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. Frank

    Frank, you're an idiot...this is hicks need stop voting for is giving the election to McCain

    March 7, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. yns

    This is NOT the first time I have heard that Obama will not do what he promised in the campaign as far as removing troops from Iraq immediately. Now there is confirmation from one of his "former" staff members (made before she "resigned"). Who is Obama trying to kid here about running an honest campaign? I knew there was something not right – wink to the Canadians about NAFTA, lie to the people about Iraq. Buyers remorse?

    Hillary '08

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

    The lady is making herelf unlikable more and more...I had lot of esteem about her...but she is losing it...she is just too much for herself...I don't think this attitude will serve americans..this is too much of is all about HER....

    March 7, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Dave

    Sen. Monster at it again. Can she get any more divisive? I always said I'd support her if she became the Democratic nominee. Now, she just scares me. Electing her would lead to four more years of gridlock . . . great.

    And as for those comments by Ms. Power, Sen. Obama stated in at least one of the debates that he would do what was best to protect our troops. Why wouldn't a president listen to advice from experts? Of course, Hillary likes to make up her mind and then just shove it down everyone's throat, but someone with the intelligence of Obama knows that's not the way to reach a solution.

    Maybe she should focus on her flip-flop on NAFTA or explain the math behind her alleged "35 years of public service." I'm so tired of her win-at-all costs mentality. Despite her experience (which is no greater than Obama's) and perceived intelligence, I think she's just not equipped to bring this country together and be a leader. All she can do is divide.

    March 7, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. A.L. Hall, Kansas

    Will somebody at CNN PLEASE cover the 1 million personalities of Hillary Clinton?!?!?! Was she not encouraging a Joint Ticket a few hours ago in Mississippi and now stepping to a Microphone to denounce and spin more of Obama's policy? Which does she really want? Can someone PLEASE cover this and start asking her these questions and bring to the public how often her opinion changes whenever the situation suits her best.

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. Sue

    The CNN blogs are a great place to bash Hillary. You Obama supporters can continue to delude yourselves into thinking that you represent the majority of Americans. You also seem to believe everything you read on the internet is true. Why don't you try reading to get both sides of the issues instead of the pro Obama crap you read on CNN and MSNBC. They actually have thought provoking and intelligent articles there.

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Pon Mao

    Come Hillary, get real! Of course one has to adjust the plan according to the situation on the ground, not doing so will be Stupid. We would like to elect a president who's smart and realistic, not stupid.

    And come back to you Hillary Clinton, why did you vote for the war to get us into this mess at first place? And now because you are trying to be elected president, you want to go back to change your vote? Is it because your were stupid enough to vote for it? Why don't you STICK with your decision when you first voted for it? Who's the real deceiving one?

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. jeff, oklahoma

    Hillary has stated a clear position on Iraq that she would meet with her secretary of defense and the generals on day 1 to make a determination on next steps. Ideally this would involve a phased troop withdrawal or re-deployment. That is her stated position so please disregard the ignorant rantings of the "Obama-potheads." Obama is just now coming into the light and as the returns from tuesday show... late deciders are breaking to Clinton. Has anyone noticed the continuing rise in the PA polls for Clinton and the shrinking margin in NC for Obama (was +14, down to +8). His campaign is crumbling just like their paper nominee... the house falls apart when there is no foundation people. Obama-heads: you can now go back to your crack pipes, pimps and johns.... along with your drugged out, terrorist loving, candidate...... ooooohhhhhhbama!

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. prairieguy

    I believe she also said before she implemented her 60 day plan to start withdrawing she would first consult those on the ground, etc as she wants to withdraw safely.

    No different than what Barack or Powers has said.

    God she better read her own debate transcripts before she opens her stupid mouth!!

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. Juan Michael

    With this NEGATIVE ATTACKS from the Clinton Campaign and this brew-haha about the do-overs in Michigan and Florida is REALLY beginning to look like politics as usual..... When can we just discuss the ISSUES, Pick a Candidate, and move on from there? ALL Politicians are JANKY at some level, NOT ONE IS WITHOUT some questionable mess in their past. As for the Do-Overs....... I'm with you Cafferty..... THE GOVERNORS should have never signed the BILLS

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Stanley

    Clinton gets to a new low everyday just to win!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Kim, GA

    Hillary is a monster. CNN why don't you blast the facts about Hillary being implicated with the NAFTA scheme, and the fact that another Clinton courtdate is pending right around the time of the general election (due to their finances). Why don't you give Obama an article each time you give Hillary one. CNN and Hillary SUCKS!!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. Changing times

    There's no reason for Obama to defend himself against this. Of course he'll consult with the military in 2009. That only makes perfect sense.

    Clinton is ridiculous and grasping at anything to try to get her win


    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. Adam Spivey

    Sadly, it seems that much like the "unsinkable" titanic. The Democrats are finding a way to sink their bid for the Presidency. At the beginning of the primary season the Democrats held the moral high ground in every regard for the Presidency. Now slowly but surely they are finding a way through sniping and misleading comments to give the Presidency to the Republicans. Whatever happened to a "can do" attitude. We live in a world of "can't do," and as much as Democrats tried to make their party different at the beginning of this process they have found a way to regress to the days of the past. I am troubled that a candidate as refreshing as Obama can be dragged through the mud by his own party's primary. Will Washington ever change? I doubt it. It makes me sad to know that no one (seemingly) represents real Americans and their wishes. I think we should vote everyone out and start over. Here is to true "Jeffersonian Politics"

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. CeeJay

    Candidate Clinton has already divided the Democratic Party and would divide the nation, if a miracle is performed, and she is elected President.

    She won't win in 08 though because she has already ticked off enough Obama supporters that we will not vote for her and may even vote for McCain to make sure that she doesn't win. Her nasty politics will backfire!

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. A.L. Smith

    If that's the first time Hillary Clinton has been called a monster in her lifetime, maybe she does need to get out the race. Surely she's been called worse in her life. Why do we have to keep up this pettiness? The Democrats have to win the White House back, and we need to get it together before we blow our opportunity.

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Missouri

    Hillary you are not mature enough to command this country... Your behavior = child behavior.
    Go OBAMA 08!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. TLo, VA

    To all of naive Obama supporters, you don't think that this is exactly the same thing that Obama would do if it is has been Hillary – oh that's right, he will have his minions do the job and claim that he has nothing to do with it and it is simply a "bonehead" decision to get involved.

    Wake up, this is the really life and the truth is coming out every day on Obama who is empty and full of rhetoric!

    Yes, We can (LOSE)!

    Hillary '08

    March 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Wayne

    When Hillary makes this lame charges why isnt we dont see a report on Obama's response?

    March 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Darren P

    OH NOES! Obama isn't going to blindly follow a path to it's conclusion like President Bush! He must be a liar for wanting to be able to change a strategy if the situation changes.

    Wait, he didn't say it? Someone who is no longer with his campaign said it? Wow, now it's even truer than before. Thank goodness Hillary is there to tell us that she will do exactly what she says she will do, nevermind the consequences.

    March 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. Tom

    Click here: AIM Report: Hillary Clinton’s Biggest Cover-Ups

    March 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. Michael, TX

    Obama is just saying things to get elected. He will do a major bait and switch and now it is coming to the light. You Obamabots still refuse to believe that you Golden Boy is not walking on water, and may be a liar just like the others.


    March 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. Sherri

    And this is a woman who is supposed to bring the country together? Give me a break. She continues to alienate people, twisting the truth, throwing out half truths and making insinuations without knowing the facts.

    I really hope the American people can see through her. It's all about the power and she will do anything to get to the top (including staying with her husband who committed infidelity more than once).

    It's apparent however, that many Americans can not see that she is a divisive figure. I see some comments that Obama can give a good speech. It is more than that. You need someone in the Presidency who can inspire people, persuade people and bring them together. And Senator Obama has done and can do it. Hillary just seems to make backroom deals, promises she can't keep, and oh yeah, attacks based on very little. I have seen her deceive but I have not seen her inspire.

    Besides, if she gets the Presidency, it will be Bill calling the shots anyway. Once again, Washington will be without any sense of integrity and America's stature or regard in the global community will continue to diminish.

    If Hillary gets the nomination, John McCain is more than capable. At least he is a person with integrity and honor.


    March 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. AntiBrenda

    Why is Powers resigning? Everything she said makes sense to all but Hillary of course. The woman is a monster.
    Obama (by the way the monster would have too but Lord forbid) will first need to uncover all the Bush and Chiney's hidden secrets before he can even know where to start. Can you imagine what is awaitng to be revealed to Americans once a new president walks into that white house?
    So Powers has nothing to appologize for especially when Hillary is known to be nothing but a monster. The only thing getting uglier than her politics is her face.

    March 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Happy Guy in NH

    I didn't think it were possible but the more this witch talks, the more chance for a McCain presidency – which as a Repiblican, I'd be fine with.

    If that's the case, Democrats, you should tar & feather your party "leadership". This one was yours to lose.

    March 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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