March 7th, 2008
03:49 PM ET
7 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. Eunice, Maryland

    Hillary is my gurl.

    Hillary all the way. 08

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. Jessica, MI

    lol michelle, I think you may be right.

    I personally have had just about enough of this two-faced, bipolar, maudlin theatric, hypocritical "monster".

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

    Just words Just words.
    No truth, no trust
    Just word Just word.
    America deserve better.
    No to Boama

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. optimistic

    "No, I don't think so," Clinton said. "I am committed to beginning a withdrawal within 60 days. I have said that consistently."

    Hillary starts to sound more and more like a monster and a foolish one. She knows nothing about being the commander-in-chief.
    She is all talks about her qualifications and 35 years of useless experience.

    Prof. Power should not have resigned for telling the truth.

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Sam

    It's funny. I have been watching CNN and I hardly hear about the "monster" comment!! Imagine Clinton Advisor saying Obama "Monster" to Obama. You would have heard it over and over again. Go Hillary!!!! I think you are a champion, not a monster!!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Jermaine

    WHAT ALL THE RUCCUS IS ABOUT? I understand that the OBAMA camp don't need the distraction. I was a Clinto supporter prior the Ohio-Texas. It is evident that the CLINTON'S created the OBAMA NANFTA issue in Canada and then use the ideal entrapment scenerio to then turn around and use it as a dirty "BOMB". Clinton is indeed a MONSTER and I now know what the REPUBLICANS knew in the '90! Clinton, her campaign and especially the DEMOCRATS must be careful. I am a Soldier and there is no way myself or anyone else will vote for Hillary if this election continues in the gutter. Her use of gutter politics, which she said is the fun part should have been left to use against the Republicans. Hillary is so power hungry that her startegy is to bloody OBAMA so that even if he beat her, he can't win the Presidency, that is the ultimate betrayal to Democrats. IF HILLARY CLINTON is the nominee, myself and 90% of OBAMA supporters and 85% of the the "BLACK VOTERS" will VOTE MCCAIN, out of disgust. For all the negative campaigning she is doing and her supporters (Governors, Senators, Congress Reps) are all insisting it will unify the us the Dems in November. It is the BUSH tactic of not been honest, Hillary is the next Bush and OBAMA must do well to link her and Bill to Bush, as well as MCCAIN. It is time to set the RECORD straight, HILLARY IS A MONSTER!

    What Happened to COMMERCE SECTRETARY RON BROWN?

    WHAT HAPPENED TO VINCE FOSTER?

    WHERE IS THE TAX RECORDS?

    WE NEED CHANGE WE CANNOT HAVE ANOTHER 4 YEARS OF THE DISTRUCTIVE POLITICS OF THE 90'S. THE CLINTONS ARE RESPONSIBILE FOR THE DIVISIVE POLITICS OF TODAY.

    MAYBE LAURA BUSH WILL ALL HER EXPERIENCE AS FIRST LADY SHOULD RUN AGAINST HILLARY? JOKE- YES YOU GOT MY POINT!

    DEMOCRATS MUST UNIFY ON OBAMA, HILLARY IS A POWEDER KEG

    March 7, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. PJ

    Actually, the war to remove Saddam from power was done very successfully. It's the rebuilding phase that was the foul up.

    Obama supporters might be well served to actually study issues rather than pretending to be informed when they actually know nothing at all.

    March 7, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. Shannon in Galesburg, IL

    It seems to me that Obama's position of shooting for full troop reduction in 16 months but having the forethought to realize that that goal might not be met dependent on conditions in Iraq is exactly the kind of sound judgement Obama has displayed from the beginning. The goal, obviously, is to get out of a counter-insurgency (which we have never won), but the worst case scenario is a colapse of the fledgling Iraqi government with a totalitarian regime a la the Taliban taking its place. And some troops will have to stay behind in Iraq for counter-terrorism missions, which is all our military should be involved in in the first place.
    So what is Senator Clinton harping about?

    March 7, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. JAMES R, WYOMING

    Worst case scenario; Obama lied about NAFTA(Economic), now we again found out that he lied about IRAQ (Security), We already know his Health Care doesn't work for America, How about REZKO scandal?, Plagriarist and by God how much more scandals he will bring to the table. How in the heck America elect a Presidential candidate who continues to lie to the American people?
    Hillary Clinton is the CHANGE america has been longing for! Elect
    Sen. Clinton for America's sake!

    March 7, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. LT

    People, do you know how much dirt is under Hillar's bed? If you would only know, you would not want to even look in her direction.

    March 7, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Barb Canada

    Just figured out where Obama got his Campaign slogan "YES WE CAN" I sat down with my daughter to watch t.v. and realized he probably did the same thing, when Bob The Builder came on! Probably got most of his campaign ideas that day, We can Fix it Yes We Can... build some bridges, learn to work together, if it's inspiration you want just do what Obama did and watch Bob The Builder!!

    March 7, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Nader not looking so bad...

    How deliciously monstrous of her!
    Is the mudslinging graduating to the slinging of another medium usually reserved to certain primates?
    Shhhh... Can you hear Johnny giggling in the background?

    March 7, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  13. Bayou Joe

    So they got the anit-war people all fired up because they were going to withdraw the troops from Iraq. Obama said he would do it immediately and HIllary said she would do it within the first 60 days.

    Now it depends on conditions in Iraq. Same old thing just to get the votes. They need to go on the program " To Tell the Truth". and see how many answers they get right. Neither one of them will make it throught the first 5 questions.

    March 7, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Wayne

    NAFTAGATE. THe Clinton campaign contacted the Canadian governement. Go to Youtube..the reports are everywhere EXCEPT CNN. What gives. I can betcha this comment wont get past the moderators.

    March 7, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Toney Aderson

    With that statement, "No, I don't think so," Clinton said. "I am committed to beginning a withdrawal within 60 days. I have said that consistently” you have just shown how inexperience you are when come to Iraq. You don’t want to contact the military personal on the ground. That is just plain reckless. More ammunition for McCain should you win. No one knows what going to happen with in the next few months. You have to be flexible when it comes to withdrawing troop from Iraq. With that statement show how inexperience you are that you don’t want to consider what you military advisor might say. Just withdraw, I don’t know about that, you must thing about what you are going to say before you decide to attack another candidate, it could hurt you in the general election. This is just reckless, trying to capitalize on truthful information. You have to contact the military advisor before you withdraw troop from Iraq, that’s just the fact, it is in your own plan. Get with program!!

    Obama 08

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Mk

    "I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president. But perhaps that theory will be tested," he said.

    By raising Starr's name, Wolfson revived memories of the investigation that led to former President Clinton's impeachment. But many Democrats feel the Starr investigation was politically motivated, and injecting Starr into the debate is one more way for Clinton to depict herself as a victim of enemies out to get her. She's already complained recently about the media being against her.

    So Hillary, when is Wolfson resigning?

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Go Bama

    Billary needs to give it a rest I think America has had enough of the Clinton politics and as a country we need the change that Barack is going to give us Go Obama!

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Ed

    So the Obama people want to make Hillary look bad. I could just imagine what would happen if it where the other way around they would be crying and whining till 2012. CNN would report on it for days.
    Hillary just ignored the stupid remark and got to the more important thing like Obamas lies about how he is going to handle Iraq. Look how you all cry HA HA HA

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Subash Nanjangud

    It has become great pastime for people to just bash Hillary.
    I say " Go...Hillary'

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. Mary

    As a middle aged white female, life long liberal, feminist and democrat, all I can say is that Hillary IS a monster, unethical and immoral. She'll do anything to win including destroying anyone who gets in her way. If you want a preview of things to come under Hillary just look at her behavior the last few weeks and through all of the Clinton Administration. She doesn't want to serve the nation, she just wants to WIN. We will ALL pay a dear, dark price if she does.

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Lydia

    There is no way in hell I will vote for HRC if she makes it to November. I have absolutely lost all respect I had for her.

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. Jim

    I really like hillary and obama when they agree. We as Americans have to stop all back biting and wake up that this economy is in trouble. We have to be united in battling the woes on wall street and the mortgage mess. The government report lost of jobs again for the seconf straight month.

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Ken

    all you sick fools supporting obama .. read the article that cnn has published fully. It says clearly that it was Obama's adviser who spoke to BBC Hardtalk and discussed about their iraq plans, it wasnt clinton.

    For all what the exit polls show that obama supports are educated and wealthy ... but from where i stand, you are stupid and poor in common sense.

    the real hardworking people, the blue-collared workers, the ones whose sweat runs and built america will decide who will be the nominee and not you Obamabots who sit in their air conditioned rooms earning fat cheques.

    please read though the whole article before you decide to comment on it .

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Manny, NY

    Hillary is a monster. She is trying everything to scare voters. She needs to stay on her message and all to release her tax and white documents that she claims experience on.

    She is so scandelous!!

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. vsm

    "Monster" is one of the kinder tags I've heard – the real issue here is the BBC Hard Talk interview and the 'we can't make a committment now...' on leaving Iraq comment. Ask Obama about that, not about the name calling.

    March 7, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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