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 Foust

    It is a sad time in America when a stereotypical politician such as Hillary Clinton has no problem standing or sitting before the American people–polished and deliberately being an effective executer of untruths about Barack Obama and his campaign, leading the dirty-politic games, attacking Barack Obama's religion, and speaking in such a condescending tone towards a member of her own party. Clinton's strategy is to win all any COST! Based on all her support for John McCain lately, one has to think is she a Democrat or a Republican? The Democratic Party leaders need to step in now-by asking her to tone it down or get out of the race!

    March 7, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    And the monster keeps going. What's wrong with Obama's plan of not just relying on his plan but include the ideas of people on the ground in iraq. It goes to show that he is a wise guy. He is not deceiving anyone but you (Clinton) are, you are the one behind the canadian Nafta saga and you used it to decive people in Ohio. You are indeed the devil's twin.

    March 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Case

    Hillary is witch, just look at the faces she makes in the debates.

    Not only that but she is not the brightest witch. Her ego is blinding her to the fact that she can not win in November. She can not pull indpendent or disenfranchised votes.

    Hillary=McCain and more war and troubles for the economy.

    Independent for Obama, then McCain, never ever for Clinton machine more of the same polictics.

    March 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. GF


    Some one should pounce on Hillary about her Peter situation in Califorina.

    By the way, was I the only person wo heard her say, during her late night speech in Ohio on Tuesday, that "We will Win in Iraq and Afghanastan. Does that mean that she will not carry out the "solution" that she has put forth to the "big states" that she will begin working towards pulling our troops out day one of her presidency should she win (steal) the Democratic nomination and the general election?

    What about her standing up for the people in Florida and Michigan? Why didn't she stand up for them when their leaders were making the decision to move the date of their primaries up, knowing it was in violation of the Democartic Parties rules and that their would be severe consequences for the voters in those states as a result of moving up the date? She knew it and she didn't speak up for them then, because she was arrogant to think that her opponent was insignificant and not serious about becoming the 44th president of the USA. Now that she realizes that math is constant and can not be changed. She wants to speak up of the voters of the rogue states. She wants to disregard her party's rules. I would have respect for her if she would publically say, "As much as I would like for the votes in Florida and Michigan to be counted and the delegates to be seated at the Democratic convention, the rules are the rules. The party leaders and elected officials, governors included, decided not to abide by the rules and therefore, the must suffer the consequences of not doing so. I am not running a win at any cost campaign and will not attempt to divide and destory my party for my own political advantage." That would speak volumes of her character, but from what I have witnessed during the past few days and read about her and her husband's political careers and scandals I don't think it is in her to do the right thing.

    March 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Miami

    Obama is not Little Red Riding Hood. He's the wolf.

    March 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Jack

    The only problem is that Obama has been criticizing Clinton for wanting to meet with her joint chiefs of staff and the generals on the ground before she makes any final plans to withdraw. This is what he has been campaiging against her...don't you Obama fans listen to what he actually says? Clinton has been consistant that she will meet with her joints chief of staffs and get their advise before any premature withdrawal. Obama has never publicly said this. He has only told us that he will withdraw within 60 days and nothing more and nothing less has been said. Which is why th rest of America is beginning to get skeptical of this guy. He's all talk no action.

    March 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Tim

    Dont be fools! I wont vote for your candidate and you wont vote for mine. This election is lost to this bitter fight.
    But by all means, keep on telling yourself that we will hold hands and sing Kumbai-ah and be united.
    Too late folks.
    Its too ugly to unite. Screw it

    March 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Matt NC

    I don't think this needs to go on any furthur. Everyone is trying to get Senator Clinton to drop out of the race. Let's get Real. The person who needs to drop out of the race is Obama. It is apparent that this man is doing nothing more than trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people. He has contradicted himself too many occasions to be trusted as the President of the United States. Say one thing to us and something else to other countries behind closed doors. He doesn't seem to be able to keep a handle on what his staff of advisors are saying to people around the world from one day to the next. Get REAL PlEASE. As I have said many times before, Obama is not the answer to America's problems. If anything he is going to be America's problem if elected President. I requested not to long ago in one of my posts for the American people to ask two important questions: Who is Barack Obama?, and Will the real Barack Obama please stand up? Well, I think America is finally getting the answer to both of those questions and unfortunately it is not what a lot of people wanted. But like the saying goes: Better late than never and everthing that glitter's ain't gold.

    Young black male from NC. I support Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.

    March 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Harry

    The truth will set you free!

    Whereas Ms Power' comments were unfortunate...they were human and quite frankly what most Americans have been thinking. A more diplomatic argument might be...are there any boundaries within the Clinton campaign and is winning worth compromising your integrity?

    Of course we all know the answer to that. Look no further than Clinton putting McCain ahead of Obama on key issues-how shameful This is the end of the road for her and it's not flattering. She now has more attorneys working for her than advisors hatching all sorts of plans to "steal" this election from Obama.

    After being inspired for the first time...yes in my "lifetime" (at age 44) by the prospect of an actual shift in thinking and business-as-usual I am once again disgusted by the politics of politics.

    Hilary, like her husband, is a professional politician who is...yes the more experienced "politician" however not candidate.

    March 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. Debmood

    Hillary is a monster and the Queen of deceit. She has managed to divide voters with fear, smear and down right lies. That is her legacy!

    March 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Texan for Progression

    to sum up the difference b/w Obama and Clinton, simply consider this. regarding Power's Iraq comments outlined in this article, i am more than confident that had the "shoe been on the other foot" and Clinton had made this comment, Obama would have agreed that it is the responsible thing to do and he potentially would have even commended her for the insight. in stark contrast, Clinton's response is, " accuse Obama of deceiving voters. " irrespective of the fact that her "....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."

    March 7, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Leen

    Again Hillary is taking things and twisting them to her advantage. Of course, anyone in office will have to react to the situation in Iraq and begin withdrawal in a sensible fashion. Anyone who thinks that the next President will take office and pull all troops out is naive. Why fault Obama for having common sense and working intelligently with the situation at hand? Hillary is behaving like an egotistical brat who will do or say anything to get what she wants.

    p.s. why isn't anyone talking about the Peter Paul fundraising scandal???? Hill at her finest.

    March 7, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. Jim, American in Paris

    Obama doing what he does best, TALK.

    The Irak thing if really getting a lot of people fed up. It doesn't hold water since Irak is Bush's baby and no one else's.

    Hillary lived at the side of President Clinton for 8 years, learned, and even was involved in foreign policy. Obama can't make the same claim!


    March 7, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. paustinx

    I think the Republicans will have the last laugh and carry the White House in November. Clinton will make sure if she doesn't get the nomination Obama won't win the White House either. Even if she does get the nomination McCain will win anyway :-). The only way democrats can take the white house is to unite with Obama.

    March 7, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. BenC




    You say and do anything just to win.

    Just as you were at Walmart for 6 years, you and Walmart called the Union Workers "blood sucking parasites". How evil.
    You don't even admit to have dealt and been so close to Peter Paul.


    March 7, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. Chuck in Oregon

    It sounds to me that Powers was "VOICING HER OWN OPINION" and not that of Obama's. It is silly how things get spun in so many off the wall directions. Of course this is "POLITICS" Hillary needs to graciously accept the appologies rendered and leave it alone. It is obvious that Powers was voicing her opinion. Obama on the other hand needs to gain better control of his paid as well as unpaid staff. They have no business talking for Obama with out his approval, he also if necessary he needs to give them talking points to cover and that is it. Nothing more or less.

    No matter how it is spun by the news media this is nothing but pure silly politics.

    March 7, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. Paul

    Dear Clinton News Network:

    Why have there not been any stories on the Canadian government and CATV publicly apologizing for the Obama NAFTA fabrication AND the fact that Clinton's camp was the first to discuss the NAFTA rhetoric with Canada? I haven't found a single mention yet.

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. EH from NC

    Monter, nutcase, multiple personalities, all she does is whine and moan and make statements she can't back up. The only reason she's getting away with it is that Barack is trying to keep things civil...but boy, McCain sure won't...they will dredge up every last thing that they can find (and there's a million) and pound her with it. Funny how the worst thing they can find on Barack are comments made by advisors and tenuous links to other politicians. And CNN, where is your comment on the fact that Rezco has donated MORE money to Clinton than to Barack (and she hasn't given it back??!)

    At any hour of the day, I would rather he answer the phone...he'll actually pay attention to all sides of the issues and make an informed decision. Clinton, like Bush, has her opinions, and if you don't are the enemy...who needs 4 more years of that?!?!

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. anne in wisconsin

    I am going bonkers with the Obama supporters saying they will vote for McCain if Clinton wins and vice-versa–Clinton supporters saying they will back McCain before they vote for Obama. Are you CRAZY?? Clinton and Obama hold similar policies, will hire similar people and, in the end, will get similar types of things done. McCain has swallowed and supported Bush II hook line and sinker–it will be more of the same. I support whichever DEMOCRAT wins the nomination–EITHER will make daily life better for the majority of people! THere is a huge difference between the values of these two parties and DEMOCRATS are better for the everyday lives of MOST people.

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. G

    It's so funny to see all the "typical CNN viewers/Obama Supporters" get mad at Hillary....I love it!

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. scat398

    Democrats need to act quickly and remove hillary from this race. Republicans like me will be switching back to Mcain is she is allowed to stay in this process for much longer.

    Somebody get Al Gore and John Edwards to come out for Obama before it's to late.

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Mike

    Hillary is so full of it. I couldn't bear to listen to her beyond this election. Please vote for Obama and send her home to New York. Then we can get on the general election: McCain vs. Obama.

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Bewitched

    I thought I'd try to get a word in... But the mods don't seem to like what I have to say. It makes me sick to even think about this lier even being able to think about the whitehouse.... Besides..... They just got thier china collection back togather after bill and herself left the whitehouse the first time....

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. CW in DC

    Hey CNN why aren't you covering this: Washington Times newspaper online is reporting a $700,000 windfall Bill Clinton received in dealings with Armand Rousso who was recently convicted in some shady dealings. Check out Washington Times online.

    And what about Peter Paul vs Clinton. Unlike the Rezko trial that didn't list Obama as a witness – the Clintons (including Chelsea) are listed as witnesses.

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. MO

    Was she speaking for Sen. Obama? if she was then Obama is deceivng the votes.

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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