March 7th, 2008
03:49 PM ET
6 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. John

    OMG, Hillary, the "Queen of Deceit "accusing Obama of "deceiving" voters? Has she no shame nor sense of ethics?

    March 7, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. kelly

    Well obviously Obama DID NOT USE VERY GOOD JUDGEMENT WHEN HE BROUGHT HER ONTO HIS TEAM. I guess this is indicitive of more bad judgements to come.

    March 7, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Clinton News Network

    CNN will not post anything negative about Hillary Clinton, I wonder why??? Seems you guys have something invested. I'm switching over to Fox or MSNBC, at least their news reporting is not biased!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. JM

    She was forced to resign for telling the truth....at least someone is in this campaign. None of the three candidates' actions with regard to Iraq will vary by much once they're in office. They're all going to leave some troops there and the timeline for the ones that do come home will be within a few months of each other.

    March 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. Lewis, From Scotland

    Maybe im missing something here but could someone let me know exactly how Barack is ment to be deceiving voters? As far as i can tell her comments were honest about the situation and ofcourse clinton and obama need to chat to the joint chiefs on any strategy to pull troops out etc etc.

    March 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. Bewitched

    It almost turns my stomach just looking at her.

    March 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Clinton News Network

    CNN will not post anything negative about Hillary Clinton, I wonder why??? Seems you guys have something invested. I'm switching over to Fox or MSNBC, at least their news reporting is not biased...

    March 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Jim Shimmer

    I despise Hillary more than ever now.. She is the worst person on the face of this earth... I am 1000% democrat but you know what if she wins, my vote is going republican..

    I don't care is McCain is good or bad, I simply don't. She is the absolutely disgusting and can stoop as low as it gets to win the nomination.

    There are millions of democrats and so many more independents that will either not vote or vote for McCain if Hillary wins...

    I am even considering Nader....

    Hillary you are out of my system for good....

    Barack is an honest man with so much integrity..

    March 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Change Groupies Wake-Up

    Obama intends to be a committee president that heavily relies on advisors. Vote CLINTON and let's get this mess of a country turned around fast!

    March 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Ronald Reagan, HELL

    .........AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH..............

    ........I SHOULD HAVE BEEN A LIBERAL, NOT BETRAY THEM...............

    ........AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH..........ITS HOT, ITS HOT..............

    .........AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH..............

    March 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. shirley ann

    I am really concerned about how Mrs. Clinton has handled her campaign.She is determined to WIN and will do it at at any cost.This is NOT a good thing for our country. If she is the nominee, I will definitely vote for Mccain.

    March 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Chris

    My God, such a terrible thing, waiting for FACTS before choosing a course of action! Of course, that didn't stop the esteemed Sen. Clinton from authorizing "military action" in Iraq. Facts are for lesser people.

    March 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. Pon Mao

    Gee, Hillary Clinton is really an evil monster, she just won't stop attacking.

    Well it's true there are a lot months between now and Jan 2009, who knows what will happen in Iraq during meantime? (Unless the Al Queda in Iraq keeps briefing Hillary ahead of time). Hillary will draft a plan to withdraw all US troops in Iraq, no matter what happens there?

    March 7, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. Dart Vadik, CA

    Nice try Hill,
    get over it

    March 7, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. JM

    ....same with NAFTA.

    March 7, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. J

    why are we buying this crap.. i just wish it was all over..............

    March 7, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. After further review,Texas

    I will never help put a Scorpio in office.They are highly emotional and dangerous.Remember Agnew for just one example.

    March 7, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Tom Wittmann

    CNN

    I am trying to get my comment posted. I repeated it by shortening it
    without success

    TOM

    March 7, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. Kevin, Louisville, Ky

    there she goes again..aint we tired...

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Clinton News Network

    CNN will not post anything negative about Hillary Clinton, I wonder why??? Seems you guys have something invested. I'm switching over to Fox or MSNBC, at least their news reporting is not biased.

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. HC

    What Powers said doesn't have to be the oopinion of mr. Obama. And we can not be held accountable for words or mistakes of others. The are advisers .. so the give .... advice. That does not implicate that what they advise or say is the actual plan or decision that will be accepted or promoted by anyone they've advised.

    This is turning into a soap opera, where the one who can be more sneeky, mean or distort the words of the other gets more attention or votes.

    The way we act, walk and talk regarding other people often says more about ourselves. Quit the mud throwing on the playground and start behaving like real presidential candidates.

    At this point if the phone rings none of these candidates are in the position to pick it up!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  22. Avis C, Richton Park,IL

    And she compared Obama to Ken Star! WOW!!!

    This woman is desperate!!!

    Talk about reaching!!!!!!!!!!!

    YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!! OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES WE WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. JG

    Hillary is in no position to talk. She was part of the administration that gave us NAFTA, which she is now trying to disclaim any ownership in.

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. Michael Mee

    This election will kill my joy for politics. It reminds me how 99.9% of it is BS and how 99.9% of voters are clueless.

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. Clinton News Network

    CNN will not post anything negative about Hillary Clinton, I wonder why??? Seems you guys have something invested. I'm switching over to Fox or MSNBC, at least their news reporting is not biased.....

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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