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. Pon Mao

    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). Will Hillary draft a plan to withdraw all US troops in Iraq now, and STICK with it no matter what happens there?

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Topdawg

    I just want to know if there is any teeth to hillary's advisors talking to canada about nafta, and if so why it isn't being covered by the best political team on television

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

    Enough, Clinton Enough. You cry so much how hard it is to run this race. If you stop picking up the kitchen sink to throw at Obama every opportunity you get you would'nt be so tired.

    The american people are really getting turned off by this entire process and what once seem like a historical moment in time to remember is turning into a complete circus and Clinton you're the biggest clown in the show.

    Now, I don't work for Obama and I would never work for you ..... So I guess I will never have to resign, or have you reject or denounce me.

    Stop acting like a monster and remember that you're a lady first a former first Lady at that.......

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. 2008

    Monster Hillary, what do u have to say now, why dont u fire the guy that compared Obama to ken star, do u really want to go there. You are reminding the pipo of your husbands past infedilities or is he still one.
    What is your campaign up too? Shame on you Hillary shame on you. I pray that you get the nomination and all of obamas supporters to vote for mccain okey. I think mccain will make a better president than you. He is more qualified than u right? And dont even think about clinton-obama ticket, noone wants to be around you and your drama king husband and your so called daughter. shame on all of you. You disgust me.

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. DJJ

    Hillary Clinton supporters if you don't admit anything else admit that your candidate is quite the b_t_ c.

    March 7, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. 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 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. change1


    March 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Manuel TX

    Good grief.

    I saw that video too, and I couldn't believe it.

    Powers may be academically brilliant, but she is a complete boob when it comes to participating in a campaign. How can the Obama campaign continue to make these blunders?

    Worse, Powers is/was a central foreign policy advisor for Obama, but she can't seem to keep her mouth under control. That would not work in a real foreign policy situation, in fact it could be a real problem.

    Susan Rice's comments on Tucker Carlson's show that neither Obama nor Hillary are ready for a 3AM crisis call was another serious gaffe. And this was a prepared interview.

    Add this to NAFTAGate and you have to ask whether the tightly organized BO campaign is self-imploding.


    March 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. j Clark

    Hillary definitely doesn't have the charisma to be on a Freddy/Jason-level of monster. She's really more on the level of that main fake-looking zombie in "I Am Legend," the kind that should be dispatched immediately but for some inexplicable reason hangs around to the very end...before being vanquished by our hero.

    March 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Paula


    I would certainly hope that Obama would consult with his advisers once he's in the White House to formulate a withdrawal policy. What on earth makes Hillary think that she's the only one capable of or entitle to consult military and intelligence advisors in determining policy.

    For the love of pete, does this woman even read her own stuff and does she have any idea just how foolish she sounds?

    March 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. bill hopen

    Colin Powell interviewed with cnn about troops with draw last month , he thinks her plan"I am committed to beginning a withdrawal within 60 days" is not base on the fact of groud troop"...
    it is time to say she is really naive about her ability to be comande in chief. you can't absolutely use your plan from a year early to conduct the unknown situation of 2009.
    Obama also state that his plan will work with generals on the fact on the ground at the time when he is elected.

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

    This is a big shame on you Hilary. You are behaving like a kid

    March 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. kb

    Looks like Obama made a poor choice for an "adviser"...paid or not she represents him.

    March 7, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. D R

    We will see if the pro Clinton news, CNN blocks this also! The extreme right wing Rush Limbaugh is telling everyone to vote for Hillary! That is a good indication of whom the conservative right thinks they can beat in Nov. Now I'm all for a women President, BUT NOT THIS WOMEN! Many seem to be blinded to the fact that the Clinton's are capable of doing anything and everything to get back into the White house! I cannot believe Texas and Ohio gave her a chance to steal this election! I doubt Obama would be dumb enough to invite this cancer onto his ticket! We were close to impeaching the Clinton's just eight years ago! Doesn't that mean anything to her voters! If Hillary jumped off a cliff, would half the women in this country follow?

    March 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. Midwest voter

    I guess I would have said Clinton is acting childish in relation to how the voting has turned out. She expected from the beginning that she would be the sole winner and since the public has decided otherwise up to this point, she is playing dirty pool. Is this really the kind of person, woman or not, we want in the White House for 4 years? Throwing temper tantrums, blaming everyone but herself when things don't go her way? I sure don't. Very selfish mannerisms she is displaying anymore. Too bad her husband is also acting the same way. For a former president of the US to act in this manner for the world to see really disgusts me.

    March 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Topdawg

    Just wanted to know if there is any truth about the meeting hillary's staffers had with the canadian govt. about NAFTA, and if so why the best political team on t.v. isn't covering that.

    March 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. HSHS

    Stop lying hillary you are not going to pull this to the people of mississipid and wyoming like you did to the ohio people. It is not going to work this time.

    March 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Here we go again!!!

    Hillary – what is the issue besides trying to make an issue out of nothing except for your personal gain?! It would not be wise to just pull the troopsout without discussing it with military leaders first. Barack has said his plan to begin withdrawal within 30 to 60 days of taking office but that he would also consult his military commanders. And you wonder why people have lost respect for you and at this point hate you!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. keith

    You are becoming very disgusting

    March 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Eric

    Hello President McCain.

    I used to support Hillary... now, every day, she shoves that support in my face and I feel like an idiot for being for her in the first place.

    I'm at the point now where I wouldn't even consider voting for her in the general election, and I'm a borderline "yellow dog" democrat!

    Her conduct in this campaign has sickened me to no end and she can expect me to vote ABC in '08.

    March 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Charlotte

    Obama is in trouble again! I knew his plan for troop withdrawal was a stupid comment for him to make. That is one reason I question his judgement. You cannot make a 16 month withdrawal commitment today, when tommorow may be a different ballgame altogether. Hillary said she would start to withdraw troops in 60 days and consult with her commanders as to future draw downs. That is how a commander- in -chief should respond. We need a President who knows what has to be done, and how to do it...

    March 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Dan

    I am so sick of this election I may not vote. I am for Obama and have supported him in the past. If he is the nominee I will vote for him. There is no way I could bring myself to vote for Hillary. I have noticed why CNN is known as the Clinton News Network. That still sticks.

    March 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. Sante

    You do not deserve this lady Hillary!
    I do not know haw Osama is unique and gifted, but Hillary IS!
    I would like to know what ells she could get it and still stands up.
    You are just jealous. Any other country /even Pakistan/will be so proud to have such a intelligent , capable and strong doughier.
    In fact to call you a "monster" is not such a bad think ; I have been saying that to my wife, but she is the one has built our financial stability; I am too shy!

    March 7, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. Allen

    Ok CNN... Do you have hillary back on the moderators team again.... Shes a lier, without on drop of truth in her.... So heres another post for you hillarys lovers to delete......

    March 7, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. clarity

    Obama will need a plan if he want's to be president. If he is just going to use someone else's (like his speeches) plan, then it makes him irrelevant.

    Wow, he's not having a good day today!

    1 – Negative low road campaigning and name calling
    2 – Special interest Pharma funding revelation
    3 – No plan for Iraq

    Nothing to look at folks. No change here!

    March 7, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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