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. Mr. C.

    Haha... this woman is very funny. I wish people have the video of the debate that had in TX where she actually said the same thing. And now her words contradicts everything she said. God when will this woman get a clue? She is trying to win over the Black Votes. I do not think this woman has any slightest knowledge when it comes to the way African-American people would portray her. She keeps digging her own hole very soon she'll fall into it.

    March 7, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Jon

    This is absurd -- she should at least try to be a honourable as Obama.

    March 7, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Another Hillary Hater :)

    What a disgrace is the democratic party becoming. Clinton is tearing the party apart and dividing it. How sad that her arrogant attitude will lose the presidency to the democrats. She is so cynical about NAFTA and everything else. Seh would say anything to win! I think her personality is day she says "how proud she is of Obama..." and the next day "she is raging and accusing him" Good for you Obama. Stay above the garbage that the Clintons throw...Americans can see right trhough her lies and the way I wish CNN (Clinton News Network) would be more fair to Obama,,,they are so clearly supporting CLinton, especially Wolf!

    March 7, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Joeytj

    How the hell does she get away with lying on NAFTA and IRAQ? SHE VOTED FOR THE IRAQ has the same (and acctually leaves more troops behind) plan on Iraq and has said the same thing!??! This is BS from the Clinton campaign "raises doubts about the Obama camp" what the hell!??! Yeah like Mark Penn, Wolfoson and others in her camp havent compared Obama to Karl Rove, Ken Star and even have screamed "SHAME ON YOU!" how does she get away with this !??!? Media biased for Obama? yeah right.

    March 7, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. again

    Again make a big our of nothing in order to scare the public....

    definition of a monster....

    We do not need this in America. We need change from the same old politics of scaring people to vote for you.

    March 7, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  6. Dave Froyalde/Washington

    Hey listen folks. The comment by Samantha Powers, the foreign adviser about withdrawing troops from Iraq and the speeches Senator Obama is making are two different versions. The version of Senator Obama is only a speech and he is doing it to get you to vote for him. This approach is deceiving and Senator Obama is deceiving the American people. I hope the supporters of Senator Obama think wisely before they vote for him in the coming primary elections.

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

    I believe that Powers did not want to make things even worst so therefore her resigning was the best thing for everyone.What I do think is wrong is when we teach our young children principles like not to be negative, dishonest, ugly, and bully like and we don't uphold the same principles. What a joke!! My 10 year old is following the election and is kind of bothered at how some adults are acting (Clinton). Look at the grown folks that are what???? Suppose to represent our country!

    March 7, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Chris-Atlanta,GA

    More Negativity from Clinton YAY!!!!!

    I'm sorry but this just shows her poor judgment and how she is going to be a “my way or the highway” type of president….hmmmm sounds like another Bush to me…

    Of course you have a plan as a nominee to deal with Iraq, but you would be foolish not to seek the opinions of your advisers, national security briefings, and the resources that are only available to the president to make a sound decision on what to do. She sounds like she is just going to pull our troops out without any consultation whatsoever……yea that’s all we need is a President who does use proper judgment, and makes knee jerk reactions on issues like the Iraq war….god save us all if she is elected president

    March 7, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Alecki

    Hillary is a straight talker.
    Obama needs to be a little more transparent for the American people to trust him.

    March 7, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. Jake in Austin

    This is funny. She has the same plan Power gave, but believes it means something different if it isn't about her. No twisting spin can overcome her loss in this election. It's mathmatically impossible for her to overcome Obama's non-superdelagate lead. She has no chance at all of winning every remaining contest at a 61 to 39% advantage (what she'd need to tie him in total dels). All she is doing is dragging out the inevitable. Of course now her plan is to drag it out and "force," Obama to choose her as VP. That's why everyone including the Penn. Gov. are bringing it up.

    March 7, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Arjun

    You can hide th truth for some time but not all the time. The greatest evil is being exposed each and every day. By the end of the presidential campaign, Obama campaign will implode.

    March 7, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Mfelder

    Yeah right, you will start withdrawaling troops within sixty days. And I guess on Day One the economic problem in the US will be in full recovery. Clinton will say and do anything to get elected.

    March 7, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Dart Vadik, CA

    Wait a minute, how come Puerto Rico has more delegates than Wyoming, and many US states?

    March 7, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Tom,des moines

    Hillary, keep it up. Go Hillary 08!

    March 7, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Whats Next

    RRRAWWRRR! Clinton is spending more time trying to tear down Obama than talking about the issues that are facing America. She is a Monster and she's going to eat you all...

    March 7, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. John MacDonald

    This is so ridiculous. Some inconsequential staffer calls Clinton a 'monster.' Big deal. Clinton reveres Obama one moment and shames him the next. This has nothing to do with anything. The only real factor is that Obama was endorsed by celebrities a long time ago and is getting endorsed by new celebrities every day. (Clinton got endorsed by Jack N., but no one is sure whether he is still alive or not) Obama got endorsed by Oprah, and the public will ultimately side with her. The fact that he has absolutely no experience or qualifications to become presisdent will not be added to by some mouthy aide resigning- because celebrities have already made him really "inspirational." The sad thing is that you have a country where the politics are really sad, and a country where the political implications really aren't. Doesn't it seem insane to any of you that either Obama or Clinton were able to make it onto the ticket in the first place? Or are you so desperate to elect a democrat that you will facinate over someone just because they can play the race or the gender ticket? John (A Scared Canadian)

    March 7, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Annie

    I wish they would stop with the negativism As I stated yesterday it does not do any one any good. We will get bored and turned off. I know I am losing interest. Please Obamaites take the high road.

    March 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. Cruiser66

    Well it seems that Hillary attributes comments from Obama's staff (paid or otherwise) to him. I just hope she applies the same criteria to herself. If so, then she is responsibile for the Ken Starr comment from her staff.

    March 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. bill pike

    why doesn't someone pick up the clinton stones laying all over th 1990's and throw them at her???? taking advantage of a young girl with the presidential power, lying under oath,business deals?????? sounds like a 2 headed clinton i mean monster, to me.

    March 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. Grif

    They should never talk, to the BBC... About anything.

    Your running for office, in number one...For Number one... CIC.

    March 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Mike

    Makes sense – I don't think anybody can predict what's going to happen in January 09 based on March 08. What is the problem?

    The monster comment was kind of low, but I can see how Hilary can be described as this. It seems like she will do anything to win the presidency even if it means using dirty tricks to influence voters' opinion in her favor.

    The character kill tactic used by Bill Clinton before the NH vote and the false canada/Obama allegations 3 days before the Ohio votes. ould be described as monsterlike....

    March 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. GF

    Some one needs to pounce on Hillary about her Peter situation in California. By the way, was I the only person who heard her say that "we will in Iraq and Afghanstan..." during her late night speech in Ohio. I sure I wasn't ! Does that mean that she want carry out the plans she has outlined during her presidential campaign for pulling beginning to start pulling out U.S. troops within 6 months of her administration, provided she wins (steals) the Democratic explanation and then wins the general election. It's interesting she wants everyone else to say what they mean and mean what they say, but when it comes to her she wants the rules to be changed in the middle of the game because she's loosing. I would have respect for her if she just says Florida and Michigan decided not to abide by the Democratic primary rules, they knew the consequences, the governors of these states signed off on holding the primaries before they should. They have been sanctioned as a result and that is that! That would speak volumes of someone with good character, but unfortunately it does seem as if it is in her to do the right thing.

    March 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Brian PA

    LOL... this woman is an idiot, and she deserved to be fired/resigned. It's so disturbing that she is a Harvard professor, come on, she has no creditability. If Obama's 'change' means saying one thing in presidential campaign and flip around later when he is really elected, I feel sorry to those Obama supporters. You guys are cheated!! I can’t believe this woman is one of his ‘senior’ advisors. She doesn’t have the sophistication and integrity of being a ‘foreign policy advisor’. Her stupid remarks can start war between countries if she is in the cabinet.
    Obama, you’ve just lost my vote…

    March 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. John

    Obama lied to public on NAFTA,infact he was telling something to Canada government.
    Same he is doing regarding Irag war. He is two faced man.
    Rezko scandal.
    Can we trust him.
    NO. NO NO NO
    enough of liars

    March 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. Nando, Florida

    You still voted for the war Hillary !!! you can spin it all you want you voted for it so you are BUSH LITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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