush to judgement and why you are not ready to be commander in chief!

    No Senator Clinton, this is an example of why you will not win the Democratic nomination!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Rob

    Clinton will do and say anything to get elected. She attacks and then whines when she is attacked. She criticizes others for thing she herself does. Obama has been an elected official longer than her and it shows. He has a maturity about him that she lacks. Obama has earned everything he has. He has had nothing handed to him. I don't think the same holds for Clinton.

    March 7, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Frank

    Sooooo .. Clinton would NOT listen to the leaders of the millitary and she would NOT revise her plan if things work not as planned ?

    In fact, I think she would not listen to them.


    March 7, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. Ken Phillips, Jersey City, NJ

    Well 'NAFTA-GATE' is going to prove HRC to be a MONSTROUS – LIAR, the same way Bush and the Repugnants have always behaved.
    I find it ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGEOUS, her claim to a "LIFETIME-OF-EXPERIENCE" along with McCain and at the same time disparaging Obama for 'only giving a speech' as his "accomplishment"??!!
    Sen Clinton, I predict PA will be your political graveyard!

    March 7, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Cari NYC

    I don't see how reminding people that someone called her a "monster" is a good thing.

    March 7, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Mario

    Ugh i'm sooo heated... The picture by the story doesnt even make it better. Why can't you just run a clean campaign based on your positions and let the voters choose. Comments like that make people question if you are bi-polar...After being honored to be by Barack.

    March 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Alex H

    To MikenMississippi: "Many Mississippians believe in you!"

    It's too bad she doesn't believe in Mississippians. It's kind of an unrequited relationship you guys have got goin on with her... sorry.

    March 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. ap

    Hillary you are the best ...

    Obama .. your real face is coming out and change for hope that you preached is all but just words ...

    shame on you

    she might be a monster ,, but you are worse than that

    btw Shrek was the most lovable monster .... and so is Hillary

    Hillary '08

    March 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. js

    that is an any monsters who may have been mentioned in relation to hillary....

    She parodies herself on late night TV, so it is common knowledge first of all....second, it is much more factually correct than many clinton comments....and outright fabrications...

    isn't this person a volunteer???? get a grip....

    I think we need to convene the paris-lindsey-britney axis of airheads to weight in on this breaking news.....

    March 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Zion

    Hillary, give it a rest. Remember, you voted to send our troops to Iraq. If she gets the nomination, I'm voting McCain.

    March 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Bev, Kalamazoo MI

    Miss Power is correct in what she said about troop pull outs as well as what she said about HC being a monster. Neither Obama or Clinton can make any promise of troop withdrawl without talking to the military and intelligence advisers. Anyone that thinks otherwise is fooling themself. Obama and Clinton have both come forward with plans and promises on troop withdrawl and a smart voter knows that it's not a guarantee! I wouldn't want a president in office that wouldn't go the key figures first.

    March 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. From Ohio

    Senator Clinton, please, can YOU stop deceiving voters? Your campaign is the one making the most debase negative attacks towards Senator Obama. Your campaign is the one comparing a Democratic candidate to Karl Rove and Ken Star.

    Oh yeah, btw, how come CNN covered so extensively on NAFTA accusation to Obama and now only posted on tiny entry about how Clinton might actually be culpable?

    And where is the big headline saying that Obama Won Texas?
    It's confirmed. He got more votes with primary and caucus adding together?

    Why CNN? Why are you skipping all these important headlines?

    March 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Janice

    Hillary Clinton is doing her best to prove Samantha Powers was right.

    March 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Kris

    Obama has surrounded himself with academics who keep screwing up. If this latest snafu isn't evidence that he's not suited for the Presidency, I don't know what is.

    And speaking of Iraq and the business of war, I'm just a bit weary of all his "Hillary voted for the war" business. The facts are that congress as a whole backed the war, the media facilitated it, and the public sat glued to the TV supporting the media that brought you the war nightly. If you weren't for the war, why were you watching? And how about that war theme music, CNN? The media has never been happier than when their embedded reporters send something bloody tidbit back from the front and when the public could "ride along" with the troops.

    It would be lovely if you all would get the hell over your white guilt, and start supporting the real candidate able to lead the country: Hillary Clinton. You're trying so hard to show the world you're not racist, that you're actually being racists. Obama might make a good president someday, but right now he's just not ready. How many more blunders does he or one of his "educators turned advisor" have to make before you all get it?

    March 7, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. mauvaiseherbe

    Hillary Clinton is the best candidate that America has ever known, I hope with all my heart the victory of this brilliant woman!

    Not another candidate can claim to have such powers, the great American deep, deep Hillary Clinton!

    March 7, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. More lies???

    And we're to believe your plan, Billary? The one you know is a lie...withdrawing troops within 6 months of you claiming office?

    You're not a monster, you're a liar!

    March 7, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. Ashes

    Again, the Obama supporters are staring at the bark and not noticing the tree falling on them.

    Obama is the one making the promise of a firm pullout date, not Clinton. She has said over and over again that she would have to see what the current state of Iraq is before deciding when to pullout all the troops. She said she would pull SOME out in the first 60 days.

    He need to back up what he says and his advisors shouldn't be straying from that if it is indeed what he plans on doing. It has NOTHING to do with Clinton.

    If someone accuses you of a crime you don't point out the misbehavior of someone else. You clear your name. That's what he needs to do.

    March 7, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Frantz

    Its obvious CNN has been on the bandwagon to keep Hillary in this thing. They are continuing to slander everything in her favor. It sickened me how Lou Dobs and wolf Blitzer were obviously excited when they were getting the exit results on Tuesday afternoon. They showed that they were extactic that they were going to get to cover this thing further. And CNN did everything they could in the last week to make sure the democrats could not end this thing and unify. CNN sickens me. We have lost control of the political process some time ago. The media can pretty much steer things to go anything they want and its sad!!! I didnt really care which canidate won the nomination. I just wanted to avoid a the terrible fight that will hurt the party and most definitely hand the whitehouse to the republicans again. Well, once again, the media will have their way and decide which dem they want. Thanks alot for ruining the process. Especially YOU CNN, you guys are not fooling anyone, at least not me anyway!

    March 7, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. Stacy Clarks, Texas

    This is what is going to turn the millions of people that the democrats were able to energize this campaign season away!!! I wish Clinton did not bring it to this, I wish she did not drag Obama into this negative campaigning, and I iwsh people will remember that Obama tried to run this campaign as civil and fair as possible.

    I am a big fan of the Clintons, but it saddens me to see them turn our political system in this country to this.

    Obama tried to be as noble and positive as possible, and I hope he will remember that this is what turns people cynical in politics.

    I have faith in Obama, and I really hope he does not let Clionton drag him down

    STOP THE HATE, VOTE OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. Dre

    Here she goes with negative remarks when the media is going to tell Hillary chill out. Hillary is not to be trusted why did she praise McCain for being experience candidate and Obama no experience I think if she look demoncrate nonimee McCain might choose Hillary for his running mate. Hillary what going on with you and McCain.

    March 7, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. Hillary!!!!!!!

    Oh, Mr, Obama..............Time for you to drop out of the race.

    The fact is that you can't bring any change for us. I am sick to see your flip-flop tricks everytime.

    Go away......Mr. Obama............................anyone but you can be president!

    Hillary 2008

    March 7, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. Sakina

    Impeach Clinton.


    March 7, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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