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. Miguel Hernandez

    She does the mash...
    ..the MONSTER mash...

    March 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Jane

    Joe from Boston you are exactly right. Hillary has always said that she would consult with her joint chiefs of staff before making any final decisions about withdrawal. Obama has never publicly said this and sometimes scrutinizing Hillary on this one issue. So I think that Obama is talking out of both sides of the mouth.

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

    Actually I agree Hillary is behaving like a monster.

    March 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Rob

    Hillary will now hint every day that Obama could be her VP..this is the same technique she tried before the primaries...."I am the inevitable need to vote....I deserve it" Now even though she is loosing she is starting to pick HER VP. Please people, don't fall for this. The Clintons are the masters of the big lie!

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Ben


    The American people are not stupid. Keep that in mind.


    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. GO HILLARY!!!!

    Wow......Obama's losses must have not sat well with his remaining all seem a little shaken, frustrated, and confused 🙂

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. Patrick


    Why would Obama, who has won more states and delegates and (oh yeah) votes, accept the veep nod from Hillary.

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. AE

    She is a monster. Look at her! How in the world can she say she's considering Obama as a running mate and she continues to dig her claws into him at every turn. I wish I could call at 3 am too and let her know what I think.

    I encourage the Obama campaign to continue on in the manner that they began. Run a campaign that focuses on the issues. Leave the name calling and bickering to Hillary Clinton. Rise above, continue to inspire, continue to embrace change, continue to encourage us to hope. Don't lose sight of the BIG PICTURE.

    Obama 08

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. rubia

    It's Obama and his people that keep digging themselves deeper and deeper into a hole. Obama needs to get a grip on his staff.

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. dcooney

    Let's face it. If Obama gets the nomination we might as well just give it to Mc Cain. Clinton is the only one who can fight and beat the Republicans. If he thinks Clinton is a dirty fighter wait till the Republicans have their way with him. I hope we don't have to see it.

    Go Hillary!!! Madame President!!

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Hey Obama supporters: How does it feel to have negative press for once?

    Talk about hypocrites. This is clearly one camp vs. the other. Nobody is right people. Obama and Clinton are each to blame, wait, it's their campaign that is to blame for digging this stuff up. Both are playing hard-ball, and just because she's a woman does not make her a monster. The Obama supporters now complain when anything negative comes out about him, but sure, we don't call him catty and a whiner. Yet, for the past several months, most of the media was down on Hillary (yes, it's true – there are stats on this one), but of course that's okay. Where were you then? Oh that's right, you were riding the Obama HOPE wave. Just keep your comments to yourselves. The only way this thing is going down is a dream ticket. Get used to it. It's already been decided. Hillary Prez./Obama V-Prez.

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Independent in PA

    Why isnt CNN and true Hillary Democrats demanding that Wolfson step down from the Clinton campaign for calling Obama "Ken Starr".

    Now there's a story CNN since you seem to have run out of them....
    Oh and nice how you stopped reporting on the mysterious halt in the Texas caucus count. Interesting.

    Is this going to be like New Mexico, when the Clinton official took home three boxes of ballots then returned with them the next day to have them counted?

    Of course CNN didnt have time to report that but the New Mexico news did. This Independent is going back to watching FOX NEWS. CNN has seriously dropped downhill!

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. angela

    As a lifelong Democrat I support Obama. We need fresh ideas, fresh views and fresh perspective. We also need someone who has values, character and integrity. Clinton is a hypocrite, a liar, and has proven that she will do and say anything to get back into the White House. Be careful what you wish for Hillary. If she wins, I will not vote in that race.

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Joanne

    Here we go again.
    C'mon Hillary, get some new material. You're boring us.

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. I'm getting tired

    That's it. I'm now a Republican.

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. VA

    I applaud Barack for his integrity in trying to run a clean race... but maaaaaaaan, if Hillary had been going up against somebody willing to stoop as low as she does, she would be buried in so much mud it would be called a swamp!

    Anybody catching the news about Bill Clinton getting a $700,000 kickback on some shady investments? Could this be why they don't want to release those 2006 tax returns? Granted I'll give you that Clinton is like the average American waiting to file the 2007 at the last minute but um... surely 2000-2006 has been filed already.

    Yes, I do want to know where she is getting her money from because I don't want a politician in office, especially running our country, willing to sell to the highest shady bidder!

    March 7, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. Jules

    Obama's position has always been extremely clear on this- that he will be as careful getting out as Bush and McCain and yes, Clinton, were careless getting in. He will begin redeployment exactly as he outlines specifically in his plan, but if circumstances change drastically, that plan will may have to be altered Essentially, he will use the good judgement he displayed in opposing the war, even when it was unpopular and could have cost him his senate bid, and his number one prioroty will be to get us out of that disaster as it has always been. Remember who drove that bus into the ditch. Hillary was right there with her pedal to the metal. This is one area she has no standing or credibility on whatsoever. She did not even bother to read the intel report. I never thought I'd say this because my plan has always been to vote democratic no matter who is on the ticket, but her unscrupulous behavior of late has made it impossible for me to support her. Dems may well lose in November, and she will go down in history as the worst thing to happen to American government since GWBush.

    March 7, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Kristina

    Why is it that every insignificant thing that Hillary chooses to "pounce" on, becomes a significant news story? We hear plenty about Rezko, but why aren't we seeing anything in the Ticker about Bill Clinton's ties (and huge monetary gains) from a failing Chinese internet company, founded by a FELON? Perhaps because there's really no favorable light in which to spin that?

    March 7, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Ellie

    Here's the best case scenario: Clinton wins the Democratic nomination!! ALL of the Obama supporters either DO NOT vote in the fall, or VOTE FO MCCAIN, or VOTE FOR NADER!! Or, perhaps write his name into the ballot!! END RESULT: McCain WINS!! POOR BILLARY!! The only phone you will here at 3:00 in the morning will be that of Bill calling you to pick him up at the latest "hitching post"!!!!!
    At this point the Democratic Party has been completely destroyed!!

    March 7, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. LifeLongDemocrat

    MMMMmmmmmm. Obama says one thing in public and another behind closed doors or to his big-bucks backers. Not a person to trust with the presidency.
    Sounds like something Bush and Cheney would do!

    March 7, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. lori

    since CNN has started working for the Clintons Im sure this wont get posted but I will say it anyway

    Why isnt Clintons lies in NAFTA-gate being given more coverage? She blatantly sabotaged and manipulated the Ohio and Texas voters (sorry Ohio, you guys were duped). This woman will do anything to win. I guess she won't care about my opinion b/c I dont live in California, NY or any of what she refers to as the "important" states. I have been a voting democrat for over 20 years. As a 47 year old white woman, I should be voting for HIllary according to your lopsided media demographic polls. But Im not. If Hillary is on the ticket I will be voting for McCain.
    Shame on YOU HRC!

    March 7, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. betty


    1) has NO CHARACTER
    2) has NO INTEGRITY
    3) has NO PLANS
    4) has NO EXPERIENCE
    5) is ALL TALK
    6) plays the RACE CARD
    7) is a WHINIER
    8) speaks of change .. but changes his stances faster than a CHAMELEON
    9) is DIVISIVE
    10) and finally a FRAUD

    March 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. dplktow

    hillery, you keep saying you are an expert, youn weren't and expert to me when you ran for congress. what makes you and expert in world
    policies,i thought bill was running the counrty. you need to stop with
    the mud slinging,back biting. the miore you say the more you are turning people off. sound like you are a closet raciest to me. you done
    and said everything except call obama out of his name. lets face it is
    is smart, intelligent, s good speaker, knowledble on any subject and
    he out shines you in everyway. he is a total gentleman. you are a wining child who if you cant have your way you cry . but yet youn are the one who started the warm of words and put your own ladyship in question. stick to the facts,stop playing games with the american people some of us can see right through you. your smart remarks towards mr obama on sln,david letterman,at rallies is uncalled for

    March 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. True Colors

    Obama! Don't be afraid to let it show – your true colors.

    Can't hide behind rhetorics anymore. The Obama phenomenon is crumbling down – slowly but shortly.

    March 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Ann

    Stop blaming Hillary for all the stupid moves made by Obama and his campaign. They are kids playing cool...


    March 7, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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